Hi! I'm Flat Stanley from Wisconsin.
Flat Stanley Takes A Tour Of
I almost became fish food in Maryland!
Quite an adventure.
Flat Stanley was originally a character in a book. The book recounts the adventures of Stanley Lambchop after surviving being crushed flat while sleeping by a falling bulletin board. He survives and makes the best of his altered state, and soon he is entering locked rooms by sliding under the door, being rolled up to go out to the park and playing with his brother by being used as a kite. One special advantage is the Flat Stanley can visit friends all over the world by being mailed in an envelope.
Eventually, Stanley tires of being flat and is restored to his usual self with a bicycle pump.
Thousands of schools around the world incorporate Flat Stanley into their classes. Our nephew Andrew from Wisconsin sent us his Flat Stanley just in time for a trip we had planned. Over the next 10 days, Flat Stanley would visit interesting places in West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland.
At the end of this page, there is a map with the key areas marked so you can see where we are at.
Before we left on our trip, we had a day to take Flat Stanley around our home in Morgantown and some interesting places nearby.
Here, we introduce Flat Stanley to our hometown of Morgantown, WV. It is also home to West Virginia University.
That round building just to the right of Stanley is the Coliseum, where WVU plays basketball.
We are going there next.
Here I am with Aunt Beth at the WVU Coliseum.
There were two WVU basketball players who became quite famous.
Let's go meet them.
Rodney Clark Hundley was known as "Hot Rod Hundley" because of his flashy style on the court.
He played for WVU from 1954-1957.
The year before he joined, WVU basketball was ranked 20th in the country.
The year he joined, WVU moved up to 4th place.
He became a nationally known sports broadcaster later in life.
Jerry West played for WVU from 1957-1960, just after "Hot Rod" Hundley graduated. He still holds 14 school records!
He then played for the LA Lakers from 1960-1974 before becoming their head coach for several years.
Just across the parking lot at the Coliseum is the WVU Core Arboretum, a small forest with walking trails.
The university uses it for studying plants and forests. Today there was a Paw Paw Festival.
Reading all about the Core Arboretum : https://arboretum.wvu.edu/
Learning more about the pawpaw fruit before we eat it.
You can read about it, too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asimina_triloba
It was yummy! Kind of tastes like sweet pudding. The seeds are huge!
There are two areas of WVU and they are located several miles apart.
Since traffic and parking are so bad, they built the PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) back in the 1970s.
These electric cars ride on a track and are remote-controlled. No driver in the car!!
They can reach 30 MPH and hold 20 riders. During a competition in 2000, there were 97 students who crammed into one car!
You can read more about the PRT: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgantown_Personal_Rapid_Transit
Our next stop in downtown Morgantown was the Metropolitan Theatre and the statue of Don Knotts.
He was most famous as Deputy Barney Fife on the old Andy Griffith Mayberry TV show.
This is his hometown, and he performed at this theatre as a youngster.
Our next stop in Morgantown was to the Black Bears baseball stadium. They are our hometown Minor-League team!
The team was practicing today, and I got one of the home-run balls!
I even checked out the team van!
Our next stop was about 20 miles away in Fairmont WV at Prickett's Fort.
It was built in the 1770s to protect the early settlers from Indian attacks.
In the 1970s, it was re-constructed and serves as an interpretive center for 18th-Century crafts and lifestyle.
Walking around Prickett's Fort.
To learn more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prickett%27s_Fort_State_Park
Our next stop was in nearby Clarksburg WV, home of General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.
He was a famous Civil War General.
He was given his nickname because he did not run and hide when the shooting started.
He stood his ground like a stone wall.
It is also Mike's hometown. He was not a General.
Our next stop was the home of Ann Jarvis. Who?
She is famous for encouraging legislation to create Mothers' Day.
She was also famous for her heroic actions during the Civil War. There were Confederate and Union Soldiers in this area. She led a group of women who nursed and attended to wounded soldiers from both sides. After the war, she led efforts to re-unite the people who had been fighting for years.
To read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Jarvis
Near the home of Ann Jarvis is the historic Philippi Covered Bridge.
The first shots of the Civil War were fired here on June 3rd, 1861.
Here, Flat Stanley is checking out the Philippi Bridge.
The original bridge was built in 1852. It was badly damaged by a flood in 1985 and a fire in 1989.
They re-built the bridge using old tools just like the original. Now it looks the same as before.
It is the only covered bridge on a National Highway in the country.
To read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippi_Covered_Bridge
Just up the hill from the Philippi Covered Bridge is the Campbell School.
One of the students here, Arch Hall, later became a doctor and performed the first open-heart surgery in the USA!
I got to ring the school bell at Campbell School!
Our next stop was to bring flowers to the West Virginia National Cemetery in Grafton.
Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen are laid to rest here.
It's just like Arlington Cemetery in Washington D.C., only smaller.
Here I am at the top of the hill by the flagpole at the National Cemetery in Grafton.
Next stop was Camp Muffly, the local 4H camp in Morgantown.
Camp Muffly has several old log cabins and this nice stream.
I even got to ring the dinner bell!
I love ringing bells!
Our Trip To Virginia and Maryland Begins
On Monday morning, we loaded the car and began a 1-week adventure to parts of
West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland.
Since it is cold and raining, I am going to wear my WV sweatshirt.
Our first stop was the Fairfax Stone.
This stone marks the very beginning of the Potomac River from a small underground spring.
Later on, we will see how large the river is just a couple of hours away.
Reading the plaque on the rock.
Next, we stopped at one of the most famous spots in West Virginia, the Blackwater Falls.
It was raining today, but it was still beautiful. And very noisy!
The vegetation in the river above the falls turns part of the water black. That's how it got its name.
It's a long way down to the falls. That means it's a long way back up to the car.
There were plenty of interesting signs to read along the way up the stairs.
Whew! I had to stop and rest a minute.
We are now entering the Monongahela National Forest.
We passed over the Allegheny Mountain in West Virginia.
All of the rain from the east side of the mountain flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
All of the rain from the west side flows into the Gulf of Mexico.
Look closely and you can see cows and sheep grazing on the top of the mountain.
Here is the view from the top of the Allegheny Mountain. Kind of foggy and raining today.
Just a few miles east of the Allegheny Mountain is Seneca Rocks.
You can see the rocks peeking up behind the Discovery Center.
It was raining today, so we could not get a clear view of the rocks.
They are over 900 feet high, but they are only about 10 feet thick from front to back on the top.
Hundreds of people climb these rocks every year.
A panoramic view.
To read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seneca_Rocks
Mmmmmmm..... The berries are in season.
Our last stop in West Virginia today will be the highest point in the state - Spruce Knob.
This is the narrow road that leads up the mountain to Spruce Knob.
The trees were starting to turn color here first because of the elevation.
Soon we were at the top.
Too bad it is foggy and raining or we could see about 30-40 miles in each direction.
It's official - I was there.
Because of the elevation, the ground is covered with lichen, moss, and other vegetation found in Alaska.
Even the rocks have interesting things growing on them.
I'm not a botanist, but I believe these are forms of lichen.
These berries were growing on a tree at the top of Spruce Knob.
We took a shortcut on Bland Hills Road through Germany Valley and found this classic: an early 1950s DeSoto.
Quietly rusting in peace.
After Spruce Knob, we drove the last 50 miles to the border of Virginia.
The Shenandoah Mountain marks the border. Very foggy today!
Welcome to Virginia
Our destination today is Williamsburg, Virginia. It was founded in 1632 by the early English colonists.
Today, the area of Historical Williamsburg preserves that history with stores and merchants appearing just as they did back then.
Ready to go back in time 200 years?
Here I am by the Capitol building in Williamsburg.
This was the seat of Virginia's colonial government for 75 years.
It was here, in 1776, that the Virginia Convention proposed that the Continental Congress declare the
United Colonies free and independent states.
Next, we took a stroll down the street to check out the old stores.
The first building on the right is an old coffeehouse.
One of the first people we met was this nice young lady who worked at the Apothecary,
which is an old version of CVS and Rite Aid.
Sign for the Apothecary.
I got to meet this young English Colonial settler.
She was working on an embroidery project.
If you were naughty back in the 1700s, you would have to be locked in the stockade.
People would throw rotten tomatoes and other stuff at you for added humiliation.
Bruton Parish Church was established in 1674 and has used this building in continuous service since 1715.
I made friends with a Colonial Settler working in her garden.
Gardens were very popular in Williamsburg.
The early settlers grew ornamental and decorative gardens with spices, etc.
More gardens in Colonial Williamsburg.
Welsh Bunching Onions.
One more garden before we move on.
I met Thomas Jefferson as he was writing up the Declaration of Independence.
It must be hard writing such an important document with a feather!
We were married in nearby Hampton, VA in 1985 and lived here from 1985-1989.
We drove down to see the church where we were married, and our first homes.
Saint Marks United Methodist Church
We were married here on February 9th, 1985.
Then (Feb 9th, 1985)
And now (2018)
Beth is just as beautiful as before - I'm just old and gray.
Rev Lee Roy Brown was the minister at the time, and married us.
He did a good job - coming up on 34 years!
Unfortunately, we heard he recently passed away.
Our first home was Apt F2 on Little Back River Road.
There are 4 apartments in this first building - our was the bottom floor on the right.
