Thursday, December 8, 2022

For a weekend getaway from D.C., try West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle

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We received on the street late morning on a Friday on the finish of February and simply over an hour later pulled into Charles Town, W.Va. Hungry, we made our method to Sumittra Thai Kitchen & Bar on West Washington Street, the primary drag of city — the county seat of Jefferson County. We ordered bubble tea and the shrimp and avocado roll appetizer earlier than devouring crimson hen curry and stir-fry. As lovers of contemporary Thai flavors, we discovered this little restaurant to be a actual gem.

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During the afternoon, we explored the city based by Charles Washington, George Washington’s brother. Strolling via the historic district labored off our lunch, and we paused on the formidable Jefferson County Courthouse. Our on-the-spot analysis revealed that the fiery abolitionist John Brown stood trial right here in 1859. Curious, we found Brown was executed in a discipline a few blocks away, a web site now marked by a historic plaque. Using Google Maps, we adopted strolling instructions to Zion Episcopal Church cemetery, the place 70-plus members of the Washington household are buried — greater than in every other place within the nation.

We caught a much-needed caffeine enhance on the in style Sibling Coffee Roasters, the place locals have been hanging out and the barista was greeting clients by title, then stopped at Abolitionist Ale Works to choose up a four-pack of brew — together with the IPA Haze of the New — to take dwelling.

The 15-minute drive to Hillbrook Inn is alongside curvy, picturesque nation roads. A snaking driveway results in the sprawling inn, the Nineteen Twenties dwelling of Brig. Gen. Frank E. Bamford. After checking in, we have been led via a maze of rooms and up a couple of quick flights of slender stairs to our room, the grand Bamford Suite. To accommodate our most well-liked weekend dates, the inn had invited us to spend our second night time within the Snuggery, as a result of it could present us two completely different setups. For now, we discovered ourselves in an expansive suite — decked out with sofas, a full vainness set and regal four-poster mattress — with a separate entrance the place we may park. We caught up on studying and emails within the cozy sitting space going through a fire earlier than altering for dinner.

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Along with different company, we loved predinner drinks within the intimate, low-lit bar with a fire. In the eating room, sommelier Marine Conn advisable 2017 Clos des Porrets St-Georges, a storied Nuits-Saint-Georges Premier Cru wine from Burgundy. We chatted about her French background, her coaching in Bordeaux and her household. (She comes from a line of cooks, sommeliers and butchers, a dwelling the place meals and wine are sacred, she mentioned.) After a starter of a half-dozen oysters, our entrees of monkfish and venison arrived, rounding out an altogether satisfying night. Chef Jan Van Haute, who joined the inn six months in the past, instructed me he goals to make the restaurant a main culinary vacation spot and garner a Michelin star, a cheap purpose given his worldwide expertise working in two three-star Michelin eating places.

In Harpers Ferry the next morning, we met park ranger Isaac Wickenheiser of the National Park Service for a non-public tour. He began us on the “beginning,” taking us to the Point — the world overlooking the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. He defined that Harpers Ferry exists as a result of President George Washington chosen the strategic web site for a federal armory, spurring the financial system and birthing a bustling city. Wickenheiser talked and walked with us round Lower Town (the restored Nineteenth-century historic district) and described highlights from the city’s historical past, which embrace the John Brown raid, a precursor to the Civil War, during which he seized the armory in a failed try to foment an rebellion of enslaved individuals and like-minded abolitionists. The occasion emboldened Northern anti-slavery sentiment.

To get some train, we determined to hike to the Overlook Cliff above Harpers Ferry utilizing the Maryland Heights Trail. We adopted the pedestrian bridge over the Potomac River, a footbridge that’s a part of the Appalachian Trail. Fun reality: The pale signal on the mountain face seen from the bridge is from an early 1900s commercial “Mennen’s Borated Talcum Toilet Powder.” At the underside of the bridge, we walked north a quick distance on the C&O Canal Towpath till indicators to the trailhead appeared. The hike is marked nicely and results in the scenic overlook, about a four-mile hike whole. When we arrived on the overlook, it began snowing. We joined a hushed group of greater than 20 hikers admiring the view amid swirling snowflakes.

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Back on the town on the extremely trafficked High Street, I poked my head into a few retailers. At True Treats Historic Candy, spokeswoman Maryann Fisher mentioned the shop is the one research-based historic sweet store within the nation. Supplying museums across the nation, it’s chock-full of treats from “the first candy ever” via the 1900s, and I watched mother and father anxiously monitoring kids, who, with shining eyes, have been grabbing handfuls of sweet to plop into their wicker procuring baskets.

Back in our automobile after a fast stroll to Jefferson Rock to see the view Thomas Jefferson praised extravagantly in 1785, we stopped for a fast chunk at a place that payments itself because the state’s first vegan restaurant, Kelley Farm Kitchen — whose constructing resembles a dollhouse — solely to study that it suspended indoor seating throughout the pandemic. Given the chilly climate, we took a rain verify.

