Hooray for Luray!
It's time to settle in with your beverage of choice and perhaps a snack- this is going to be a long one.... In a good way.
Let's start with a bit of back story- because it's never "A-B" with us. It's "K-M" via Z- see what I did there? K & M? Yeah, it's cheezy, but you have a smile on your face, so mission accomplished!
Okay backstory...As you have read in the previous post, we have visited this area of Virginia for the past 3 years- thank you, Mullet Family! On our way to and from Staunton we have seen the signs for Luray Caverns and have always wanted to stop and explore, but circumstances beyond our control did not allow us the time. Now, we can make time...so we did!
I'm not entirely sure where I should begin, we have had so much fun since arriving here, but I'm thinking we should start with what brought us here to begin with...Luray Caverns. We have over 200 pictures of the caverns, but I'm pretty sure of 2 things - 1) Uploading all of them would be akin to an "over-share" and 2) The pictures don't do it justice. In any case....here we go!
The story behind the discovery of this extremely huge cavern is well worth your time. One could be exploring here for hours on end. It's just so freekin' cool. And for anyone (besides Larissa- inside joke inserted here) it's truly something to behold. Seriously, most of "our people" are from NE, get your asses down here! Along with the caverns, we took a tour of the Automobile/Carriage museum, and had a go at the Maze, and after that we took a walk through the Shenandoah Heritage Village/Luray Valley Museum.
Please note the signage by the buildings, as they will give you a description of their original purpose, as well as the fact that they are the original buildings, that were moved to this location. History matters, we should all be remembering it, and learning from it, instead of trying to erase it- just sayin'.
THE SHENANDOAH HERITAGE VILLAGE:
CARRIAGE AND AUTO MUSEUM
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not entirely sure if the placards match the corresponding vehicles, but in any case it's still really cool.
Now just for fun we did this: THE GARDEN MAZE AT LURAY CAVERN
It was such fun cheating our way through this and of course we adopted a couple of groups of kids along the way, because we are grandparents and to any child below the height of 4 feet and/or the age of 3, we are like a magnet. They find us, we entertain them, and we are better for having had the experience-hopefully they are too! (For their privacy in this crazy world we opted to not take a victory photo with them).
So in case you haven't guessed by now, we decided to rent a car for a period of time while here. It's the first rental we have gotten since Sioux Falls. We couldn't resist since Tony from the local used car dealership gave us such a great deal, and also delivered and picked up and also gave us a day for free. I wanted to be offended when he kept calling me Ma'am, but I just couldn't object...they do things different in the "south" so I've discovered. What they do that is the same, is they too appreciate all things "local". Since we had a car, we took the opportunity to explore not only Luray, but a few of the surrounding towns and immerse ourselves in some of the high points
One of the high points of this visit is that it brought us back to a time in our lives when things were a bit less complicated. We drove by this place on the way to our campsite and didn't realize how special it really was. So for any of you born on or before 1970, I am quite certain that after checking out this stop, you will have had nothing but a delightful trip down memory lane....you're welcome... ;)
COOTER'S DUKES OF HAZARD MUSEUM
There are things that are "unique" to an area and there are things that are "local" to that same area. In my humble opinion the above that I've written about qualifies as "unique", what follows, for me is "local". While one is what gets tourists to visit, it's the other that brings those same tourists back! In other words, while I loved the caverns, I don't need to visit it again, but you can also bet that I will come back and stay at this campground and enjoy the following local venues that remind me of home.
First...let's check out the visitor's center. It triggered a soft spot in me because of the fact that it used to be a train station, just like Grandma Seymour's house used to be. When we walked in, there was a woman-not from Virginia, but once our dialogue began I heard her genuine love and affection for the community that she now resides in. Then there's Ollie Cat Cafe run by a couple (Shannon and Tim) from Florida. Now these are 2 places where alot of people visit to learn about the area or to enjoy the food and company in Virginia. The fact that these 2 places are represented by people that are not originally from here, speaks volumes about this area and the people who live here. It should make this community even more proud of itself than it already is. So when I say 'Hooray for Luray', I'm not only stealing that from their local brewery, I'm saying "well done!"