It was a small furnished apartment. Very small. Very basic. But we were very happy!
We experienced our first hurricane here. Fun fun.
After a year, there was an opening across the parking lot in a 2-bedroom apartment.
We moved (upstairs and to the right) into an empty apartment and started buying our first furniture.
We still have almost all of it!
After another year, some friends in the band told us about a nice townhouse apartment for rent in their complex.
It was only a mile away, and was surrounded by trees. And squirrels. Lots of squirrels.
Our home was in the tan building in the left door. We lived here until we moved to Alaska in 1989.
Lots of memories here!!
After all this walking, we were all hungry, so we met two friends we knew 30 years ago when we were stationed here.
Dave and Debby met us at one of our favorite restaurants, Pierce's Barbeque.
Dave played trombone and was in the Air Force Band with Mike. Beth and Debby often sat together at our outdoor concerts.
Pierce's Barbeque. Back in the 1980s, it was an old shed with covered picnic tables.
After a big fire, they built this new building. Same great food, though.
Order your sauce, meats, or gifts: http://www.pierces.com/edibles.php
Enjoying some great barbeque at Pierce's with Dave and Debby.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and the Eastern Shore of Maryland
After exploring Williamsburg and Hampton Roads, we set off for the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
To get there, we had to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. It is over 17 miles long.
Part of it is above the water (bridges) and part is below the water (tunnels).
This map at the rest area tells all about the Bridge Tunnel.
You can also read about it here: http://www.cbbt.com/
It feels like we are in the middle of the ocean! Up ahead, you can see where one of the tunnels begins.
Down we go! The tunnels are about 100 feet below the water, drilled under the ground.
They were built to allow tall ships to pass overhead and not damage a bridge.
Soon, we were back on solid ground again.
Our next stop was Wallops Island. There is a NASA facility that launches rockets.
Some of these rockets are for forecasting weather.
Read more about NASA at Wallops Island: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/wallops/missions/index.html
Just a few minutes away from Wallops Island is Chincoteague (Chin - ko - teegh) National Wildlife Refuge.
There are hundreds of wild horses that roam free between several islands.
They are protected and people come from around the world to see them.
This was about as close as we could get to the horses on Assateague.
Here's a closer view of the horses and the lighthouse we will be visiting soon.
We are actually on a neighboring island, Assateague. Sometimes the horses swim from one island to another.
Although fully grown, the breed of horse here is called the Chincoteague Pony.
Read more about the horses: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chincoteague_Pony
On our way to the lighthouse, we took a detour to get our feet wet in the Atlantic Ocean.
Assateague Light House.
Read more about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assateague_Light
Another view of the lighthouse on our way back to the hotel.
We had a nice view from our hotel. That bridge takes us back to the main part of Maryland.
That night, we were fortunate to meet up with two friends from Alaska, Colonel (retired) Eric and Judy Redifer. They attended the church where Mike played organ, and "adopted" Spencer as one of their grand-children. He was born up there, so they have known him since he was just a few weeks old.
Unfortunately, I forgot to get a photo of all of us at the restaurant. So here are a couple photos from back in Alaska in 1990 and 1991.
Col (now retired) Eric and Judy Redifer with Spencer in 1991 in Alaska.
We always laughed at how Spencer reacted from this kiss from Judy.
Typical boy. "Ooo - I just got kissed by a girl!" LOL
We all went out to a great seafood restaurant and shared stories from the past 30 years. It was great to see them again!
Patuxent River Maryland
After visiting Chicoteague and the Eastern Shore, we moved inland to the part of Maryland that is just south of Washington, D.C.
We stopped at the Calvert County Fair. Beth and I like to go to at least 4 or 5 county fairs each summer.
Flat Stanley likes 4H. (Beth was a member when she was growing up in Wisconsin)
Flat Stanley was checking out the vegetables when he found these apple gourds.
They DO look just like big green apples.
Flat Stanley also found a snake gourd and a swan gourd.
Here we are checking out the birds and fowl.
Flat Stanley and this turkey became instant buddies.
I like to take a nap after eating, but I can usually make it to the couch before falling asleep.
We also watched 2 motorcyclists zooming around inside the "Globe of Death".
One of the riders was a young lady.
There were also a lot of crafts and displays made with veggies and gourds.
After a quick bite to eat, we continued down the road to Patuxent River Naval Air Station.
Our son, Spencer, and his wife, Lauren, are going to show us around the area.
When we stopped by the base, there was an F-18 on display for us to look at up close.
The Navy Blue Angels fly the F-18. They can take off and land on an aircraft carrier.
We also visited the Naval Air Museum. There were a lot of neat planes!
Because of security, we were not allowed to take photographs around the base. Sorry.
Since it was a beautiful day, we went sightseeing around the area.
