I'm going to give forewarning that I have no idea what I was thinking when I planned a trip for my husband and I to Harpers Ferry over the Memorial Day weekend. Here's the deal- my husband and I wanted to get out of town for the long weekend and decided to go west to avoid all the beach traffic. Having heard from people that this is an awesome place to go, I decided to trade in our normal city escapes for something different and new- the outdoor and historical mecca that is Harpers Ferry.
"How hard can this be?" I thought as I started planning our trip and looking at the hiking trails. Let me mention that I haven't been on a legit hike since I was in girl scouts many many moons ago, but I still wasn't phased. Hey, remember the theme of this post is I have no idea what I was thinking.
I'm going to spare all the gritty details and tell you this- we arrived in Harpers Ferry later than expected and since there was no parking at all in the town, we had to park at our hotel and walk 2 miles into the town to the trail before even starting the climb of the Maryland Heights trail. This trail is one of the most popular hikes in the area for the scenic overlook that is associated with the majority of Harpers Ferry pictures. It was hot, humid, and hilly, and I was over it before we even got to the trail. Not knowing a thing about following trails, I told my husband I had looked at a map and knew where we were going (again, I have no idea what I was thinking) and we soon learned after a very strenuous uphill climb, that we had missed the trail to the overlook, probably due to my complaining or swatting away bugs. In a fit of sweaty hot rage I demanded we cease this terrible idea and go find air conditioning and wine.
After a long walk back to the hotel (and a failed Uber search on my phone- again, I have no idea what I was thinking since Uber does not operate there), we found a restaurant, The Anvil, that was close to our hotel, open past 6pm, and had a full bar. While we had to wait 30-45 min before ordering any food despite my starving disposition after trekking 8 miles in the heat, due to the kitchen being backed up and overwhelmed (there was like 15-20 people in the restaurant, I may add), we decided to drown our sorrows in their cheap $3 beer and talk about how much we missed DC and our limitless options for things to do, public transportation, and restaurants. Once we were actually able to order food, the food was enjoyable. Their homemade salsa and tri-colored tortilla chips are worth ordering.
The next morning, we decided to give Harpers Ferry another chance and drove into town to walk around. We had the great idea of having breakfast before hitting the road, so we walked through the town and admired the historical architecture and replica Civil War shops. This part was actually pretty cool and I did enjoy walking through the town early before the hoards of tourists arrived. It was peaceful and I started to really enjoy myself among the historic atmosphere.
My zen turned to crap as soon as we walked into The Coffee Mill for breakfast and coffee and learned from an employee that they had no food. They had legit run out of food, yet there were people chowing down on freshly made food in the booths behind us- but I didn't ask questions. In serious need of coffee I pleaded for an iced coffee, which surprisingly wasn't terrible except for the fact that it was made hot, poured over ice in a Styrofoam cup. Being an iced coffee snob, that Styrofoam cup was the last straw and I looked at my husband and said "We need to GTFO of this place, NOW." You know, I thought a place called "The Coffee Mill" would actually serve coffee right, but again- I have no idea what I was thinking.
The moral of this story is that you should go to Harpers Ferry if you are an outdoors enthusiast or history buff and don't mind not eating. If you don't enjoy bugs (seriously- I still feel like I have bugs crawling on me), not eating, or hikes, then either stick to the historical aspect of Harpers Ferry and spend your time walking around the town for the day, or just avoid this place like the plague.
Although the experience wasn't ideal, we still have some funny stories out of it and I learned my lesson that the only hikes I'll stick to in the future, is hiking the sale racks at Nordstrom.
You can take the girl out of the city, but it sure won't be pretty.
Blonde in the District