Fantastic caverns and old cars! Gateway to Shenandoah NP.
A great place to enjoy nature and relax!
This is the most famous cave in the Shenandoah Valley. Guided tours depart regularly all day. The rock formations are some of the most impressive that I've ever seen. Of particular interest is the Stalacpipe Organ. Using the cavern itself to produce music, this is the world's largest musical instrument. It was invented in 1954 by Leland W....more
I was a bit surprised to see a maze in quite many popular tourist places in the USA - for example in Williamsburg, Virginia. The function of these places is surely to attract kids and seeing kids running and shouting like crazy it worked quite efficient :-). The trees of Thuja occidendalis (called American Arborvitae in the USA) creating a one-half...more
The Luray Caverns advertise as a home to the world's largest musical instrument - the Great Stalacpipe Organ. It's a keyboard instrument that works by tapping stalactites of varying sizes with rubber-tipped mallets which are attached to solenoids in order to produce tones. It was invented by Virginian mathematician and electronic scientist at the...more
My ticket to Luray Caverns (it cost $19) included self-guided tour to the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum located in relatively small, seperate building. To my surprise there are over 100 cars, carriages and coaches dating back to 1725 in the museum. It's a real paradise for every fan of old cars. Let me introduce some highlights of the museum in the...more
Benz from 1892 is one of the oldest automobiles on display in the USA and top highlight of the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum. It was one of the very first cars produced in any quantity for resale. It has single cylinder, water-cooled, gasoline engine of 5 horse power and referring to the information given in the museum the automobile is still in...more
Orient Auto from 1903 is the oldest American car on display in the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum. This unique automobile was built almost entirely of hickory wood in the Waltham Manufacturing Company in Massachussets (museum now). It was the first car owned by Ralph De Palma, the famous race driver. These cars were used for postal delivery. Single...more
For 70 years, the Mimslyn Inn has been delighting its visitors with the grandeur of its colonial...more
1005 East Main Street, (formerly Best Value Inn), Luray, Virginia, 22835, United States
Good for: Business
This hotel was a nightmare. The rooms were awefull they smelled of musk mold. Carpet very dirty . No...more
Service: My second day in town, they already knew to begin fixing my triple espresso the moment I walked in; Food: From salads to subs...very good, much better than you'd expect from a coffeehouse. Ambiance: Granted, I'm partial to coffeehouse atmospheres in general; but I could see myself crashing there for several hours to study. The decor is...more
When you buy ticket for a guided tour to Luray Caverns you are asked to report in front of the caverns entrance exactly at the hour marked on your ticket. Having some 20 minutes we entered Stalactite Cafe. I didn't like its interior style. It's a place set up to serve extensive tourist traffic, rather fast food style restaurant with cafe style...more
This modest, unpretentious place serves up some pretty nice Southern food at an affordable price. Located in downtown Luray, just a few miles off I-81, it's just right for a lunch or dinner while you enjoy a day sightseeing. Don't expect anything too fancy. I had the hamburger. Quite tasty, with a fresh ground beef patty.more
Jessi and I decided to see the movie War of the Worlds which had just come out at that time. The movie theater was hard to miss because it was the color of Pepto Bismol. Back home, we are used to the multiplex cinemas like at Virginia Center Commons and Short Pump. The much smaller downtown movie broght me back to a time older friends describe when you could find this kind of movie house even in Ashland and Highland Springs closer to home. As towns urbanize more, movie houses like this get rarer as multiplex cinemas get more common.
Dress Code: Come as you are.
Luray is located in Shenandoah Valley in northwestern part of Virginia, 90 miles (some 2 hours) west of Washington DC and 125 miles (some 2.5 hours) northwest of Richmond.
I got there driving I-81 North from Harrisonburg to New Market when I took exit 264 to US-211 East (E. Lee Highway) which led me through Washington National Forest to Luray where all direction signs lead to the caverns.
Pay atention to one-way traffic in roads leading to parking lots. In the USA there is no sign marking ban on turning right or left in front of the crossroad, there is only large arrow marking one-way street. For European driver it may be tricky in the beginning. It happened to me in San Francisco downtown a year before when I blocked traffic for a moment turning into one-way street with traffic rushing into my car. I made the fastest U-turn ever :-).
