A Quick Getaway Adventure

Last week, we packed up the car and headed north to Ohio for My Sweet Babboo to see a classic car show in Columbus. We have friends that live there, and his brother is also there, so we could see the show and do a bit of visiting too. It was fun to drive on the scenic byways rather than the interstates, this was Hwy 23 going through the North Carolina mountains, then a bit of Tennessee and Virginia, and a lot of Kentucky. The clouds were hanging low over the mountaintops this morning.

A bit later, more sun was coming out, but the clouds were still hugging the mountains.

We went to the Arthritis Foundation Charity Classic Car Show on a brutally hot day, so we spent the afternoon and evening watching music videos and discussing music in air conditioned comfort. After a couple of days of visiting, we left Ohio, and headed into Virginia, going through a bit of West Virginia and Maryland on the way. One of the interesting parts of that drive was the windmill farm on a ridge top. It was miles long, and this is only a small part. There was an overlook where you could look out over the valley, and these were just behind. The amazing thing is they were spinning at a nice rate, but there was absolutely no noise. They were silent. It was a bit mesmerizing to watch them. I like the use of alternative and clean ways to make energy, with no waste.

Arriving in Luray, Virginia, we checked into a charming roadside motel. Lots of flowers in hanging baskets, with a bed of ivy in front of our room. In front of the next row of rooms, there was a riot of color with black eyed susans and hydrangeas. I found something fun here, and I’ll show you that on Sunday.

My Sweet Babboo knows that I like a gourmet meal, so he made us reservations at the Moonshadows Restaurant, in this charming Victorian house. Wood floors, lovely architecture inside with outdoor and indoor tables. It was hot and humid, so we opted for a booth inside.

I ordered two appetizers, and got way more food than I expected! The left is a Caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil and two drizzles. One was an herb oil coulis, and the other was a balsamic reduction. On the right, Thai Shrimp Rolls made of rice paper wrappers filled with shrimp, lettuce, bean thread noodles, carrot and fresh basil. It had a ginger soy dipping sauce and was set on a bed of fresh spinach. Oh my, it was delicious! But I had to get a box to take most of the salad with me as I couldn’t eat it all. We had the rest of the salad as a light snack picnic the next day on the drive.

We went to the Luray Caverns the next day, a national landmark and incredible natural wonder.

It takes 120 years for a stalactite to grow one inch. Those are the ones hanging from the ceiling. The colors were surprising, lots of shades of brown, cream and white.

The walk through is one and a quarter miles of room after room of fabulous formations. This one is a column called Pluto’s Ghost. Columns form when a stalactite meets the corresponding stalagmite below. Then they grow larger. How old must this one be!

This was a spectacular vista. The amazing thing is that there is a very shallow lake here, just a few inches deep. In the middle of the photo on the left, you can see a bit of rock that looks a little like a beach. The water is absolutely still, and all the features you see on the bottom are reflections from the top. If you look at the top, then the same area below, you’ll see it.

This was the Giant’s Hall, it was huge. While we were here, we heard some music, very soft and ethereal. In another room we saw the keyboard for the Great Stalacpipe Organ. That story is really fascinating, and you can read about it on that link if you are interested.

In another room, the formations looked like folded bolts of fabric.

More amazing formations with a green color, made by algae.

After our morning in the caverns, we visited the Transportation Museum next door. Cars from the late 1800s up to the 1930s were arranged in date order.

There were several dozen cars in pristine condition, fun to see.

There was a garden maze there too, but we figured it would take too long, and it was getting hot and humid again. So, we hit the road again to drive Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains. My Sweet Babboo wanted to drive the entire 105 mile length, so we did. We stopped at several overlooks for pictures of beautiful mountains. We were delighted to get in for free with our Lifetime Senior Park Pass, worth every penny. That little beauty has paid for itself and more.

Another overlook showed more mountains. We stopped at a few overlooking the Shenandoah valley as well, but the flat land didn’t show well in the pictures.

Marys Tunnel was a marvel in its construction. The parkway is built on a shelf excavated along the sides of the mountain ridge. But this mountain would have made an unsightly view from other vantage points so the engineers decided to tunnel through. It only took three months to complete in 1932, and it’s uniqueness brought visitors to the park. So much so it became the first national park to reach one million visitors.

We saw several deer while we were in the park. This one didn’t seem to be too concerned about us, as we slowed down for a photo. We also saw a woodchuck off in the grass on the side of the road in another spot.

Near the end of the drive, one more overlook had a blue haze in the valley.

Getting late in the day, we got to the end of Skyline Drive and headed to the hotel. The south end of Skyline Drive meets the north end of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. We did the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway on a vacation a few years ago.

The next day we spent the morning at the Appomattox Court House National Park. The history of the area is so important to our nation, as the Civil War ended there. The story of that day is fascinating, and I might do a post on it later. I loved seeing all the antiques and reading the plaques placed around several buildings, preserved just as they had been in 1865.

