Travel Diary: Western Virginia
It seems like many people end up hating the state in which they grew up, but the older I get, the more I realize Virginia is not a bad place to live at all. There are always new restaurants popping up, events and festivals to go to, and places like mountains and beaches within the state to travel to. Virginia is also right in between the north and the south, so we get the best of both world here.
Since my brother and I were kids, my mom had always wanted to take a trip to the western part of the state, but for some reason we never did as children. Recently, we decided we would do it together as adults- Luray Caverns, Skyline Drive, and the Natural Bridge. We didn’t make it to the latter, but that didn’t make the experience any less beautiful and enjoyable.
Registered as a national natural landmark, Luray Caverns is the largest and most popular cavern in Eastern America. After 25 years in Virginia, we finally got around to seeing it. 4 million centuries in the making, it really is a wonder to see. There’s a pretty steep entry fee of around thirty dollars for an hour to an hour and a half guided tour where they explain the history of the caves and the types of formations you’re looking at. It’s now more accessible with ramps rather than stairs and it’s pretty cool, so it’s definitely something to do over the summer where you don’t have to be in the heat.
Skyline Drive is a 105-mile drive through Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains. We only did about 40 miles of the drive, but even in that distance there are several lookouts where you can stop to look across the park and take pictures. Of course there are hiking trails and picnic areas to take advantage of, but we were just there for the view, so here are some of the pictures I captured.
Goochland Drive-In Theater
This theater is not as far out as the other locations i’ve mentioned here, but I had a really good time here. It’s hard to believe that drive-in theaters were the most popular way to go see a movie at one point. Goochland’s theater does a great job of making it as close to the authentic experience as possible, the only thing modern being the actual movie being shown. They show old commercials, play old music, and serve traditional concession stand food and snacks. I saw Spider-Man: Far From Home, so they showed original Spider Man commercials as previews for the new movie. The movie season runs from March to November, it’s about $9 per person to enter, and nothing on the food menu is over $5, so it’s a great, fairly cheap family outing.