Friday, August 29, 2014

Dinosaur Land



In White Post, VA, there is a place where you can be transported back in time.  This is not Jurassic Park but a place where dinosaurs ruled the earth during the Mesozoic time.  You can come face to face with a large array of these giant creatures including 50 different species of dinosaurs, a massive shark or octopus, and King Kong himself.
 
Dinosaur Land opened in 1963 and has seen generations of families walk through the grounds among the creatures.  The park not only offers the dinosaur attraction, but you can also find a gift shop, and a birthday party room.  Check out their website for all the information:  http://dinosaurland.com/

Dinosaur Land was the last place Sharon and I went before heading home to Arizona.  Our friends joined us and as you can see, the place is just as much fun for adults as it is for children.  Our inner child came out to play.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Caverns of Virginia

Virginia has many wonderful attractions, some historic, and some are breathtaking.  Among the must-sees around the state are its many caverns.


Skyline Caverns
Situated in Front Royal, VA, the Skyline Caverns were discovered in 1937 by Walter S. Amos.  He revealed the hidden gem which was lurking underneath the earth’s exterior for 60 million years.  In 1939, the caverns were freely accessible to the populace with millions of visitors passing through the caverns since that time.  When Virginia saw its population surge between the 1950’s and 1980’s, the Skyline Caverns became a significant attraction for those to see while visiting Virginia. 

Today, you can visit the Skyline Caverns and be awestruck by the splendor of the caverns and view an extraordinary site of Anthodites in visual arrangements.  You can take a guided tour from a well-informed expert who will direct you on your journey inside the caverns.  For more information on the Skyline Caverns, check out their website:   http://www.skylinecaverns.com/

Shenandoah Caverns
In Quicksburg, VA, is where the Shenandoah Caverns can be found.  These amazing formations were first discovered in 1922.  For over 90 years, people have toured the great caverns with excitement to marvel at the spectacular view.  These caverns can boost being the only one with an elevator so people of all ages can enjoy the hour long guided tour.  The interior is a cozy 56 degrees with seventeen rooms along the gravel path.  The rock creations are breathtaking.  Check out their website for all the information about the Shenandoah Caverns:  http://www.shenandoahcaverns.com/

Luray Caverns
The next caverns in Virginia are the Luray Caverns.  Located in Luray, they were exposed on August 13, 1878 by five men indigenous to the area.   They noticed limestone bulging out from a hole in the ground with cool air seeping from it.  It took the men about 4 hours to dig a hole big enough for the runt of the group to fit inside.  He slithered down a rope and with a candle in hand, and he was able to check out their discovery.  The men found artifacts, and human remains while wandering the massive caverns. 

The Luray Caverns were designated as a National Nature Landmark in 1974.  Today, you can take a guided tour throughout the caverns, with only a portion of the caverns open to the public.  With over 500,000 people walking the well lit trails each year, you are treated to the most brilliant views of rock formations.  Here is their website for more information:   http://luraycaverns.com/

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Eerie Abandoned Motor Court



One of the things Sharon and I love to do is to urban explore.  Most of our friends are aware of this and want to go with us.  While visiting friends in Front Royal, they took us to an eerie, out-of-the-way, abandoned motor court with the caretakers house right next door.  From the street all you can see is the rusty old sign letting you know what used to be there.  When you stop in front of the barricades and look down the dirt path, you see a building covered with foliage.  The inside was dirty, disheveled, and a complete mess.  The outside was cover with bushes, trees, vines, and had bones of critters littering the grounds.  Who knows if any person or thing was calling this forsaken place home.  This barely visible structure was fun for us to walk around, but with caution, and take tons of pictures.  I hope I captured the creepiness of the place in the video below:


Thursday, August 21, 2014

What’s Around Front Royal?


First known as LeHewtown in 1754, Front Royal has a little over 14,000 souls living in this little town today and is located in Virginia.  By the 1790’s the town had the moniker of “Helltown” because of all the rowdy boatmen and wranglers that came to town wanting booze.  By 1788, the settlement was recognized as “Front Royal”.  Many are not sure where the name actually came from but one rumor is that the French called it “le front royal”, which means the British frontier.  Another story is that the name originated from the giant oak tree, the “Royal” Tree of England.  And yet another explanation for the name is it possibly came from the American Revolution where the words “front” and “royal” were used as passwords for the military.  On May 23, 1862, the Battle of Front Royal was fought there and all the way through the Civil War.  For many decades after the war, Front Royal was the place where lumber, agriculture, manufacturing, and grain mills afforded many jobs for those living in the area.

