Many wonderful trips are devoted to gourmet food, striking architecture, beautiful interiors, and charming cafés. This was not one of those trips. This was a trip of big mountains, big sky, grab-and-go barbecue, and highway motels.
Rolan and I both felt like we’d been spending a little too much time in the great indoors as of late, so when we had another weekend together in Virginia, we decided to head to Shenandoah National Park, only two hours’ drive from Washington, D.C.
One of Shenandoah’s main attractions is Skyline Drive, a road that carries you across the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains, providing you with an extravagance of stunning vistas all along the way.
We turned into the park and were quickly rewarded with sweeping mountain views.
We then ascended into the clouds, and strolled through a misty, magical forest plucked straight from a fairy tale.
We played around at one of the lookout points. And I pretended I wasn’t cold for the following photo:
Then, we descended from our mountaintop and entered the Luray Caverns. If fairies live in the misty forest, then this is where the goblins must be.
The caverns contain a large body of perfectly still water called Dream Lake, which reflects the stalactites above to kaleidoscopic effect.
Unlike the bat caves we explored in Guatemala, these caverns had no animals or insects, and the pathways were paved, making them accessible for people of all ages and dispositions.
Once out of the caverns, we rode back up to Skyline Drive for a breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains at sunset, followed by a stargazing tour at Big Meadows Lodge.
The next day, we drove into George Washington National Forest. We perched ourselves at Raven’s Roost Overlook and enjoyed the sun, strong breeze, and, of course, more spectacular mountain views.
We then drove down from the mountain peaks to Crabtree Falls. After a lot of car “hiking,” we were excited to get our bones moving, climbing to the top of the waterfall and back. The trails were full of happy families and muddy puppies, and the falls provided a deliciously cool breeze.
All too soon, it was time to head back home. We hopped on the interstate, from which we watched many mountainside towns roll by.
Because the sun was still in the sky, we decided to squeeze one last stop into our trip, of course, and we took a detour to Alexandria, Virginia, for dinner and an evening stroll. I guess we couldn’t quite manage a trip without some beautiful architecture!
All in all, we had a wonderful, whirlwind weekend that allowed us to get to know this beautiful region even better and provided us with a welcome dose of fresh air.