After our extra day of waiting out the rain, we left Gettysburg under fairly dry conditions . . . although we did have some on and off drizzle throughout the drive.
It was our shortest day’s drive since we left Michigan, just 135 miles, but we managed to drive through four states – Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia.
Our destination was the Endless Caverns RV Park in New Market, Virginia.
New Market looked like a nice little town,
although we never did get back to town to check it out, and Tom pulled a Bryce and said, “No more battlefields!”
We drove up the long driveway to the RV Park,
where it felt like we were driving up the long sweeping driveway of some southern estate, and up to the office to get checked in.
Endless Caverns is a Passport America park, and even though it was the weekend, we got one night at half price.
The park is very pretty, situated up the side of the mountain, but it’s a good thing they escort you to your site . . . because it was a challenge getting to it!
We were driving uphill most of the way to our site, and then had to make two tight 90 degree turns, uphill, in loose gravel, into our site.
Each pull-thru site was a little higher up the mountain than the one in front of it. Tom kept the momentum up, and we pulled right into our site.
The edges of every site were lined with rocks, and there were trees between them.
We got set up, and Tom spent some time re-caulking the top edge of the windshield because we had been getting a little bit of water dripping during the rain. Hopefully that fixed it up!
He finished that little project just in time for us to make it to the 4pm cave tour, and some other campers said it was a really good tour, so we decided to check it out. Dad decided to wait in the motorhome, rather than go on the tour with us, and that was probably a good decision.
The cavern is right in the park, so all we had to do was drive back down to the office, under the arch (is the RV really going to fit under that?!),
and meet up with our tour guide, “Dave from the Cave”, and the rest of the tour group – a Mom and her two kids. Talk about a personal tour!
Tickets are normally $20/adult, but just $15/adult if you are staying in the campground, so that’s a nice discount.
We entered the cave through a covered walkway,
and descended 39 steps below the ground.
The steps were narrow and uneven, and although there were railings to hold onto, all the rain recently had made the walking surfaces pretty slick. We decided that it was definitely a good thing that Dad didn’t join us on this tour!
This is not a large commercial tour company that brings hundreds of people through on any given day, and that actually made it really nice. We walked at our own pace, and Dave patiently waited while we took pictures and explored the many nooks and crannies of the cave.
This cave has many of the same features of larger, more well-known caves,
Stalagmites and Stalactites,
as well as some features we had never heard of before – like cave bacon!
Dave admitted that he was just a self-educated caver, but he was extremely knowledgeable . . . and entertaining, too!
The kids were fun, too, and reminded me a lot of Nicolas and Bryce when they were younger.
Tom just had to climb under a shelf,
(and he hit his head on the way out!)
and we all got to take a turn at sitting on “Santa’s Sleigh”.
Between the interesting formations and the lights creating shadows, we all enjoyed trying to see what we could find in the many shapes of the cave. There were many places where we saw faces, and animals, and even the Abominable Snowman!
You could see that there is a lot of iron in the water around here, as most of the cave was deep dark orange . . .
but there were also areas where calcium deposits were quite evident,
and even some areas of blue stone, closer to the surface.
There were narrow walkways and tunnels,
a tall chimney,
and some larger rooms, too.
The total tour takes you 1/2 mile into the cave and about 150 feet below the surface, and then you walk back out through some different corridors.
Good thing we had a guide – too many offshoots and side corridors to venture down and get lost in!
The tour is advertised as being 1-1/4 hour long, but I think we were down there over 1-1/2 hours! It was a fun tour, and we were definitely glad we went on it!