"Trying to compare [Luray Caverns] to others," a reporter from The New York Times said upon seeing the cave, "would be like comparing New York City to the Town of Luray." Indeed, this Northern Virginia landmark, with its mirrored pools and echo chambers, exudes a singular energy that leaves visitors spellbound.
Discover its majesty on this week's Escape to Big Meadows Lodge in Shenandoah National Park. You'll get a one-night ($157.50) or two-night ($253) stay for two in a Blue Ridge or Mountain Top Hotel Room, plus two admissions to Luray Caverns.
Also included: breakfast for two on one morning, a bottle of local wine, two keepsake wine glasses, and a self-guided scavenger hike book.
Built in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the 29-room lodge is a throwback to simpler times, lacking the modern trappings of a place like, well, New York City. In-room Wi-Fi? Pshaw! Telephones? Not here. Each room is equipped, however, with two queen-size beds, a patio or balcony, and—okay—satellite TV.
But the real entertainment center lies outside. With more than 500 miles of hiking trails that traverse dense forest, waterfalls, ghost towns, mountain peaks, and trickling creek bottoms, Shenandoah National Park is rife with opportunities for discovery.
Forty-five minutes north of the lodge, the Town of Luray plays host to gems of another nature. It's no Manhattan, as the writer noted, but a few boutiques, eateries, and museums make this humble 200-year-old hamlet worth the visit.
The real draw, of course, is Luray Caverns, home of The Great Stalacpipe Organ. The world's largest musical instrument works by tapping a series of different stalactites, each varying in size to produce a unique tone. But that's just the beginning: The caves are full of otherworldly sights, the entirety of which would take days if not weeks to explore.
Think of it like a short trip to New York: You'll never cross everything off your list, but a day or two among the sights and sounds of the Blue Ridge Mountains will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
PAID VALUE EXPIRES ON May 30, 2020
PROMOTIONAL VALUE EXPIRES ON July 31, 2013
Big Meadows Lodge
A One- ($157) or Two-Night ($253) Stay for Two, Two Admissions to Luray Caverns, Breakfast for Two One Morning, Bottle of Local Wine, and More
- from $157