Posts Tagged ‘family’

Last week I took a weekend vacation to Gettysburg, PA and Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.

harpers ferry

Although I had never planned on traveling to Gettysburg, I figured I would sneak it in since it is a big part of Civil War history.

But my main purpose of the trip was to see Harper’s Ferry.

Harper’s Ferry has been on my radar for a while.  If you are not familiar with the town, it’s a really small city in West Virginia where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet.

But what is so unique about the town, is the amount of history in such a small area, especially civil war history.

It was the scene of the famous John Brown raid.  If you are not familiar with this, I highly recommend you read the wikipedia page, it’s a good read for any history buff.

john brown

Basically, John Brown was a big abolitionist (anti-slavery) before the U.S. Civil War started. Whether his anti slavery ideas came from his devotion to religion or from his business failures is debated, but what is not debated is that towards the end of his life he gained a “militaristic” hatred of the institution of salary.

Although the civil war did not start yet, it was slowly starting to develop.  John Brown had already led some successful slave insurrections and came up with the idea of raiding a federal weapons armory.  The idea was that he could arm many of the slaves in the South and start a major slave uprising.

Long story short, his plan backfired.  He was caught pretty quickly, several of his son’s  were killed on the scene and he was tried and hung in the nearby town of Charlestown (named after George Washington’s brother).

Although John Brown was not succesful, his raid on the armory was big news and helped fuel the anger on both sides which started the Civil War shortly after.

The town itself was also taken over by the confederacy and the union several times during the war.

Like I stated, small town, big history.

It’s hard to explain Harper’s Ferry.  It’s basically a town on a river bank, with a railroad, pedestrian and car bridge, along with some small shops and historic area’s.

harpers ferry 3

They have parts of the original fort that John Brown was captured in, along with a ton of hiking trails.

Overall, I give Harper’s Ferry a “C+/B-”  It’s not bad, just not a lot to do.

It is limited on hotels, but there are a decent number of good restaurants near the water front.

harpers ferry 2

Outside of town, Charlestown has a nice horse track and casino about 10 minutes away.

You can basically make a day out of it or maybe stretch a weekend trip.

Check out the John Brown fort area, walk over the pedestrian bridge, pick some hiking trails and then hit the casino.

Not a horrible trip, but not sure if I would go again.

-John Andre

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Hilton Head is nice, really nice.

gilron head

I always seems to have a good time in South Carolina; whether it’s in Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, Charleston or others.

When I was planning my Hilton Head trip, I told my wife to think of it as a potential retirement spot.

Although I am not a big golfer, I would definitely prefer to retire somewhere South of NYC, where the weather is better and the taxes are lower.

Although, I really enjoyed Hilton Head and I would highly recommend it, I don’t believe I can retire there.

Reason?

It’s too “resorty”.  I believe almost 70% of Hilton Head is owned by private communities, but don’t get me wrong, Hilton Head is beautiful.

Pros: Warm weather but not as unbearable as Southern Florida.  Very clean and manicured with outstanding golf and tennis courts. Appears to have very good health care options with an active senior population, along with many young families.

Cons: Expensive for South Carolina.  Mostly private resorts with annoying security guards.  Reminded me of Boca Raton.

Overall, Hilton Head is a beautiful city and an excellent place for a family vacation.  Although I wouldn’t retire there personally, I could see how it would make sense for many people.

High recommended: We stayed at the Sonesta that was very nice and I would also recommend Harbour Town. They have a downtown area that has many restaurants, a light house and one of the nicest kids parks I have ever seen.

palyground.png

My son had a blast.

Hilton Head deserves a “B+”

-John

I know that my blog is called “Workout and Travel”, but all that I have been writing about recently is working out.

In my defense; it’s freezing cold out in NYC and my wife is 5 months pregnant.

We can do some traveling of course, but to be honest, we have started making the slow transition to becoming parents and we don’t plan on traveling much until after child-birth.  We are also in the process of moving to larger apartment and purchasing a new car soon.

Getting ready for a child is a lot of work and we don’t plan on going anywhere major next year until the summer.

My life was very different before I got married.  Before I got married I was traveling almost once a month and I was starting to visit Europe on a regular basis.  To my surprise, some of the places that I visited were actually very “kid friendly”.

Here is my list of vacations that are surprisingly appropriate for children:

  1. Kentucky Derby:  I told my wife I want to take our future kids to the Kentucky Derby and dress them up.  The infield isn’t great for kids, but the grandstand is fine.  Kids like watching the horses.
  2. Oktoberfest, Germany:  I actually have no idea what I am talking about because I have never been, but two of my friends swear to me that it is surprisingly kid-friendly.
  3. Mardi Gras: People think that I am crazy when I say this, but if you stay away from Bourbon Street, the Mardi Gras parades are actually really cool.  I plan on taking my kids there eventually.

Places that are not kid friendly:

  1. St Patrick’s Day Everywhere.  Dublin, Philadelphia, NYC, Boston. etc. I would not recommend bringing your children to any of them.  Too crowded, too much drinking and too much fighting.
  2. Key West, Florida: One of my favorite cities, but not much going on for kids.
  3. Preakness Stakes: Preakness is more of a drinking party than the Kentucky Derby.  I don’t believe I would take them there.
  4. Las Vegas:  Leave the kids at home for this one.

Any suggestions?