Travels with Dodger
To our Block Island Friends,
We left B.I. last Thursday and drove to Yardley, Penn., to spend the night with our daughter April. Shortly before our destination we visited Washington Crossing State Park on the Delaware River where the Continental Army crossed the icy Delaware on Christmas Day and attacked the Hessian troops encamped in Trenton. This bold victory boosted the morale of a dispirited army and nation and changed the course of the Revolutionary War.
Friday our first stop was Valley Forge National Park where Gen. Washington and his Army suffered through a frigid winter. The Park Service has done a wonderful job in maintaining and presenting these important historical sites. Back on the road, through the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, passing the well kept Amish farms and dodging their buggies, we passed through Gettysburg (we had visited the battlefield last year) and wound our way over the western Maryland mountains to the small town of Sharpsburg. It was there in September of 1862 that the Confederate Army under Robert E. Lee clashed with the Union Army led by Gen. George McClennan. By the end of the day over 25,000 men had fallen, the bloodiest one day in American history. After a wrong turn or two we arrived at our hotel in Sheperdstown, W. Va, passing by the site of John Brown’s Raid at the Harpers Ferry arsenal.
Saturday we drove down through the mountains into Virginia. The plan was to drive down the Skyline Drive to Waynesboro, Va., but it was closed due to icy conditions so our alternate was through the Shenendoah Valley. The countryside was beautiful and the driving easy. Five hours later we arrived at Appomatox Court House and toured the site where Lee surrender his army to Grant in April, 1865. Spent the night in Appomatox.
Sunday we headed southeastward across Virginia, through Petersburg, south of Norfolk and down along and parallel to the Dismal Swamp Canal, first surveyed by George Washington and built under Jefferson’s administration, it allowed water commerce between Virginia and North Carolina. Ed McGovern and I brought our new sailboat up this canal in 1999. On into North Carolina and out to the Outer Banks we spent the night in Kill Devil Hills after an interesting stop at the First Flight National Park. (See photo above).
Monday: Southward down the narrow strip of sand that is the Outer Banks to Hatteras where we took a one hour ferry ride to Ocracoke Island. Total fare, car and two passengers (plus one dog) was: $0. Someone bring that to the attention of the R.I. Public Utilities Commission. Lunch on Ocracoke and another two and a half hour ferry ($15) to mainland N.C., we arrived at our beachfront hotel in Atlantic Beach, N.C.
Tuesday, after Dodger had a good run on the beach, we continued south through Jacksonville, N.C. where I spent a year some 50 years ago. I wanted to give Sue a look at the flight line but could not get a visitor’s pass to enter the Air Station. Pressing on we had lunch in Myrtle Beach and arrived at our destination, Georgetown, S.C., a charming, low-key low country southern town.