Gatlinburg TN

Gatlinburg TN
I've been on a HUGE Gatlinburg area kick lately..... Here is a recent picture!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Cooter's Place- Luray Virginia

I have been to the Cooter's Place in Gatlinburg MANY times......  been to the one in Nashville too.....  So I was very excited to be able to visit the third one in Virginia!

Here are some pics.....  There is a Daisy's Restaurant attached to it that looked pretty cool.

I am not making this up...  "Good Ol' Boys" came on my ipod playlist as we pulled in!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

New Market Battlefield State Historic Park and Virginia Museum of the Civil War- Virginia

After our visit to Lexington Virginia, we knew we had to make it to the New Market Battlefield State Historic Park at some point.

AND, at this location, is the Virginia Museum of the Civil War.

Its $10 to see the museum and to check out the Battlefield. 

We ended up spending more time in the museum than we expected!  It was very thorough!  They show a documentary on the "Field of Lost Shoes".

I mentioned this before, but the Battle of New Market is known for the fact that students from the Virginia Military Institute fought in this battle.

I really enjoyed the museums collection, as they had some very quality pieces.  I saw some uniforms and arms in great shape.

Also, after seeing the MASSIVE painting by Julian Scott in the Vermont State House, I almost feel like I know the guy.  You KNOW that I enjoyed the privilege of getting to see some more ORIGINALS of Scott's on display here.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Luray Caverns- Luray Virginia

There are several notable show caves that we were near on our recent trip.  We have been to many, and I enjoy hitting them, but I have learned that squeezing more than one in over a few days can be rough.  In the past, we have burned ourselves out on seeing caves.  So, we agreed that seeing one would be appropriate on this trip.

So we visited the very famous Luray Caverns.

This area is a few amusement park rides and a souvenir shop or two away from being another Gatlinburg.  I had no idea that the land around the cave had been so built up.  AND, there is a Cooter's Place nearby (you know I stopped there!  More on that later).

Seriously though, there is a large parking lot for the cave, and then all sorts of distractions on the way there.  Fudge, food, etc.

We made our way to the ticket area and bought our two tickets.  It was over $50 for the two of us to see the cave.  I am going to have to think about it, but that might be the most I have paid for a cave tour.  As a side note, after our tour, I did notice that NO ONE tipped our very good tour guide.  The guide did make a brief comment about gratuities were appreciated..... but I think that after the ticket price sticker shock many experienced, a tip was sort of off the table.

In defense of the cave and its ticket price, your admission does include admission to a couple of museums on site, including a toy museum, a car museum, and a history museum.  We went through all of them and they were all nice....  but I doubt ANYONE goes to Luray to see their toy museum as a main attraction.  These are all nice side museums, but people are here for the cave.

They do have a very interesting snake line system to go in.  You buy your ticket, then you get in line to go through the cave.  The line appeared deceptively long, but it keeps moving.  We waited maybe 15 minutes after we bought our ticket until we are in the cave.  They keep tours moving and constant.  A group lines up, goes into the cave, then a guide leads you on.  It is very efficient.

While waiting in line, they do the green screen souvenir photo.  This is a total shame, as the cave is so beautiful.  They are missing out on a really cool photo opportunity here.  AND, their photo package is almost $40!!!  For a photo of you NOT EVEN IN THE CAVE!  No thanks.

Not to beat a dead horse, but we have been to several caves lately that are doing the souvenir photo INSIDE OF THE CAVE!  I tip my hat to those caves....  AND I buy the photo every time.

BUT, back to the main attraction here.  The cave.

What a cave it is!  Check out my other entries on caves in this blog.  I have been to MANY.  I have enjoyed everyone of them.  The cave in my own back yard (Mammoth) will always be my favorite, but Luray IS, WITHOUT QUESTION the most beautiful one I have been through.   It is exceptionally beautiful.  I must say that, once we saw it, we felt OK about the ticket price.

There are so many formations, and so many great chances to get a picture....  The cave is so photogenic.

At one place, there is a very small body of water.  Literally 1-2 inches, and it almost perfectly reflects the formations above it.  Everyone on our tour was impressed with this.

Towards the end of the tour, you get to see (and hear) the cave organ.  We were told that pop artist Gotye recently used the organ on an album.

This is an amazing cave...  and though I found some small things not exactly perfect here, this IS a must see in a lifetime cave.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

DeFluri's Chocolates- Martinsburg, West Virginia

DeFluri's Chocolates was another place I had to visit while in Martinsburg West Virginia.  EVERYONE has heard about these guys.  They have been making chocolates since 1985!

 We picked up several of their chocolates, and we had a nice talk with the gentleman running the place about what's popular.  He mentioned a candy that combined chocolate and green tea.  We got one and loved it!

This is a great business that has been around for over 30 years and it was cool getting to check it out!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Belle Boyd House- Martinsburg, West Virginia

The Belle Boyd House in Martinsburg, West Virginia functions as a community museum, housing lots of local artifacts, in addition to being the former home of Confederate spy Belle Boyd.

We walked in and were greeted by a young lady who gave us a short but informative intro on the house and Belle Boyd.  Belle lived here as a young lady several years before gaining notoriety during the Civil War.

The home contains many items relating to Belle, and there are many displays relating to the local community.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

O'Hurley's General Store- Shepherdstown, West Virginia

O'Hurley's General Store in Shepherdstown, West Virginia is another place I heard about from the book, "Way Out In West Virginia".  It is an absolute throw back store.  It had a very nice, old feel.

Here are some photos!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Bavarian Inn- Shepherdstown, West Virginia

I am not sure where I first read about the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown.  I THINK it was in the great book, "Way Out In West Virginia".

PLUS, I had heard that Nancy Reagan used to hang out here.  I thought that was pretty cool.

I have talked to people who have visited over the years, and I was really expecting a very uptight place.  I had heard that it was a little snooty, with a real formal dress code and all.

So, we thought we would stop by and check out the bar.  Well, we stopped by and found that the bar was closed.  We walked into the lobby to ask about lunch and found that the staff was super friendly, and not uptight at all.

The bar was closed, but they said we were fine to have lunch in the main restaurant, even though we weren't exactly "dressed up."

Their restaurant was pleasant.  We sat next to a very open and sunny window, looking out at the property.  We had a very pleasant waitress who was good but not intrusive.

We had amazing meals that impressed us both.

Before leaving we asked the front desk about things to do in the area and they gave us a list and some recommendations.

We had a very nice experience at the Bavarian Inn!