ANNOUNCER: And now, Get Out of Town, a WETA original series.
LAUREN: So excited to get away.
LAURITA: Another adventure, girl.
LAURITA: Aw, I love it.
LAUREN: My goodness.
(bell rings) LAURITA: Yeah.
LAURITA: I don't know if I can do it.
LAUREN: We're excited, very excited.
LAUREN: Let's do it.
♪ ♪ LAURITA: Hi, I'm Laurita.
LAUREN: And I'm her daughter, Lauren.
LAURITA: We're from the DMV, and we love to travel.
LAUREN: We definitely do.
LAURITA: One of the best things about living in the DC area are all the many places you can visit that are just a few hours away.
LAUREN: So many options, and now we get to check them out together.
LAURITA: So, join us for a weekend of some very cool places to stay... LAUREN: Great food.
LAURITA: And nonstop fun as we...
BOTH: Get Out of Town!
(theme music plays) LAUREN: Oh girl!
We are going to the Shenandoah Valley.
I'm so excited this is the perfect time of the year to be going here.
I got all my winter coats, I'm going to be styling and profiling.
LAURITA: I think that I'm going to do the same thing as you with my fall-ish wintery gear.
We've got about less than two and a half hours.
LAUREN: Less than two and a half, yeah.
LAURITA: Which is which is great drive.
We've lot of traveling these past couple of months.
LAURITA: Well we knew we were good travel buddies, but what we've been doing has I think made us even a little more closer.
LAUREN: I would say so.
I think you're like my bestie.
LAURITA: Because I think we both have gotten out of our comfort zones.
Because we've tried some activities that I think in the big scheme of my life, I may not have done.
LAUREN: I don't think there's been one where I could be like "Eh, I wouldn't go there again".
All the places we've gone to I would totally go to again.
LAURITA: Bring us to the Shenandoah Valley.
♪ Oh, oh, oh ♪ ♪ My life will never be the same ♪ ♪ 'Cause girl you came and changed ♪ ♪ The way I walk ♪ ♪ The way I talk ♪ ♪ I cannot explain ♪ ♪ My world, you know you did ♪ ♪ And everything I own I give ♪ ♪ The rarest love who'd think I'd find ♪ ♪ Someone like you.
♪ LAURITA: Lauren, there it is, Luray Caverns.
LAUREN: There she is.
Thar she blows!
LAUREN: You can see the mountains from here, it's really pretty.
BILL: You must be Laurita and Lauren.
BILL: I saw you looking through our little viewfinder and seeing the lovely Blue Ridge Mountains.
BILL: Luray is actually the headquarters of the Shenandoah National Park.
Got a great natural wonder above ground and below ground, so I'd love to show you the caverns if you're ready.
LAURITA: We are ready.
BILL: Let's do it.
LAURITA: Oh everything looks so beautiful and fall-ish with the pumpkins and the gourds.
BILL: Oh, thank you it does.
Here's our new entrance, so come on in.
LAURITA: Thank you.
BILL: You're welcome.
LAUREN: Thank you!
BILL: Luray Caverns is a unique cave system, it is the largest caverns on the East Coast and one of the largest in the world.
Most caverns you go in you might see one or two stalagmites, here you see thousands.
This is amazing.
All the little nooks and crannies.
BILL: We're getting ready to come into our discovery room, and this is where the first discoverers actually came into the caverns.
BILL: Luray Caverns was discovered on August 13th, 1878, by three local men.
They were actually looking for a caverns.
Finally they found a quarter sized hole with cool air coming out and on a hot August day they thought that was unusual.
So they started digging there, a big enough hole for one man.
He slid through with a candle and a rope and discovered Luray Caverns.
BILL: One of the largest caverns in the world.
LAUREN: OK so are there any bats in those caves?
BILL: There are no bats in this cave.
This is a closed cave system.
LAUREN: Okay cool, I can get behind that.
BILL: Right there.
(organ music playing).
BILL: Well welcome to the cathedral or ballroom.
This is the home of the Great Stalacpipe Organ.
The Great Stalacpipe Organ was invented in 1954 by Leland W. Sprinkle.
And got the idea that he could harness these beautiful formations and make music.
