If you are anything like me then you’re probably thinking “Luray, VA? What the hell is that?” No worries though, I will tell you all about my day trip there and give some suggestions of things you can do while there, should you decide to go.
Before we get started I just want to give a little background on why we visited in the first place, so if you want to jump straight into the post you can skip down to “Arriving in Luray, VA” to find out all about Luray. The past couple of weekends my girlfriend and I have been eating out and staying home watching movies, she is a homebody. Me on the other hand, not so much. Mid week she says
I instantly began looking for things to do in Richmond, VA and surrounding areas that not only I would love but that she would be interested in as well. Upon my google search I stumbled across some pretty interesting things to do in Luray, VA and planned a surprise day trip for the both of us to enjoy.
Saturday morning the fun began.
We put on the gps (important to note because I suck with directions, I gps everything) and drove about two and a half hours. As we got close to the destination I noticed that we were passing through Shenandoah National Park and Skyline drive which was super exciting because I really want to visit every National Park. Driving through the mountains the roads were really curvy and even though it was day time I noticed that there weren’t any street lights. Nonetheless, the drive there wasn’t bad at all.
Arriving in Luray, VA
We were starving by the time we arrived in Luray, Virginia only having had orange juice so far that morning. We pulled up “downtown” on E main St. It was giving me very much Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls. Their downtown was probably two-three blocks on one street. I immediately knew that if it rained, half of my plans for the day would be cancelled.
First stop: Gathering Grounds.
The answer to our hunger. The restaurant was cozy and welcoming. The customer service was also really good. I ordered the Vegan option of their No Bull Burger (no bun no mayo) and sweet potato fries. Courtney ordered the chicken tender basket and a slice of apple pie. The apple pie wasn’t vegan so I had to pass but it looked tasty.
The food was much better than we expected. It was actually really good and inexpensive. Typically when the two of us sit in a restaurant to eat we expect to spend at least $60 before tip. But girl, our bill was only $37 including the tip.
Second stop: Luray Caverns
This was our main reason for coming to Luray, VA. When doing the aforementioned google search I came across pictures of Luray Caverns and could not believe my eyes. It wasn’t even a question, we had to visit.
Tickets were $30/person and the tours were self guided. You do receive an information pamphlet that seems to inform you of the things they would most likely inform you of in a guided tour. The pamphlets have numbers that correspond to markers inside the cavern with facts about those ares of the caverns. Here are some of my favorite pictures I took during our visit.
Of course you were not allowed to touch anything for the preservation of the caverns. But the different textures, colors, and rooms were amazing.
Make sure to dress comfortably. You will walk one mile and a quarter during the tour. There are even some heels to climb up and go down.
In the above picture the bottom is just a reflection of the top. It is so much harder to tell in person. Also, water actively drips throughout the caverns. It truly amazes me how these caverns are naturally appeared. According to the pamphlet you are given with your ticket:
This one sort of looks like a dog/lion.
Overall, the Luray Caverns are definitely a sight worth seeing. Mother Nature is a hell of an artist!
Third stop: The Car & Carriage Caravan Museum
Included with your ticket is a ticket to The Car & Carriage Caravan Museum. You do not have to drive far at all. In fact, you don’t even have to drive. After leaving the Luray Caverns gift shop you can walk toward the parking lot and you will see the museum on your left. The museum housed so many vintage and antique cars, carriages, and caravans that I personally would love to own and ride in. You cannot touch or enter any of the vehicles but you do not want to pass up the chance to see them in person when you are there. I’ll share a few here.
They even had an antique Rolls Royce, Buick, and more familiar car makes.
Last stop: Page Theatre
While our day trip activities were cut short due to the rain we still decided to hang around and wait for the 6:45pm showing of Raya and The Last Dragon at Page Theatre. Which was a superb movie if I do say so myself. I would actually watch it again! The theatre was inexpensive and unique.
Ever wanted to time travel? Visit Page Theatre, a local movie theatre that throws you back in time for sure. With it’s pink exterior, inexpensive prices, and unique interior design it is definitely a place worth visiting whenever you make a trip to Luray, VA. According to their website and one of the current owners himself, the theatre was designed by a man named Jerry Spencer who once owned and ran it. Mr. Spencer decorated the place in a very unique manner, I have never seen a movie theatre like it. Jerry Spencer sadly passed away and Page Theatre was purchased by the Hokes, a lovely local family, who decided to keep the interior the way Jerry Spencer designed it and even kept many of his traditions!
Also, the father of the family gave us a tour of the building, as we were the last to leave the theatre, showed us Jerry Spencer’s old apartment that is attached to the theatre, and told us many stories about the lat Jerry Spencer. Boy would I have loved to meet Mr.Spencer. The old apartment and the theatre itself weren’t like anything I could have ever imagine. You must visit Page Theatre every time you visit Luray, VA. It is truly a place that deserves to remain here, open, and in it’s current decor.
The Drive Home Was Like A Scary Movie
After the tour of Page Theatre we talked with some of the Hokes family members on duty before heading out. They asked if we were driving back to Richmond that night to which we replied yes. They offered us alternate routes to take back home to which we made mental note. Still sucking at directions we put our home address in the gps and chose the option that seemed to have resembled their suggestion. Everything was fine until we turned down a dark curvy road and noticed signs for Shenandoah National Park. The same windy road with the “high crash area” sign that I noticed didn’t have street lights from earlier. This is the part when you realize you’re watching a scary movie. There is no cell service at this point which eliminates the option of ending the gps to find a new route and there aren’t any cars in sight. Not that we would have pulled over to talk to them because I do watch Criminal Minds. We slow down, Courtney says “I don’t like this bae,” I assure her it will be okay and continue to drive the route. Mind you we rented a Toyota 4Runner and it was my first time driving it, absolutely loved it, but it’s definitely not a Nissan Sentra. The roads are kind of skinny and we are driving up the mountain, the plot thickens.
We cannot see a thing, y’all. There was so much fog out of nowhere that I honestly wanted to pull over and say to hell with going home tonight. However, the fog was so thick that I knew it wasn’t safe to pull over where we were. I could not see ahead of me, couldn’t see out of my rear view mirror, and could not see if there was even a space for me to pull off to the side. I turn on my hazard lights and slowly drive us forward. I am not afraid of anything but am definitely aware of danger and this my friend was a dangerous situation! Courtney isn’t saying anything but I am sure that she is terrified and holding back tears at this point. Honestly, that road should be closed at dark. I do not want to drag this post out longer than it needs to be but I do want to make anyone who may want to visit Luray Caverns for the first time aware of the fact that leaving home at night can be extremely dangerous and that it is probably best to leave when the sun is still up or stay the night.
Let me know in the comments below if you plan to visit any of the places listed or if you already have. Also share your most dangerous or scary driving situation that occurred while traveling.
Until next time, sending lots of love and light!
For more pictures of Luray Caverns follow us on Instagram, I’ll be sharing some today!!