Ramble On

Monday, October 8, 2012

Visitors - and a Trip to Luray Caverns

The iconic bell tower at Luray Caverns, with Mary's Rock
in Shenandoah National Park in the background.
Last weekend our friends Kelly and Tom came out to Hawksbill Cabin for a visit – seven-year old daughter in tow.  The kinds of recreation we might have taken in during the old days aren’t available here, even if those were the choices we might have made for the weekend.  Fortunately, seven-year old Erin had come prepared with research.

A scene in the caverns - a small underground lake here.
High on her list were Luray Caverns, our most famous landmark here in Page County, and the corn maze up at Valley Star Farm, which I had sent along in a short list of things I thought might be fun to do.  To these we added a stop at Wisteria Vineyard for the “Music Under the Arbor” with Marcos Brown and the Sugartones, a trip to the Luray-Page Farmers Market to see some friends, and a cookout on Saturday night.

I have a few photos here of highlights in the Caverns, including one of Mary, Kelly and Erin with our tour guide Chad.  This may be the moment that Kelly asked if anyone had found the white sweater she lost during a school trip when she visited the Caverns in second grade, when she was seven.  Chad courteously directed her to the lost and found above ground. 

Getting our money's worth from tour guide Chad!
As far as the story of Luray Caverns goes, they were found in 1878 by some local farmers – there’s a little sign in the Caverns marking the spot where they first went underground.  The Wikipedia article on the Caverns offers a pretty colorful history on the development of the property as a commercial enterprise, but you can cut to the chase about modern day attractions on the website at www.luraycaverns.com .

We didn’t get to enjoy some of the other highlights there – including the museums that are included in the price of admission, or the two mazes that have been constructed on the grounds.  We’ll save them for another day.  

However, on Saturday, we had visited the corn maze and pumpkin patch at Valley Star Farm north of Luray. 

Another cavern scene, I think this formation
is called "The Fish Market."

Although Mary and I never go into the maze, the pumpkin patch is an annual stop for Mary and me, and we often bring visitors with us to this spot, which is as scenic as any here in the Valley.  Here’s a past post about one of our visits in 2008:  http://hawksbillcabin.blogspot.com/2008/09/valley-star-farm.html

Looking up at the caverns' ceiling, I found
the algae interesting.  Must grow due to the
combination of lighting and moisture.
Tom and Erin went into the corn maze, where there is something of a scavenger hunt set up for the kids to explore and learn about the farm.  When the scavenger hunt is over, the kids visit the little farm store to turn in a visitor card, earning the youngster a pumpkin from a special bin – followed by an ecstatic search for just the right one.

An unexpected theme of the weekend happened while we were at the pumpkin patch – seven year old Erin lost her sweater, just like Kelly did in that long ago school trip to Luray.  We searched all over for it, including the lost and found at the pumpkin patch.  

It’s gone to sweater heaven, maybe they’re even together now.

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