As I remember well there are three shops at Luray Caverns: - the Country Store which offers some handicraft souvenirs,- two gift shops in the Entrance Building and in the Car and Carriage Caravan offering gifts , books, CDs etc. related to the place as well as Virginia wine.In the Entrance Building I've paid attention to beautiful and large stone...more
Rainbow Hill would seem to some people to be just another tourist trap. However, it has a lot to offer in the way of gifts and collectibles, wine and beer, Christmas trinkets, food, and ice cream. Each store is well-decorated and the items are well presented. My mother even bought something small here. It is open all year from 10am-9pm.more
McKim & Huffman Pharmacy has been serving the health care needs of Page County since 1867. Unfortunately, it has been bought out by Epic Pharmacy. They no longer have their lunch counter or soda fountain. Even in a small town like Luray, corporate influences trump small-town charm. Hours: Mon - Fri. 8:45am - 6:00pm; Sat. 9:00am - 2:00pm; Sun....more
It was a tough call on whether to put this under shopping or local customs. It is a shopping opportunity, but it is more of a local event. The Farmers Market Luray happens every Saturday from March to November in the train station Parking Lot. You can find local produce in season; locally-made arts and crafts as well as baked goods.more
Visiting Luray Caverns I have already known that the USA is a tipping country. But I never know whether to tip someone or not, for example a guide in the caverns. In a group of local visitors it's simply as you may follow locals' behaviour. While in Rome do as Romans do. At the end of the Luray caverns trail there is the writing in my picture. I've...more
Luray Caverns - The largest and most popular caverns in the EAST. Natural Landmark, noted for its profuse variety of formations and unsurpassed natural color. From well-lighted, paved walkways, explore cathedral-sized rooms with ceilings 10 stories high - filled with towering stone columns and crystal-clear pools. Also, hear the haunting sounds of...more
There are numerous fascinating cars and carriages, wagons and stagecoaches displayed in the Car & Carriage Caravan Museum. It's simply a must see!However, I have to warn you. These fantastic, often very rare vehicles are packed one by one on small museum space. You can't approach a car from each side. It's difficult or impossible to take good...more
In the beginning of our tour through the fantastic Luray Caverns our guide asked us to follow her and not to leave a group. She warned us that lights along the trail switch off autimatically when the group passes through. Well, I as a crazy photographer luckily equipped with a new tripod and one similar to me guy from California stayed almost...more
The trail through the underground wonderland of the Luray Caverns is relatively long. The whole tour takes about an hour with numerous stops but for some, especially less trained or older people as well as smaller kids it may be tiring. The trail goes moderately up or down at some places and ends with stairs up. There is a lift for visitors using...more
The Car and Carriage Caravan Museum doesn't look large from the outside but contains a lot of fascinating cars packed one by one. Simply it requires quite much time especially for some boys. You know, for some guys old cars mean more than a young woman. So, if one can accept 2 hours of window shopping in clothing shops in large shopping malls the other should accept at least one hour in old car museum, right? Otherwise both may be involved in a tourist trap.
Unique Suggestions: OK, if your lady or company is not very interesting in old cars there is Brookside restaurant and three gift stores on walking distance, add a garden maze. Shouldn't they set up something more for some women there? :-)
Fun Alternatives: Travel alone. Not at all my recommendation though.
Take a jacket or sweater - it's about 50 F (10 C) in the caverns.
Photo Equipment: Tripod is simply a must. The option is using a flash but those built-in in cameras are enough for taking pictures up to say 3-5 m aditionally in strange colours. If you have external, good flash take it as well. Keep in mind that colours in pictures taken with a flash and without it (tripod necessary) are different - compare my pictures.
The square, stone Luray Singing Tower was well seen from my parking lot in front of the Luray Caverns entrance. It is officially known as the Belle Brown Northcott Memorial. The 117 feet (46 m) high tower was put up in 1937 in memory of Colonel T.C. Northcott's wife. There are 47 bells behind three Gothic arches under the peaked roof. Free recitals...more
While in some national parks in northern Arizona and Utah we were welcomed by single, large black birds (probably Common Ravens) begging for food in a parking lot, in Luray our welcoming animal was that duck in my picture. We fed him with some bread and when we came back to our car he still was waiting for the next portion.more
One way to know a town keeps its rural nature is the presence of the feed store. A good sign a town is going more urban is the loss of the feed store. My older friends tell me there used to be one in Mechanicsville before all the development came this way. The Page Co-Op Farm Bureau still exists in Luray. Feed stores have everything farmers need to...more
What surprised me the most about my trip to Luray was walking down the street and suddenly finding a mural on a wall. Normally, you would find murals like this in the arty sections of larger cities. These murals are done by local artists John Graves and Jennifer Bradt. The first one Valley Bells can be found on the side of the Chamber of Commerce...more
Well, this is not really the fondest memory, but more of a cautionary tale. Diana's Country Diner went out of business between the time my family, Jessi, and I were there (July, 2005) and the time I put up this page. The food was okay, but not great. I had the fried chicken and potato wedges (what I get a lot at Ukrop's). Being a sit-down...more