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.
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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