After breakfast, we wandered down to look at the farm and animals. There were about 40 chickens in separate pens - younger ones who are almost ready for laying, and mature ones who are already laying many eggs a day. A large, loud rooster made his presence known and the two fainting goats greeted us at the fence. Sadly (for my enjoyment) they didn't faint! But they were so darn cute. The neighboring pasture had a sweet little donkey who came right up to the fence to see if I had a treat for him - I didn't. But he stuck around long enough for several pictures. I could have hugged him, he was so tiny and cute! The two mischievous kitties couldn't wait for us to come out and play with them, and McKiver, the huge dog, greeted us enthusiastically when we went outside.
Look at this princess kitty - and her one tiny white sock!
McKiver, the huge friendly dog.
How cute can a donkey be?
It was soon time to go, so we ventured out into the cool, frosty and foggy morning to explore Harpers Ferry. We stopped in an antique store, then visited the Catholic church, which is said to have beautiful stained glass. Sadly, it was closed, but even the outside is impressive - like something out of a fairy tale, according to Jeff.
Like we traveled back in time!
We even saw some amazing ruins from an old Episcopalian church, and walked through the town - the downtown area has both working storefronts and replicated storefronts that show how things used to be.
The Episcopal church ruins.
A popular spot in town is John Brown's house. John Brown was an abolitionist who staged a rebellion, was captured, here and later hanged.
Harpers Ferry is the spot where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet. An armory was built along the river banks providing the town with a robust livelihood for many years. Some relics still remain, but it's mostly gone. Industry changes, the Civil War and repeated floods have ravaged the town, but it has continued to bounce back time and again. The Shenandoah offers some beautiful scenery.
The mighty Shenandoah!
Heron in silhouette.
Cardinal - such a treat to see this!
After Harpers Ferry, we drove to Antietam. This is the sight of the single most deadly battle in one day of the civil war. In twelve hours of fighting, 23,000 men were killed. The battle of Antietam included three farms, several orchards, a cornfield, where there was deadly hand-to-hand combat, several clusters of woods and "Bloody Lane" - the sunken road which provided great cover to soldiers until they became sitting ducks and were slaughtered "seven and eight deep, stacked like railroad ties." It's a very somber place.
The Mumma graveyard.
Burnside Bridge - soldiers were sent across this in clusters, which provided an easy target for the soldiers stationed in the hills above.
The cemetery where over 4700 men are buried. Initially, bodies were buried where they lay in the battlefield. Later, they were re-interred here and in other places.
Probably the highlight of my day was driving to Antietam and seeing an owl on the power cables! At first I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Then, I realized it was an owl and I shouted to Jeff to turn around so I could take a picture. It was such a perfect specimen, we thought it might be fake. But when it turned its head and looked at us, blinking its eyes, we knew it was real! I still can't believe it. It was huge, too. Made my day!
Now, we're checked in to the Penn Stater hotel and conference center for Jeff's three-day conference. I will spend the days exploring and basically doing whatever I want. Bliss!