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History, hiking and haunts in Harpers Ferry | Get Up Getaways

There's plenty to do in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Everything from hiking trails to ghost tours.

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. — The beautiful and historic Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, is just 70 miles northwest of the heart of D.C. It’s a site that attracts families, history lovers and those seeking some seriously breathtaking sights.

The view from Harpers Ferry shows where West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland come together. Original historical structures sit beside more modern commercial and residential buildings.

Its location and charm give plenty of reason to visit, but its rich history truly makes it a destination worth remembering.

Credit: WUSA9
St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church is a hard-to-miss sight on the hillside overlooking Harpers Ferry.

“When we work in places like this, we’re always aware of what it takes to preserve American memory,” said park ranger Melinda Day. “And how to do that is usually through stories and big objects like this.”

The “big object” is John Brown’s Fort. It’s the place where abolitionist John Brown and his men barricaded themselves during their ill-fated raid on the federal arsenal.

Credit: WUSA9
John Brown’s fort was originally built in 1848 as a fire engine and guard house. After John Brown’s raid in 1959, the fort was used as a prison and powder magazine during the Civil War.

History is preserved all throughout Harpers Ferry. The Dry Goods store on site is stocked with for-sale items from before the Civil War.

For those wanting to explore the haunted side of its history, ghost tours are offered year-round. To extend the historical stay at Harpers Ferry, travelers can spend the night in a 19th Century-style inn right outside Harpers Ferry.

There is no shortage of things to do at Harpers Ferry. There are more than 20 miles of hiking tails in the area.

“We feel super lucky to be able to come here and exercise like this,” said Patricia Syvrud, who regularly walks around Harpers Ferry to stay active.

People can explore Harpers Ferry by foot or by water, as the site is nestled between the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Nearby rental shops allow travelers to rent kayaks for the day.

A trip to Harpers Ferry immerses explorers in an important time in American history. It’s a place to get lost in, have fun at and ultimately, reflect upon.

“It becomes part of your experience that you look back on for the rest of your life,” said Day. “It’s a place where you bring your family, your kids, because you want them to experience what you did too.”

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