Looking to Escape the Beltway for a Day? Hike Harpers Ferry

View of Harpers Ferry from Loudoun Heights Trail Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

View of Harpers Ferry from Loudoun Heights Trail
Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

Nestled between West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia is Harpers Ferry. I recall reading about this place in high school and being intrigued by it for its historical significance. I thought to myself, “I have to visit this place one day!” So my friends and I trekked out to West Virginia on Saturday to pay Harpers Visit a visit.

Harpers Ferry is a gem in West Virginia. Fresh air, lush nature, and peaceful rivers define this beautiful place. It’s most prominently marked by the confluence of the Shenandoah River with the Potomac River, which is a sight to behold. A part of the Appalachian Trail also meanders its way through the park. Thomas Jefferson visited Harpers Ferry in 1783 and later wrote in Notes on the State of Virginia (1785), “The passage of the Patowmac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature.” If you’re seeking tranquility and a break from the heyday of Washington, this is the perfect weekend escape or day trip.

Most notably, Harpers Ferry became the site of John Brown’s failed raid during the Civil War. Here’s more about the event from Civil War Trust:

On the evening of October 16, 1859 John Brown, a staunch abolitionist, and a group of his supporters left their farmhouse hide-out en route to Harpers Ferry. Descending upon the town in the early hours of October 17th, Brown and his men captured prominent citizens and seized the federal armory and arsenal.  Brown had hopes that the local slave population would join the raid and through the raid’s success weapons would be supplied to slaves and freedom fighters throughout the country; this was not to be. First held down by the local militia in the late morning of the 17th, Brown took refuge in the arsenal’s engine house. However, this sanctuary from the fire storm did not last long, when in the late afternoon US Marines under Colonel Robert E. Lee arrived and stormed the engine house, killing many of the raiders and capturing Brown. Brown was quickly placed on trial and charged with treason against the state of Virginia, murder, and slave insurrection. Brown was sentenced to death for his crimes and hanged on December 2, 1859.

There’s so much history tied to Harpers Ferry, so I’ll let you read up on its history .

For you hiking enthusiasts out there, there are two prominent hiking trails to select from: the Loudoun Heights Trail (Virginia side) and the Maryland Heights Trail (Maryland side). We chose to hike the Virginia side since it’s less crowded. Overall, our hike totaled 9.3 miles.

Below are some pictures my sister and I took during the hike:

harpers ferry 1

Town of Harpers Ferry — Credit: Anna Maria Hoffman


Credit: Anna Maria Hoffman

Credit: Anna Maria Hoffman

St. Peter's Catholic Church Photo Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

St. Peter’s Catholic Church
Photo Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

Jefferson Rock Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

Jefferson Rock
Credit: Gabriella Hoffman


Shenandoah River Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

Shenandoah River
Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

Breathtaking, right? If this blog post has convinced you to visit Harpers Ferry, here are some recommendations:

  • Pack plenty of water and light snacks (trail mix, fruit snacks, beef jerky, vegetables)
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Have bug spray to repel mosquitoes and ticks
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Eat the night before and have a hearty breakfast
  • Hike with a decent-sized group of people. It’s easy to get lost there.

In preparation for hiking Harpers Ferry, I recommend visiting Hiking Upward to map out your trek up either trail. It’s a great resource marked by user-friendly features to help hikers plan out their hikes. Additionally, learn more about Harpers Ferry prior to visiting.

Happy Hiking, fellow D.C. denizens and transplants! Have you hiked here before? Did you enjoy it? Let me know your thoughts!

Pray for Baltimore


Baltimore, our hearts and prayers go out to you…

Seeing the city of Baltimore under siege is truly heartbreaking–especially here in nearby Washington, D.C. Never could we fathom a major city burning and being destroyed before our very eyes today. Watching small businesses being besieged, buildings burned, innocent passersby silenced, streets littered, and fairly restrained police officers attacked is disconcerting.

Without a doubt, decades’ long toiling with big government policies–since the 1960s–have led the city to ruin.  High taxes, an ever-growing welfare state, gun control, and paternalistic government have caused many to become disillusioned and dispirited in that city, though their anger is directed elsewhere, say, at critics of big government policies. Looting, pillaging, and racebaiting has come to define much of the tone from protestors, which is quite sad. Their deplorable actions undermine the reasonable voices who seek to reform and rebuild this once great city.

Glad there are some locals who are above the rioting and violence trying to quell the unrest in Charm City. May the reasonable voices have their perspectives heard and the wrath of big government be quashed. Hoping the Hogan administration brings an end to quagmire perpetuated by its predecessors.


Catch Me at MDCAN’s Turning the Tides Conference

Two weeks from today, I’ll be speaking at Maryland Citizen Action Network’s annual Turning the Tides conference in Annapolis, MD on January 10, 2015. I’ll be one of four panelists on their “Liberty in the Youth” panel. Headlining speakers include Dr. Alveda King, Dan Bongino, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Niger Innis, Kira Davis,  Sonnie Johnson, and more.

I previously spoke at the event in 2013 on their “Cheated Generation” panel. Here’s the video (I start talking at 19:28):

Here’s more about the conference:

Maryland shocked the nation in the 2014 midterm elections. Marylanders are showing they are ready to reject one-party control over the state.

There is still a lot of work to do to maintain the momentum though. Turning the Tides 2015 is a key part of that.

Join us to learn about what strategies worked and what helped weaken the one party monopoly in Maryland. Come to learn about how to infiltrate the pop culture and reach out to new potential voters. Perhaps most importantly, join us so we can show the state and the country a united front for making Maryland into the “Free State” once again.

What? Turning the Tides 2015

When? January 10, 2015 from 9:00 AM – 5:00PM

Where? Annapolis DoubleTree Hotel

Conference tickets are still available. It costs $35.00 for students, $75.00 for MDCAN members, and $90 for non-MDCAN members.

Hope to see you there!


Attend Maryland Conservative Action Network’s “Turning the Tides” Conference- January 12, 2013

TTT2013All conservatives and libertarians in the DC metro should attend Maryland Conservative Action Network’s “Turning the Tides” conference in Annapolis, MD.

Here’s what will transpire on January 12, 2013:

Join us for frank discussion about where we go from here. Topics will include what to expect from both Washington, DC and Annapolis, improving our ground game, national security, the left’s war on the suburbs, how “green energy” schemes are hurting our national and state economy, and more.

Yours truly will be a youth panelist. I will give a talk about my activism coupled with my family history. Hope you come and hear from me and countless other speakers:

  • Dan Bongino
  • Brad Botwin
  • Brandon Cooper
  • Myron Ebell
  • Pamela Geller
  • Gabby Hoffman
  • Stanley Kurtz
  • Steve Milloy
  • Mark Newgent
  • Neil Parrott
  • Richard Rothschild
  • Jim Rutledge
  • Ken Timmerman
  • Blaine Young
  • and more.

Registration details:

Sponsorship opportunities and vendor tables are available. Please contact tonya@mdconservatives.com for details.

If interested in media/blogger credentials (space is limited), please contact jjamitis@mdconservatives.com.

The DoubleTree Hotel has set aside overnight rooms at a special conference rate of $99/night for Friday and/or Saturday.If you would like to book a room, please call 1.800.222.8733, and ask for the Conservative Action Network block (group code: CAN).

Online registration is being handled through ShowClix.

Register by December 12 and get the discounted early bird rate of $50!

After December 12 the regular price of $75 takes effect and walk-in registration on January 12 will be $100.

A student rate of $25 is available for anyone with a current high school or college ID!

Visit http://www.mdconservatives.com/ for more details.