Day two of our anniversary weekend in the mountains (you can check out the day one recap here) began with coffee-sipping on the porch of our cabin.
We could hear a stream rushing somewhere in the woods below and a rooster crowing somewhere in the distance, but there were very few sounds beyond that. This cabin was the epitome of seclusion, and it was awesome.
After a leisurely breakfast and a quick dip in the hot tub, we drove into Luray to check out Luray Caverns. They were pretty cool–it is amazing how it all was formed–but after a while it all kind of looks the same to me. Andrew, on the other hand, my rock-loving mine engineer, was geeking out the whole time, and that was fun to watch. There’s basically one rule in the caverns: don’t touch the rocks (the oil from our skin breaks them down). We saw one guy in our group sneakily reach out and touch a rock with his finger; Andrew shook his head, and under his breath said, “Exhibit some self-control, buddy.” 😀
After our caverning adventure we stopped for lunch at this wonderful restaurant called Gathering Grounds. It’s a coffee/sandwich shop with delicious food…and gluten-free options! In a little mountain town like Luray, we weren’t sure how well-versed the restaurants would be in food allergies, but they were incredibly accommodating. They even had a few GF pastries available for dessert. Andrew finished his meal with a giant peanut butter cookie and was a very happy camper. 😀 If you find yourself in Luray, check out Gathering Grounds!
We spent a little time exploring Main Street and letting our food digest, then we drove back into the mountains for our second hike of the weekend: Bird Knob. Our criteria for choosing this hike were 1. good views (always) and 2. shorter distance… something less strenuous and time consuming than our crazy hike from the day before. While the Bird Knob hike is 8 miles if you do the entire thing, the overlooks are only 1.5 miles into the hike, so we could make it a 3 miler if needed.
I made certain to pack enough water for this hike, but I didn’t pay much attention to the elevation chart. My thought process: “Three miles? That’s an evening stroll around the neighborhood.” Wrong, wrong, wrong. The entirety of the 1.5 miles to the overlook was uphill, and parts of it were annoyingly steep. It probably wouldn’t have been as difficult if our legs weren’t sore from our hike the previous day. As we neared the top Andrew said, “Next time I choose the hikes.” 😉
As usual, the views made it all worthwhile:
We hiked about a mile beyond this, then turned around and made our way back down the mountain.
Back at the cabin we grilled some steaks, poured a couple of drinks, and watched the sun set.
Gender role reversal: Andrew with a fruity mixed drink, Catherine with a dark stout 😉
We concluded our weekend with some wine tasting on Sunday on our drive back to Richmond. We stopped at Barboursville Vineyards, which is an Italian-owned winery, made to look like an old Tuscan farmhouse. The wine was pretty good–none of them tasted as much like grape juice as I want wine to taste–but the scenery was beautiful:
The weekend was simultaneously relaxing and exhausting. It was so great to get away and be in the mountains, but we (I) picked some tough hikes 😀 Regardless, we were very thankful for the opportunity to celebrate two years of marriage!
-Beach or mountains? Andrew and I discussed this Saturday; he picked the beach, I picked the mountains (but ask me again when I’m at the beach this summer ;-))
-Have you been to any caverns (Luray or other)? What did you think? Are you a rock-toucher/rule-breaker?