BILL: So he spent about three years down here looking for stalactites that would work, found 37, and hooked up these things called solenoids to the stalactites.
Just a little rubber tipped mallet that will come out and tap the stalactite, produce a musical tone.
It covers three and a half acres, making it the largest musical instrument in the world.
(organ music playing).
♪ ♪ BILL: Now wasn't that real rock music?
BILL: You can see a perfect example of a stalactite, kind of how pointy it is.
To remember, a stalactite they hold tight to the ceiling, stalagmites might reach the ceiling one day.
So that's how I remember it.
LAURITA: So where to next?
BILL: Let's go to Dream Lake.
LAUREN: I like the sound of that.
This is Dream Lake.
BILL: It is a perfect reflection of the ceiling, so there are no stalagmites on the bottom.
At the deepest this pool is about 18 to 20 inches deep.
BILL: So that is part of the dream.
LAURITA: What an illusion.
BILL: It is an amazing illusion, it looks so deep.
LAURITA: It does!
Prepare to be amazed when you come down here.
LAURITA: This is really called saving the best for last.
LAUREN: Wow that was so awesome.
LAURITA: It was fun, and we have so many new memories that we made today.
LAUREN: Yes, Dream Lake will be in my dreams for the rest of my life.
BILL: Great, well thank you so much for visiting Luray Caverns.
LAURITA: We're in the Shenandoah Valley at Luray Caverns, and man the organ... LAUREN: That's one of the like their biggest attractions.
LAURITA: Which was amazing, because they actually have something attached to the stalactites and stalagmites that tap it and give it the sound, like you're doing handbells.
LAUREN: Yes, I did handbells.
LAURITA: You did handbells.
You sure did.
♪ ♪ LAUREN: Ooh, it's cozy in here.
LAURITA: Beautiful, stately and warm.
WOMAN: Hi, welcome to the Mimslyn.
LAURITA: Thank you, we're checking in.
So I have you here.
LAUREN: OK. WOMAN: You're right up these stairs on the first floor, in the Eleanor Roosevelt suite.
LAUREN: Ooh, very nice.
LAURITA: I love it.
SHANE: When you walk into the Mimslyn Inn, I think that the first thing that people notice is just a warmth.
The feeling is inviting.
The Mimslyn Inn is a hotel located in the heart of Luray that has 45 rooms.
We have 10 cottages and two houses that are available for rent.
We have lots of events that take place here.
We want to make sure that people have a place to gather with their family and their friends and have a good time.
In 1931 the Mims family started the Mimslyn Inn.
They had been involved in the hospitality industry for a long time, and it was always a dream of theirs to have somewhere for people to come in from local areas such as Washington, DC to get away, to rest and recuperate.
One of my favorite rooms in the hotel is a suite called the Eleanor Roosevelt suite, where Laurita and Lauren will be staying tonight.
LAURITA: You know what, this is exactly what I expected to find in this beautiful room.
LAUREN: I know I really like the drapes.
LAURITA: I do too.
LAUREN: It feels like we have time traveled back into the 30s.
SHANE: Eleanor Roosevelt did stay in that room.
Her husband invited her to camp with him when he was dedicating the Shenandoah National Park but she opted out.
She said no thank you, I don't really care for bugs, and she asked him to get her a hotel room.
And so she was driving by and saw the Mimslyn Inn sitting up on the hill and decided that's the place I want to stay.
Some of the reasons that I really appreciate that room more than so many of our others is because it's spacious and it's really beautiful with the décor.
LAUREN: Ooh look at the pillow.
I like the coverlet, it shows The Mimslyn Inn.
This is nice.
LAUREN: This is nice.
Ooh and looks there's a double sink in the bathroom.
LAURITA: Ah, you know we like robes.
And look at this piece of furniture, you know I love a good armoire.
LAUREN: I think it's going to be a great night sleep in here.
LAURITA: Well we need to get a lot of rest because we've got a lot of stuff to do in the Shenandoah Valley.
♪ ♪ LAUREN: Good morning.
LAURITA: Good morning.
LAUREN: As you can see, I'm having so much fun I lost my voice.
But this morning we are sitting by the fireplace, right over there, and um, I slept really good, how'd you sleep?
LAURITA: I slept like a rock!
