10 August 2009

Natural Bridge-That's My World

This past Saturday, the 8th of August I decided to take a trip to Natural Bridge. With all the rains we have had this summer, I was thinking lots of green and water. I was not disappointed. Natural Bridge is located in Rockbridge County, off Interstate 80 traveling north, at exit 175. It is about 31 miles from my home.
It is 137 steps from the visitor center to the bottom where the Cedar Creek and Natural Bridge are located. One can either walk down the scenic stairway or take a shuttle bus. I opted for the stairway and enjoyed the beautiful tree canopy, vines, butterflies, birds and creek. Along the path, there are benches and little niches where you can stop and take in the beautiful scenery all around you. At the bottom of the stairway you come upon the creek and a path that leads you to Natural Bridge and beyond.

Natural Bridge is a geological formation in which Cedar Creek (a small tributary of the James River-pictured above) has carved out a gorge in the mountainous limestone terrain, forming an arch 215 ft (66 m) high with a span of 90 ft (27 m), see photograph below.

The bridge consists of horizontal limestone strata, and is the remains of the roof of a cave or tunnel through which the creek once flowed. It is crossed by a public road, U.S. Highway 11. There are fences on either side of the highway, blocking the view from the top of the bridge.

In 1774, Thomas Jefferson purchased 157 acres (635,000 m²) of land including the Natural Bridge from King George III of England for 20 shillings. Jefferson called the Bridge "the most Sublime of nature's works". Jefferson built a two-room log cabin, with one room reserved for guests, beginning its use as a retreat. While President, in 1802, he surveyed the place with his own hands. Many famous guests stayed here, including John Marshall, James Monroe, Henry Clay, Sam Houston, and Martin Van Buren.

Natural Bridge was one of the wonders of the new world that Europeans visited during the 18th and 19th centuries. Vacationing guests from all over the world took day trips from Natural Bridge on horseback or horse drawn carriages to explore the countryside. In 1833, a new owner erected the Forest Inn to accommodate the increasing number of people. The bridge had considerable notoriety during the 19th century.

I will share more of my trip with you in the weeks ahead. The trail took me about a mile in and there were many interesting sights along the way.

Natural Bridge has been designated a Virginia Historical Landmark and a National Historical Landmark.

Be sure to stop by our wonderful That's My World meme. We had over 100 participants last week. I personally enjoy visiting other blogs from around the world. Enjoy.

36 comments:

Living on the Spit said...

I haven't been back to Natural Bridge in years but it still takes my breath away every time!!! Can not wait to see more of your wonderful photos.

Christina said...

Beautiful blog. I lived in VA as a girl. We lived in Vienna and visited so many wonderful places. Battlefields, Jefferson's home, Washingtons, lot of gorgeous historic sites. I hope to go back one day and enjoy it as an adult.

CountryDew said...

Great shots. The one of the creek looks like it belongs on a puzzle box.

Glad to see so many folks at the bridge. It looked busy.

Sylvia K said...

What fantastic shots of a gorgeous place!! I felt as though I was there! Always look forward to your marvelous photos!

Have a great week!
Sylvia

Tranquility said...

What a gorgeous location! I love all the green and the soft look to your photos is so pretty and relaxing!

That natural bridge is neat - there is something like that in Arizona as well!

Guy D said...

Beautiful photos of an amazing place, I'd love to visit in person but your pics are the next best thing.

Have a great week
Guy
Regina In Pictures

James said...

Thae natural bridge looks amazing. So does your blog.
Very nice job.

ewok1993 said...

Fascinating post. Your photos are simply amazing.

Daryl said...

What a beautiful spot .. and that hike is well worth it ..

Babooshka said...

That sounds and looks just idyllic. I would just be in heaven wandering round here.

foto CHIP *Birgitta* said...

A wild and beautiful place I understand - very green too - good for the air :)

Jenn Jilks said...

Amazing. There's a work out- 137 steps!

We have guests and, despite eating, drinking and celebrating, I'm so tired and not gaining any weight! Chasing a 20 mos. old has been grand.

Irene Toh said...

Thanks for the tour..as always

Ebie said...

This is my main blog.
Hi Erin, I have enjoyed the hike with you in nature's wonder. I do not know about the 137 steps, I would say one step at a time. Looking forward to your future posts.

Glennis said...

Wonderful natural feature, very well worth the 137 steps along the way, the lovely stream is also worth the steps its just so pretty.

Gaelyn said...

What an amazing limestone arch. Surprised a road is allowed on top. I hardly expected this from Virginia. Such a nice surprise. Great captures Erin.

Arija said...

I like your photos of it, it really is a neat natural feature.

Snap said...

This was wonderful. I had no knowledge of Natural Bridge. So many wonderful things to see in our beautiful land.

Sally in WA said...

Gosh, it has been sooo long since I visited Natural Bridge. Thanks for bringing back the memories with these fantastic pictures.

chrome3d said...

Thanks for the whole tour and history of the place. Those natural bridges are always so amazing and this was really big. They had provided plenty of benches and tables there, which is good for travellers.

Wolynski said...

Never knew about the Natural Bridge until I saw your post - what good things photo blogs bring. Gorgeous photos.

Reader Wil said...

This is certainly a great phenomenon! How beautiful and how well you described this tour! Thank you!

Mental P Mama said...

I've been there! And it is a wonder...gotta love Thomas Jefferson;)

ladyfi said...

I love that bridge. And the whole place looks very cool and restful.

Rocky Mountain Retreat said...

OH WOW! What a great feature indeed! I definitely would love to see this in person and heck ya, I'd be all over this in hiking it 10X over!
Beautiful photos!!

MedaM said...

Beautiful photos of really wonderful place! I love that creek and the Natural Bridge is really amazing.

Norma said...

That is amazing!!! What a lovely area.

Barb said...

Mother Nature is a great architect! Your perspective really shows the height of this natural bridge. All the photos are breathtaking - I really like the steps and the bench, too. Looks like a great place to visit.

Snappy Finger said...

Hi Erin. Always love your photography talents. So dreamy looking and wish I had that texture, but don't have Photoshop so what the heck am I thinking?

I changed my blog name from The Blue RIdge Gal to Snappy Finger... stop by and check it out when you get a sec.

DI
Snappy
http://snappyfinger.blogspot.com/

Denise said...

This is a great post Erin. We have often said we would like to take a drive down to see it one of these days. your photos are spectacular!

Marju said...

Oh, how beautiful, wonderful green environment. I like these little pictures!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Such a beautiful place. I would love to visit there one day, too. Your photos are all lovely. Thanks for sharing all the information, too.

~Lisa

Manuela@Pleasures of Homemaking said...

I'd love to visit this place! It looks just amazingly beautiful! Plus I love anything having to do with Jefferson. Just breathtaking photos!!

Manuela

Kamana said...

how absolutely lovely!

Betsy said...

Great pictures, I need to go back and visit natural bridge. I live in Va., and there is plenty of beauty here.

theprovidentwoman said...

How beautiful!