Today, Front Royal is the perfect location for outdoor adventure and the gateway to the Shenandoah Nation Park.  The historic district provides you with an abundance of shops, historic sites, amazing architecture, and places to eat.  For more information on what this town provides, check out their website:   http://www.frontroyalva.com/


As usual, I took many pictures as my friends and I walked around town.  I display these pictures in a video set to music.


Monday, August 18, 2014

The Apple House



One of the places Sharon and I stopped at while traveling from Gloucester to Front Royal, VA was The Apple House.  This wonderful deli and shop is located in Linden and has become a familiar sight for travelers to visit while in Virginia.  The Apple House opened its doors in 1963.  It offers a tasty BBQ and is known for its scrumptious Apple Butter Donuts.  After enjoying a meal, take a walk around the place and shop where you can find a variety of unusual items to choose from.  Check out their website for more information and location:  http://www.theapplehouse.net/default.aspx







Friday, August 15, 2014

The Inn at Tabbs Creek



Located near the Chesapeake Bay and in the center of Mathews County, Virginia sits The Inn at Tabbs Creek.  This B&B can boast winning many awards for being environmentally welcoming, and having lavish accommodations for your comfort.  It has many outdoor activities for your enjoyment such as kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, swimming in their eco-friendly pool or taking a tour on the Deadrise Boat Charters.  (Information on my previous post.)  Sharon and I took this tour and highly recommend it.  This idealistic B&B is a great place for a romantic getaway or a great vacation for you and your family.  The location is perfect to take a ride to the nearby historic places such as Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown.  Take a look at their website and see if it is the ultimate vacation spot for you.  http://www.innattabbscreek.com/









Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Deadrise and the Lighthouse


Located in entrance to Mobjack bay, and west side of the Chesapeake Bay, sits the New Point Comfort Lighthouse.  Construction was finished in 1804, and on January 17, 1805, the light shined for the first time out to the bay.  The lighthouse is an octagonal shape, stands 58 feet tall, and is built of ashlar-sandstone materials.  Originally, along with the tower, there was a dwelling house, kitchen, covered way, well, oil vault, and eventually a dock.

After the War of 1812, the lighthouse needed repairs.  The structure, along with the keeper’s house, was rebuilt, and a fence was added around the property.  By 1839, boats were needed to get to the lighthouse because the sand bar was under water and no longer attainable.  In 1855, an updated lantern was added while the shoreline slowly eroded.

Today the New Point Comfort Lighthouse sits on its tiny island with no access.  The dock no longer exists and for safety reason, no one is allowed on the island and especially inside the lighthouse.  You can take a tour out to the lighthouse and see what it looks like after years of sitting empty.  For more information about the New Point Comfort Lighthouse, check out their website:  http://www.newpointcomfortlighthouse.org/


Sharon and I used the Mathews Deadrise Charters to take us to see the lighthouse.  Our tour guide was captain Trey.  He pointed out interesting facts and places along our journey to the lighthouse.  It took an hour both ways and was totally worth every second.  We were delighted with dolphins that swam alongside the boat on our trip up, and hung around while we took pictures while circling around the lighthouse.  If you are ever in Mathews and want a boat tour around the bay, I would recommend Mathews Deadrise Charters and Captain Trey.  Check out their website and Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/MathewsDeadriseCharters/timeline
http://www.chesapeakebayboattours.com/

I put a video together of all the photos I took on our tour of the New Point Comfort Lighthouse from the boat.





Sunday, August 10, 2014

Walter Reed


(Wikipedia)  Major Walter Reed, M.D., (September 13, 1851 – November 22, 1902) was a U.S. Army physician who in 1901 led the team that postulated and confirmed the theory that yellow fever is transmitted by a particular mosquito species, rather than by direct contact. This insight gave impetus to the new fields of epidemiology and biomedicine, and most immediately allowed the resumption and completion of work on the Panama Canal (1904–1914) by the United States. Reed followed work started by Carlos Finlay and directed by George Miller Sternberg ("first U.S. bacteriologist"). Reed's breakthrough in yellow fever research is widely considered a milestone in biomedicine, opening new vistas of research and humanitarianism.

