Outdoor Weekend Getaway in Harpers Ferry
1Harpers Ferry is not just a place to conquer two rivers in one weekend—it's also the site of abolitionist John Brown's famous Civil War rebellion against the South. Toast to his legacy with a bite to eat at the Secret Six Tavern, a tucked-away taste of classic West Virginia named for the anonymous men who supported Brown.
2Make your history a little more haunting with an authentic Harpers Ferry Ghost Tour. Be sure to get there by 8 pm or you'll miss some of the local lore about the supernatural phenomena that have popped up in the area over the decades.
3Hang onto that flashlight and tell some spooky tales of your own over a pint at The Anvil, a local favorite with outdoor seating where some beers still cost $1. Looking for something sweeter? Stop for a cone at Scoops, where cookies and apple cider are available in addition to homemade frosty treats.
1Get fueled up for a full day of exploring at The Country Cafe, where a "hearty breakfast" tops the menu of morning classics.
2The Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers that converge at Harpers Ferry offer majestic views unmatched in the region. See them from a 14-foot raft with River Riders, one of the area's best-reviewed whitewater guiding companies. Reserve ahead and choose from options that range from mild to wild.
3Stop by the Canal House Café, in a 19th-century home just off the river, for a welcome bright spot of vegetarian options like tabbouli salad come lunchtime. Carnivores are still well taken care of.
4There's no better way than by bicycle to explore the natural beauty of the C&O Canal trails that run alongside the town's two rivers. Head back to River Riders for a rental and tool around the canal path or local hills.
5Less than 8 miles away (by car or bicycle), in the riverside town of Brunswick, Beans in the Belfry offers hearty bagel sandwiches. Pick up a couple for breakfast tomorrow as you head back to town, and pop into the gift shop on your way out for a souvenir.
6Get your heart pounding while indoors by sidling up to the blackjack tables at Hollywood Casino, a short drive away in Charles Town. If the table games or eye-popping slot machines prove too intense, check out the thoroughbreds who charge around the track starting at 7:15 pm. For dinner, choose from one of the casino's reliable in-house restaurants like The Final Cut Steakhouse or Zen Noodle for Asian options.
7Cut your losses and try a friendlier game of pool at Longshots Billiards, just down the street from the casino. Live music is frequently found here on weekend nights.
1Early morning is the best time for a hike in the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, where the 20 miles of trails include several short loops to take in the beauty of the watershed.
2The multitalented organizers at River Riders start their Harpers Ferry Canopy Tour at 11, and you won't want to miss any of the action. Seven zip trails among 13 tree houses and a final rappel from 25 feet in the air help this experience rival a day on the river.
3On your way out of town, stop in the burgeoning foodie town of Frederick, MD, where you can taste the flavor of Andalusia on the other side of the Atlantic. Isabella's offers brunch with a Spanish flair until 3 pm and then dishes out its tantalizing tapas like saffron-infused buttered artichokes stuffed with lumps of crab.