LAUREN: We were both knocked out.
LAURITA: But we have another big fun day planned in this Shenandoah Valley vacay we're taking.
LAUREN: Woop woop.
LAURITA: We're gonna go through Skyline Drive, and the, excuse me... good coffee.
And we're going to the Skyland Restaurant today, so we've heard a lot of good things about it.
LAUREN: Yeah the Skyland Restaurant is up in elevation, so there're going to be a few pit stops that we might be able to stop at and get some good pictures.
♪ ♪ LAUREN: The skyline like drive is super, super windy up through the mountain.
Oh yeah we are like pretty high up in the mountain.
♪ ♪ (camera shutter).
♪ ♪ (camera shutter).
LAURITA: And we're at a beautiful overlook... LAUREN: Mm-hm.
LAURITA: As you can see from behind us, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Allegheny Mountains are there.
The fall foliage is of course spectacular!
I tell you what that drive of Skyline Drive was beautiful.
LAUREN: Beautiful, and this view right here is really pretty as well.
NATHAN: Skyland is a hotel and restaurant located at the highest point on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.
Skyland is 164 guest rooms in total, we are open from the beginning of April until the end of November each year.
Peak season being in October when the leaves change and draw in all of our leaf peepers as they are called.
LAUREN: They said this is the highest point on the mountain.
LAURITA: Perfect place for a restaurant.
LAUREN: I know, but I just know I'm gonna have to come back so we can go hiking.
I heard there's over 500 miles of trails.
NATHAN: Our other properties throughout the park are great spots for hikers on the Appalachian Trail to rest their feet and get a good meal and a warm place to stay for the night.
The Pollock Dining Room as well as the Mountain Tap Room serves both our hotel guests as well as day traffic.
They love to stop in for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
ABBY: Welcome to Skyland my name is Abby, I'll be taking care of you.
LAUREN: Awesome, so can I start with the Brussels sprouts?
LAUREN: Also want to do the Old Bay wings, and then a cup of the tomato basil soup as well.
ABBY: Okay, and for you ma'am?
LAURITA: Oh definitely another cup of that tomato basil soup.
ABBY: OK. LAURITA: And I'm going to do the herb chicken salad bowl.
Abby the blackberry lemonade sounds so good, is there dessert?
ABBY: We have a blackberry pie that you should save room for, it's everybody's favorite.
LAUREN: Oh, OK. LAURITA: Ahhh, I will save some room!
ABBY: OK. NATHAN: Skyland was originally the Stony Man Camp, which was founded back in the 1800s by George Freeman Pollock.
Who later built Massanutten lodge here on our property, which is where they lived until they sold the property through the Skyline company in the 1930s.
Back when it was Stony Man Camp, Skyland was a private mountain resort, which then was expanded to the hotel and restaurant and stables that we have today.
Shenandoah National Park was established by Act of Congress in 1926 and dedicated in 1936 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the general thought was with most of our original national parks being in the western states, there was a desire to have a National Park and recreational area on the eastern side of the country.
LAURITA: That shredded basil really makes it.
LAUREN: That's really, really good.
LAURITA: Yeah I'm gonna just mix mine in so I can get some in more that one bite.
LAUREN: Mmm, now this is what you call good eats.
I could totally see myself taking a hike and coming back here, and getting some Brussels sprouts and that soup.
LAURITA: How are the wings?
LAUREN: These wings are good.
LAURITA: I'm gonna have a few more Brussels.
But I agree this is like a hearty meal.
LAUREN: That's huge, oh gosh.
ABBY: Here you go, Skyland's famous pie.
LAUREN: I heard that they also called this like the Mile High blackberry pie.
I'm gonna give it a nickname, I'm gonna call it the yummy in my tummy pie.
LAURITA: I love that.
LAUREN: We should hop back on Skyline Drive so we can get to Massanutten.
LAURITA: OK. ♪ ♪ MATHIAS: Massanutten Resort is truly a gem in the Shenandoah Valley.
We are a premier Four Seasons resort and I think what is a wonderful magic about our resort and the area, is it's a wonderful place that is surrounded by mountains of beautiful valley.
It is one that is rich in history and rich in culture.
