Trip Report: Winchester, Luray Caverns & Skyline Drive

DW and I (seniors) took a mini vacation with our eight-year-old grandson in late February with the goal of visiting Luray caverns.. Short but sweet trap. We had about a 5 Hour Dr. from New Jersey to our destination, Winchester Virginia which we selected because it had a Country Inn and Suites. This hotel is always a wonderful choice because of its consistency and amenities. As with most CIs, this one had an indoor heated pool, hot tub, free breakfast, and free Wi-Fi. With two queen size beds and nice furnishings, this was a economical and extremely satisfactory hotel. The breakfast station had an excellent variety which included make your own waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, and all sorts of cereals bread and pastries, fruit etc.


Late in the afternoon, we headed to the historic district which was just beautiful. Lots of restored old buildings, places to eat and shops to visit. Dinner the first night was at Giovanni's, which proved to be a good/bad experience. Just days before, we chose this venue for its gift certificate. We sat down and ordered, only to find out that the certificate was not being honored. There was a small, make that very small note on the front door, and the waitress did not immediately inform us even though I had placed the certificate in plain view on the table. Had I known this I surely would have chosen a different restaurant. After some lively discussion with the chef, I was able to revise our order and wound up with a truly excellent meat lovers pizza. The next night,our gift certificate was welcomed at La Nicoise Cafe where we had a delightful and dinner.

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Sunday morning February 19, we checked to find Skyline Drive open, and entered Shenandoah national Park. This was a slightly overcast and very chilly but still spectacular thirtysomething mile drive to the Luray exit. Along the way we saw a female deer with her two large fawns, an opussum and not much more wildlife. 40 years earlier and before they made garbage cans bear proof, we saw lots of black bears in the summertime on our camping trips. Now all bears would be hibernating and a rarity to see in any case.

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We left skyline drive for the 15 min. ride to Luray and the caverns. This turned out to be a mile and a half walk deep inside, with spectacular formations and interesting guided narrations. We are in our mid-60s and this was not a difficult walk for us. The young and old in our party both loved the Luray caverns.