New Jersey, Virginia, and West Virginia

on board the Cape May-Lewes Ferry On board the Cape May-Lewes Ferry
Lewes Ferry, Williamsburg, and Shenandoah National Park
The Americans take pride and make great effort in understanding, preserving and exhibiting their heritage and history, not only in their museums, but also in maintaining their past by repairing, restoring or reconstructing their churches, town halls, residents of presidents, governors, mayors or any other structure of historical significance.


Such is the case with the historical district of Colonial Williamsburg, in the city of Williamsburg, which we dropped by after crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Not only the ancient buildings, original or otherwise, in an entire village of 175 acres were maintained, even the people dressed up in costumes, uniforms or attires of their respective stations, professions or trades, to give the visitors a realistic glimpse of life in the 18 centuries. The artifacts, pottery, dresses, toys, utensils, weapons, cookware and other goods that were displayed for sale in quaint little shops were from or were replicas of the 1700s.
Climbing mountains in Shenandoah National Park
The winding and narrow road that went through the Shenandoah (Mountain) National Park was 105 miles. We spent two nights at a town at the 41 mile stone, known as Skylands, so named because the Hawksbill Peak, the highest point of the mountain (4051 feet) was just 2 miles away, and the peak appeared to reach the sky (from this land). By the way, I called the Shenandoah as Shenantiga, not dua. My son said the word was pronounced as -doa, not dua. So the mountain is now known as Shenandoa-selamat to our family.


I cannot tell you anything more about the Shenandoah other than that it was a jungle where the temperature was 5 degrees F at night. And this was autumn, not winter. It was a place to be away from the hustle and bustle, a place for solitude, for contemplation, meditation, and of course for hiking. There was no Internet or telephone connection, the (only) TV reception was not particularly good, and the radio was cracking rather than broadcasting most of the time. As far as I was concerned, there was also no facility to cook noodles at 2 am.
Leaving Sklands Kristen in her Civil War Nurse period costume
Leaving Sklands Kristen in her Civil War Nurse period costume
Shenandoah National Park, Patrick Henry College, and Harper's Ferry
The Americans did not keep records that glorified their past only, but also events and scenes that caused untold sufferings, such as the shameful records of slavery that agonised all men of conscience. Slavery was a pivotal tragedy that led to bloodshed and death by the thousands in the American Civil War that lasted four years.


Harpers Ferry, the last town we visited before we headed home, was one of those places that registered the agony of men who struggled to free the slaves and failed. Men such as John Brown were condemned or hanged for trying to break the shackle of slavery, or for raiding the armory for weapons. We spent the whole morning touring and listening to park rangers explaining the high points of the flood prone town, which was situated at the confluence of two major rivers, the Susquehanna and Potomac. The power of the water of these rivers were harnessed to run the many plants that manufactured rifles that were kept at one of the biggest and most important armories in the US at that time.


Of the 320 or so major and bloodiest battles fought during the American Civil War, 130 of them took place in the state of Virginia. Virginia was a major battleground because the capitals of the north (Washington for the Union) and the south (Richmond for the Confederate) were very close to each other.
More pictures from Summer 2004
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Updated 6 March 2005
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