Excellent adventures in Virginia

We slowly meandered in our RV for ten days before beginning our excellent adventures in Virginia. We drove through the entire state of Texas, of course, and through parts of Arkansas and Tennessee before finally getting to our destination of Manassas, Virginia.

Read about our journey from Texas through Tennessee here:

Shenandoah Caverns

Excellent adventures in Virginia

Less than two hours from Manassas, Shenandoah Caverns was our last Harvest Host stop before reaching our destination. We spent two enjoyable nights here as Harvest Host guests. We visited the fantastic caverns, met interesting people and a few nearby historical sites.

We arrived at the caverns midday and quickly checked in with a plan to tour the caverns the following morning. But first, the laundry.

Laundry Nightmare

Excellent adventures in Virginia

Our mission this afternoon was to get our laundry for the last ten days taken care of. Laundry is the only downside I have discovered about RV travel. I absolutely do not enjoy doing laundry at random washaterias along the road — and all those quarters!

We have made a remarkable discovery in laundry soap, though, and have begun using laundry sheets. They are economical enough and take up so much less room than bulky powder, liquid, or pod containers.

This particular laundry trip turned out to be more than a bit of a nightmare. A quick Google search discovered 2-3 nearby washaterias. So we loaded all our laundry and headed to what should have been a laundromat just a few miles away in nearby New Market, Virginia, on West Lee St.

Excellent adventures in Virginia

A laundromat did not exist at that address. Our GPS took us to the exact address. However, it was on a residential street and was someone’s private home, not a laundromat. We then stopped at gas stations to get directions TWICE. Those directions did not lead us to a washateria – either time.

It started raining. Our dogs were home alone in the RV and are not fans of thunderstorms, so we gave up and decided to try the next day again. It was a very frustrating experience. It would have been beneficial to have found a laundromat with a phone number to call, but there were no phone numbers.

The following day we quickly found a laundromat in nearby Timberville, took care of this annoying little housekeeping task, and were finally able to get on with our exploring fun.

The Caverns

261 Caverns Road
Quicksburg, VA 22847

Excellent adventures in Virginia

We recently were Harvest Host guests at Bristol Caverns, and those caverns were terrific. So, again, we were Harvest Host guests, but this time at Shenandoah Caverns. These caverns were also excellent and very different from Bristol Caverns; no two caverns are ever alike.

Why caves?

Visiting caves is an opportunity to visit a rare environment, not a typical outdoor outing. It is tremendous fun, historically interesting, peaceful, and dimly lit, and a wonderful family excursion for all. It may be a while before we revisit caverns, however.

Excellent adventures in Virginia

We found Bristol and Shenandoah Caverns both very interesting. Still, they are very different caves and cannot be compared side-by-side with each other. Some formations are similar, but other than both being caves, that’s about it.

Excellent adventures in Virginia

An elevator!

The Shenandoah Caverns are 220 feet underground, and we very much appreciated the elevator transportation. However, stairs are also available for those with younger knees. This guided tour follows along a crushed gravel path, and there are no uneven or steep stairs as we found in the Bristol caverns.

Excellent adventures in Virginia

The cost to tour Shenandoah Caverns is a hefty $25 per person. However, our hour-long tour was led by the fantastic, funny, and highly knowledgeable guide, Patty, and two trainees, Jake and Ken. Therefore, we felt like the entry fee charged by the museum was justified in this case.

Patty has been leading tours at Shenandoah for over thirty years and is very passionate about her work. Guiding tours in this cave has been her life’s work, and she is very good at it; a genuine people person and a joy to visit with.

We toured this cave with several other guests, including Barb and George, who were parked near us, also in a Class C motorhome. Steve and I always enjoy meeting fellow RV travelers and learning about their travel stories. Barb and George were great neighbors to have for those few days. 

Excellent adventures in Virginia

This formation is described as bacon strips.

This formation is described as curtains

Optical Illusion

Patty pointed out, through an opening, a formation that looked like a Bishop standing and facing us. He was 100 feet away but appeared very large. When we reached the part of the cavern where the formation actually was, he was only two feet tall!

A little history about the cave

These caverns were discovered in 1884 by the two young sons of Abraham Neff, the property owner. These boys noticed cool air coming out of a hole in the ground and decided to find out where it came from. Using a rope and candles for light, they climbed down through the tiny opening in the earth!

This formation is caused by dripping water

Hunter Chapman purchased the Neff property in 1920 and set about opening the caverns up as an attraction in the area. The caverns were opened for tours in 1922. The elevator was installed in 1930. These caverns are the only ones in Virginia today that use an elevator to access caverns.

Civil War Museums

One of the reasons we chose to stay at Shenandoah Caverns was to visit a few Civil War museums in the area and visit the caverns. We made excellent and fun use of our time here.

New Market Battlefield Military Museum

9500 George Collins Pkwy
New Market, VA 22844

Excellent adventures in Virginia

New Market Battlefield Military Museum, a private museum, is in nearby New Market, Virginia. This museum contains a vast number of Civil War exhibits and other military operations. There are rows and rows of marvelous display cases, but I was somewhat overwhelmed by all of the information.

New Market Battlefield Military Museum should be revisited many times to read, understand and learn all the information presented. It had to have taken years and years to compile these exhibits. We actually mistook this for the state museum we later visited.

Virginia Museum of the Civil War

New Market Battlefield State Historical Park
8895 George Collins Parkway
New Market, VA 22844

Excellent adventures in Virginia

This museum is just a mile or so down the road from the New Market Battlefield Military Museum. We arrived here just before closing time, so we took a quick look with a plan to return the following morning to see more thoroughly and to walk through the battlefield area outside.

The Field of Lost Shoes

Many Civil War artifacts are on display here. Still, when we returned the following day, we first went to the theater room to watch The Field of Lost Shoes, an incredibly moving film.

This film describes events in the Battle of New Market on May 15, 1864. Ten cadets from the Virginia Military Institute were killed as a result of this battle. The Field of Lost Shoes refers to the battlefield’s muddy conditions. Soldiers lost their boots trying to wade through the mud that day.

Bushong Farm

Excellent adventures in Virginia

After visiting the museum building, we walked to the adjacent Bushong Farm,  where the Battle of New Market took place. The family hid in the basement of their home during the battle. After the battle, the wounded were treated here in a makeshift hospital.

Easy flat grass trails cover the area and are an easy walk from the museum. We highly recommend visiting this museum and the grounds.

After leaving Virginia Museum of the Civil War, we started out on our last leg of our trip to Manassas. This was just the beginning of our excellent adventure in Virginia.

Excellent adventures in Virginia

3 thoughts on “Excellent adventures in Virginia

  1. Pingback: Moochdocking in Manassas | Always Want To Go
  2. Not a big fan of caverns anymore, but the museums sound great.

    1. I am very surprised that caverns don’t bother me with my claustrophobic thing, but I do enjoy them as long as they aren’t cramped or close feeling. The museums were good.

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