Saturday, July 21, 2012

#534 George Washington Defaced It, Thomas Jefferson Bought It, We Visited It

  • George Washington defaced it (some say) by carving "GW" into the rock during his 1750 surveying visit.  
  • Thomas Jefferson bought it from the King of England for a few dollars, built a private home there, and tagged it "the most sublime of nature's works".  
  • The National Register of Historic Places listed it as a National Historic Landmark.
  • Herman Melville used it to as a literary device to describe Moby Dick
It's Virginia's Natural Bridge.  So we stopped by to see what all this fuss is about.

Virginia's natural beauty, lush and green, engulfs the place.  But the incredible coming together of nature's forces to create this oddment is the real story.  Tectonic plates, continental collisions, limestone's incremental yielding to the unstoppable forces of water, and poof, a natural miracle happened before we were watching.

Seated on benches facing the bridge, we heard a well-delivered scholarly description of the natural and human history of this dramatic place.  Later we engaged costumed interpreters at the Monocan village in the bridge's shadow and got a sense of the depth of their knowledge of Native American life.  These educational interludes (our highlights) were pleasant surprises given the for-profit nature of this place.

Yes, there's a gift shop. Virginia's Natural bridge - "it's easy to get to and hard to forget".

Yours in admiring Mr. Jefferson's real estate acumen,


  1. Yes, but did you visit that REAL nearby Shenandoah wonder... the great Foamhenge?

  2. No to the great Foamhenge. Yes to the great Colleen Drive In

  3. And of course there's the nearby Dinosaur Kingdom--dinosaurs vs. the Union Army!

    I personally would VERY much like to see the state (or better yet, the federal) government buy Natural Bridge and operate it as a park. But until then, it's a place of glorious kitsch! Glad you had fun.

    1. Sadly, the Dinosaur Kingdom and The Haunted Monster Museum are closed in 2012 due to a fire.

    2. Now, see, that's just tragical.