However, Luray Caverns is in the top five in every rating method. These top-notch caverns have been designed with separate areas for both the timid visitor and the more experienced.
For the timid, your guide leads you through brightly lighted, smoothly paved paths which are generally flat.
You enter large majestic sized rooms with high ceilings filled with towering tapered columns. These columns are both stalactites hanging from ceiling and stalagmites which build up from the floor.
Both types are formed over thousands of years by continuous drops of water which leave behind a film of lime when they evaporate. There are several rooms with each one having stalactites and stalagmites with completely different characteristics.
From your history classes you might remember “Give me Liberty or Give me Death”. Patrick Henry spoke those brave words in St. John’s Church in Richmond in 1775. Five years later the capital of Virginia was moved from Williamsburg to Richmond because war with the mother country was imminent.
Many years later Richmond became the capital of the Confederacy for the duration of the Civil War. This beautiful city had the dubious distinction of being sacked in two wars. With this involvement in so much history it is not surprising that there is a great deal of war and history related attractions to visit.
Some of the ideas for visiting are as follows: The Museum of the Confederacy together with the White House of the Confederacy have an excellent collection of manuscripts, photographs and artifacts. The present day Virginia State Capitol Building has had some recent restoration work which greatly enhances it as a tourist attraction. The Science Museum of Virginia has many very motivating hands on science displays to all ages.
Of course, we all remember from our history books that the British General, Cornwallis, surrendered to General George Washington in Yorktown in 1781. This surrender sealed the American Revolution and the ultimate severing of our colonial relationship with England. Some of the things from the period that can be seen are the battlefields of the Revolution including the earthworks and nine restored historic period homes.
Yorktown was heavily involved in the American Civil War, as a supply base for either Northern or Southern forces depending upon which one held the town at the time. During the Peninsula Campaign the town was captured by Union Soldiers and was used as a base by the Army of the Potomac for the remainder of the war.
Today, there are several military facilities in and around Yorktown. These include the Naval Weapons Station, the Coast Guard Training Center, and Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipbuilding yards plus several others.
The buildings date back to the period 1700 to 1780 and have been restored to their original condition. If you are interested in American history, Colonial Williamsburg is chocked full of interesting information regarding out early days as a country.
So, why is it that 300 square acres called Colonial Williamsburg is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Virginia? First, because the guides and attendants all dress in period clothes of the 1700’s.
Second, because they all act the part of the citizens who lived in Williamsburg in Revolutionary times. Third, because it is one corner of the historic triangle of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown.
Basically, Colonial Williamsburg is a museum of living history which depicts the 18th century culture in ways that bring these difficult times to life. A few of the many buildings to be seen are the Governor’s Palace, Virginia’s first capitol building, and the Bruton Parish Church which is the oldest church in the US that is still operating.
As a vacationer you should also be aware that due to the popularity of Colonial Williamsburg many commercial attractions have grown up in the Williamsburg area. These include three theme parks, a pottery factory plus a presidents’ park with busts of all of the presidents.
You could walk where Pocahontas and Captain John Smith walked and get a fresh look at the beginning of America. Some historians believe that some of these early excursions across the Atlantic could have been to search for gold. However, historic records indicate that these were serious travelers who were sincerely looking for religious freedom in a virgin land with no forced traditions. The building and maintaining of Jamestown was certainly motivated by the need for protection against the weather, the Indians and the need for a food supply.
In 1957 the Commonwealth of Virginia proudly dedicated a large portion of land named Jamestown Settlement. This attraction includes a recreated fort and Powhatan Indian Village plus many outdoor and indoor exhibits. They also have three replicas of the original ship that were used by the pioneers. It is also interesting to note that an icon of the Jamestown Settlement is shown on two US commemorative coins in celebration of its 400th year.