The Primetimers from Tabernacle Baptist Church had a wonderful time last Thursday through Saturday as we traveled to the Shenandoah region of Virginia. We left early Thursday morning for the journey to Charlottesville, VA. The weatherman said there would be a 30% chance of rain. It actually turned out to be 100%. We arrived at Monticello in time for a boxed lunch which we ended up eating on the bus because of the rain. We enjoyed our tour of Thomas Jefferson’s home and gardens. This was the first time for me to visit this area of the country. Even with the clouds and rain, it was a absolutely gorgeous. Thomas Jefferson was our nation’s third President and he is the person most responsible for our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. While touring the house, Hannah looked up at our guide and asked, “Was he saved?” Our guide replied that he didn’t think so, but that Jefferson would have answered something like this, “that is between my God and me.” No, I don’t believe Jefferson was a believer, but I believe that he was a God fearing man. He was a true renaissance man: a farmer, an architect, an inventor, a statesman.
We then traveled over the mountain on the serpentine road leading us to Luray Caverns. I have been in caves before, but never something like this. The caverns are enormous. Our guide did a great job of leading us through the winding tunnels. She was careful not to say that the caverns were millions of years old. When we got to the bottom there was an organ that played by striking hammers on the stalactites. The song played was “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Just outside the Caverns was the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum. This was an amazing journey through classic automobiles.
We then left for Raphine, VA, where we stayed at the Day’s Inn. We stopped and grabbed a fast food supper and arrived at the hotel somewhere around 8:30 p.m. Abby and Hannah wanted to go swimming so I went down to the pool with them. The temperature all day was in the low 60’s. It was now dark and still rainy, so you can imagine how cold it was. Abby and Hannah both jumped in the water and splashed around for about ten minutes. That was enough time for me to get soaked, not from the pool, but from the misty rain, so we went inside and had a good night’s rest.
On Friday, we drove to Lexington, VA, where we met up with our step-on guide. She took us to the Stonewall Jackson House, the only house Jackson ever owned. We learned a lot of history about the Civil War (or the War of Northern Aggression as my dad calls it). We then took the bus to the Virginia Military Institute. This school is an impressive place. We also walked around the Cadet Museum and were even able to see Stonewall Jackson’s horse. We then went to lunch at the Sheraton Livery. Everybody loved the delicious lunch. We then toured Washington and Lee University and visited the Lee Chapel. Our last stop was the Stonewall Jackson Cemetery where Jackson was buried. After a quick rest stop at the visitor center we drove a few miles south of Lexington to the Natural Bridge. If you have never visited the Natural Bridge I encourage you to visit. Pictures do not do justice to this impressive wonder of God’s creation (notice I didn’t say nature). While there, Caleb looked at me and said, “This is the best thing we have seen yet.” Abigail wanted to buy something in the gift shop so one of our ladies gave the kids some money. She bought an Indian headdress. Hannah bought a bow and arrow. When we left that night we stopped at the Country Cookin’ Restaurant. If you are ever in the Lexington area, this is the place to eat. The prices were very reasonable and the food was delicious.
Saturday morning we started back to Wilson, but on our way we stopped at the Appomattox Court House. We all really enjoyed the living history characters. We were able to walk through several of the old buildings, the tavern and printing press, the courthouse, the General Store, and the McLean House where Lee surrendered to Grant. As I stood overlooking the village and the fields I tried to close out everything around me and just meditate on what it must have been like almost 150 years ago. It was a solemn time.