Harpers Ferry Weekend Honeymoon for the Carless
June 22, 2007 2:49 PM   Subscribe

Newlyweds in DC planning a quick weekend honeymoon up in Harper's Ferry, WV. Difficulty: carless.

We're thinking of taking Amtrak or MARC up there on a Friday afternoon, checking into a local B&B near the train station, spending Saturday and Sunday wandering around the Lower Town, checking out Jefferson Rock and the John Brown museum, doing some easy trails, then taking Amtrak back Sunday night or MARC early Monday morning.

Is this doable without an auto? How walkable are the B&Bs and hotels nearest the train station for a pair of scrawny out-of-shape geeks with backpacks? (B&Bs preferred because neither of the hotels in the Lower Town area get very good reviews on the internets; but if anyone's stayed at Hilltop House Hotel, do let me know.) Will there be enough to do in the Lower Town to fill up two days? Does the place get crowded during summer weekends, and should we reserve rooms far in advance? Are the trains back to DC reliable?

Any other tips on Harpers Ferry welcome; I've only been there once and spent hardly any time in the town itself.
posted by brownpau to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you have the energy hike up to "Maryland Heights." It is pretty strenuous and takes several hours. If you want to do that walk across the railroad bridge toward the tunnel and it exits onto the C&O Canal. The entrance to the hike is on your right.
But you surely can enjoy yourself hiking along the canal. It is a great, level, scenic walk/bike path. Very doable. The Hilltop House is ok. Not 5-star. But adequate for sleeping.

Go see the movie at the park headquarters. See the John Brown mueseum. Enjoy an ice cream cone near the train station.

If you want to "see" more of the terrain take the bus to the Park parking lot and back. You will see some nice things. It does cost though. $5 I think.

Go to the Hilltop house even if you don't stay there. The view is awesome and you will see rafters on the Shenandoah river. And tubers. Have lunch on the "porch" of the Hilltop House and enjoy the peaceful view of the river. You will enjoy every minute of it.

The train is reliable.
posted by JayRwv at 4:12 PM on June 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Check this link. I forgot to post it.

posted by JayRwv at 4:18 PM on June 22, 2007

My cousin and I went to Harper's Ferry a couple of years ago, and we were intrigued by the Hilltop House hotel despite the reviews, but ended up staying at a B&B (the Jackson Rose, which was lovely, but might be difficult without a car). We did go up to check out the view, which was great. The hotel seemed really run down, and there were piles of junk outside. There's a picture here, where fixedgear says that it was like The Shining.

Tubing was really fun, and we also stopped in nearby Sheperdstown, which had some really fun shops and a great tea house, but, again, I don't know how accessible it is without a car. Sorry.

We didn't have any trouble making reservations on short notice, and it certainly didn't seem crowded. The restaurants closed early, and there didn't seem to be anything to do after dark.

Here's a link to all of the photos from that trip, if you're interested.
posted by amarynth at 6:04 PM on June 22, 2007

You won't need a car. I second the Maryland Heights hike suggestion. It's an uphill trek, but it's not too bad. The views are quite breathtaking.
posted by pmbuko at 9:18 PM on June 22, 2007

Man, I lurve me some Harpers Ferry. It really is uphill in every direction except down, though. Maybe your B&B can recommend a local cab to ferry you up, if you're worried? Save your strength for the Heights (thirded!).

I'd also recommend taking the Ghost Tour one evening. And please, come back and tell us if there's still heavy metal concert graffiti from the 1980s in the pedestrian tunnel under the tracks by the railroad station.
posted by steef at 10:00 PM on June 22, 2007

Brownpau, I meant to drop you a line: congrats on your nuptials!!
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 6:07 AM on June 23, 2007

Thanks, Outtacontext! And thanks to all. We'll do this at some point in the summer, then, maybe even go for Hilltop House Hotel. Photos when we get back.
posted by brownpau at 9:33 PM on June 23, 2007

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