(The Hilltop House. Harpers Ferry, WV. Photo by Robin. September 2007)
The Historic Hilltop Hotel is over 100 years old, but I don’t know its exact age. If they have their own website, it doesn’t appear to be working. Some of their famous guests include Mark Twain, Pearl Buck, Woodrow Wilson, and I think I saw somewhere that former President Bill Clinton visited at some point (but I can’t verify that so don’t take my word for it).
(The Hilltop Hotel. Harpers Ferry, WV. Photo by Robin. September 2007)
(Jamming in the bar. Harpers Ferry, WV. September 2007)
We began our trip back east by going to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Why Harpers Ferry, you ask?
Usually we take a northern route, stopping in State College (or thereabouts) to spend the night and continuing our trip the next day. As it happened, Penn State had a football game that weekend and finding a hotel room within a two hour drive of State College was impossible. M had the brilliant idea to head south instead.
Heading south put us at Harpers Ferry in about the same time period it takes to drive to State College from the Bogs. I’m glad M came up with the idea. I enjoyed visiting Harpers Ferry and would like to go back again someday to do a little more hiking in the area.
We arrived in Harpers Ferry around 6:00 or so in the evening. After checking into our hotel, we went into town to have dinner and maybe a beer or two. It was the strangest thing. Almost all of the bars and restaurants were closed. On a Friday evening!
I was worried that we’d gotten ourselves into another Johnstown experience. A few years ago we visited Johnstown, Pennsylvania, taking M the Younger with us because he was doing a paper for school about the Great Flood of 1889. Johnstown is a small city and should’ve been teeming with people since it was a weekday, yet we saw very few people. The town had a ghostly feel to it. 2,200 people were killed in that flood. I suppose that could account for the eerie feeling. We all picked up on it. M the Younger made a comment about it being a Stephen King kind of town.
Harpers Ferry had a similar feel that evening, with everything closed and even the lights in the houses of the neighborhoods we drove through weren’t on. It was as if everyone picked up at once and left town.