50th Anniversary

In 2021, the Harpers Ferry Park Association will commemorate 50 years of providing aid and support to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. The commemoration will feature monthly hikes and special programs and events that aim to honor our loyal members and leadership, celebrate our accomplishments, grow our membership, generate funds, and most importantly, set a vision for the future. Our goal is to create an experience that will connect park visitors to the natural beauty, unique history, and cultural heritage of Harpers Ferry and to inspire present and future generations of park supporters and advocates.

 

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Event Schedule

(Events Subject to Change)


Trails Less Traveled: Murphy Farm

Saturday, January 30, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | Murphy Farm
($10 Donation per Person, Open to Public, Registration Required)

Description: The Murphy Farm has been farmed since before the Civil War. The relatively flat farm loop contains the former site of John Brown’s Fort, a pilgrimage point for early Civil Rights activists; a dazzling view of the Shenandoah Valley; and markers and cannons commemorating General A.P. Hill’s staging during the Sept. 15, 1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry. A trail detour, which is more rolling and rocky, will take us to earthworks that are part of Philip Sheridan’s extensive fortifications around Bolivar Heights.

Our hike leader is Jim Silvia, a Certified Tour Guide in Harpers Ferry who has led Civil War to Civil Rights tours on the Murphy Farm for several years. He owns an 1840-era home in Bolivar built to house an armory worker. 

1.5 to 3 miles, depending on weather and trail conditions, rated MODERATELY EASY, with half the hike on dirt farm path and up to 1.5 miles on trails in wooded ravines. Meet on the plaza in front of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Visitor Center, 171 Shoreline Drive.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there are limited spaces available. Registration is required. We also require masks and social distancing measures to keep our guides and visitors safe.

Trails Less Traveled: Where They Lived - A Tour of Armory Worker Homes

Saturday, February 27, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
($10 Donation per Person, Open to Public, Registration Required)

Description: [Details are being worked out, but this hike will provide history of 19th century homes built to house Federal Armory workers.]


Trails Less Traveled: Mary Mish Tour of Fort Duncan

Saturday, March 20, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
($10 Donation per Person, Open to Public, Registration Required)

Description: This hike for women provides an unusual opportunity to explore a rarely seen area of Civil War history. Fort Duncan is a well-preserved earthen fort built in 1863 by the Union Army as part of a defensive perimeter of Harpers Ferry. Because there is no established trail to the fort, participants must be prepared for brush and debris, and wear appropriate footwear. The hike is dedicated to Mary Vernon Mish, a resident of Washington County, Maryland, who helped preserve and incorporate Maryland Heights as part of Harpers Ferry NHP.

Hike leader Catherine Magi is an avid hiker, author, and “recovering” attorney now pursuing her graduate degree in history. Co-leader Irene Glasse is an essayist, minister and yoga instructor from Western Maryland.

 

Trails Less Traveled: Exploring Short Hill

Saturday, April 17, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
(Open to Public, Registration Required)

Description: Explore the rich history and natural beauty of the Short Hill portion of Harpers Ferry NHP. Located about one mile downriver from the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers, this trek will take you down the mouth of the Falls Branch, past the ruins of several historical structures, and along the shores of the Potomac River. You will likely enjoy an abundance of Virginia bluebells and possibly spot an eagle eyrie nearby. Assuming the river level is low or average, you will need extra footwear for the water crossing. Protection from ticks and other bugs is advised. *The hike will end with a climb from the river back up to the brewery, where your efforts may be rewarded with food and a local brew. (TBD based on COVID restrictions.)

Hike leader Andrew Lee is a Resource Management Specialist for the NPS with a background and training in archeology. He researched and wrote a report on the historical resources of the Short Hill Mountain tract. Co-leader Chris Craig is a Certified Tour Guide in Harpers Ferry and a regular hike leader for the Sierra Club. 

3 miles, rated MODERATELY DIFFICULT, with a mainly-flat walk through brush and non-maintained trails. Hikers will wade across shallow water mid-hike and end the hike with a significant climb on a smooth trail. Meet at Harpers Ferry Brewing, 37412 Adventure Center Lane, Hillsboro, VA, to be shuttled to the one-way hike start.


Trails Less Traveled: 19th Century Virginius Island Tour

Saturday, April 24, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
($10 donation per person, open to public, registration required, includes Virginius Island Trail Guide)

Description: This hike will take visitors past ruins of factories and dwellings, discussing how the island—now consumed by nature—was once a thriving industrial and residential community. As a bonus, expect an abundance of Virginia bluebells to adorn the way.

Our leader is David Gilbert, author of A Walker’s Guide to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; and Waterpower: Mills, Factories, Machines, and Floods at Harpers Ferry. 

1 mile, rated EASY, with no elevation gain, but on dirt paths over uneven terrain.


Bookshop Open House with Authors and Artists

Saturday, May 1, 2021 | Bookshop, Lower Town

Description: On May 1, 1971, the first “National Park Bookstore at Harpers Ferry” opened its doors, offering unique interpretive and educational products for parks across the country. Over the next five decades the bookshop moved, expanded (and closed for a few floods!), and changed its focus to Harpers Ferry, but has always remained our biggest source of revenue to support park programs. Come celebrate its 50th anniversary with the authors and artists whose work has lined our shelves and inspired generations of visitors.


Trails Less Traveled: Bark Ranger Walk in Lower Town

May, 2021 | Time TBD
 

Description: TBD


Trails Less Traveled: Family Friendly Hike along the Armory Canal

Saturday, June 5, 2021 | Time TBD
(National Trails Day - free, open to public)

Description: TBD


Gala Dinner

Saturday, June 12, 2021 | Time TBD
 

Description: TBD


Trails Less Traveled: History on the Rocks

Saturday, July 24, 2021 | Time TBD
(Free, Open to Public)

Description: A guided hike on the geology of Harpers Ferry led by former Ranger David Fox. (Optional: join us afterward at a local pub to continue the discussion informally.)


Trails Less Traveled: Virginius Island Interpretive Tour

Saturday, August 21, 2021 | Time TBD
(Free, Open to Public)

Description: This hike will take visitors past ruins of factories and dwellings, discussing how the island—now consumed by nature—was once a thriving industrial and residential community. As a bonus, expect an abundance of Virginia bluebells to adorn the way.

Our leader is David Gilbert, author of A Walker’s Guide to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia; and Waterpower: Mills, Factories, Machines, and Floods at Harpers Ferry. 

1 mile, rated EASY, with no elevation gain, but on dirt paths over uneven terrain.


Historic Cocktail Workshop FUNdraiser: Spirit of the Island (Park)

Date TBD 2021 | 7 p.m.
(Free, Open to Public)

Description: In this blend of history and mixology, we’ll honor Harpers Ferry’s mysterious island amusement park (washed away by long-ago floods) while stirring up our own island-inspired concoctions. Participants will learn how to make tropical favorites of the 1950s, and discover some of the legends behind the drinks. Hawaiian shirts and other vintage tropical attire encouraged, but not required. Participants must be 21 years old to attend.

 

Olde Tyme Christmas Member Reception

Friday, December 3, 2021 | Time TBD
(Free, Member Only Event)

Description: Whew! Help us finish off a year of commemoration with holiday cookies and cider in the Bookshop. Afterwards, join the town for the opening ceremony of its annual yuletide event.