Nick and I spent the weekend in Virginia seeing the Natural Bridge. It was beautiful! The only problem was that Mr. Thomas Jefferson bought the land with the natural bridge on it and then sold it to someone else who has turned it into not only a tourist attraction but has made the surrounding area the ultimate tourist trap. I am not sure why the state has not reclaimed this natural beauty, but it remains privately owned. There is a HUGE gift shop where you can purchase package deals to take a tour of the nearby caverns (deepest on the east coast!), see the natural bridge, tour the wax museum, the dinosaur museum, the monster museum, the factory, the zoo, the drive through zoo and see a life size replica of stonehenge called “foamhenge”. All this, in the middle of nowhere! Their marketing is great…they make it sound like you need to plan on spending DAYS there. Which means that you also have to stay at their hotel and eat their food. It’s brilliant really.
Luckily we were smart. We wanted to camp and we did our research. There was a national park only 10 miles away where camping was 1/3 of the price that the private campground next to the natural bridge tries to charge you. We actually asked about camping while at the gift shop and they did not mention the national park.
We took a tour of the caverns…which were mostly man blown holes with paved walkways to see a few little cave formations. Then we went out to the campground where we met some funny old men who lent us an ax and talked our ears off for awhile and made a few blatantly racist comments. (Funny how white people assume they can say these things to other white people!) We made a fire and some s’mores and went to sleep.
Next morning we went to the natural bridge. It was quite impressive. Worth seeing for sure. They have a nice little 2 mile trail you can walk down and see an “indian village” and a little waterfall. It followed a stream that was full of fish jumping here and there.
Then we saw the “foam henge”…it was free. Some crazy man wanted to make his mark on history and decided this was it. It was pretty cool.