My week in Charles Town WV

Last week, I accompanied my son, Alex, and his fiancé, Chelsea, for a week’s visit with my son’s daughter, Violet!

Alex did his remote-work job during the day, while Chelsea took her online nursing-school classes. That meant Violet and I found good stuff to do together. Our first stop? Naturally, it was to the cemetery that’s behind our Airbnb!

Violet liked the crosses. Thus, when we found these three large ones it necessitated a photo.

I’m a jogger/walker, and I was hot to explore the town. Charles Town is not as large as I thought it would be—the population is around 6,000, and the newer chunk of it doesn’t have very hospitable conditions to be on foot. Thus, most of my miles were spend in the old part of town. I covered every inch, with some nice discoveries.

Charles Town was settled by Colonel Charles Washington. Yes, of those Washingtons. He was George’s youngest brother.

If you know American history, you might recall John Brown, who is noted on the sign, above. Brown led an insurrection in Harper’s Ferry, which is a few miles from Charles Town, in 1859, seeking to free slaves. Found guilty of treason, he was hanged in Charles Town.

When your granddaughter is six, and a pandemic isn’t quite eradicated, you stick with outdoor (and free!) activities. Besides, our entire week gave us mostly sunny skies and highs in the 80s.

We drove to nearby Harper’s Ferry, in search of a playground. We found it, and some Civil War history.

On my first day’s walk, I went by another cemetery. It was only two blocks from our Airbnb, and Violet was game, so to it we went.

I was hoping to find the grave of someone born before the revolution. I did better!

As we walked about the grounds, Violet said, “We’re walking all over people.” “Yup, we sure are.”

I thought it would be neat to find the grave of someone born 200 years before Violet. 1812 and 1817 were the closest. I snapped this pic of her next to a person born 100 years before her.

I’d never seen a monument such as this one:

Alex knew of a huge park in the town where he had lived. It was only a twenty-five minute drive to Martinsburg, so off we went.

After proper stops at each of the six playgrounds, we found a creek. Violet loved it the best. Here, she literally went on a wild goose chase!

The woman living above our Airbnb told me of a homemade ice cream parlor in Sharpsburg, Maryland. She noted that the Civil War battlefield, Antietam, was on the outskirts of town. Violet liked the sound of the ice cream, but where was this place? “How far is it, Gigi?” “The same as yesterday, when we went to Martinsburg.” “Okay.”

It was midafternoon and hot. We got our ice cream and went across the street, to sit under a tree. Sharpsburg is a town of 700, so I had no qualms with Violet and I plopping our behinds on the curb.

Our sweet tooths satisfied, we headed to Antietam, a full two minutes away.

The battle took place over hundreds of acres, which have been preserved. You can drive the entire thing. It is littered with sign boards, memorials, and statues. This monument is for President McKinley, who served as a sergeant for the North and fought here.

We saw this bridge, where a battle occurred, so we got out of our car.

This memorial tells of the battle on the bridge and the number lost and injured.

The following sign recites the events of the bridge battle. On the tour, sign after sign details the fighting. In all, nearly 23,000 were either killed, injured, or went missing on September 17, 1862. It remains the deadliest one-day battle in American military history.

Back in Charles Town for another jaunt about town. I decided that I love colonial architecture. The first word that comes to mind when viewing it is stately.

Several sections of sidewalk remain in their original state.

The town was established in the final decade of the 1700s. It should come as no surprise that a number of side streets are wide enough to accommodate people on horses, but not two cars encountering each other!

On one of these alley-like streets, I saw these neat telegraph boxes.

I was not aware that Charles and Mildred Washington’s home remained. I was pleased when I ran across it.

On our final day, Violet and I returned to the first cemetery. I was hoping to find the grave of a person born 200 years before her. Eureka!

That nicely sums up my week in Charles Town. I loved it for spending lots of time with my granddaughter and the historic sites I saw and things I learned.

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