Wednesday, July 2, 2008

So, what's up with Harpers Ferry, anyway?...

...Harpers Ferry, WV, is a jewel of the Shenandoah Valley. Located at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, it was the home of the US Arsenal and John Brown's uprising, which ironically was put down by Robert E. Lee. Stonewall Jackson captured the garrison there during the '62 Maryland Campaign, so it is a town, and an area rich with history. Even without the historical significance, it is an area worth visiting.

Like many areas worth visiting, Harpers Ferry is a tourist town, and should thrive during the season in the evenings, esp. on the weekends, but it does not. Why, you may ask?

Because at 5pm everyday, the town, and all the tourist-related businesses close. Lori and I went there a couple of weeks ago on a Fri. evening. We arrived in the town at around 6:30, and were shocked that everything was shut down. On a serious note, if there were 20 people in town it was a lot.

Want ice cream?...Closed!...How about a coffee? ... Nope ... Closed! ... Souvenir?...Closed!...Get the picture? The only places that were open were the Town's Pub and the Secret Six Tavern. Up the hill a bit in Bolivar, the Hilltop House was closed, but we did get a great dinner in the Anvil.

I asked a friend who does some work why everything closed? He said that the business owners just don't get it! They close because they say no one's in town. No one comes to town though because everything's closed. It's a double-edged sword.

And to think, I sometimes think it's bad in Gettysburg when places are closed or close early. I guess in Harpers Ferry it's worse. It's a sad situation, and it's shameful. What the town is and what it could be are two different universes. You would think someone there would realize this.

As a small sign that things are changing, though, we did see a ghost-walk tour. Let's hope that's a trend that does not spread!
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