Weekend Round-up: Strawberries, Pizza and Caverns, Oh My!

Ahhh…hope you all had an enjoyable and relaxing holiday weekend! Between the three-days off, hubs and I spent our time with a mix of both relaxing and enjoying some local attractions.

First up, on Saturday morning, I woke with the sun to tackle my 20-mile run. It was a clear, sunny day, low temp and it went pretty well – steady and even negative-split – until the last mile (19). I got some dull pain in both calves that was reminiscent of those last 3-4 miles in a marathon (cramps/soreness) so I decided to cut it short and hubs came to the rescue with the car and some water. I am 99 percent sure it was my lack of adequate hydration (shame on me) though because after that bottle of water, a protein smoothie, ice bath and shower, I was feeling much better. The rest of Saturday was pretty chill – we went out for lunch, took a walk, then spent some time at home.

Sunday was a sleep-in morning, and we got a mid-day start after going for a run (together, yay!) we headed to Lowe’s for some random things, then decided to drive out to Crozet to cross-off a Charlottesville-area bucket-list experience: visit Crozet Pizza, which, according to countless reviews, and even Food Network, makes one of the best pizzas in the USA. Well…spoiler alert..it was just okay. And they only took cash! What is up with that? Oh well (for more, here’s my Yelp review)

Thankfully, we were able to brighten the day back up with a trip to Chiles Peach Orchard, where the strawberries are ripe for the picking 🙂

Strawberry Patch!
Strawberry Patch!

This was our fourth trip out to Chiles (we’ve picked: strawberries, peaches x2) and as usual, we had an enjoyable time, though the strawberries were definitely smaller this year.

Monday…oh sweet Monday, it was glorious to sleep in on a Monday morning…I made some strawberry oatmeal before we set off on our expedition to Luray Caverns, about an hour and a half drive away. It was kind of gloomy out, but since we were gonna be spelunkin’ anyway, no matter 😉

Descending into the Caverns.
Descending into the Caverns.

Now, this was my second cave experience in the Commonwealth of VA (see this post for my adventure to Grand Caverns, and my Yelp review) and so I had a bit of an idea of what to expect. However, I was not expecting a $22 price tag without a guided tour 😦 I guess since it was a holiday weekend, they were in a different mode that had guides posted in various sections of the cave, but this really took away from the experience for me, since I liked hearing about all the different formations, not just looking at them and being like, “oh, cool, stalagmites.”



Now, I am definitely not saying it still wasn’t impressive…but I need some context to what I am looking at. There were little posted signs around the caverns that denoted an audio tour guide stop, and I really wish I could have had one! Plus, it wasn’t terribly crowded, but the other people that were there…let’s just say, I don’t think they heard the safety warnings or rules! Everyone was touching everything (UGH) even though the staff had indicated that natural body oils and salts could deteriorate or stunt the formations. Just…ugh. It made me sad to think that generations from now might not get to enjoy these sorts of natural wonders…

cave3 cave4

An attraction that I was looking forward to in these caves, however, was the popular ‘Stalacpipe Organ.

The Great Stalacpipe Organ.
The Great Stalacpipe Organ.

This was the one stop that a guide was actually standing by…and he told the story of Leland W. Sprinkle, who created the organ by finely tuning the vibrations and sounds from the stalactites. Sounds kinda neat right? Well, we were told to wait around for a performance, only to find out no one actually physically plays it anymore, it’s just a mechanized computer program. Um…anticlimatic. I’ll save you the $22 and you can click here. 😉

One more weird thing…there was a wishing well. And, like many popular wishing wells, it collects a whole lot of money, which is then donated to charities = awesome. But this was the first time I ever saw DOLLAR BILLS floating in the well. HOW WEIRD IS THAT?! I definitely had to snap a photo.

Wishing Well, Luray Caverns.
Wishing Well, Luray Caverns.

I suppose if you had never visited a cave before, you may not be as critical, but there were other things about this experience that left us feeling a little disappointed: namely, lots of mold – it was a wetter cave than others, but the influx of lights seemed to really highlight a lot of ickiness…and the tourist trap feeling. Sure, that might be what it is, but it felt like they didn’t care to share the message of the caves, or even try to educate. Again, this could be different on less busy days, I suppose, but I didn’t learn anything about the different rooms, formations or history, which was unfortunate.

Feeling slightly underwhelmed, hubs and I headed back toward Charlottesville, via Waynesboro where we dropped in to our favorite area movie theatre, Zeus, to see the Great Gatsby. I pointed out to hubs that it was the third Leonardo DiCaprio movie we had seen there, which was a fun fact (first: Titanic in 3D, second: Django Unchained). We enjoyed the film for the most part – visuals were more spectacular than the story – but had a fun time, nevertheless.

Now, it’s time to face the reality…back to work tomorrow 😉 Hope you all had a wonderful holiday, paused to reflect on the significance of the day and most importantly, hugged those closest to you and enjoyed time together!

What was the highlight of your weekend?




  1. Ah I’ve wanted to go to Luray Caverns- it looks cool! I am dying to go fruit picking. I’ve been eating really delicious strawberries and watermelon all weekend!

    • I’d honestly drive a little further to Grand Caverns in Grottoes, VA! Lower price and less crowds 😀

  2. If you’re ever in western Kentucky, stop by Mammoth Caves–the longest known cave system in the world! Sounds like a great weekend!

  3. Super jealous of your strawberry picking adventure!

    I’ve been to a few caves, but namely Carlsbad Caverns in NM – well worth the side-trip and whatever we paid to get in. It was amazing. I think caves are an under-appreciated tourist destination (especially with all those people touching!). BOO. Sorry to hear your experience wasn’t great. 😦

  4. Those caverns look beautiful. I get a little claustrophobic, so being underground like that is tough for me, but I wish I could get over that. Also, super jealous of your strawberry picking!

  5. I love caverns! Last year I took the family ziplining in some that are by Louisville, KY. So fun. The highlight of my weekend was definitely Saturday’s race 🙂

  6. I’ve been to the caverns at Natural Bridge and Luray and both experiences don’t stand out as a must-do thing in Virginia. For the price you pay, I feel like you can get a better experience on an HD TV on a DVD. As for the strawberries, this has been a great year for them! We loaded up at the Chesterfield Berry Farm store this year.

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