Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cavern Adventures November 2013

Virginia, West Virginia, and Tennessee Cave adventure and more

Bristol Caverns
“Far below the earth's surface, in the timeless beauty of Bristol Caverns, a strange and exciting experience awaits you.
Paved, well lighted walkways wind through the vaulted chambers and along the banks of the ancient Underground River that carved these remarkable caverns from the hard core of the earth 200 to 400 million years ago. In the frontier days, Indians used the Underground River as an attack and escape route in their raids on settlers. Stealing into the area by way of the Underground River and the caverns, they swooped down on unsuspecting families, then disappeared as if swallowed up by the earth.
You will be retracing the same warrior paths while exploring the vast rooms and arches, columns, and natural stone formations of varying size and kinds. These formations, millions of years old, display rich veins of minerals which give the formations beautiful colors of red, blue, gray, brown and sparkling white.
Stalactites and stalagmites, some larger than tree trunks and others smaller than straws, fascinate and give play to the imagination. Where some of these formation have grown together, massive columns have been formed reaching from the floor to the ceiling of the lofty rooms. With every view, nature's artistry is at its best and can be seen in the remarkable tumbling cascades and billowing draperies - all of solid stone.”  
We had a great time at this cave! 

For more information on caves visit the National Caves Association at

Dixie Caverns and Pottery Inc.
“Would you believe a dog was the first one in the hole at the top of the hill... followed by several inquisitive farm boys — that was in 1920. And in 1923, Dixie Caverns was open to the public. There have been many changes over the years in lighting and passageways, but the beauty of this cavern has entertained thousands from then `til now.”  A fine cave to visit!
Shows up red and orange due to no flash used for a different effect.

 Natural Bridge Caverns

“In ancient times, water-filled cavities slowly drained, narrow passages & water-sculpted rooms opened up, forming the deepest caverns on the East coast!
Venture 34 stories below the earth's surface to see nature's magnificent underground landscape of dripstone, flowstone, draperies, pools, stalactites, and stalagmites in the Colossal Dome Room, Mirror Lake, Well Room, and the Canyon Room.
The 45 minute guided tours of the unique live caverns begin every 30 minutes, and walking shoes and a sweater are suggested.”  Well run and maintained cavern.

Virginia Caverns
“Virginia's caverns are great places to escape summer's heat and perhaps even warm up on a cold winter day. Below-ground temperatures hover around 56 degrees, so caverns are the perfect attraction any time of the year.”

 Here is a fun site that explains in simple language how some of the formations found in caves, come to be at:

Grand Caverns
“Grand Caverns is a stately and powerful example of Nature's handiwork.
Gigantic stalactites point down from above. Equally imposing stalagmites thrust upward from the caverns floor. Cathedral Hall, 280 feet long and over 70 feet high, is one of the largest rooms of any cavern in the East. Massive columns, beautiful draperies rippling flowstone, and rare "shield" formations create a variety of fascinating sights. The famous Bridal Veil, Stonewall Jackson's Horse, and a peek at Dante's Inferno provide memories too good to miss.”  Definitely a must-go for that like caverns!  
This one lives up to the name and was one of our favorite!

Find some great information, from National Geographic, on how caves are formed at:

Shenandoah Caverns
“Shenandoah Caverns is the only Virginia cavern with elevator service and closest major cavern to I-81 (Exit 269). Our bacon formations are so unusual they were featured in National Geographic! Tours through our 17 soaring rooms takes approximately one hour & is 80% accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. Visit our seasonal, authentic 1950’s soda fountain for a nolstagic trip back in time. More than just a cavern, your combination ticket includes a stroll down Main Street of Yesteryear for animated window displays, American Celebration on Parade to see spectacular parade floats, & our newest attraction The Yellow Barn with restored antique farm wagons, indoor beehive, carriages, vehicles, wine and gift shop. Four great attractions for one price! Open all year. Located 2 minutes from I-81, Exit 269, five miles north of New Market, VA.”  Great formations here!

 Luray Caverns

“Discover eastern America's largest and most popular caverns.
A US Natural Landmark noted for the profuse variety of formation 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 the world's only Stalacpipe Organ creating music of symphonic quality from stone formations.”  One of the most visited caves in the region and well worth the trip!

For more information on caving in particular areas check out the links below:

Skyline Caverns
“Skyline Caverns is the largest and only developed cavern in Warren County and one of only a few places on earth where delicate and unique formations known as Anthodites are on display.”  The Anthodites are what make this cavern unique and worth the trip! 

There are several sites on the web that list where caves are located in each state.  One of them can be found at:  http://www.funfix.com/Caving/

 Smithsonian National Zoological Park

“The National Zoological Park is a part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum and research complex. The Smithsonian includes 18 museums and galleries, as well as the National Zoo.  The words 'National Zoo' represent a large, complex, and diverse organization with a multifaceted mission: demonstrate leadership in animal care, science, education, and sustainability.”  Great way to spend a day!

The Metro
“Metro is a convenient way to get around the Washington, DC metropolitan area. You can explore the city and its Virginia and Maryland suburbs without the hassles of traffic and parking or the expense of gas.”  It is the best way to get around the District,

Smoke Hole Caverns
“The Smoke Hole Resort Caverns and Log Cabin Resort, steeped in rich Appalachian Mountain History, provide visitors with a peek into the scenery deep below the surface. The Caverns and the breathtaking beauty that fills them are geologically unique and millions of years old. The Caverns have also accommodated the needs of Seneca Indians, Civil War soldiers and WV Moonshiners throughout its history.”  “The history of Smoke Hole Caverns is tied to the Seneca Indians who used the front section of the caverns to smoke wild game.  The slow burning wood fires sent clouds of smoke swirling out into the valley.  The scene was so common that early settlers called the place Smoke Hole.”  Well run cavern! 

 Seneca Caverns

“The Seneca Caverns Company offers two separate show caves for tour. Seneca Cavern is the best known cavern, having been open to visitors since 1928. Also on the property is Stratosphere Cavern, which has recently been re-opened for tours after having been closed for many decades. Both of the caverns feature unique geological formations that are visually stunning and wondrous. Guides lead visitors through the tours, pointing out areas of special interest, providing information and answering questions.”  Great information provided!

"West Virginia Penitentiary"

 Lost World Caverns

“Descend 120 feet below the Earth's surface into a vast wonderland of stalactites and stalagmites. Lost World Caverns, discovered in 1942, is a truly magical place for both young and old. It takes approximately 45 minutes to walk through. We offer self-guided tours so you can take your time to explore the cavern at your own pace. Just remember to stay on the trail. A guide sheet is provided to tell you about the many different formations that make up this 1/2 mile loop. No matter what the temperature on the outside, the cave always remains a constant 52 degrees. A light jacket and good shoes are recommended.”  It was fun to be able to wander at our leisure as we explored the cavern on our self guided tour!

More of my individual blogs with cavern images can be found on the links below:

Thanks for taking a look at all the images.  Feel free to leave a comment!