Thomas Shepherd Inn
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Room 2 - Thomas Shepherd Inn B&B in Shepherdstown West Virginia
Thomas Shepherd Inn
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Thomas Shepherd Inn
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History In and Around Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Shepherdstown and the surrounding area in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland have many sites that played important roles in colonial and civil war era history. Shepherdstown itself is the oldest town in West Virginia and will celebrate the 250th anniversary of its founding in 2012, having been officially chartered in 1862.

Shepherdstown

Entler Hotel and Museum and Historic Shepherdstown

The Museum at the Entler Hotel gives a nice overview of the history of the town; it's open Saturday and Sunday from April to October and during Christmas in Shepherdstown. Visit their website for more info. The Shepherdstown Visitors Center, located on the first floor of the Entler Hotel, has a self-guided walking tour brochure available for visitors (we have a few for borrowing here at the Inn).
The Entler hotel is notable for its Revolutionary War history - troops practiced drills here before setting off on the "Beeline March" to join General George Washington in Boston.

Civil War History - Antietam Battlefield, Harpers Ferry and Gettysburg

Battle of Shepherdstown

The battle of Shepherdstown, the most significant Civil War battle fought in what is now West Virginia, occurred at the ford across the Potomac known as Packhorse Ford, which is 1 mile downstream from Shepherdstown. Visit their website for more info.

Antietam Battlefield

Antietam Battlefield near Sharpsburg, MD is a quietly moving memorial to the bloodiest day in our nation's history; several special events happen there, like the luminary tour, over the course of the year. The Visitors Center there features a film about Lincoln's visit to Antietam shortly after the battle and a ranger-led overview of the battle from the Observation room. Park rangers lead tours of the significant spots near the Visitors Center, like Dunker Church, and a driving tour of the battlefield (on CD or cassette) takes you to Bloody Lane and the Burnside Bridge. Antietam is about 3.5 miles from Shepherdstown, near the small town of Sharpsburg, MD. Visit their website for more info.
Now you can tour Antietam Battlefield by horse and buggy - experience the battleground from a unique perspective (NPS approved). Hourly tours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; weekdays by appointment. Two adults - $90; three adults - $115. Call 1-304-876-1307 for reservations and information.

Harpers Ferry

Harpers Ferry, WV has wonderful vistas and a collection of small museums created within original buildings; visiting there is like stepping into the past. Park at the Visitors Center just off Route 340 and take the shuttle into town to visit the John Brown Wax Museum and the historic Arsenal. Living historians are often strolling the town to point out historic sites and answer any questions you might have about what life was like during the Civil War. Harpers Ferry is about 9 miles from Shepherdstown, near the border with Virginia and Maryland. Visit their website for more info.
Ghost Tours and the O' Be JoyFull musical entertainment tours are top-rated attractions in Harpers Ferry, and loads of fun. Visit their website for more info.
The Court House where John Brown stood trial and was sentenced to hang is in Charles Town, WV, just a few miles from Harpers Ferry and about 9 miles from Shepherdstown.

Gettysburg

It is surprisingly easy to visit three significant Civil War battlefields while staying in Shepherdstown, as Gettysburg, PA is only about 75 minutes away. The bloodiest battle in Civil War history (51,000 casualties over three days) and the site of Abraham Lincoln's most speech, the Gettysburg Address, the bustling town in PA stands in contrast to the quiet cornfields of Antietam. Gettysburg is about 70 miles from Shepherdstown in Pennsylvania. Visit their website for more info.
Should you decide to stay overnight in Gettysburg, may we suggest The Doubleday Inn, the only B&B on the battlefield proper. Tell Christine and Todd we sent you! Visit their website for more info.

Colonial History

Rumsey Boat House and Rumsey Monument

James Rumsey, a compatriot of George Washington, took the first steamboat out on the Potomac River near Shepherdstown in 1787, well before Robert Fulton's steamboat took to the water. A half-scale replica of his boat resides in the Rumsey Boat House behind the Entler Museum and a monument to Rumsey stands on the bluffs above the Potomac River just off Mill Street. Visit their website for more info.

Washington Heritage Trail

The Washington family, including George and his brother Charles (for whom Charles Town is named) spent many years in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia while it was still part of Virginia. The Washington Heritage Trail, which meanders around all three counties in the Eastern Panhandle, explores the natural and cultural history of 18th century towns, 19th century industrial sites, Washington family homes, springs, rivers and mountain ranges located along its 136 scenic miles. Visit their website for more info.

Guided History Tours

Several excellent tour guides are available for personal guided tours of Antietam, Harpers Ferry, South Mountain and Shepherdstown. Here is the contact information for some of the local guides:
  • Bob Murphy - murphyrm124@comcast.net, phone (301) 491-0002
  • William Sagle - williamsagle@aol.com, phone (301) 432-2779
  • Jim Surkamp - Visit his website or email at jsurkamp@gmail.com
300 W. German Street, Shepherdstown, WV 25443