fog passes through Cumberland Gap
Last Week's Getaway:
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

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Jefferson Rock
Thomas Jefferson described the view from Jefferson Rock as “worth a voyage across the Atlantic.” (Photo by Robert Baker)

ranger talks with visitors
Ranger Waters talks with visitors at the Point, near the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. (NPS/Marsha Wassel)

view from the Maryland Heights overlook
From the overlook on Maryland Heights, you can see spectacular views of West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. (Photo by Robert Baker)

cannon atop the Bolivar Heights Battlefield Homepage photo: Bolivar Heights Battlefield overlooks the town and the confluence of the rivers below. (NPS/Marsha Wassel)

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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland

Hi, I'm Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. I'm excited to get to know you. I'm confident we have something in common.

Oh, you like hiking? Me too! I’m made up of all kinds of trails. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail runs right through me, and the trail has its headquarters here. The Maryland Heights trail is a steep climb that leads to a breathtaking cliff overlook where you can see the whole town and the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers before they make their way toward Washington, D.C. Many people enjoy tubing, kayaking, and whitewater rafting on the rivers that surround me.

Where do I live? I guess I'm technically from three states. I have land in West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia — nearly 4,000 acres! My land is like a jigsaw puzzle. And, no, I don't have a ferry anymore. That was operated back in the 1700's, and is how I got my name.

History? I've really seen it all when it comes to the American drama. Floods have ravaged my buildings and people, leaving behind destruction and struggle, but a truly exquisite landscape remains to capture the hearts and minds of those who want to get to know me.

Not to toot my own horn, but Thomas Jefferson did once declare the view from Jefferson Rock to be “worth a voyage across the Atlantic!” I witnessed first-hand John Brown's Raid and how the Civil War altered both my town and the course of American history forever. Did you know that the Battle of Harpers Ferry wrecked General Lee's first invasion of the North? I'm a big promoter of equality and civil rights too, and can show you some special places that improved our nation.

Do you like photography? I'm a magnet for photographers. Everything from my street scenes, historic buildings, and living history events to my natural landscapes seem to draw folks to snap away. Fall is magical around here, and I think you’ll enjoy what I have in store! I even have my own social media sites now where you can view photos and share comments. Have you liked my Facebook page yet? You should, so we can keep in touch.

What are some of my other interests or hobbies? Well, I know a thing or two about gun making. The U.S. Armory and Arsenal really transformed me into an industrial powerhouse before the Civil War. I produced over 600,000 firearms between 1801-1861. I must admit I'm a pretty big railroad history buff. Trains still thunder by my historic train station and transport commuters, visitors, and all kinds of cargo. I can't help but watch as a train powers through.

Telling you all of this reminds me of where I've been and where I hope to be for a very long time — sharing my lands and story with you!

By Samantha Zurbuch, volunteer and intern coordinator, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

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