‘Weekend getaways are like curling up into a soft cloud.’
Our road trip mapped out to be a bell-shaped journey. We chose the opportune Labor Day holiday; from CT to NJ to PA to DE to VA. After meandering through roads unknown, we reached our hotel. The sky was burnt black and we, almost instantly, shrimp-curled into bed.
Outside, the next morning, the sun was warm in our cheeks so we dove headfirst into the day, in the direction of the much celebrated, Luray Caverns.
The salt formations of stalactite and stalagmite roared in height, intricately sculpted from the walls and it’s reflections, as clear as glass. We ambled through the passageways, awed by the magnitude yet stability of these natural ‘living’ structures, only to end the tour with a performance by the Stalacpipe Organ, the sound of inimitable melody.
“..to dungeons deep and caverns old”. Like a fairy tale in stone.
We then proceeded to do some mining of our own! Picked out a few unpolished crystals of quartz, sandstone and amethyst from a large bag of sand, a constellation of stones, against water lashing around in narrow tunnels.
PS. A visit to the quaint Car & Caravan Museum, just adjacent to the Caverns, with the Benzs, Buicks, Royces, Mustangs, Bugattis and more, from the 1800 & 1900s, was an absolute value-for-time experience.
The sky was luminous except for a few clouds, as we entered the Spotswood Trail along the Shenandoah Valley. The drive was made beautiful by sunlight pushing through the canopy, the chorus of chirping birds and a hazy string of mountains in the distance. Not before long, was there a slashing drizzle that made the road to Richmond, capital of Virginia, much more of an adventure!
After crossing plenty of vast farmland, lush pastures (ah, the countryside!) and the historic triangle of Williamsburg, Yorketown and Jamestown, we accessed a tunnel – towards Chesapeake – and the light at the end of it was the dazzling waters of River James with a few tugboats in the horizon and the sight of waning light.
We woke up to the glaring midday sun in the summer sky. The Virginia Aquarium, fairly less crowded at that hour, was a kaleidoscope of colours and sea creatures. We spent our time watching lesions of fish, gliding sea horses, schools of stingrays and mantas (that we touched!), energetic otters, bored Komodo dragons, wary snakeheads, disciplined sardines, moody sharks and tigerfish, lionfish & zebrafish among the swaying kelp, in water that was myriad shades of blue and green.
As the day deepened, there was a sweeping gust of cold wind but the boardwalk in the Virginia Beach area was too hard to pass up; the gentle wash of waves, the delicate moon, the sky crammed with stars and the serenity of the moment.
We started back home, via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, in the early morning chill, in a whirl of wonder, along the glistening sea.
They say, Virginia is for lovers and we left very much in love with its austere beauty.