Monday, April 30, 2012

A History Lesson

4/11 & 4/12/12
Harper's Ferry

Leaving Rising Sun, MD we headed west eventually catching up to US Hwy 340, following it all the way to the border crossing the Potomac River into Virginia, then about a mile later crossing the Shenandoah River into West Virginia.

Harpers Ferry has so much history starting way back in the mid 1700s.  I cannot give fully explain it here.  But if you go to you will be amazed at the history, people and stories.

This is short so you will be able to go to the Harpers Ferry web site

Safe travels to all
Joe and Nancy

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Still in Rising Sun

Part 3 of 3
Rising Sun, Maryland

About 50 miles away in York, PA is the Harley-Davidson Plant so off we went.  They had many motorcycles on display that you could sit on.  Pictures were not allowed on the tour.  The tour was spectacular, starting with a 10 min movie and then out on the floor.  The tour started at the very beginning of building the motorcycles where machines stamped out the fender from a square piece of metal.  At the end of the 90 min tour we observed the motor cycles being test driven and thoroughly check out then the motorcycles are loaded in a truck.  A great free tour I would highly recommend it even if you don't care about motorcycles.

There were about 8 or 9 motorcycles that you could sit on

 This is the one I want

Gas tanks 

Another tour that we went on was at Herr's potato chips and pretzels.  Again we were not able to take pictures.  A great tour and there is nothing better than a handful of warm chips right off the line.

Joe, Frannie and his brother waiting for the tour with their tickets

In the Amish communities there are some odd names of small villages

We were driving down the road and saw a sign that said Home Made Root Beer
Joe slammed on the brakes and started up this long driveway

In these double doors is the sales room along with many Amish items
There was no electric, an oil lamp was used inside the store
The root beer was really good

Cherry trees were everywhere

Joe's parents

Joe's brother

Ellen's gardens

We had a wonderful time visiting with Ellen, Frannie and family.  By the time we left I felt like I had known them for years.  We are really looking forward to visiting again next September.

Have a blessed day

Joe and Nancy

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Part 2 of 3

Joe and I drove around quite a bit visiting old familiar places.  One place was a bar that he frequented from time to time.  The story he gives is that he drank beer there from about age 16 or 17.  One time he was in there when home on leave from the Air Force and was given a beer as usual and Buck asked him how old he was, well at this time we was 21, but Buck didn't want to believe it.  The bar is still there, the original is still there but they have enlarged the bar and added on a restaurant in the back.  We went on in and Joe had a beer.  The person sitting next to us remembered a lot of the people that Joe knew back then.

Joe is sitting in the new part and looking at the original part

Bucks Place, est. 1937
Bucks is still owed by the family

Joe actually grew up in the town of Calvert.

This is the oak tree that stood in front of the elementary school that Joe went to
look hard, Joe at 6' is standing on the right side of the tree

Same tree but picture shows the old sidewalk that went to the front of his school

To the right of the school is the Brick Meeting House

This is the Brick Meeting House, the area on the right is where they added on to it.

City Hall and Police Dept in downtown Rising Sun

This is the house that Joe grew up in, it was built in about 1760
Indoor plumbing was added after Joe's parents bought the place when Joe was about 5 years old

Joe remembered how to get to his Conrad grandparents  house.  We drove up the driveway and there were some construction workers working on a new wing. The foreman was kind enough to take us around and actually in the basement where Joe's grandmother rendered down the remains of the hogs, this lard was then used throughout the year.
This is the back, the front has a new addition, it is made of stone and the walls are 18' and in the basement they were 20'  Don't know why the basement walls were thicker unless it was to be a sturdier footing
The two windows on the left are covered because of cement work

 Ellen and Joe

This is where the pigs were kept
on the right side was their outside pen
They also raised chickens, a few cows, a milk cow, goats and a hay field
and of course they had horses for buggy and for team to pull the plow

Barn, the door on the bottom goes into a full basement and paddocks for the current horses

Joe's grandfather, Harry Conrad built this barn in 1900.  The different owners have preserved these boards where Harry carved his name.  The year  1900 is to the left of his name, see next picture.
Harry was a carpenter, a very good one he built most of the barns in the area.

It's hard to see but this is the 1900

As we drove around Joe remembered more and more, we even found the house where his other grandparents lived, the Browns, Chalkley and Emma.  Joe is not aware of when this house was built

Maternal grandparents

Pigs were kept in here

New outbuildings have been added

As with most of these old houses they are made so you can add to them,
new part is on right.

Another family member we were able to visit with is Joe's niece, Mary Ann and husband Charlie.

That's it for now, have a blessed day

Joe and Nancy

My Favorite Sister-in-Law

Part 1 of 3

4/2 - 4/11/12
Rising Sun, Maryland

Another main destination for us was to visit Ellen and Frannie, Joe's sister and brother-in-law and we finally arrived spending 10 wonderful fun filled days.  It was a real treat for me because I got to meet family that I had only heard about.  They were always the mysterious family that I had heard of but never met.   Ellen and Frannie's whole family was there: Josh, Matt, Joe and wife Erin and Brian. Also with the loveable  four-legged balls of fur, Gordy and Maddy (and seven cats) and can't forget to mention the four horses. The only one missing was Valerie who had the excuse of basking in the warm sun of Hawaii for the last 6 months.

Cousin Betty and husband

Cousin Gale and husband, sister of Lynn in St Augustine, FL

Ellen and Frannie live in a beautiful big brick house on six acres just a few feet south of Pennsylvania with good walking areas where we could just let the dogs run loose.  We were lucky to have such a great place to stay

From left to right, Gordy, Buddy, Ellen and Maddy

 I don't remember the names of the horses 

This is Erin who is married to Ellen's son Joe

While there we visited Roots, an enormous Amish Market that is only open on Wednesday. The had every thing you could think of from clothing, furniture, veggies, meat, breads, chickens, rabbits, you name it they had it.  This covered about two acres not including the acre of parking lot.  It's a good thing we had Ellen with us we would have been lost for at least two days.  She knew exactly where to go and most importantly how to get to the bathrooms and then back to the car.

The countryside is just beautiful with rolling hills and manicured farms.  We are in the middle of Amish Country, You can always tell if it's an Amish farm; they are the best looking, there is wash hanging out on the line and usually no electric lines going to the house.


A team of six horses pulling a fertilizer wagon

Taken quickly out the truck window

More to come

Have a blessed day

Joe and Nancy