Ah. Lovely Waynesboro, Virginia. And what better time to drive there from Chicago than late September?
Jeff and I have made this trip many times, and only once in the past have we stopped overnight either to or from. That was many years ago when Jeff came down with pneumonia and the drive back to Chicago was just too tiring for the both of us to attempt in one day. This time, though, we decided to take a couple days to drive down to Virginia and a couple days to drive back. Take our time. Slow down a bit and enjoy the scenery. So we did.
On the way down, we stopped for the night at Carter Caves State Resort Park
in eastern Kentucky. There are two caves open to the public there (and many more on park land--most of them used to be open to cavers with permits, but the white-nose syndrome has become such a threat to local bats that such excursions have been halted for now): Cascade Cave and X Cave. We arrived in time to tour the latter. It was a small but interesting cave, formed when the bore holes of two streams met, forming an X, literally. One of the passages is highly decorated, and the other is very sparse and spartan. I wish I had photos to show, but alas! I discovered all too late that I had left my data card at home, and the gift shop did not carry them. Sigh.
At any rate, here's a set of photos I found on flickr:
Many thanks to DanDee!
It was a rainy, rainy night, but the lodge was comfortable and boasted a decent restaurant.
The next morning dawned foggily, and I worried that the mist would interfere with my morning driving plans, but by the time we reached Charleston and left the interstate for U.S. 60, most of the fog had burned off. At first I didn't think much of the scenery of this "scenic drive." The road hugged a river, the opposite bank of which sported mills and shacks and, well, lots of the accouterments one associates with Appalachia... and not in a good way. But as the road veered away from the river and climbed higher into the hills, the scenery improved. And the frequency of hairpin turns increased. Finally, we got to Hawks Nest,
a lofty perch overlooking the New River Gorge. Of course, no photos--still hadn't found a data card--but well worth the detour.
We had hoped to be able to check out the Mystery Hole,
which is located along highway 60 near Hawks Nest, but alas! It was closed! But here's the beauty part: When I got to Waynesboro, my BFF Barb presented me with a lovely sweatshirt from there! Yea! At least I have the appropriate apparel should I ever be lucky enough to pass that way again and find the attraction up and running.
We rolled into Waynesboro in plenty of time to take Mom to dinner.
The highlight of the weekend was a gathering of Fools to eat pizza and attend the production of Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street
featuring the incomparable Barbara Spilman Lawson as Mrs. Lovett. It was an accomplished production, with the leads (Brian Holsopple played Sweeney Todd) bringing performances that would have been welcome on any major stage in the world. It was great to spend a bit of time with old friends and see a wonderful, creepy play in the bargain.
We were a bit early for the full fall color display, but we did manage to catch a few glimpses of what was in store for the valley a few weeks on:
Jeff and I strolled around the old neighborhood and down to the park, where we discovered that the old boat ramp was returning to its natural state and hosting a few ducks to boot.
And of course we enjoyed Sunday brunch in Staunton with Mom and brother John. We went to the Clocktower, where they prepared our omelets to order. Tasty. We rolled out of there more than satisfied.
We headed back to Chicago on Tuesday, breaking for the night at Batesville, Indiana, where we ate at the historic Sherman House.
Good German food to be had here!
We got home in the early afternoon on Wednesday, weary and ready to rest from the road. For a while. Only for a while.
Labels: Barb, Beth, caves, Cortney, Jeff, roadside attractions, south river, waynesboro