Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 4: WV/VA Vacation - Lost World Caverns & Morgan Orchard

Once we left the Greenbrier we stopped for some lunch, and then made our way to the Lost World Caverns nearby. At this point, at Cave #3, Brent asked me if there really wasn't anything else to do in these states - to which I replied "not really".
The cool thing about this cave was you could go on your own, no guide required. Virginia has a state law that all cave tours must be guided, but West Virginia does not have this rule.

When you walk in, there were all these huge rocks that had fallen from the cave ceiling over the years. It didn't exactly give you the best feeling about it!This was my least favorite of the 3 caves we visited. At this point we were all caved out. When we pulled up Lilli was sound asleep in her carseat and really in need of a nap, so I faced her in towards me in her carrier, thinking she might stay asleep/fall back to sleep. WRONG. Instead she struggled against me the whole time, arching her back, and by the end of the tour fussing right in my face. Nothing like a face full of squirming, screaming baby. The last 15% of the tour was my least favorite part of the entire trip! But, looking back on the pictures it did have some pretty cool formations! This is the cave we declared a "movie script". It just looked perfect for an Indiana Jones movie with it's big giant room with stairs and paths winding all around.There were a lot of things in this cave you could touch, as most of their formations were "dead". I think by not having tour guides people just touch things anyway, causing most of their formations to no longer be active.Standing on the stairs, with a formation in the background.Action shots. Spelunking with a baby is a definite full body workout! I was always worried I'd slip in all the wet caves, but fortunately that never happened.
Several years ago someone sat on this stalactite for 15 days to get the Guinness Record. Weird! After the cave we did a little shopping in the gift shop and then headed about 30-45 minutes away to our next stop, Morgan Apple Orchard. I had found this orchard in a W Virginia travel guide, and really didn't have a lot of info about it. Their website talked about the tons of pick your own apples they had available, and it just seemed like a lot of fun. And with GPS-man on our side, what could go wrong??

We kept heading further and further into the West Virginia country-side. The scenery was beautiful.The roads kept getting smaller and smaller, and eventually turned into a tiny country road that was truly only one paved lane, with gravel sides. Meeting other cars on this road was VERY frightening, and we really did not feel like we were getting any closer to a tourist attraction! The "homes" out here were also a little.....underwhelming - people living in tiny shacks, mobile homes and even campers. We were starting to get pretty nervous! GPS told us we were getting pretty close, and it didn't look like we were getting close to ANYTHING. Then, it told us "arriving at Morgan Orchard, on left". And we were nowhere. GPS is magnificent, but Brent's joke is that it will take you 700 miles to your destination and then drop you off a half mile too soon, which is VERY true. We've literally pulled into the wrong driveway since it usually thinks you've arrived several houses before you truly have. So, we rounded a curve - and then saw our first couple of apple trees!
Very, very glad to see this sign!The long driveway up to the orchard, apple trees on both sides!
Beautiful view from the orchard.After we pulled in we had to wake Lilli up, and then we tortured her by changing her into a cute apple onesie since I wanted to do some pics of her in the orchard (posted on here about a week ago with the leaves pics). She was not thrilled about the wardrobe change or being awoken from her nap, so I gave her a bottle while Brent went into the building to figure out how this whole thing worked. Below is the list of all the apples they currently had in season, TONS!
They had so many varieties I had never even heard of! The trees were absolutely full of apples as far as your eye could see. And, they were all $1.05 a pound, no matter what variety. Seriously, how awesome! We grabbed a basket and just started picking.

Lilli finished out the rest of her nap while we picked.

They also had a pumpkin patch!

I really wish we had something like this in Nashville! It would be so great to pick your own produce and make REALLY fresh foods. We picked a ton of apples, we just don't know what any of them are now. We're still eating on them, but only have a few left. We always eat an apple or two each night as our dessert, and share with both Lilli and Pippin. Apples are a family fave so this was a big highlight of our trip for me!

After taking some pictures of Lilli amongst the orchard and paying for our apples we headed on our way to Beckley, West Virginia. The Fairfield Inn we stayed in was our worst hotel of the trip, which really stank since our best hotel was the night before! It was full of Verizon employees, so we got stuck in a smelly room in the basement. It was just a dingy, dirty room and I will not be staying at any Fairfields in the future after that one. We did sleep pretty well that night, and slept in the following morning before heading out on our last full day of adventures to the Beckley Coal Mine and New River Gorge Bridge. Stay tuned!!

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