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Posts Tagged ‘Maryland’

John Brown's Fort

In my high-school mind, Harper’s Ferry has always been pretty much synonymous with abolitionist John Brown’s Raid. This is definitely the spot, and there’s a major exhibit that deals with Brown and his companions, what they believed, their bloody attempt to seize the weapons at the arsenal here, and the historical aftermath. But almost every one of the historic buildings here houses a museum or exhibit on a different aspect – including the Civil War, African American History, the Lewis and Clark expedition, industry and transportation. So, it’s not just a relaxing stroll through a pretty town, though it is that too – if you don’t get too frantic.

We’re staying in the Harper’s Ferry KOA close to the park.  It’s a Halloween Weekend – we had no idea what that entailed.

Halloween at Harper's Ferry KOA

It’s a major encampment.  There are tents and campers, RV’s in every size and shape – and almost all of them with Halloween decorations.  LOTS of decorations. People go to elaborate lengths – this guy and his wife were putting up a pirate ship.  She said it would take them about 6 hours to get everything assembled.  There are dogs and kids and bikes and activity everywhere.

In the midst of all this modern day business is a line of Civil War trenches.  They’re official trenches, with official plaques. They just happen to be in the middle of this campground.  We walk along the ridges and read them, we watch other families do the same.

Once the sun sets, people gather around their campfires.  There’s the smell of wood smoke and food in the air, the sound of laughter, kids fooling around, dogs barking.

I think of the Civil War soldiers that lay in trenches here.  What would they make of all of this?  It might be overwhelming, but  I imagine they would find comfort in knowing that a place that was so hard and bleak for them could be transformed into such a scene.  Families, instead of soldiers, sitting by the campfire.  Making memories, not waging war.

I wish that they could join this encampment – maybe they do… it’s Halloween…

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Stone House

Elizabeth Ann Seton was a wife, mother, and widow before she converted to the Catholic faith, founded the Sisters of Charity – and wound up being the first U.S. born canonized saint.  Like  many other mothers throughout history, she got a lot done.

Stone House was the first permanent home of Mother Seton, her children and companions.  She founded the Sisters of Charity here in 1809. We met some of her modern-day Sisters on the grounds.  The one who gave us the tour of the White House (the nearby home they moved to, after spending a year in the Stone House) is an educator, like Mother Seton.  She specializes in tough teenagers.  From what we saw of her sense of humor, along with her sense of purpose, those kids have more than met their match.  She’s big on teaching them to THINK about the consequences of their choices.  We loved her stories, one of which wound up with their six pack of beer winding up in her refrigerator.


Basilica, where Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is buried


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