Located where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers converge, Harpers Ferry provides many spectacular views and unlimited opportunities to enjoy the area's natural landscape. This natural environment surrounding Harpers Ferry encourages residents and visitors alike to enjoy a variety of activities including rafting, kayaking, canoeing, biking and fishing. Several parks and preserves are within the vicinity, including Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, which stretches some 2,100 miles from Maine to Georgia, also passes through this town, offering a breathtaking view the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. The C & O Canal towpath remains a favorite of hikers, joggers, and bicyclists and offers 184 miles of trail between Georgetown and Cumberland, MD.
"The passage of the Patowmac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature... worth a voyage across the Atlantic." - Thomas Jefferson, October 25, 1783
Although it may be best known as the location of John Brown's raid on a federal armory and arsenal at the beginning of the Civil War, Harpers Ferry's history stretches back to when George Washington surveyed land in the area in 1750. Many mills and factories used the rivers to power their businesses and the improvements in transportation - particularly the railroad and canal - only aided economic growth in the area. Besides the U.S. Armory and Arsenal, which employed hundreds of workers and produced more than 600,000 firearms in the 60 years leading up to the Civil War, numerous sawmills, machine shops, blacksmiths and other foundries set up their businesses in Harpers Ferry.
Not surprisingly with Harpers Ferry's history and extensive involvement during the civil war, ghost sightings and ghostly phenomenon have been reported. An enjoyable avenue of entertainment for guests and locals is The Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry, a walking tour for all ages. The John Brown Wax Museum graphically tells the story of John Brown's raid and offers a unique learning experience at a very economic cost. The National Park Service offers some very intriguing walking tours throughout the picturesque streets of Harpers Ferry. History comes to life with live presentations throughout the town by time period re-enactors.
The Eastern Panhandle is known for attracting many commuters because of significant difference in cost of living compared to the surrounding tri-state region, as well as ease of access to commuter routes via train or car.
From Harpers Ferry minutes/miles by car:
25 minutes to Frederick, MD
35 minutes to Leesburg, VA
70 miles to Baltimore, MD
60 miles to Washington, DC
Jefferson County, WV is served by Amtrak Train Service and MARC Commuter Train Service at the Harpers Ferry Station (HFY), which offers direct connections to Union Station, Washington DC and Rockville, MD. Amtrak and MARC also offer connections via Union Station to Penn Station, Baltimore MD and BWI Airport, as well as many others.
The MARC Train, whose service areas include Harford County, Maryland; Baltimore City; Washington D.C.; Brunswick, Maryland; Frederick, Maryland and Martinsburg, West Virginia, can be accessed at three park & ride locations in the Eastern Panhandle: Martinsburg Station, Harpers Ferry Station, and Duffields Station in Shenandoah Junction, WV. For a schedule and fare information, visit www.amtrak.com and http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/marc/.
Jefferson County is within an hour's drive of 3 major airports: Baltimore/Washington International, Reagan National, and Washington Dulles International.
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