While my dad was visiting last week, one of the things he really wanted to see was the Luray Caverns. About a half hour drive from here, the caverns is a beautifully managed natural cave formation buried deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains. And apparently, the word “caverns” is a singular noun (no, really).
He was suitably impressed – they’re really quite gorgeous. The tour guides are usually local high school students who talk too quickly through a memorized script, but other than that, the entire experience is really worth the trip.
The Luray Caverns also has the world’s largest “stalacpipe organ.” Someone figured out that if you set up electronic mallets on caverns formations, and then wire them to strike at prearranged intervals, you can produce music that sounds a little like a stone xylophone. The stalacpipe organ is located in the Cathedral Cavern, the largest space in the caverns, and on most tours it’s played automatically (but it’s live, not recorded). There’s actually a regular organ in the Cavern, and it can be played manually (for weddings and such – can you imagine being married here?). Forgive the shakiness of this video: