Sunday, September 15, 2013

Travel Notes: Virginia and Tennessee

Two weekends ago, I went South-bound to Tennessee with friends from Sunshine Travel. I've never been down South, so I was pretty excited about this 4 day tour, and as it turns out, it was super fun!

This was the last Tennessee bus tour for the year so I guess they've taken down the itinerary online, but they still have a lot of other interesting tours!

We visited a few different nature attractions, check it out!

1. Virginia's Natural Bridge

This attraction in Rockbridge County, Virginia was our first stop. Over the years, water flowing on the Cedar Creek carved out this geological formation which shaped a bridge out of a rock. The natural arch is over 200 ft high and is now known as a National Historic Landmark. Some also believed that when George Washington came and surveyed the bridge, he left his initials on the bridge!

And if you follow the walking trail, there's a mini waterfall at the end of it!

2. Ober Glatinburg (Great Smokey Mountain National Park)

We drove through the Great Smokey Mountain to reach our next destination. Ober Glatinburg is located at the top of the Great Smokey Mountain. It's a ski arena during the Winter time and a small attraction park during the Summer time. We went on the Aerial Tramway to the top and played the Amaze'N Maze and the Swing Chair.

3. Dixie Stampede Dinner & Show

This was fun and was the highlight of the Tennessee trip in my opinion. Dixie Stampede is a dinner show (arena style) and it's extremely audience-interactive! We had a 4 course meal, which includes one whole roasted Cornish hen, that we ate with out hands! The show includes live animals such as horses, ostriches, baby pigs racing, plus Sunny and I making a fool of ourselves in a volunteer "horse stick" race! Haha..

4. Ruby Falls

This is by far the most magnificent thing I've ever seen in my life. Who knew there are waterfalls in underground caves?! I thought water fall from mountains tops... Ruby Falls is such an eye opener! It's beautiful especially lit with colorful lights and music. However the guide only turns on the light in the falls room for 5 minutes. So snappy, snap, snap!

4. See Rock City

Like it's name, it is literally a rock city. We walked through suspended bridges and gigantic rocks on the hour long walking trail. Look at this narrow pathway between 2 natural rocks! It's called the "Fat Man Squeeze" and yup, one of my friends really had a hard time getting through.

I think waterfalls are becoming a trend in this trip. This is the Lover's Leap waterfall. It rained a little earlier in the morning so it was extremely foggy at the summit, but trust me, if you were there you'll agree with me that it's really beautiful and that this picture does not do justice to its magnificent view.

6. Lost Sea Adventures

Another cavern tour! This cave was previously used by Native Indians since its discovery. The caves maintain a temperature of 58 degrees Fahrenheit which makes it the ideal resting place to hide from the heat outside.  

Why "lost sea"? Because at the bottom of the cave is America's largest underground lake and we get to "explore" the lake on a guided boat tour. I was kinda hoping that the boat ride would last longer but apparently the lake we circled was kinda small.

7. Shenandoah Caverns

This was the last cave attraction for the tour. This is the home of the famous "breakfast bacon" formations. On the other hand, this picture below is really cool too. It's the Diamond Cascade. This particular formation sparkles like glittering diamonds! Can you believe that some people even had their wedding ceremony in front of this formation?!

This is the Rainbow lake! The pool of water underneath mirrors the formation above making it look as though its symetrical and deep. Of course the colorful lights lends a hand to its beauty too!

That was the end of our 4 days Tennessee trip. I made a few friends along the way and saw a lot of amazing sights and nature's wonders. Our world is a pretty place underground, isn't it?

P.S. I'm heading west to California for a few weeks, more travel posts coming your way!

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