Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 57

T

he story goes that two boys chased
a rabbit in a hole in the Virginia
mountains in 1879. A pretty deep
hole, it turned out to be-deep
enough that when they looked
above them at some point, one of
the boys got pretty excited.
"Carrots! Turnips!" he said. "We have
found the bottom of a farm."
They had no idea that they were looking at stalagtites and soda straws, hanging
from a cave's ceiling. And who would have
guessed their point of discovery would
one day become part of the Endless Caverns near New Market, Virginia? Turns out,
that's how many caverns have been discovered-by accident.
As for myself, I plotted cavern discoveries for more than a year, seeking stalagmites
from Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, to the
Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
"Have you been to any other caverns
around here?" asks my joke-cracking Skyline Caverns tour guide, 18-year-old Kaylin
Ketola, in Front Royal, Virginia.
"I've been to Shenandoah, Luray, Natural Bridge, Dixie," I began, then started to
add more names, like Appalachian, Bristol,
Gap Cave at Cumberland Gap, Forbidden
Caverns, Tuckaleechee, Grand, Ruby Falls,
Organ Cave, The Lost Sea--WHEW!
"So all of them?" Ketola asks.
Well, not all. But I made rounds to about
a dozen in my quest to find what's legendary, what's unique-and just how these
old-school attractions are really not your
daddy's caverns.
Cell phone cameras are constantly clicking in crowds, where millennials now capture what's millions of years old. Kids snap
selfies with stalagtites and pose like dolls
with dripstone.
"And you don't have to modernize
something like this," says Luray Caverns
tour guide Katie Nauman in Luray, Virginia.
"The beauty of a cave speaks for itself,"
says Connie Trompeter Browning, the owner of Dixie Caverns near Salem, Virginia.
"It's breathtaking. Every time you see something unusual, it catches you."

MAY/JUNE 2019

57



Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019

Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 11
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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 18
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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 21
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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 28
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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 31
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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 37
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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 42
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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 49
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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 57
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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 65
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Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG1
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG4
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG5
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG6
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG7
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG8
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG9
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG10
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG11
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG12
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG13
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG14
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG15
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG16
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG17
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG18
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG19
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG20
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG21
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG22
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG23
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2019 - BRPG24
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