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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Caverns Near Charlottesville, VA

Recently we had a day off from innkeeping here at Foxfield Inn and decided to explore one of the caverns near us.  Within a 30 minute drive we were at the Grand Caverns in the Town of Grottoes.  Driving into the park we were anxious about this adventure as I am slightly claustrophobic. Underground caverns are not high on my list of things to do but for some reason visiting the Grand Caverns was on my bucket list.

In 1804 Barnette Weyer discovered Grand Caverns while retrieving one of his traps.  He opened the caves in 1806 for tours - it is oldest continually operating show cave in the U.S.  In 1973 Grand Caverns received   National Natural Landmark status.

We got there just in time for the tour.  So off we went up the hill to the educational building which is entrance to the caves.  Our guide was very knowledgeable about them and could answer all of the questions from our fellow tourers. There are several large rooms in these caves, it is well lit and the paths are easy to follow.  Not once did I get the feeling that I shouldn't be there.

There are so many different types of formations that you never get bored during the 60 minute tour.  There are cave coral, stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, dog tooth spar, flowstone and shields.  I am sure there were more types but that was all I could remember when we left the caves.  .  The colors on the formations were gorgeous.  My favorite was the draperies which many do look like large strips of cooked bacon as suggested by our guide.

It's amazing to think they used to have parties and dances in these caves.  And that during the Civil War there were places that they used for target practice because the open space was so large.

It's well worth the drive to visit these caves but take a picnic lunch with you as there isn't much in the Town of grottoes if you want something to eat.  The grounds at the caves include a beautiful park where you can sit &  relax after your tour and trails for you to hike.



Other caves in the area you might want to explore are:

You are sure to enjoy which ever caves you visit!
Dan & Kathryn Bundy, your Innkeepers
Foxfield Inn, a Charlottesville, VA bed and breakfast

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