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Quick Stop: Zion Episcopal Church

If you follow our posts, you’re already familiar with Quick Stops. Quick Stops are designed to give a nod to locations to which we can’t devote an entire post. The destinations are completely random and totally fun.

Where in the world is it?

Zion Episcopal Church is in Charles Town, West Virginia. The town was settled by Charles Washington, the youngest full brother of George Washington, around 1780. At the time, Charles Town was in Virginia, as West Virginia did not become a state until 1863. Charles Town is the county seat of Jefferson County, West Virginia, and lies in the Shenandoah Valley.

About Zion Episcopal Church

The original building was constructed around 1815, but another larger church was built on the site and was completed in 1848. Tragically, the second church building burned. The third church building was dedicated in 1851 and is the building that exists today, though the steeple wasn’t added until the 1890s. Perhaps most significant is the church cemetery. Approximately 70 of George Washington’s relatives are buried here, many of whom were born at Mount Vernon. Resting beside the Washington family members are other prominent historic figures and townspeople. According to the church history, approximately 85 to 90 Confederate soldiers and two Revolutionary War officers are also buried here.

 

We were able to walk through the cemetery and read many of the grave markers. Some of them are so old, however, that the words on them have been erased by time.

We identified the markers of quite a few members of the Washington family, and we were surprised by how many were named George

During the Civil War, the church was seized by Union soldiers for use as a barracks and later as a hospital. The soldiers did so much damage to the interior that it had to be completely renovated after the war.

One last view of Zion Episcopal Church surrounded by its cemetery

And now you know.

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2021

Featured

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, Williamsport, Maryland

The C & O Canal runs for 184.5 miles from Washington, DC to Cumberland, MD

The first idea for a canal was introduced as a bill submitted in 1774 to the Virginia governing body of the time by George Washington. His plan was to use the Potomac River as a means to move cargo, however, there were parts of the river that would be too dangerous for boats. He proposed to build a canal system that would enable navigation around those treacherous areas. After the Revolutionary War, his plans were set in motion and the Potowmack Canal Company was established with Washington at its helm. The canal was completed in 1802, three years after Washington’s death. It operated until 1828 when the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company took over Potowmack Canal Company and devised a plan to build a better canal system which would connect the Ohio River to the Chesapeake Bay. Under the new C & O plan, the canal would run next to the Potomac, but boats would not have to navigate the river. The construction period ran from 1828 to 1850, but the canal never made it to the Ohio River, mainly because the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad got there first. Moving cargo via the railroad was faster and more efficient. The canal was utilized from 1831 to 1924, and in its last years was used primarily for moving coal from the Allegheny Mountains to Washington, DC.

In 1938, the government purchased the canal with plans to turn it into a recreational area. President Eisenhower declared a portion of the canal a national monument in 1961. Ten years later, President Nixon signed a bill into law creating the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park.

Cushwa’s historic warehouse in Williamsport, MD, one of the three current visitor centers for the park

We chose to visit the Williamsport, MD portion of the park because it was the closest to our next destination. Our initial plans did not include this stop, but we are so glad we were able make the last minute change. Williamsport is the future home of the park’s headquarters. The National Park Service is currently refurbishing the site of a former lumber company that sits across the street from Cushwa’s.

This portion of the park sits at the confluence of the Potomac River (background) and Conococheague Creek (foreground). What a serene and beautiful place we found this to be on a lazy September morning. By the way, those trees on in the background are in West Virginia. Here the Potomac forms the border between West Virginia and Maryland.
The canal as it flows over the recently restored (in 2019) Conococheague Aqueduct
The 1879 Bollman bridge over the canal is one of the oldest standing iron railroad bridges in the US. Here you can see the towpath where mules would walk as they towed boats up and down the canal. Now, the towpath is used for a walking and biking trail. Trivia: the C & O Canal towpath at Harper’s Ferry, WV is part of the Appalachian Trail.

Wendell Bollman, a self-taught engineer who began his career at the age of 15, designed a specific type of truss, now called the Bollman Truss, that was used for many bridges built by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B & O) including the one shown above. Trivia: the B & O Railroad is the same one that sits between Illinois and Atlantic Avenues as depicted on the classic Monopoly game board.

Built in 1923, this strange-looking contraption is the only one of it’s kind on the C & O Canal. It is a railroad lift bridge that operated like an elevator to lower the tracks enabling trains loaded with coal to cross the canal. It is now a pedestrian bridge.
A view of the railroad lift bridge from underneath
A different view of the Bollman bridge with railroad tracks on the ground next to the canal. These tracks (along with the railroad lift bridge seen in the previous photos) would have been for the trains delivering coal to the power plant, part of which can be seen in the top right-hand corner of the picture.

