Monday, August 15, 2016

Getaway to Luray and JMU

As you can probably tell, my family enjoys taking day trips during the summer.  The school year is hectic, so we try to fit in as many getaways as we can during the summer months.  Our latest day trip took us to Luray Caverns.  My oldest daughter is really interested in geology, so she really wanted to go.

We got to there around 9:45 and there was no wait.  The line was really long when we finished our tour around 11:30.  I would definitely suggest getting there early if you can, to avoid the long line.

My pictures are definitely not going to do Luray Caverns justice.  It is really breathtaking and a must-see for everyone!  My husband, who is a history buff, was not too excited to go but he said at the end of the tour that he was definitely glad that we went.

The tour is a little over a mile long.  At one point you are 164 feet below the Earth's surface!  We were definitely in awe of everything that we saw.

Above is a picture of the famous organ that you may have heard of in Luray Caverns.  I did not realize that there have been over 500 weddings performed there.  They have a song play automatically to demonstrate the organ's sound.  It was neat to see how the organ was created to use the different parts of the caverns to make the sounds.

Your admission price not only includes the caverns but also the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum, which is onsite.  If you are interested in antique cars, this is the place for you!  My family enjoyed the experience even though we do not know much about antique cars.  

Another attraction covered in your admission price is the Luray Valley Museum.  They have interesting artifacts from the Shenandoah Valley, such as a one room schoolhouse for African-American children from 1885.  You can walk in and around the buildings.  The heat index was 105 degrees the day we visited, so we did not explore the outside areas too much.  

By far the biggest attraction for my children, especially my oldest daughter, was the gem sluice.  We purchased a jumbo gem bag for them to share.  They used trays and the water that was flowing at the site to find rocks and minerals.  They give you a guide to help you to identify what you find.

This is my absolute favorite picture from the trip!  I love to catch the candid moments.  She was clearly VERY excited about the gem that she found!

At many sites in Virginia, you will find LOVE signs to support our state motto of "Virginia is for Lovers".  There was a LOVE sign at Luray Caverns, so of course we had to pose with it!  Find out more about the LOVE signs here:

After we left Luray Caverns, we decided to drive to Harrisonburg, VA to show the girls 
James Madison University, which is where Sara and I both went to college.  I have never taken the girls there, so I was excited to show them around!

My girls are posing with the Duke Dog, which is the mascot for JMU.

Here we are in front of Wilson Hall, which is the iconic building of JMU.

I really enjoyed showing them around and showing them inside some of the buildings where I took classes.  It is almost a surreal experience when your new life/self intersects with your old life/self.  I loved my time at JMU and I hope that at least one of them will consider attending.  That seems like a long time from now, but I know that it will be here before I know it!

To wrap up our day, I decided to introduce my girls to Klines, which is by far the best ice cream in Harrisonburg!  It was as delicious as I remembered, and a perfect treat for such a hot day!

Our trip was definitely a success!  I hope that we are giving our girls experiences that they will always remember.


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