Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley top them all with its intricately designed and developed commercial caves, recently known as Shenandoah Caverns. Discovered more than a century back, in 1884 by the workers laying down the railway tracks across the mountains, the caves have since then been an interest for both the natives and tourists. When the authorities recognized the tourist potential they held development and preservation efforts jumped into the streamline, and the caves went commercial with a bang somewhere between the years of 1921 and 1922.
The word “Shenandoah” has long been discussed and debated, yet no single consensus upon its meaning has been arrived at. According to others it carries the meaning of “the daughter of the star” . Another group of people state that it is actually named after the chief of the tribe which settled here in historic times, namely Sherando. Yet another idea goes in the favor of Skenando, the chief who emerged as the leader of his people during the American Wars of Revolution.
Today, however, little intrigue might be left as to the history of the name of the Caves, especially in view of the extensive adventure formations within its depth. Featuring an elevator and proud to be the only to do so, Shenandoah Caverns is composed of 17 rooms, out of which, if not all, about 80% can be accessed by the elderly of the wheelchairs and the infants in the strollers. The entire assortment of 17 rooms happens to be situated underground, which is meant to add spice to the sense of adventure lurking at the entrance of the caves.
Among the most remarkable sights of Shenandoah’s Caverns is the Rainbow Lake. Accurately named, the lake is completely natural, and reflects the various spotlights around it in a breath-taking, painting-like facade. As you go for the one-mile trip inside the Caverns, you come across other wonders of nature preserved by man and awed upon by spectators. Diamond Cascade is situated in a narrow passage, now called the Diamond Cascade Corridor, in the honor of the gigantic calcite monument that hangs from the roof. The wondrous aspect about the Cascade is that it beams out a sparkling white fluorescence, as opposed to the brownish hue all around it. Huge as it is, it gives the impression of something crystal like frozen in its fall.
Then there is the “Beyond the Veil”. Named by the authorities themselves, the veil is a thick curtain of drips, colored orange and seeming to be made of straw. Thanks to the authorities, the area around the veil is lit up with bright colored lights giving it the impression of a historic disco stage.
Shenandoah Caverns have stories floating around them, and all these legends and myths have been accentuated by the developers of the area. A legend, after all, is the food for healthy tourism and advertisement.