Born in September of 1851 to Lemuel and Pharaba in Gloucester County, Walter Reed managed to accomplish many extraordinary achievements during his 51 years of life.  In 1869 and just before he turned 19, he earned his M.D. degree.   After he graduated from the University of Virginia, he attended the New York University’s Bellevue Hospital Medical College and procured his second M.D. degree in 1870.  Six years later, Reed married Emilie and together they had two children, a boy and a girl.

Later, Reed enlisted in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, and was stationed in several locations providing medical attention to those who needed it including Apache Native Americans.  Towards the end of his military tours, he continued his medical schooling by attending Johns Hopkins University Hospital Pathology Laboratory.  Following his education, he became a professor at George Washington University School of Medicine, and worked as a curator at the Army Medical Museum (now the National Museum of Health and Medicine).

In the late 1800’s, Reed proved that those inflicted with yellow fever did not get it from drinking water from the Potomac River, but from the nearby swamps.  The men who got the disease often took the trails through the murky woods.  He later traveled to Cuba as a part of a group to explore the widespread of typhoid fever infecting many soldiers.  During his time with the U.S. Army Yellow Fever Commission in Cuba, he and the other committee members concluded that mosquitoes were transmitting the disease and not by other means.  They followed this up with many experiments, an some were very risky.  Reed spoke at many seminars on yellow fever until his death on November 22, 1902 after his appendix ruptured.


Be sure to look Walter Reed up and read the many more in-depth articles on his life and achievements.



Friday, August 8, 2014

Paranormal Geeks at the Beach



Near the old house in the woods, where ghost pirates have been seen, is a quiet little slice of heaven, Haven Beach in Virginia.  Sharon and I decided to swim in this location for our beach day because is was less crowded.  The water was slightly cold, but perfect for a swim.  I put together a video of our adventures at the beach along with one showing you how windy it was.






Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Haunting: Rosewell Plantation Ruins


December 2010

The extravagant Rosewell mansion ruins rests upon the middle point of a 3000 acre plantation in Gloucester County, VA.  It overlooks the York River and was quoted as “the largest and finest of American houses of the colonial period”.  The building was built with red bricks and established between the years 1725-1738. The structure was three stories tall with 17 fireplaces, many rooms, and a beautiful grand staircase. For more than 100 years, a division of the Page family called the mansion their home.   During its heyday, slaves worked the fields producing tobacco and grain.  From the 18th and 19th centuries, and also throughout the duration of the Civil War, Rosewell was the gathering place for many fancy balls and celebrations.

In 1916, Rosewell mansion was destroyed by fire which started in the southwest chimney.  It quickly moved throughout the structure leaving only a skeleton of what used to be.  Many artifacts have been dug up and being studied by archaeologists.  Today, preserving the ruins continues with no plans of reconstructing the massive mansion.  When visiting Rosewell, you start at the visitor’s center.  There are exhibits of what was found on the grounds, a short video of its history, and a gift shop.  You pay a small fee which is totally worth the admission price to see this extraordinary ruin.  (Check out their website: www.rosewell.org .)


I just recently visited the ruins, and went crazy taking pictures of this place, because everywhere I looked was an amazing photo opportunity.  I put them together on a video for your enjoyment.



Monday, August 4, 2014

Hey BooBoo, It's Jellystone Park


Don't forget your pic-a-nic baskets when you visit Jellystone Park at Gloucester Point located in Hayes, VA, near the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay.  This park provides non-stop activities such as kayaking, paddle boats, fishing, crabbing, and is the perfect place to camp for you and your family.  You can park your RV, or pitch a tent, and enjoy all the activities the park has to offer.  You can get wet at the Yogi Bear's Water Zone or fly into the water off the Jumping Pillow.  Jellystone Park is a short drive to historic locations such as Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, and Yorktown.

For more information, check out their website:  http://www.jellystonegp.com/




Saturday, August 2, 2014

Gloucester Point Beach and Pier


Gloucester Point Beach Park and Pier is located along the George Washington Memorial Highway near York river.  There is swimming in designated areas, but no lifeguards, and fishing on the pier with no license required.  There are covered picnic areas, and your four legged friends (and dogs too) must be on a leash.

Sharon and I were going to choose this beach for our "beach day", but after seeing the less crowded Haven Beach, we decided not to swim there.  (Haven Beach is featured on a future post.)  I did take lots of pictures and put them on a slide show:


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