I hope when Lauren and Laurita checked in and got settled in our resort, which is Regal Vistas, they instantly found a place that they could connect and relax.
Open floor plan, a place to be able to grill outside, it's a comfortable place.
LAUREN: Oh wow.
LAURITA: I like it.
LAUREN: It's so spacious.
LAURITA: It's like being at home!
And you've got enough in the kitchen that you could cook and all the little mini appliances you want are there.
Alright let's go left.
Oh, here's our bathroom.
LAUREN: I think we both get our own bathroom.
Ooh that's a nice little room.
LAURITA: It is.
LAUREN: There's a lot of nice light.
LAURITA: And now let's go into my bedroom.
MATHIAS: The resort as we know it started in 1972 and 1973 ski season.
It was a small hotel about 100 rooms then, we fast forward to today 6,000 acres 2,800 rooms, over seven restaurants, 40 attractions and activities.
So truly something for everybody.
You drive up our mountain, you see our water park, escape rooms and virtual reality, our golf course.
And then our ski resort that transitions from mountain biking in the summer, all the way to a full blown ski resort in the winter.
What's great about an indoor water park is it's always sunny and 84 degrees.
And those exciting slides that we'll have outdoors we keep indoors.
133,000 square feet, 335,000 gallons of fun.
This place is amazing.
♪ ♪ (laughing) LAUREN: Here we go.
♪ ♪ LAURITA: I'm so excited.
LAUREN: I know, me too.
LAURITA: It's gonna be fun.
PATRICIA: We're so happy that you are here today, you are going to enjoy a fantastic ATV tour.
Joshua is the expert guide who's going to show you the trails.
LAUREN: OK. PATRICIA: And we just want you to be safe and happy.
LAUREN: OK. LAURITA: Thank you.
JOSHUA: Have you guys ever done this before?
LAUREN: I have, I've done it a couple of times, but she is a newbie!
LAURITA: I have never done this, but I'm putting myself in your capable hands.
JOSHUA: That's fine, and all great.
With, what we're going to do is do a safety protocol which I'll just introduce the ATVs to you and how to operate them, and we can head up the trail.
LAURITA: All right.
PATRICIA: Appalachian Adventures started in 1995, and what we wanted is to share with the people the concept of country lifestyles.
To get away from the city, detach, disconnect, feed your soul, and come and enjoy the beautiful, beautiful mountains of the Shenandoah Valley.
LAURITA: One, two, three, ATV!
PATRICIA: We were the first ATV place in the entire East Coast.
What we promote is family togetherness, building memories.
LAUREN: Alright, let's go!
LAURITA: Let's do this!
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ LAURITA: Woo!
JOSHUA: Good times, I know.
LAURITA: Josh this might have been my first time, but it's not going to be my last time, that was amazing!
JOSHUA: There's so many more trails to cover, I mean it just goes on and on and on.
Do you know why they call it the Blue Ridge mountain?
LAURITA: Because it looks blue.
JOSHUA: Yes absolutely.
It's actually because of the water particles in the air, it gives it the blue hue.
LAURITA: Yeah, nice.
LAURITA: You having a good time?
LAUREN: I am, I obviously been screaming my head off, my voice is still gone.
JOSHUA: Well you can throw a rock if you like, because if you're losing your voice, yeah and it'll make you feel great.
And you can yell as loud as you like.
LAURITA: I think I'll do that.
We'll enjoy the view and I tell you this is really, makes you feel that you can slow down and enjoy nature.
LAUREN: All right, let me find a good rock.
LAURITA: Look for a good rock, I'm gonna get my good yell together.
JOSHUA: Here's one, here's one.
There you go.
LAUREN: They're so pretty.
This one got a little bit of red in it.
JOSHUA: Enjoy yourself.
LAURITA: Gonna get up on the rock?
One, two... LAUREN: Make sure you scream.
LAURITA: Two, three.
That's all I can get.
LAURITA: Pretty cool, pretty cool.
♪ ♪ (camera shutter).
STACY: Hank's is a Shenandoah Valley institution.
We are known for barbecue, food that's made from scratch, atmosphere, art, barbecue is art, and that's kind of how we developed everything for years and years.
LAUREN: I am hungry.
LAURITA: I am too.
