A photographic tour of the land of Battlescapes

I thought it was a dumb idea to put cameras on phones. In my defense, the first phone cameras were bad. Not in my defense, I had no imagination. "The farsighted see better things," and so many of our best pictures now exist just because the camera was ready on our person.

I would love to bring you music videos of the places Battlescapes are named for. Until that's possible, let me give you a little tour with pictures we've caught over the years. This is a view from the Virginia side of the river.

The bridge on the right is Route 340 from Maryland crossing the Potomac. Harpers Ferry itself is the low land peeking above the river on the left side between the hills. At a few hundred feet above sea level, it's the lowest part of West Virginia. "The Mountain State" has the highest average elevation of any state east of the Mississippi, and it almost ain't nothing but hills and hollers. But, as for my house, it sits lower than the Ohio city I grew up in.

The hill in the middle of the above picture is Maryland Heights. Say you were on the west side of it, you'd see Lower Town Harpers Ferry and the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers:

Looks like this photo was snapped during a dry spell. John Brown's raid took place somewhere on that visible part of the land. Notice the bridge ruins:

Harpers Ferry was a real war town, changing hands between North and South at least seven times. The train bridges operated by the Baltimore & Ohio were destroyed numerous times, as captured by this illustration for Harper's Weekly in 1861:

The only regular sight missing from the following pictures of Lower Town is the many tourists who are milling about the place on the weekends.

Oh, here's a tourist. Hi, Dad.

Virginius Island is adjacent to Lower Town on the Shenandoah River side. I don't have many great pictures handy, but here's some video set to a piano piece that's not on the Battlescapes album. The Virginia bluebells carpet the ground for a few weeks every spring.


The only shot I have of Murphy Farm is this late fall photo of the overlook. Behind the photographer is a large plain field with farmhouse.

West of Murphy Farm is the approach to Schoolhouse Ridge.

If you were to turn around and face east again on Schoolhouse Ridge North, you could walk up the hill to Bolivar Heights. Break through the tree line and ---

We're now on Bolivar Heights, on the other side of the panorama we began with, looking the opposite direction. Maryland Heights is the larger hill on the left. I love Bolivar Heights.

Last summer Jacob came in from the front yard, pointed out the window, and said, "I want to do that before I die." Lo, a paraglider above Bolivar Heights! We ended up meeting the fellow. Tom has some amazing videography he captures from his glider. Here's his video from that day. 

Harpers Ferry enters view around 3:15. You can see the storm that forced him to land.

Happy Thanksgiving week, everybody! And...may I suggest some mealtime music?

This mostly instrumental mix favors the harmonic strains of Appalachia and nineteenth-century hymnody, with some fresh interpretations by modern composers (including a few from Vandalia River). Often plaintive, sometimes dancing, always beautiful.


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