Friday, July 18, 2014
Luray Caverns/Lurayn kaivokset
After we had left my sister's house, but while still in Virginia, we had another neat place to visit. We made plans to meet my sister and her family at Luray Caverns (in Virginia). None of us had ever been there, but we had heard good things, and did some quick research online, too.
The entrance fee was expensive ($24/person, children less), but we decided it was worth it. Around the cavern entrance there is plenty to do, and I think there was a cafe and a restaurant, also. There was bus parking, which we utilized in our Mothership. Behind the bus parking there were picnic tables.
We were there on a Saturday, which was a busy day to visit. No guided tours were offered, but at most important points there was a guide who would explain about the particular part of the cave system.
I decided the self-guided tour was good, as it allowed me to stop and fiddle with my camera settings as I tried to figure out how to take photos in the dimly lit caves.
The caverns really were spectacular.
The caves were discovered in 1878 by six men. I cannot imagine what it had been like for them to enter in with with their candles, and see what they saw... From Luray Caverns website:
"Cold air rushing out of a limestone sinkhole atop a big hill west of Luray, Virginia, blew out a candle held by Andrew Campbell, the town tinsmith, on the morning of August 13, 1878. So began the discovery of Luray Caverns.
Campbell, three other men, and his 13-year-old nephew, Quint, were exploring the area, looking for a cave. With the help of local photographer Benton Stebbins, the men dug away loose rocks for four hours before, candle in hand, Campbell and Quint slid down a rope into the cave. They could scarcely believe what they saw. The party had discovered the largest series of caverns in the East, an eerie world of stalactites and stalagmites seen by the light of a candle."
We saw Dream Lake, Titania's Veil, the Totem Poles, Pluto's Ghost, the Great Stalacpipe Organ, and much more. The organ was very cool, and the sound eerie and quiet, but I have to admit I didn't recognize the the tune of Mighty Fortress Is Our God (a hymn I do love).
Dream Lake was probably my favorite part. The mirrored reflection of the stalactites hanging from the ceiling was so beautiful. The deepest part of the lake is only 18-20 inches! (Photos earlier in blog post - we are still traveling, with very limited internet, so blogging is a bit painful.)
At the wishing well all the pennies had dyed the water green. It looked so pretty with all the sparkling coins in the water! Every year all the money is collected and given to charity. For example, in 2010 alone, $144, 194.00 was given to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Shenandoah Agency on Aging.
We all really enjoyed our descend to the dim, cool caverns underground. Below-ground temperatures hover around 54 degrees with high humidity, so caverns are the perfect attraction any time of the year. It took us about an hour to walk through the cavern, and the paved, lit pathways are about 1.25 miles long. You can even bring a stroller, although you'd need to carry the stroller on the stairs down and up.
Our tickets included admission also to the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum, which featured over 140 items relating to transportation including cars, carriages and coaches dating from the 1725's.
(The Captain and the boys enjoyed it, I rushed off to make sandwiches for dinner in the Mothership.)
Shenandoah Valley has a lot to do and see. My sister's family stayed for the night and drive on the scenic Skyline Drive. They had really enjoyed it. We had to keep driving, as we had a Monday morning appointment at the Jackson Center Airstream Service Center in Ohio.
Ennen kuin lähdimme Virginiasta länteenpäin, pysähdyimme Lurayn kaivoksilla. Siskoni perheineen treffasi meidät siellä, ja kaikki yhdessä suuntasimme maan alle ihailemaan stalaktiitteja ja stalagmiitteja. Maananalaiset käytävät olivat päällystettyjä ja valaistuja. Ilma oli kostea ja viileä. Kaivokset oli löydetty vuonna 1878 (en voi kuvitellakaan kulkevani luolissa kynttilän kanssa, välillä pudotukset reittien lähellä oli huikeita!). Pääsylipun hinta oli korkea, mutta päätimme, että oli kyllä hintansa arvoinen kokemus. Samalla lipulla pääsi myös pieneen automuseoon. Upea pysäkki!