Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Natural Bridge, Virginia
Natural Bridge is found near the Blue Ridge Parkway and is a natural wonder. Cedar Creek runs under the bridge and was the the water which caused the erosion that brought about the collapse of a cavern that made the bridge. Long before white men discovered the bridge, it was considered a sacred site by the Monacan Indians. They called it "The Bridge of God."
Around 1750, eighteen year old George Washington surveyed the bridge and the surrounding 157 acres for Lord Fairfax, He "signed" his worked by carving his initials in the wall of the bridge.
On July 5, 1754 Thomas Jefferson purchased the Natural Bridge and surrounding acreage from King George III for 20 shillings. The site has been privately owned ever since.
There is a mile long trail along Cedar Creek which is a beautiful walk on a sunny day like we had today. Unfortunately, because of the lack of rain, the creek isn't very full, but it was still pretty. There is a Monacan Indian village along the creek and there are village "residents" there to demonstrate life as it was when the tribe lived in the area.
A little further on the trail is Saltpetre Cave. During the War of 1812 and the Civil War, earth from this cave was mined for its bat and bird droppings in order to make gunpowder. My question is: who the heck first thought to use bat and bird poop to make gunpowder??!?!!! While working in the cave in 1812, the miners heard water coming from somewhere and blasted through the rock to find it. However, as legend has it, no one has ever been able to find the source of this mysterious river.
The final stop on the trail is the Lace Waterfalls from which Cedar Creek plunges 50 feet into the creek bed below. The creek then flows on to the James River, approximately one mile away. It is peaceful there at the waterfall and we could have sat there for the rest of the day.
The last event of each day at the Bridge is the Drama of Creation. Each evening, as soon as it becomes dark, there is a light show accompanied by music and narration of the seven days of Creation as written in the Bible. Let me tell you, it was very moving. We were fortunate that it was a clear night tonight and the stars were out in abundance! This is something everyone should experience. At the end, the silence was deafening as all who were in attendance soaked in the reverence of the moment. It was a privilege to experience.
Tomorrow we will be touring Bedford, VA. There is a D-Day Memorial there that my folks say is awesome. Thomas Jefferson had a retreat there and it is the birthplace of Booker T. Washington. So, we'll have lots to see and share.
Until the next time . . .