Below are photos from the Luray Visitor's Center. Inside they had this really great train model that took over 700 hours to create- a labor of love for the local train enthusiasts.
Next up are just little nuggets from some of our stops. The first 2 are from the local art gallery that we went to. Then of course the next 2 are from Shannon's and Tim's restaurant and the last 3 are from this really great cafe called Broad Porch Coffee Co that reminded us of Keene's local coffee shops. The last 8 are photos of the Trading Co. It's loaded with consignment items. The ones I have included are my favorites from a local artist that makes unique pieces from old tools and the like.
Copper Fox Distillery - Sperryville, VA
So we've covered the Whiskey, next up is Beer and Wine. On our way back from Cooter's we searched for winery and discovered this one on the way home. It's called Wisteria Winery and has new owners that have extended their outdoor seating garden, and also has Farm Fresh Eggs! I was almost as excited for the eggs as I was the wine - no joke! Okay- seriously there is no better egg than a farm fresh one, the ones from the grocery store are just not as good, just sayin'. If you think otherwise you are just doing it wrong!- Anyway, rant over. The wine was really tasty, the only downside was that they didn't have any reds available, but again, they had eggs, so ....yay!
While we had the car for only a week, the Brewery was where we visited most. We even went there to watch the Master's on the last Sunday we were there. They had a nice variety of beer and a very cool staff- one of which also works at the coffee shop we went to a couple of times. They also have a dry erase board where you can buy a beer (or beers) for someone else. We have only seen this one other time and that was in South Dakota. So we bought a beer for the Chiefs of Police and Fire depts. Apparently the Police chief is a regular. Anyway its a great local hangout and we enjoyed our time spent there.
HAWKSBILL BREWING CO.
Luray is a small town with much to offer. Granted, the hours of most businesses are odd times and odd days. I'm sure that's a seasonal thing, but one thing that is "open" year round is their spectacular 2 mile walking/biking path called The Hawksbill Greenway. We walked the bulk of this a couple of times and just thoroughly enjoyed it. It runs along the Hawksbill Creek where, during fishing season, you find loads of people drowning worms and at certain points they have spots set up for Handicap fishing. Such a cool and considerate feature that we had never seen before. there are also loads of murals and benches along the way, as well as 2 areas with porta potties- very convenient for woman of my age with tiny bladders and no gall bladder. (yeah, a bit of an over-share right there, but oh well).
THE HAWKSBILL GREENWAY
We truly enjoyed our time visiting the area in our rental. Now let me show you how easy it was to stay at camp. Our location was Spacious Skies Campground. They have updated some of their facilities, but even if they didn't they have the views that are just spectacular. Surrounded by 3 farms - including an alpaca/sheep farm and the Shenandoah mountains. Please bear in mind the pictures won't do it justice, but we are going to give it a go.
Only on a couple of occasions could you smell the not-so-fresh air. But this farm girl loved every bit- even the stinky bit.
STELLA AND FREDD:
These are just some highlights. At some point I'll be adding another post with Stella, Fredd and the other mascots we have been traveling with.
FOODIE BITS FROM CAMP:
Tuna steaks, poached fish and sauce (turned gravy), Ribs, and then there was the Hot Ones Challenge. Holy crap on a cracker!
This is a video of Mike eating the hottest sauce of season 17 of Hot Ones. It's called Apollo. I tried it and thought I was going to die. Mike went back for more...
AROUND THE CAMPGROUND:
This is just different shots from our walks around the campground. It really is a great place to stay.
Some of the most beautiful sunsets we have ever seen.
OUT WITH THE OLD-IN WITH THE NEW:
We started this bit of this process on December 20, 2021 and it took until March 27th before we could get our hands on these.
Had mixed emotions while this was happening. Relief that the process was over...finally! A little sad to see the end of and era. Mostly tho, I was really excited. It felt like while having SD license, but NH plates it was kind of like being in limbo. I can't explain it, but since this happened I think it's going to be easier to answer the question: Where are you from?
So, these South Dakotans are headed to NH to visit family and friends via a few more states and stops. Until next time...Be Well, Be Happy and Safe Travels!