West Virginia’s Not-So-Hidden Gem
Harpers Ferry has long been a favorite destination in West Virginia for locals and visitors alike. Named after John Harper who established a ferry across the nearby river in the 1760’s, the town knits together historical roots with modern shops and dining — all amidst the beautiful backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Potomac River.
One of Harpers Ferry’s most popular attractions is its unique and eclectic, True Treats Historic Candy shop. The nation’s only researched-based historic candy store, True Treats carries candies from early civilization — like Biblical Carob Nibs — all the way to the mid-1900’s with the Charleston Chew. The store is neatly organized by decades and eras. Almost all candy selections are labeled with a snippet of their history and origin story, like Jolly Ranchers, first seen in 1897, which were named after the congenial nature of the candy’s Colorado creators.
True Treats also carries specialty packages put together by owner and author of Sweet as Sin, Susan Benjamin. One of their packages, Grandma’s Purse, features novelty candies that grandmothers made famous from the depths of their pocketbooks. The collection includes sweets like Lifesavers, strawberry-filled hardy candies, sour balls and more. Other packages, like the Classic Caramel box, make perfect gifts for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Harpers Ferry honors its historical significance and connection to the Civil War with the John Brown Wax Museum. In 1859, radical abolitionist John Brown led 21 men to raid the town’s arsenal in an attempt to initiate a slave uprising. The group was ultimately captured and dismantled, causing several casualties and injuries. The museum on High Street is dedicated John Brown’s life as well as his and his men’s efforts to catalyze the end of slavery in the 1800’s.
The town has plenty of places to stop for a bite to eat, including local favorite The Rabbit Hole Gastropub. With a menu full of gourmet sandwiches, entrees and original cocktails all at great prices, The Rabbit Hole is a must-visit for lunch or dinner between stops to the shops along High Street. Dishes like the Oyster Po Boy and #WanderDown Cheesesteak pair easily with one of The Rabbit Hole’s many craft beer selections.
The restaurant has also set up “sun bubbles” on the deck for when the weather is too cool for an outside table without heat. Diners can enjoy their meals safely and with added seclusion when eating outdoors.
For those traveling with furry friends, Harpers Ferry is a very dog-friendly town. Especially on the weekends, visitors can expect to see more than a couple of furry companions strolling the streets or taking advantage of the nearby trails, like the Maryland Heights loop trail that takes hikers 6.6 miles to a breathtaking overlook of the Potomac River and historic Harpers Ferry. With plenty of outdoor seating, too, Harpers Ferry is just as enjoyable for people as it is for canines.