Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The best place to learn about caves is...

... Well, inside a cave, of course!

My original plan was to visit the famous Luray Caverns during a trip through the picturesque Shenandoah Valley, but discovered another nearby option through an Internet search: Grand Caverns.

We left our hotel with a plan to arrive around when the attraction opened at 10am (9am during the summer months) and I'm glad we did. The "Grand Caverns" are located inside a state park, and I wish we had planned even more time to explore the park's trails and, if it had been summer, I would have enjoyed the bargain-priced public outdoor pool ($4 per person 3 and up).

The tour begins up a hill inside a small museum (dated, not flashy, but my crew of boys enjoyed it) then a knowledgable guide gathers any tour guests on the hour. Courtesy jackets were available for anyone who forgot one because it is a chilly 54 degrees under ground!

Our guided journey, just over an hour in length, went far beyond the "this is a stalactite" and "this is a stalagmite" speech that I was expecting. Our guide was perfect, but the caverns themselves are absolutely captivating.

She told stories of parties that people used to have in the caverns and shared tales of how parts were discovered.

I highly recommend Grand Caverns as a destination itself, or since it is only seven miles off I-81, this is a terrific place to stretch your legs for a couple hours while driving through Virginia.

Everyone in my car (except me, obviously, as the driver!) passed out after we got back in the car, and I had an afternoon of beautiful, rare silence while driving to he next destination... but that's another post!

(Loads of photos coming soon!)

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