pictured is lock 38 of the chesapeake and ohio canal. the C & O canal runs 185 miles along the potomac river from the washington d. c. area to the northern maryland mountains. the canal was in use for over one hundred years to transport goods to and from coastal virginia to the western frontier. today the C & O canal is a natiional historic park with six visitor centers along the canal. for more information on this historic and natural attraction see the attached web site.
ferry hill plantation is located on the maryland side of the potomac just east of downtown. ferry hill was established by john blackford (1771-1839). blackford owned a 700 acre plantation and a ferry service across the potomac river from maryland to virginia. blackford is best known for his journal about daily life on his plantation. blackford built ferry place plantation house in 1812. blackford died in 1839 and his son franklin took over the plantation and ferry. in 1848 franklin sold the plantation to his brother in-law robert douglas. the ferry operation ceased in the 1850's due to the construction of the james rumsey bridge. due to the plantation's location on the potomac both confederate and union armies occupied the property during the civil war. during the battle of antietam ferry hill was a confederate headquarters and field hospital. robert douglas died in 1867 and ferry hill passed on to his son henry kid douglas. henry kid douglas was on general thomas jackson's staff and is famous for his memoir "i rode with stonewall". in 1974 ferry hill was acquired by the national park service and today is part of the C & O national historic park.
mc murran hall today is part of shepherd college campus. mc murran hall was once the county courthouse of jefferson county west virginia. when the state of west virginia was formed in 1863 the county seat was moved from charles town to shepherdstown. in 1872 the county seat was moved back to charles town and the courthouse became part of shepherd college. mc murran hall is named after joseph mc murran the founder of shepherd college. for those interested in antebellum architecture mc murran hall is worth a look in downtown shepherdstown.
The James Rumsey monument is located in a quiet park overlooking the Potomac River. Climb the stairs, take a moment to read about Rumsey (he invented the steamboat) and then take in the views. Ideal spot for beautiful pictures.
Shepherdstown began as the southern side of a Ferry crossing. Since then, there have been numerous crossing built and lost across the river. The remnants can be found along the river. To see them, there are several options.
Rcb1. Cross to Maryland and take the first right, down the hill to the C&O Canal. The road along the canal/towpath will give you glimpse of the old and new bridge piers.
2. Have lunch or dinner at the Bavarian Inn, located where the road crosses the Potomac. Walk out to the river view and look down river.
3. Turn north from downtown, pass the college on what looks to narrow to be the main road, but is because of the parking lots for the college. Take it to the bottom of the hill. You'll see various bridge piers. This is the old ferry landing.
On the north bank of the Potomac River, is Ferry Plantation and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. Both are part of the C&O Canal National Historic Park.
The Plantation House can be visited on the bluff, and a picnic area is off in the woods. You can drive down to the river on the north side and take a hike on the towpath.
Just north of Shepherdstown is Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland. It is the site of the single deadliest day in the American Civil War.
Stroll German Street--the Main Street. You'll be convinced this is the real town that the fictional Cicely, Alaska was based on. It's an odd mix of the funky and the down home. Check out the fine arts and crafts shop--or the General Store, nearby. Visit the wine shop, the bookstore, the gourmet food store, and the mountaineer/outfitter shop. Take in an art film at the historic Opera House. Also, Shepherdstown makes a nice base to explore the nearby Civil War-era town of Harpers Ferry.
Every summer we have activities that nicely summarize the unique rural urbaneness of this special place: the Rumsey Regatta, the Mountain Arts and Crafts Festival, and the New American Theatre Festival.
TAKE HOME A SAMPLE of their delicious coffee beans.
Our favorite was called Seville Orange Coffee. We got it in decaf, I don't know if its available in caffinated form or not.