Writer-In-Residence, Week 1

I’m all settled in at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park for the month.

Wondering what a writer-in-residence actually does? Curious about the park? Let me provide a peek!

The park encompasses 4,000 acres at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers in West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia.

This photo was taken from Jefferson’s Rock in WV. The Shenandoah flows on the right, with Virginia on the far shore. It meets the Potomac River, which flows from the left and on under the bridge.

The Harpers Ferry historic district has been beautifully preserved.

Some old buildings have been restored inside to provide a glimpse of earlier days…

…and some house formal museum exhibits.

Although the park is perhaps best known for John Brown’s 1859 raid and Civil War events, there are layers and layers of fascinating history here. Park historians, educators, and volunteers have been developing new programs to share additional stories. I’ll be helping with research into a lesser-known period while I’m here.

My residency is supported by the Harpers Ferry Park Association and the park itself. The HFPA helps the park in many ways, including funding educational programs, managing the park shop, and occasionally publishing books about the park and its history. The HFPA has been very supportive of me since my first book, The Night Riders of Harpers Ferry, was published.

The National Park Service curator and rangers have also been generous with their time and knowledge. Highlights of my first week included a lantern tour of the Lower Town (historic district)…

…and a three-hour tour with a certified guide.

Guide Chris Craig did a superb job of sharing the area’s broad-ranging history. We’re on Bolivar Heights, considering how the landscape shaped events.
Cathy Baldeau, Executive Director of the Harpers Ferry Park Association, also joined the tour. Why yes, we did have a great time!

I’ve been coming to Harpers Ferry for over 50 years, but the overview tour made my realize how piecemeal my approach has been. I’m excited to get a better sense of the whole.

I’m soaking everything in as I learn from experts, walk the ground, and scribble in my journal. I’ll provide an update next week!

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8 Responses to “Writer-In-Residence, Week 1”

  1. Nijole Says:

    How wonderful for you, and how nice of you to share with us. I went thru HF about 5 years ago, on the train and it was beautiful to look down on the city from the railroad bridge.Nijolė

  2. Pat Murphy Says:

    Enjoy your time in HF and continue to keep your readers updated

  3. savvywriter Says:

    Harpers Ferry is one of my favorite vacation spots. I love it for the historical sites and the wonderful hiking trails. Look forward to your upcoming posts and seeing all the things you have learned about the wonderful city!

  4. Louise Ward Says:

    Harpers Ferry is beautiful with plenty of history. A residence up the road was once Stonewall Jackson’s HQ. It’s also where my mother-in-law was born in 1928. We still have family in nearby Charles Town; friends own RockHaven B&B in HF. Plenty of trains pass through, too. Enjoy your stay! – Louise Ward, Charlottesville VA

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