April 09, 2014

A Day in Shenandoah Valley

Lady Hiva and I had a few extra hours today so we decided to cross a few more items from our list of “Things to do before leaving the States again.” Today’s day trip was Shenandoah Valley!

Shenandoah Valley is a green, lush collection of farming communities just south west of Washington, DC. It is a favorite place for hikers, bikers and campers and is steeped in history from early settlers from England to some of the United States’ most formidable wars.

Driving through parts of the Valley you truly feel like you stepped back into time—a simpler time. People are friendly and live in modest houses surrounded by acres of grass and several grazing animals. Even when Spring hasn’t fully arrived it is a beautiful place.

We began our excursion at Green Valley Book Fair. Now, Green Valley Book Fair was introduced to us by our friends from Hawaii who wanted to go but with the Fair’s odd  opening and closing schedule—they are open for three weeks then closed for a few months before opening again—they were unable to go. Luckily, they are open in these three weeks so we were able to go.

It is a book lovers paradise! There are two huge warehouse/barn type buildings (in the middle of no-where) jam packed with discount books and other school supplies. We could have wandered around there for hours! There are so many books to read I wish I had time to read them all. Their selection ranged from children’s books to biographies and everything in between.

I would say that you need to go with the same mentality you have when you shop at Ross or Marshalls. You go in with an idea of what you want and then you are flexible because the selection varies. But I guess if you want discounts, that is what you need to do! We left with three bags full of books and could have bought more. The most expensive book was $4USD and the average for a book was about $1.75. You cannot get better than that!

Next we went to Luray, VA to see the famous Luray Caverns! They looked exactly as I remember them from when I was a kid. Which is likely considering the stalactites and stalagmites only grow an inch every 125 years! Talk about patience.

Being 150 feet below the surface is a bit daunting for someone with claustrophobia, but the caverns were so open and cool it didn’t bother me at all. Our little Lucky Dragon liked trying out his new form of communication—growling (like a Dragon of course!)—and the echoes kept him entertained!

It was impressive to see what nature creates. Although leave it to Lady Hiva and I to think about things like, what we do if we were down here in an earthquake? Thanks to all the training work gives us I already knew the trail went in a big circle back to the entrance, it was about 50 degrees so we wouldn’t freeze, the obnoxious teenager had reception because she kept getting texts and would act ashamed when the chime sounded (yet never turned it off) and the only person with a flashlight was the tour guide. (at least after our cell phone batteries died). Hmm…a bit over kill I know. It was all subconscious too.. and thankfully, nothing happened though! HAHA

There is a big organ that plays in one of the large cavern rooms. A guy from the DC area took little hammer/tapping devices and attached them to the stalactites to create different noises like a pipe organ! It was amazing. 

Outside they have several museums you can go to. One is a car museum and it is really fun to see the evolution from carts and wagons to cars. Although both Lady and I found the mannequins a bit creepy.  Another museum is a toy museum and Tah'aho love the trains.
Lady posing as the modern mother with a baby carriage next to the 1910 mother and carriage

SO if you are looking for a day trip out of the city, Shenandoah Valley is not too far away and there is plenty more to do than what we did today!

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