Have you taken any fun trips this summer?

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33 thoughts on “A Quick Getaway Adventure

  1. Mary Stori

    Wow….what a terrific family, site seeing, gourmet, & educational trip you had…..Happy you had to chance to get away and enjoy this beautiful country!

  2. I was in Harrisonburg last week! Sorry you missed the Virginia Quilt Museum. A small, but very high quality Museum dedicated to preserving historical Virginia made quilts. A treasure! Next time!

  3. Brenda @ Songbird Designs

    What an interesting and fun trip!! I would love to see those formations and hear that organ!

  4. Sandra Clark

    I love looking at the photographs of the interesting places that you go here in America, so thank you for sharing those.
    I do want to point out something that something that you may not know about Wind turbine farms and that is that to manufacture a single turbine requires “260 tones of steel requiring 170 tonnes of coking coal and 300 tonnes of iron ore” which means that if it is situated in a good location it takes 3 years to replace the energy used to build it.; if situated in a poor location, it may NEVER recoup that energy cost (from an article by Charlie Deist at Mises.org entitled Why a Green New Deal is More Expensive Than Biden Realizes). Also, as the ice storm in February demonstrated, wind turbines are very unreliable, especially compared to natural gas… because wind is not something you can rely on.
    Also, although cavern tour guides and other evolutionists claim that it takes 130 years for a stalactites to grow 1″, that it not true, or at least not ALWAYS true. Outside Austin Texas Is Inner Space Caverns which was discovered in the 1960’s when they were drilling in preparation for building the major highway I-35. During the tour of this cavern, you eventually get to the large open area called The Cathedral where an abundance of stalactites hang from the ceiling. The tour guide points out the perfectly round holes in the ceiling where engineers drilled 60 years ago. There is a ring of stalactites immediately surrounding each hole ( a ring of them like an O , versus random scattering) and they were several inches long when I visited in 2001. So they obviously grew several inches in just 45 years. The rate of growth depends on rainfall, soil, minerals and other factors.

    1. Wind and solar have to be a part of the plan going forward. How long does it take to recoup the cost of building a nuclear plant or oil burning plant? Three years doesn’t seem like a big deal, nor a good factor to consider. What are the costs to our environment by continuing to pour pollution into our air in terms of damage as well as medical costs for those exposed on a daily basis to the toxic air? Apparently, Texas chose not to winterize their turbines, yet they failed at a lower rate than the other sources of energy. No one in that area ever thought that there would be a freeze to that extent in such a hot state. Plus, Texas has chosen not to be a part of the overall power grid, so they couldn’t get power from other states willing to help. We are going to have to have a multi-pronged approach to our planet’s needs and our energy needs. No one energy source is the answer, it has to be a blend of different approaches.

  5. Mary Ed Williams

    My old stomping grounds! I went to school in Harrisonburg and walked all over those mountains for years. Your pictures brought back lots of memories. Thanks for them! Did you go to Maybry’s Mill on the Skyline Drive just outside of Roanoke? Delicious food. And Floyd, the in place to live these days. We wouldn’t have been caught dead there when I was growing up. Too many hicks!

  6. karenfae

    I have seen some of the places you have and took the long drive as well the whole 100+ of the park. We have the free pass too. I love touring caves at this time of the year when it is so hot outside. Thai Shrimp rolls are a favorite and it has been forever since I had any! It sounds like you had a nice get away – we all need that sometimes don’t we. The noise of the windmills is much more noticeable when you are quite close to them – the noise is hard to describe – I think people are either for or against for various reasons – they do not bother me

  7. Gretchen Romanelli

    Your post brought back memories of a trip into Shenandoah and Luray Caverns in the mid 80s. We stayed 5 days in the park and were awakened by the sound of bucks fighting below our second floor window during the fall season. It happened almost every night.
    Amazing scenery and small hikes to natural attractions. And visits to small towns on the scenic route. My favorite way to explore.

  8. Phyllis Smith

    Goof morning, My oh my did you ever bring back some memories this morning . Back in the mid 70’s we took a vacation and our 2 boys were pretty young and we went to the Luray Caverns And the youngest decided he was not going to be carried and he walked the whole cavern. Seems like they had amunition stored in one of the caves and there were fish that were blind because there wasn’t any light back in the civil war. There was another area where they found they could play music on the formation from the top and floor, did they still have that? I Remember buying a recording of the sound and it was marvelous to hear. It was quite an experience to see the caves and we went thru the antique car museum as well, a great place to visit and the ride on the back roads are always so much prettier than the interstate roads, they are there only to get places faster but one misses out on the beautiful country side views. I miss the vacations we went on as a family and enjoyed so much when we were a young family. Bye for now, Phyllis

  9. Patty Brenner

    What a lovely trip, and it brought back memories to me as well 🙂 My family did a big trip from Texas to the east coast in 1981, we drove Skyline drive for part of it. That was the first time in my life (I was 21 at the time) that I saw a bear in the wild (a small one thank goodness). My dad was in the CCC as a young man, and worked on building fire breaks in the Blue Ridge mountains. He told us lots of stories as we drove in that area. Not much vacation travel for us this year due to work requirements, but I do travel back and forth from our Texas home (my job is in Texas, though I work remotely) to Arizona where my husband works. It’s been a relatively wet summer for us in both places, so the roadways are still a beautiful green. I keep repeating myself, lol, but thank you for the vicarious vacation and good memories.

