bridge at antietam national battlefield

Day 55 – Maryland Panhandle

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Day 55 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

How about waking up to this sunrise every day?  At least I got to for a day.  Not only did I see a beautiful sunrise, but also I enjoyed homemade cranberry scones for breakfast! Katherine is quite the cook.  Just watching her, I learned a few tricks to try a year from now when I have an oven again. It was a lovely start to the day that has me riding a horse and the exploring the Maryland panhandle.

The Barn

After a warm pastry and hot cup of coffee, we headed to the barn.  I mounted Lucca, Katherine’s eight year old show hunter while Katherine and Barb, the barn owner, rode fox hunters.  We squeezed between pine trees, trotted along the fence line, and cantered across the field next to the Shenandoah River.  The horses were feeling their oats in the cold weather which made for a few feisty moments.  Fortunately, I remained in the saddle!

Washington Monument State Park

After enjoying a heated house, good company, a home cooked meal, and a little football while sprawled on the couch, it was hard to return to VANilla. That said, it was time for me and the dogs to head northeast toward the Maryland panhandle. We made our first stop at the Washington Monument State Park.  While the Washington Monument in this state park certainly doesn’t mimic the likes of the one in Washington D.C., it does hold the distinction of being the first memorial ever built to honor the nation’s first president.

washington monument state park in the maryland panhandle

Virtually every villager in Boonesboro participated in building the monument during a July 4th celebration in 1827, 51 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.    The 34 foot tower, once used as a signal station for the Union Army during the Civil War, offers spectacular views of the surrounding valleys.  Today it served as an afternoon resting spot for a few birders watching birds of prey gliding overhead.

Antietam National Battlefield

From the Washington Monument (of Maryland), we continued east through the Maryland panhandle to Antietam National Battlefield.  How extraordinary!!  This site consists of numerous acres of fields, historic farmsteads, hiking trails through the battlefields, and monuments honoring fallen Civil War soldiers.  The monuments mostly honor the Union States as the Confederate States were so battered that it was difficult to raise the money to pay for such tributes.

The fences and stone walls have been reconstructed to portray the battlefield site.  In addition, canons have been placed where artillery was used to defend each side’s lines.  The barrels of the canons were from the Civil War, though the bases were added.  Six canon barrels submerged upside down in concrete were placed where generals died during the bloodiest one-day battle in American History.

antietam national battlefield fencing

Of nearly 100,000 soldiers engaged in battle, around 23,000 were killed, wounded, or missing on September 17, 1862.  One citizen, Clara Barton, heard of carnage and shortage of medical supplies on the news. She provided bandages and food on a neutral basis to the fallen soldiers. Clara Barton later went on to found the American Red Cross.

We arrived to Antietam in the late afternoon. As a result, the dogs and I took the short one mile walk Burnside Bridge, which was a site of one battle, and watched the sunset.  It’s hard to believe this peaceful park was once the site of so much fighting. A mile walk was not a long enough visit. We are visiting this park again tomorrow before continuing through the Maryland panhandle.  An interest in history is not required to be amazed by Antietam. ETB

Map of My Road Trip Across the USA

For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

6 thoughts on “Day 55 – Maryland Panhandle

  1. Katherine’s scones look delicious. Can’t wait to taste yours when you get back here. 🙂

    Your last photo on this page is awesome. I’m assuming it’s a sunset. It’s really incredible.

  2. Another fascinating historical post. Just loved it and what gorgeous horses. I bet that was a lot of fun.

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