Until June, when you asked me what I thought of West Virginia, I would tell you that it gave me the creeps. I knew I wasn’t being fair, but many of my memories of the state were just a little sinister. Like the time I went spelunking, and my body pretty much gave out from exhaustion (I could hardly see since I needed eyeglasses back then but never wore them, and after walking around very gingerly in the dark for a few hours, my body had had enough.). Or the time my friend and I camped there for a night on our way to Colorado. As soon as he left our site to grab us some grub, it seemed like hundreds over overly-friendly people stopped by to say hi. Weird. And then there was the camping trip back in college where we stumbled across a field full of old junk like rotted baby dolls and carriages. Spooky.
But I wanted to go back. My family had been raving about Harpers Ferry for a couple years, and I finally had the time to check it out on a recent East Coast visit. Everything was perfect. The drive through the rolling hills of Maryland was beautiful. The information center with the nerdy Civil War buffs made me giggle. The Shenandoah River made me want to sing songs. I was in awe of the Appalachian Trail thru-hiker that wandered up the main street. I learned about American history. I found a cute hot pink and orange scarf. My mom and I went on our own little AT hike complete with designer handbags. West Virginia is no longer the sinister state that it once was. I had the perfect day and I can’t wait to visit again.
All images © Susannah Allen 2012