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Country roads lead to historic town in West Virginia

Posted on October 01 2021

Fifty years ago, the very popular and talented John Denver released what would become his signature song, “Take Me Home, Country Roads," which, in 2014, became West Virginia’s official state song.

The late singer-songwriter wrote of the Shenandoah River, which flows near the state’s eastern border near the Shannondale Springs Wildlife Management Area and Harpers Ferry National Park before emptying into the Potomac. 

The charming town of Harpers Ferry is 63 miles from Washington, D.C., and on a recent driving trip to The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, I spent a day and a night in Harpers Ferry. I’m so glad I did, as I had wanted to see the Colonial-era village that draws tourists from around the world. Fall, especially, is a scenic time to visit, as the foliage turns brilliant yellows, oranges and reds. 

Harpers Ferry is filled with lovely buildings, houses, gardens and shops. There are plentiful restaurants offering good food all over town. 

The town is inhabited by talented young artists as well as chocolate makers, candy makers, jewelry designers, glass blowers, ceramicists, and metalsmiths — all worthy of their crafts. 

The mayor, Wayne Bishop, is busy working on a new hotel to be built in a style to complement the original Colonial buildings. I can envision it now — brickwork with a veranda with rocking chairs. The hotel is to be built high on the tree-covered hill that rises above the village. 

The town also has a Civil War museum, and nearby in the national park is John Brown’s Fort, a key site of the famous 1859 raid. The Harper Ferry-Bolivar Historic Town Foundation also sponsors a Black Heritage Walking Tour among its programs and preservation initiatives.

The natural beauty of the area is stunning, from waterways to mountaintops. If your travels take you to Washington or The Greenbrier, I hope you’ll plan a drive to Harpers Ferry. 

And if you do, be sure to listen to John Denver’s famous song while you’re traveling along those delightful country roads. 

2 comments

  • Kathryn Ross: October 06, 2021

    Thank you so much Carlton Varney for bringing to yet another special area in West Virginia! Yes, Harper’s Ferry is a CJ wonderful place. Of course, The Greenbrier is over the top ! Thank you for keeping alive, the spectacular decor that Dorothy Draper created …….she would be so proud to see where you have taken it now!! People are always so amazed when they visit this resort, as it is not at all what they expect to find in the hills of WV!! My niece’s wedding was held at the Greenbrier and I remember watching the faces of so many of the guests as they entered…..like children on Christmas morning!!

  • Emily Astor: October 06, 2021

    One of my favourite stops en route to either the Greenbriar or to see family in Virginia .

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