Harpers Ferry Ghost Town Christmas

December 22, 210 – Harpers Ferry Ghost Town Christmas is my new favorite phrase. Were I getting the band back together, that’d be the name of our comeback album. Were I writing a novel, that would be its title. Were I planning to have five more kids, I’d be working toward getting my wife used to the idea of divvying up the phrase as names for them all.

The series of words describes half an hour of my life that occurred a few nights ago. Harpers Ferry is a tiny, secluded, 1700s-era West Virginia town of only a few hundred residents and a handful of buildings in a downtown area. However, the place is pretty historic due to its age and the fact that it was the site of the John Brown raid that helped to start the Civil War. It’s also a major stop on the Appalachian Trail.

The mountainside town is located right on the borders of Maryland and Virginia and right at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. In the warmer months, this place has a ridiculous person-to-parking-space ratio with tourists packing its few streets like DC’s not an hour away in one direction and Gettysburg’s not an hour away in another. Apparently not so much in the winter time, though, despite what it says on its website.

My wife and I were on our way to a unique little restaurant located in the middle of a 30-acre farm nearby, when we decided to swing through this historic town to see how it celebrates Christmas.

It was a Sunday, 4:30 pm or so. The weather was crisp, and there was a rime of snow on the ground from a days-old snowfall. There were a few shops open, and one or two tourists wandering aimlessly, but mostly it was a ghost town in green garland, silent as a holy night.

We stayed just long enough for the moon to clear the mountains, but not so long that night fell completely. We didn’t want to be there past dark. Judging by the way the town looked that evening, I’d guess that’s when John Brown and his pack of vampires roam.

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