The first thing that you should know about Harpers Ferry is that the small town is actually located in the middle of Harpers Ferry National Park. There is usually a small fee to get into the National Park, but it is well worth it! There is no parking in the town, unless you happen to be one of the 300 residents, so you must plan on parking at the National Park's visitors' center. There is a shuttle service that runs pretty regularly to take you into town.
The shuttle drops you off right along the scenic Potomac River. Actually, Harpers Ferry was a coveted, strategic town during the American Civil War because it is where the Potomac and the Shenandoah River meet. It also is where three different states meet: Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.
The town, park and surrounding areas are filled with history. Walking through the town is like walking through time. It is small, adorable, and authentic. There are little shops and information stops everywhere.
Half of the town is filled with boutiques and little shops. My favorite is Tenfold Fair Trade Collection (I'm a huge supporter of anything and everything fair trade). I found dark roast, fair trade coffee from Just Coffee Cooperative, which I am currently in love with. I've been making after-work lattes at least every other day!
Unfortunately, there was recently a fire in the town of 300, which damaged four buildings and nine businesses. Tenfold was one of these businesses, so the shop is now in a temporary location. Here is the gofundme page to help renew Harpers Ferry.
There are several places to hike around Harpers Ferry. It boasts gorgeous views of the town, the rivers, and the mountains!
Harpers Ferry is actually right along the Appalachian Trail, which is a big deal to my parents and I! We visited the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Headquarters and Visitors Center while in the area, and even stumbled upon some of the trail. Have you ever read A Walk in the Woods? The AT is somewhat similar to El Camino, which is what my parents and I hiked for a week in Spain last summer. It is a dream of mine to do the whole thing someday!
I was able to go backpacking along parts of the AT around this time last year, and I actually was able to look out over Harpers Ferry from the other side of the Shenandoah River. I'm so glad that I was able to get a closer look at this adorable town.
I was lucky to visit on the perfect fall day while the leaves were still changing. My advice is to plan for the whole day, explore the town and the trails and bring a camera!
Have you visited Harpers Ferry? What did you like best?