Seems like a dream sequence now.

We came to this tiny town on a massively wet, wet day. The rain seemed to be pouring out of the sky as we climbed the very steep hill that makes up the main part of Harper's Ferry,  peering cautiously out looking for "Stonehouse Cottage" where we were booked to stay the night.

It was October last year, 2015.

We'd been train spotting (as you do) in Pennsylvania, had a spare night - so ducked down through the narrow bit of Maryland to the panhandle in West Virginia.

        map 6

Harper's Ferry must get its name from the ferries used there in the past. In the time just before the civil war,it was the site of an uprising led by John Brown. While the uprising was speedily quashed, the ditty "John Brown's Body" remains as a familiar memory of the American Civil War.

        lower town 6   

They certainly would have needed ferries, as right there at the confluence of 2 mighty rivers, and 1 mighty train line, lies the historical town of Harper's Ferry.

At the bottom of the pic - the Shenandoah.

On the right side - the Potomac.

Straight up, and very steeply up, is High St. Part way up this High St, and almost central within the amazingly historical houses, is the most historical of them all - Stonehouse Cottage. And bonus, the mighty train line runs beside High St straight up the hill - and I say mighty as trains came thundering through at mighty small intervals !!

       buildings 6

But it did all seem unreal. The looming verdant forests we had driven through for hours, the beauty of the historical buildings as we burst into the town, and the sheer nostalgic history of this place still redolent of Civil War times, was totally exhilirating.

store with aussie 1 I might have been dripping wet, but I could still recognize the wide welcoming smile and aussie accent of the girl behind the counter of the only shop open - "Hello, I'm from Brisbane, Australia, and yes we do have large umbrellas" Bonus. She grew up in Indooroopilly, and right next door was our Stone Cottage. Double bonus. Hurricane Joaquin, pour your heart out, we've arrived in heaven.

 

 cottage 6 

Stonehouse Cottage was just as purposeful as the name suggests - see those 2 dormer windows in the attic ? - that was our floor for the night. As the website www.hfstonehouse.com tells you - "The Top Floor suite is just plain cool" It surely was.

  bathroom       So cool that when you get tired of the super comfortable bed, you can lounge in the magnificent old brown leather chair, or take a dip in the dreamy bathroom beside. Or you can look out the window and see the expanse of the Potomac River as it moves majesticly past. Or even, if you forget to wear the ear plugs provided, you can be a true rail fan and listen to the trains rumbling past all night. True bonus for Malkie !!

      chair better

Possibly the best bit though was meeting the young couple running the joint. With the help of their baby son and ferocious tail wagging dog, they are both hosting visitors and still renovating their cottage to add a third bedroom. This would have to be a labour of love, to renovate the old old cottage for customers to visit, and all set in a clearing in the forest beside 2 huge rivers. Hard work, but would be so worth doing.

          walls

I took this pic to show an example of the work involved, and the sheer thickness of the stone walls. Also indicates the amount of insulation within any space in these same walls. Incredible.

Liesl 6 breakfast 3

The rain did stop eventually. The morning was misty and cool as we sat out on a high balcony, and were served, by Liesel, the best breakfast EVER. And I mean BEST.Thick yummy pancakes made to an ancient recipe,with lashings of berries all over, granola on top and crunchy, tasty bacon on the side. Plus a few more secret ingredients, to make me devour it all the faster. I could show a pic of the empty plate (yes, of course I took one), but I don't need a reminder of how yummy it was.

           

     hf mix 6     

One last look around this delightful cottage, one last wish that we see Liesel again - when she comes to Oz with her family for a vist, I reckon, and it was back into the car and off to Pennsylvania where Malkie has a date with several trains. Of all the places we have stayed on all our travels - this one stands out as being the most special.  

 

 

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