  10. I love road trips and yours just sounds so delightful. The Shenandoah National Park has been on my bucket list for quite some time. I love your pictures and insights. Thanks for sharing.

  11. What a lovely road trip you took. My hubby loves a car show and has talked about one in Ohio in the past. We “used to” go to a big show in Carlisle PA, spend 3 days wandering around in the July heat. Just couldn’t do it “in a mask” as was the requirement in 2020/2021, so we skipped it. We have a hotel booked for 2022 however. Finger’s crossed. I love the “back road driving” instead of constantly having to be on interstate highways. Nothing I love better than slowing down to enjoy the view and stopping for the local sites. Gosh, went to Luray Caverns in the 1980’s…and I remember how much cooler it was “underground”. Interesting trip!! Glad you had a chance to get away!

  12. Joan Sheppard

    As a “flatlander” I love seeing your mountain trips. I have been there and just marvel at the shapes and flow of the scenery. We are also love caves and try to go to them what ever country we are in, but only the ones that have been lit, relatively clean, I’m kind of a chicken. Thanks for taking us along on your adventures!

  13. You had a wonderful trip away, enjoying (and sharing) beautiful scenery, a fabulous place to stay and a gourmet meal to top it off. Those caves are amazing, must have been so wonderful to see the formations. We have something similar here in New Zealand, just breathtaking. As for the wind produced power, once again, we also have some here. They certainly are quiet, but if you get right underneath, you can hear the swish swish of blades as they go round.

  14. Rita C.

    Cool. One of my vertical neighbors and an antique dealer friend both went to that show. Looks like you made some great side trips of the drive!

  15. That looks like a great trip, Carole, with interesting places and beautiful sights! Glad you were able to get out of town. We are going to the Oregon Coast in mid-September. We haven’t been anywhere in two years and I’m so looking forward to it (in spite of the continuing Covid worries). I’m just longing to be by the ocean!

  16. You had a wonderful trip, lovely views and interesting things to see, the caves are amazing. We haven’t been anywhere much as we have lockdown once again, #7. Hopefully once summer comes we can do some short trips away.

  17. Sherrill Szumik

    I visited the caverns in the early 90’s..from northern Alberta here..we weren’t able to take flash photos but it was amazing..I hope it is ok to photoshop yours as they are beautiful..I love taking trips with you ..your pics are always so well done

  18. Julie

    Thanks for another fun travelog. I don’t enjoy road trips in person but love going on yours! We have some wind farms in the hills near us. We went to the first one when it was new and parked for a while listening to the soft whirring of the blades. It’s mesmerizing.

  19. Well, I was loving this to the max anyway, with beautiful views and fabulous food (I love Caprese salad! Maybe this weekend!) But then you haad those caverns and the photos took my breath away. That had to be an almost profound experience to be within. The pond, the stalactites and stalagmites — I am simply agog. Beautifully photographed. And what a fabulous getaway.

  20. thedarlingdogwood

    So pretty! I’ve done the drive from NC to OH many times, but I typically take 77 pretty much the whole way. Your way looks much prettier!
    When you did the Blue Ridge Parkway several years ago, did you and your Baboo drive the whole thing? I really want to do that.

  21. Connie Bryant

    I love the pictures of the caverns! Thank you for sharing and providing info about them.:) I love going to different caves.

  22. Always love your road trips…… It’s great to see lots of different things, places….. The caves are amazing….. The car museum looks interesting….. It wonderful to see old vehicles restored and cared for….. And let’s not forget the views…..

  23. Angie

    Lovely pictures of your road trip! We were in your neck of the woods last month when we went to Greenville, SC and then up to Ashville, NC. We enjoyed a short stop in Hendersonville to see the art bears and the bee mural on our way to tour the Biltmore. The next day we drove the Tail of the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway and saw beautiful scenery and went through quite the rainstorm. My husband has dreamed of doing that drive for years! Ironically, the rental vehicle we were given was a full-size 4 door pickup, so the drive wasn’t as exciting as it could have been in a sports car , but it was still very enjoyable. Thank you for sharing your portion of this beautiful earth we live on with the rest of us. Just as a side note, my husband is an electrical engineer at a hydropower dam on the Columbia River here in WA state and we think that’s an even better green energy and water is more consistent than wind in our area, even though they’ve put wind farms in up here as well.

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