We rolled into Shepherdstown, the oldest city in West Virginia, relationship to in regards to the 1730s, and parked alongside German Street within the downtown historic district, a avenue that appears like a portray. Settled by German immigrants, the city is perched over the Potomac River about 12 miles previous Harpers Ferry. It’s dwelling to Shepherd University, which creates an genuine vibe mixing outdated and new as college students, buyers and households fill the primary city thoroughfare of German Street. The singular white public library constructing received my vote for many architecturally fascinating, occupying the 1800 market home. We disappeared into Four Seasons Books and received misplaced for a whereas. Through German Street Marketplace Coffee & Candlery, I realized about ramps, wild onions native to West Virginia — the store sells wild ramp jelly and aprons emblazoned with the message “Let’s go ramp hunting!” More gadgets will roll in for spring, when ramps are in excessive season.

With growling stomachs, we ducked in for an early dinner at Bavarian Brothers Brewing, relishing the energetic ambiance and Erwin’s Angry Ale. I arrived hankering for a burger and didn’t hassle wanting over the menu’s particulars, so I used to be stunned to find it was topped with a bratwurst slab — a good German contact. Outdoors I spied an expansive terrace, positive to be full on a good day.

After one other night time at Hillbrook, this time within the Snuggery — a cozy area, because the title implies — I bundled up after breakfast and walked to the spa for a facial with aesthetician Angie Atkins. The small spa staff stays busy serving the world and in a single day company, Atkins mentioned, with the couple’s therapeutic massage being a favourite.

After checkout, we packed up for our fast drive again to D.C. Over my shoulder, the solar streamed via the timber of the woodsy property, illuminating the quaint bridge over the quiet stream.

4490 Summit Point Rd., Charles Town

This Nineteen Twenties-era inn is on a quiet, woodsy property with a winding stream. Filled with fireplaces, slender stairways and a cozy library, the four-star bed-and-breakfast is wealthy in ambiance. Guests can select from 19 suites unfold throughout the primary home and 4 different constructions. Rooms from $149 per night time.

4490 Summit Point Rd., Charles Town

The restaurant at Hillbrook Inn presents high quality eating in memorable environment beneath the management of Chef Jan Van Haute. Dinner served Monday and Tuesday 6 to eight p.m. and Wednesday via Sunday 5 to eight p.m.; lunch Thursday to Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Four-course dinner tasting menu $95 per individual; 5 programs $115 per individual; and 6 programs $135 per individual. A la carte entrees from $39.

Sumittra Thai Kitchen & Bar

213 W. Washington St., Charles Town

For contemporary and flavorful Thai meals, go to this little restaurant within the coronary heart of Charles Town. Open Tuesday via Friday 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 to eight:30 p.m. and Saturday midday to 9 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday. Entrees from $14.

1112 Washington St., Bolivar

This vegan restaurant is claimed to be the primary of its type in West Virginia. It occupies a picturesque home with a welcoming entrance porch. Open Monday midday to 4 p.m. with a restricted menu; Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 to eight p.m.; and Sunday midday to five p.m. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Entrees from $12.99.

Bavarian Brothers Brewing

164 Shepherd Grade Rd., Shepherdstown

This German-style brewpub sits on the Potomac River and presents out of doors seating, excellent for excellent foods and drinks with a mesmerizing view. Reservations advisable. Open every day 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Entrees from $16.

Zion Episcopal Church cemetery

301 E. Congress St., Charles Town

Wander round this historic cemetery. Look for members of the Washington household who have been laid to relaxation right here. Open every day from daybreak to nightfall. Free.

True Treats Historic Candy

144 High St., Harpers Ferry

Take a journey via time at this sweet retailer, which presents historic treats. Open weekdays 11 a.m. to six p.m. and weekends 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

German Street Marketplace Coffee & Candlery

103 W. German St., Shepherdstown

Find one thing native — and possibly shocking — at this store on the primary drag. Recently, there have been merchandise celebrating ramps, the native wild onions harvested in spring. Open every day, besides Tuesday, from 10:30 a.m. to five p.m.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

171 Shoreline Dr., Harpers Ferry

The official entrance to Harpers Ferry, the place you may park and make the most of all the world has to supply. The park entrance charge covers parking, museums, reveals, trails and programming, together with excursions. Drop in on the customer heart, the place you may discuss with park rangers or volunteers, find out about excursions and reveals, and decide up maps and informational brochures. Next, hop on the free shuttle that drops you in Lower Town, the restored historic district. Admission included with customer heart ticket. Park open every day, besides main holidays, 9 a.m. to five p.m. Trails open every day dawn to sundown. Visitor heart open every day 9 a.m. to five p.m. Park admission $20 per automobile, $15 per motorbike, $10 per individual or bicycle.

Harpers Ferry Park Association

723 Shenandoah St., Harpers Ferry

Located within the Bookshop in Lower Town, the nonprofit accomplice of the National Park Service presents excursions of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Call for excursions or ebook on-line. Tours $80 for one to 6 individuals, $130 for seven to twenty individuals.

Potential vacationers ought to take native and nationwide public well being directives concerning the pandemic into consideration earlier than planning any journeys. Travel well being discover information could be discovered on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s interactive map displaying journey suggestions by vacation spot and the CDC’s journey well being discover webpage.

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