We stopped to visit the Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum.
This 560-acre park is the center for the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory.
There are artifacts from people living in this area for over 9,000 years.
Read more about the park and museum: http://www.jefpat.org/
Inside one of the huts used by early inhabitants.
The early inhabitants carved canoes out of the large tree trunks.
Flat Stanley wanted to take a ride.
Remember the Pawpaw festival in Morgantown at the beginning of this story?
Well, they have pawpaw trees here in Maryland, too.
We stopped to watch this beautiful Monarch Butterfly.
We also visited Solomon's Island. It is near the point where the Patuxent River flows into the Chesapeake Bay.
A lot of tourists come here to sightsee, look through the shops, and eat great (and, unfortunately, expensive!) seafood.
Flat Stanley is reading about Solomon's Island.
The Governor Thomas Johnson bridge in the background goes across the Patuxent River.
Here's a view from the bridge down to where we are walking around Solomon's Island.
Flat Stanley is counting sea gulls. There is one on just about every piling out there.
We stopped for lunch at this restaurant and Flat Stanley just about became a meal himself.
Don't worry - he escaped and is safe.
We also had time to look around the pier that evening right at sunset.
We weren't the only ones enjoying the sunset.
Mike, Lauren, Spencer, and Beth enjoyed a Maryland Seafood dinner. Yummy!
After dinner, it was time to pack up and get ready for our trip back to West Virginia.
We have a few more interesting spots for Flat Stanley to visit on the way home.
Back to West Virginia
Our first stop in West Virginia was at Harper's Ferry.
It is located at the far eastern tip of West Virginia, just an hour from Washington, D.C.
Harper's Ferry is famous for being the location of John Brown's famous raid in 1859 to try to arm the slaves who were rebelling.
Unfortunately, he was caught and hanged.
Read more about John Brown's Raid: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Brown's_raid_on_Harpers_Ferry
Thomas Jefferson Rock overlooks Harper's Ferry.
It is located on the Appalachian Trail just on the south end of town.
It overlooks the Shenandoah River and the Potomac River.
A little bit of history on Jefferson Rock.
Harper's Ferry is also known as the mid-point of the Appalachian Trail that goes 2,178 miles from Georgia to Maine.
Read more about the Appalachian Trail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appalachian_Trail
At Harper's Ferry, the Shenandoah River comes from the right and joins the
Potomac River from the left to go straight ahead and right through Washington, D.C.
Do you remember early on when Flat Stanley visited the Fairfax Stone? That little trickle of water grew into this river!
Beth and Flat Stanley are standing in West Virginia. Across the river to the right is Virginia. Across the river to the left is Maryland.
This fire engine house served as John Brown's "fort" during the attempted raid.
A little more history on John Brown's raid.
It is here in Harper's Ferry that Lewis and Clark were outfitted with guns for their westward expedition.
Flat Stanley picked up a few pamphlets on the Appalachian Trail and Harper's Ferry.
They had an official stamp he used on each of them.
Our next stop was just 30 minutes away in Shepherdstown WV. It is called the oldest city in West Virginia.
Shepherdstown is famous for the State Teachers College, where many of the state's teachers were educated and trained.
Flat Stanley made a souvenir West Virginia penny on this stamping machine.
Our next stop was Berkeley Springs WV.
It is famous for its warm springs that people come to soak in. It was a popular vacation spot for George Washington.
Some history on the springs.
Flat Stanley got to stick his toes in George Washington's bathtub!
This is the original Lord Fairfax Spring where much of the warm water comes up from underground.
The water stays at a constant 74.3 degrees year round.
Our next stop is 30 minutes away at the little town of PawPaw WV.
Remember the pawpaw fruit at the beginning of the story? This town is named for the fruit, and they have a big festival every year.
On the way to PawPaw, we stopped at Prospect Peak for a scenic view.
From Prospect Peak, you can look across the Potomac River and see Maryland.
Things were pretty quiet in the little town of PawPaw.
After a short walk, we were back in the car and heading to our last destination - Cooper's Rock!
Located just 20 minutes from Morgantown, Cooper's Rock is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
There are great overlooks and lots of hiking trails.
Beth and Flat Stanley enjoy the view from one of the overlooks.
After seeing several of these signs, we decided not to hike.
Can you guess who's picture that is on the sign?
Backwards, it is spelled ekanselttar.
Quite often, there is nobody else there and I have the rock all to myself.
Look very closely - you can see the overlook railing below and the stars above.
My morning starts out with a couple of hours enjoying the sunrise from the comfort of my folding chair.
The day's first sunlight peeking through the trees by one of the overlooks.
Here is a map you can use for reference. It shows many of the places we visited.
We hope you enjoyed your trip with us and Flat Stanley. Glad you could join us!