I’m not leaving for a week, but timing of other posts mandates that this one go up a tad early. In any event, it is time for my annual driving trip with my father, and I am – as always – excited! This year we are headed to coal country to see the fall colors, to explore some history, and in general to attempt to understand a part of the country I know little about.

We will be starting at my dad’s home outside of Cincinnati and heading to West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania before heading back. Here is our rough itinerary as it currently stands.

Day One – Cincinnati to Charleston, WV

We will drive up the Ohio River and then turn east into West Virginia, making our way to the state capital.

Day Two – New River Gorge and Beckley

New River Gorge supposedly has some of the most amazing scenery, especially in fall, so we are off on a day trip to check it out. We will also stop at Beckley to hopefully tour a coal mine.

Day Three – Charleston

Why and how did West Virginia split from Virginia? Today we find out as we explore the state museum and capital.

Day Four – Blackwater Falls

Perhaps West Virginia’s most known natural sight, I will get to experience it for the first time!

Day Five – Head to Virginia

More pretty drives await as we leave West Virginia and head into Virginia.

Day Six – Shenandoah National Park

Long and narrow, Shenandoah will be my 36th National Park out of the current 60. Still a long way to go!

Day Seven – Harpers Ferry and Antietam

The history portion of the trip begins. We stop at Harpers Ferry, site of John Brown’s famous raid that is thought to be one of the triggers of the Civil War, and then into Maryland to the battlefield of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American military history.

Day Eight – Gettysburg

Ever since we visited Shiloh last year, we have wanted to get to Gettysburg. I can only imagine the power of visiting this place.

Day Nine – Gettysburg to Pittsburgh

First off, what’s up with one having an h and one not? Anyway, the highlight of the day is a bucket list item for me: Frank Lloyd Wright’s FallingWater.

Day Ten – Pittsburgh

Steel City, here I come! I’ve never been before, so I am open to suggestions.

Day Eleven – Back to Cincinnati

And the end to another hopefully awesome trip.

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