We live in a state with a rich, fascinating, varied history. One of the best ways to experience our colonial and revolutionary-era history is by taking a drive on the Washington Heritage Trail that passes through West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle.
Here are a few of the things you’ll find along the trail.
1. Jefferson Rock (Harpers Ferry)
From this ancient rock outcrop, take in the convergence of two beautiful iconic rivers below you the Potomac and the Shenandoah. Just think: 250 years ago, Thomas Jefferson stood in this very spot and gazed on the same scene.
2. Jefferson County Courthouse and Museum (Charles Town)
In downtown Charles Town, the beautiful Jefferson County Courthouse has witnessed many historical events, including John Brown's trial for treason and Civil War occupation. Visitors can still enter the courtroom where John Brown's trial took place. Historical plaques and paintings can be seen inside and out. It is still a working courthouse, so to enter, you must pass through a security check.
The next block over, the Jefferson County Museum houses many historical artifacts related to George Washington, his brother Charles (who established the town), and John Brown.
3. Daniel Fry House (Middleway)
Middleway Historic District just west of Charles Town dates back to the 1730s. The town was officially established in 1795, and many historic buildings dot the small community. These can be seen on the Middleway Walking Tour, which includes dozens of stone, log, and clapboard structures dating back to the 1700s.
4. General Adam Stephen House (Martinsburg)
Scottish-born Adam Stephen served under George Washington in the French and Indian War, then rose to the rank of General in the Revolutionary War. His home, built of locally quarried limestone, was built in 1774. General Stephen founded the town of Martinsburg in 1778. The house is open to the public on weekends from May through October.
5. Bath Historic District (Berkeley Springs)
The warm mineral springs here were known to the colonists as early as 1747, and to the American Indians long before that. The town was established in 1776 with many of the wealthy revolutionaries as its original property owners, included George Washington and his brother Samuel, 3 signers of the Declaration of Independence, Revolutionary War generals, and members of the Continental Congress. Dozens of historic buildings and sites are viewed and highlighted on the walking tour, including the two lots purchased by George Washington in 1777. Also, don't miss the spring itself in Berkeley Springs State Park, famously bathed in by George Washington.
6. Scenic WV Route 9 (Berkeley Springs)
This winding road along the Cacapon River encompasses some of the most beautiful views in the country, including the Panorama Overlook and many views of the river. George Washington surveyed the area and owned property nearby along the Potomac.
There's lots more to see than just these few spots we've highlighted, so plan a time to do the full loop soon!
To learn more about the Washington Heritage Trail and see all the many stops we didn’t feature, check their
website. For another interesting road trip through history, try the Coal Heritage Trail.
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Jefferson Rock, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425, USA
100 E Washington St, Charles Town, WV 25414, USA
7365 Queen St, Kearneysville, WV 25430, USA
General Adam Stephen House & Triple Brick Museum, 309 E John St, Martinsburg, WV 25401, USA
127 Fairfax St, Berkeley Springs, WV 25411, USA
WV-9, Berkeley Springs, WV, USA