I live in DC, which is a great place to live and visit. I try to make the most of it. However, I also love to leave my home and see what the world has to offer. Come and join me!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Harper's Ferry, West Virginia

My mother came to visit this weekend, and she wanted to do a day trip and see some historical sites and also take advantage of the nice weather we were having. It was too late in the day to drive to Colonial Williamsburg--a trip I have not yet made--but Harper's Ferry in West Virginia is about an hour and a half drive and had the requisite history and outdoor attractions. The town is run by the National Park Service. Follow the signs to the parking area, and then take the free and frequent shuttle bus down into the town.

Harper's Ferry, built at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, was established as an armory for the new United States by George Washington. The view was beloved of Thomas Jefferson, and the picture to the left was taken at his favorite lookout spot. It played an important role in the Civil War--including the starting of the war. John Brown staged his famous raid on the armory here, a raid that was successful for a few days and then ended with his execution. He was almost 60 years old when the raid took place. I hope I have that kind of stamina.

The town has been restored and many of the buildings are historical displays of what they would have been like around the time of the civil war. Some are staffed by costumed interpreters, which is always fun.

The rivers are a draw in themselves. The Potomac is popular for tubing, and at the point where the bus drops you off to visit the town the Shenandoah (left) is shallow and calm, very nice for wading.

There are more pictures here.

There is a lot more information in my very first podcast!

To visit where my podcast is stored, click here. If you are tech-savvy you can probably download it to your iPod from there, but frankly I have no idea how this is done.

United States Botanic Garden: Photographer's Paradise

One of my favorite spots on the Mall is often treated by tourists as a second-class citizen, the United States Botanic Garden. I would call that a misnomer; it's more of a giant greenhouse. The National Arboretum, off the Mall but worth the trip, is the rolling acres of grounds you picture when you hear the words "Botanic Garden."

It's the closest building to the Capitol building on the right (if you're facing the Capitol). It's a gem of a place, small and easy to digest in under an hour but so pleasant you'll want to stay a little longer. It's great for kids because they can make noise and walk a little briskly (though probably not yell and run around). There's a children's garden that is well-maintained with lots of hands-on things to do.

Granted, you won't see the icons of American history, the taxidermied zoo of Natural History, or more fine art than you can shake a stick at, but nature's art is pretty impressive if you ask me. And nature's art is well-curated and ready for the (picture) taking. If you're a photographer, now is the time to bust out the macro setting on your camera and go to town. The gardens are incredibly manicured and it seems as though they are laid out with the photographer in mind. I am not a photographer by any means, but maybe these pictures will give you some ideas of what you're missing out on if you don't make a quick trip into the Botanic Garden. They were taken on a trip to Garden on August 19, 2007. There is always something blooming.