The best part of living in the DC Metro area is that there are endless possibilities for day trips. Even on a sleepy Sunday my husband and I were able to embark on an adventure and make our way back home before dark. We considered going to one of the many waterfalls in the area but then read to expect 45 minute delays once we got to the entrance of the park. My husband cheerfully chirped that we should check out Luray Caverns, so we did. The Shenandoah area is one of my absolute favorites. I spent a lot of time in the area as a child but it’s been quite a while since I’ve been there to explore. We approached the gates and I was surprised at how massive the building was, much bigger than I remembered. It was a busy day and the helpful staff was able to get out through the line very quickly and into the cavern even though it was an extremely busy day. Once we were down there, I was so glad we made the trip!
There were stalactites, stalagmites and pools of water. Everything was gently lit. The cavern is over 60 acres but due to flooding in a portion we were only able to see about 40 acres worth. Helpful guides are posted along the way to give little tidbits of information about the formations, history, and trivia. As we continued on, we came to my favorite area of the cavern, the Cathedral. There is a stalactite organ that was placed there in the 50s. Although, I’m still not quite sure how these magical, angelic sounds are produced by the stalactites. It sure was incredibly beautiful. Take a listen below:
I can guarantee it sounds more robust in person bouncing from rock feature to the floor and back again.
I don’t want to spoil all of the surprises that wait for you there but be sure to bring a few lucky pennies for their wishing well. All proceeds are donated every January to a local non-profit. To date, they have donated over $1 million dollars! They rock! ( Yes, that pun was intended, bazinga!)
The one thing I wish I had considered for the cavern exploration was wearing closed toed supportive shoes. They say to wear comfortable shoes and I can walk long trails in my comfy sandals but within the cavern there were areas that were damp, puddled, and very slick– let’s be honest, my mama didn’t name me Grace for a reason. I would recommend a good supportive tennis/athletic shoe or boot.
After all the excitement of the cavern we were starving. A quick Google led us to 55 E Main Brew House and Grill. At a distance less than 2 miles out from the caverns with vegetarian options we were off to munch. The eclectic space with a high ceiling and hip decor welcomed us in. It’s fast casual rather than table service which is fine for us especially on a low fuss day. Once our burrito bowls were assembled we decided to head to the bar downstairs. They do beer and cider but not liquor which is understandable especially with the hours they keep. I opted for the Brooklyn Brown. If you love Newcastle, the Brooklyn Brown is the one you wanna go after. My hubby went for the Bourbon Barrel Stout. The stout was excellent as well. They really do a great job with choosing the beer on tap. Additionally, we were informed that sometimes they have BBQ made in house as well as mac and cheese and a few other Southern comforts. My husband said that the BBQ was some of the best he had. This place has a laid back vibe, good cheap eats, and an incredibly friendly staff.
On the way out, we took a gander at the Luray Singing Tower. Unfortunately, we weren’t staying long enough for one of it’s many summer performances but we will have to come back to hear the carillion play. It certainly would be something I could recommend because only a few of these unique instruments exist in the world.
All and all it was a great day trip for the DC area. I had a blast exploring our backyard. I can’t wait to return to this area, perhaps for the fall for a trip to Skyline Drive or some of the local National and State Parks.
Do you know of something incredible to do in this area that I’m missing out on? Do you know of other awesome caves or day trips in the DMV? Shoot me a comment. And of course, thank you for wandering with me!