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When approaching West Virginia from the Maryland side nothing prepares you for the view off of the first bridge,it will take your breath away! You can see for miles up and down the river, which is called the Potomac River. Towards the WV direction from the bridge you can see the lower town of Harpers Ferry and the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers coming down opposite sides of the land. It's truly a sight to behold.
As you drive along the road you will cross another bridge on the WV side. There you will travel along the river towards the lower town of Harpers Ferry, which can be seen as you drive between the bridges. There are two roads that can be taken to enter the town of Harpers Ferry. The Park Service road or a road that takes you into the township of Harpers Ferry. Both roads are a pleasant entryway into the town, which one to take depends on where you are headed. The Park entrance takes you into the lower historic town with the Civil War theme museums, a historic church, a train station and access to the rivers that flow under the bridges. Its a beautiful way to enter the lower township and it allows for walking around the park along the river and across the Shanendoah river on a foot bridge. Its more geared for sightseeing.
The "upper" town of Harpers Ferry is where the people who call it home live. There are historic houses and monuments throughout the town but its more of a neighborhood. There are small streets, all of which can be walked in 2 hours, just to give you an idea how small the town is. There are houses from the 18th century , houses from the civil war era that were used during the war as hospitals for soldiers. There is a street called High Street that has a awesome view of the river, but unfortunately houses line the top of the ridge so if you don't own a house there or are friends with someone who does, then its not something you can see very well. There is a old hotel located on a high hill that used to be open but has closed down and remains in a horrible state of disrepair. It has the best view of all! It is call Hilltop House and has been around since Teddy Roosevelt was president. Lots of history has taken place inside it's walls.
Both the upper town and the lower town are very hilly. It takes a stout heart to walk around in the town! Because Harpers Ferry is the lowest point in WV everywhere you walk is uphill, especially in the lower town by the river. There isn't much to do in the form of entertainment but its a outdoor persons paradise. That's one of the reason's why people continue to visit Harpers Ferry - they really love the outdoors! The Appalachian Trail Conference Headquarters is located in Harpers Ferry. It brings lots of hikers through the area travelling along the part of the trail that goes through Harpers Ferry. If you stand along the banks of the rivers in Harpers Ferry you will see people in rafts, inner tubes, fishing and in canoes. The wildlife along the river is plentiful and beautiful.