On the Trail with Darcy and Lizzy: Harpers Ferry

In honor of National Trails Day, I’m posting the final entry in “On the Trail with Darcy and Lizzy.” I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the views and sights along the trip taken by Darcy and Elizabeth in Boots & Backpacks. Of course the Appalachian Trail continues for a thousand miles in each direction, and I may add a few more entries to this series eventually. Because [spoiler alert!] our dear couple have many more hiking miles ahead of them!

Today we explore Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, where Darcy and Elizabeth spent almost a week. Alas, the Hunsford Bed & Breakfast and its proprietor, Kent Rosings, are fictional. But there are several historic B&Bs in Harpers Ferry, and history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts alike will find much to do in the area.

Southbound AT hikers get a view of the Potomac River from Weverton Cliffs in Maryland.

View from Weverton Cliffs
View from Weverton Cliffs
photo by kirybabe on Flickr

The trail then descends the ridge and joins the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath for several miles until the AT crosses the Potomac via the footbridge. Welcome to West Virginia!

Harpers Ferry 4
View of Harpers Ferry from Maryland Heights, footbridge on left.
photo by William Shewbridge on Flickr

Much of the town of Harpers Ferry is part of a national historic park for good reason. From the park website:

THE HISTORY OF HARPERS FERRY HAS FEW PARALLELS IN THE AMERICAN DRAMA. It is more than one event, one date, or one individual. It is multi-layered – involving a diverse number of people and events that influenced the course of our nation’s history. Harpers Ferry witnessed the first successful application of interchangeable manufacture, the arrival of the first successful American railroad, John Brown’s attack on slavery, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War, and the education of former slaves in one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States.

Jefferson's Rock
Jefferson Rock: Thomas Jefferson stood here on October 25, 1783 and was impressed with the view.
photo by on RP Norris on flickr
East View from Jefferson Rock
View of the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers as seen from Jefferson Rock
photo by Mr.TinDC on flickr
John Brown's Fort - Harpers Ferry, WV.
The building where abolitionist John Brown’s raid of the US Armory ended in his capture.
photo by MamaGeek on Wikimedia Commons
Harpers Ferry 03
Historic downtown Harpers Ferry
photo by smilla4 on flickr
Bolivar Heights 04
Bolivar Heights, above the town, served as a defensive position in more than one Civil War battle
photo by smilla4 on flickr

Of course I must mention the headquarters and visitor center of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy located in Harpers Ferry. This is the famous place where thruhikers pose for pictures. It is an important milestone along their journey.

Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters
Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters in Harpers Ferry
photo courtesy ATC

Time for Darcy and Elizabeth to head back to NYC! Thanks for following along with them this far.


Previous On the Trail with D&E posts:

Delaware Water Gap Part 1

Delaware Water Gap Part 2

Eastern Pennsylvania

Hawk Mountain and the Pinnacle

The Schuykill to the Susquehanna

Duncannon to Boiling Springs

Pine Grove Furnace and Caledonia State Parks


The Boots & Backpacks Map