For more information about this historic park, click here: https://www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm

We are going to end our trip to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park here, but we will leave you with one more look at the canal and towpath. Imagine warm sunshine, no breeze, the smells of the earth, and complete solitude with nothing to disturb you except the summery drone of an occasional cicada. This is that place.

Thank you so much for stopping by our blog! Please come back soon for another road trip, quick stop, or travel tip. We love hearing from our readers, so feel free to leave a comment, and be sure to “like” us, too. Become a follower so you never miss one of our posts. We will not share or sell your information

Until next time…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2021

Featured

Portland, Maine

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Recommended hotel in Portland: Hilton Garden Inn – Jetport.

We flew in to Portland on the southern edge of Hurricane Dorian. Dorian had turned away from the coast of Maine and headed for Nova Scotia. Fortunate for us, but not fortunate for Nova Scotia. The skies were dark and dreary as we approached the Portland International Jetport. Luckily, the clouds cleared by the time we picked up our rental car, and the weather turned out perfect.

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Remnants of Hurricane Dorian and islands off the coast of Portland

This was our second visit to a New England state, however, it was our first visit to Maine. What an incredibly beautiful state! Hop on board as we start our latest road trip with a few of the sights in Portland.

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Taken from the dirty window of our plane. The brown and white yacht located in the upper center-left of the picture was for sale. We were told that it costs $45,000.00 just to fill its gas tank!

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Another dirty plane window picture: cruise ships. Port of Call, Portland, Maine. (Keep scrolling. We promise the photos get better.)

Our first stop was the Old Port section of Portland. As we found with other ports in Maine, this one was alive with throngs of people (we even saw a wedding!) and parking was limited and costly. There happened to be three cruise ships in port on our first evening in Portland. When the cruise ships are in port, there are large crowds, but we didn’t let that stop us.

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Long Wharf

IMG_7000 (1)At the end of Long Wharf is a restaurant called DiMillo’s on the Water. We loved DiMillo’s so much that we ate there on our first night in Maine (fresh sea food, of course) and on our last night, too. Originally a car ferry, the floating restaurant has been beautifully redone and is anchored next to the marina. They have THE BEST clam chowder we have ever tasted. We even asked if they could ship to Texas! (Sadly, they couldn’t.) The other food we had there was excellent, too. 

The Old Port area has lots of restaurants and shops that stay open a little later to accommodate the cruise ship passengers and other tourists.

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Old Port Street View

Note the cobblestone street in the image above. The first permanent settlement here was established in 1633! Obviously, there is a lot of history in Portland, but we will let you delve into the research yourself.

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Another Old Port street view

One unlikely bit of history sits right on Long Wharf…

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Three panels of the Berlin Wall

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Portland Lobster Company and some of the buildings on Commercial Street along the waterfront

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Watery Reflections

Portland is also home to the Portland Head Light, located on Cape Elizabeth which is on Casco Bay in the Gulf of Maine. (Quite an address, huh?) The Portland Head Light was commissioned by George Washington and first lit in January of 1791. It is the oldest lighthouse in Maine.

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Today, the light is still an important beacon and also utilizes a (loud) foghorn to warn ships away from the rocky coastline. The US Coast Guard maintains and operates the light, while the grounds and light keeper’s house are owned by the town of Cape Elizabeth. A small museum is also located on the property, which sits next to a park where the remains of Fort Williams can be seen.

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Portland Head Light

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Commemorative plaque on the side of the keeper’s house (1965)

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Cape Elizabeth’s rocky shoreline and a view of South Portland

In addition to the rocky coast, the entrance to Casco Bay also has several rocky ledges that sometimes are visible and sometimes are covered by shallow water. One of these ledges, Ram Island Ledge, is the home to another lighthouse that is just a few hundred yards from the Portland Head Light.

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Ram Island Ledge Light

(Note the lobster trap buoys dotting the water in the background.)

The Ram Island Ledge Light was first lit in 1905, and was in use for about 100 years. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. In 2010, the defunct light was put up for public auction. We believe the light is now the private property of an area doctor. Interestingly, this light supposedly has a twin that is located near Boston.

That’s going to do it for our highlights of Portland, Maine. Come back again for more exciting destinations, road trips, and RVing tips and tricks. We will be covering more of our 1,200 mile, three state, New England road trip in future posts, so stay tuned!

Until the next trip…

Travel safe, travel smart, and we will see you down the road!

Mike and Kellye

Badwater Basin

As always, we strive to be as accurate with our information as possible. If we made a mistake, it was unintentional. (Hey, we’re only human!) We aren’t paid for our recommendations, and we only recommend our own tried and true vendors and venues. Our suggestions are for places that we’ve heard good things about but haven’t visited personally, and our opinions are our own.

©2019