Saturday, November 15, 2008

winter fun!

It appears we're moving a bit away from Fall weather and it's about to feel like Wintertime. brrrrr. The forecast says it'll be down near 30 degrees tonight and down near 20 degrees by Tuesday night. It might even snow a bit tonight?? surely not.

Even though cold weather is setting in upon us here in the mountains, there's still places to go, sights to see, and things to do.

In particular, two nearby tourist destination places that I would like to visit, and haven't yet made time for, come to mind: The Southwest Virginia Museum in Big Stone Gap and Gap Cave (the old Cudjo's Cavern) located inside the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park (right down the road). Except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, both of these excellent attractions (the museum and the cave) are open through December 31.


The Southwest Virginia Museum is currently open Tuesday - Thursday from 10AM - 4pm; Fridays from 9AM - 4PM; Saturdays from 10AM - 5PM; and Sundays from 1-5PM. The museum will close December 31st for the season and re-open on March 1st.

From November 16th through December 31, view a winter wonderland at the museum's 13th annual Festival of Trees. Over 80 trees and other decorations will be on display throughout the museum. Every Saturday night from 7-9PM the museum offers Night Viewing. See the trees in the magical atmosphere of an evening.

The Southwest Virginia Museum is housed in a mansion built in the 1880s by Rufus Ayers, a Virginia attorney general. The museum was bequeathed to the commonwealth in 1946 by C. Bascom Slemp, private secretary to President Calvin Coolidge and a member of the U. S. Congress. The museum was officially dedicated by the state in 1948. It features a collection comprised of more than 20,000 pieces, about one third of which is on display at any given time. The museum chronicles the exploration and development of the region during the 1890s coal boom, as well as the pioneer period. It offers activities for kids, scout and school programs, workshops, an annual Festival of Trees program, a quilt show, a music festival and outdoor exhibits. The museum sells archival supplies and offers the opportunity to have pictures of collection pieces copied, as well as copies of reference files. Also offered is a unique gift shop and a Victorian Parlor Conference Room available for rent by calling the museum.

for more information, go to
or visit the Friends of the Museum website at


Cumberland Gap National Historical Park hosts guided Gap Cave tours on weekdays at 10AM and on weekends at 10AM and 2PM, through December 31st. Between January 1st and March 31st, the guided Gap Cave tours will be held on weekends only at 10Am and 2PM.

for more information, go to


In addition, as long as it's not pouring the snow or some such weather, you can drive the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail road. I'm pretty sure it's about a 4-hour driving tour. You just guide yourself with this CD going in your car that tells you driving directions and interesting historical information along the way. It's sounds fun, educational, and interesting to me. I see those Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail signs all over the place around here.

for more information, go to

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