LAUREN: After all that ATVing.
LAURITA: When you stood on this rock when we got to the top of the mountain, that was my favorite part of that adventure.
Because we got to see the, uh, Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge mountains, and the beautiful foliage.
STACY: Welcome to Hank's, I'm Stacy the owner.
How are y'all doing today?
We heard that this was the place to come for good food, especially barbecue.
STACY: Yes it is.
We have great barbecue, but we have also have a lot more than barbecue to offer.
And we'll show you that today as well.
STACY: Hank and I became partners and 30 years ago Hank's was started as a Chicken Shack.
We just developed from little Chicken Shack into what we are today, which is a restaurant, two locations, three businesses.
We have a 3,000 square foot kitchen, and in that kitchen is a bakery as well.
Alrighty, here we go.
We got our signature shrimp and grits, and our other famous, burnt ends.
The shrimp and grits are served with crumbled bacon, local Wade's Mill grits, and a saffron cream sauce.
LAURITA: Ooh, yummy.
STACY: And our burnt ends, it's however many brisket we smoke, that's the burnt ends from those briskets.
They're twice cooked, coffee barbecue sauce, and again our local Wade's Mill grits.
LAUREN: You must have known I was coming, because I love burnt food.
LAURITA: She does, you set the right plate in front of the right person.
STACY: Well y'all enjoy.
BOTH: Thank you.
STACY: Particularly with brisket, it's called burnt ends because it's cooked so long.
The brisket looks black but in reality what's going on it's becoming tender and tender from the fat in there.
LAURITA: You're really gonna like it.
LAUREN: Oh my god.
It's so tender, like melting in my mouth.
LAURITA: And the cream sauce is light enough that you get that saffron taste, and it doesn't overpower it.
STACY: We do brisket, ribs, and pork every day, fresh.
We call that pit to plate.
We took the best things we liked from other barbecues and other regions, and developed the best way to prepare it, the best way to cook it.
LAURITA: The starters are a perfect start.
LAUREN: We got to make sure we have enough room for everything.
STACY: Laurita noticed the elephant in the room, and that's a piece by Sue Harb from Lexington Virginia.
Art, it's in our cocktails, it's in our bakery, it's also in our atmosphere.
It's from outdoors to indoors.
How were those appetizers?
LAURITA: So good!
STACY: I see they're gone.
STACY: Laurita and Lauren had the barbecue platter.
Which has all our signature meats, has our sliced brisket, it has our baby back ribs with brown sugar dry rub, and it has our hand pulled pit-cooked pork barbecue.
LAURITA: Well how's that sauce, do you like the vinegar?
LAUREN: This brisket... LAURITA: Is delish?
LAUREN: Oh my God.
LAUREN: Well good thing you're driving home, because I know I'm gonna have the 'itis' as soon as we are done eating this food.
LAURITA: I'm gonna maybe need coffee before I go then.
STACY: We have a great community, we have as many locals and tourists that support us, and always have, and I think Hank's has become a staple because of that.
LAURITA: A beautiful, peaceful weekend for me.
How about you?
LAUREN: I love seeing lots of great overlooks that we got to see turning leaves it's very peaceful, serene.
LAURITA: I agree, beautiful fall getaway.
It kind of renews your spirit for... LAUREN: I don't wanna go back... LAURITA: The rest of the year.
There was so many fun things to do in Massanutten, I know we need to come back, but that water park.
LAUREN: Oh my gosh the slides, I'm sure that put a strain on my voice, because I was screaming coming down the slides.
LAURITA: And I wasn't sure that I was up to that, but I tell you what, I turned into a kid immediately once I got in the water.
Overall, plus-plus-plus few days for us.
Great weather, great food, two great places that we stayed... LAUREN: I know.
LAURITA: And fun activities.
LAUREN: Now this is like our thrill day.
LAUREN: Feel like we have to have at least one thrill day every trip.
I love that.
LAURITA: You know, it's almost like we're scouting for our friends and family to come back.
♪ Measure for measure ♪ ♪ Your love's so much pleasure ♪ ♪ Like a haunting melody ♪ ♪ You came inside and captured me ♪ BILL: You know they say if you get married down here, there's only one way, and that's up!
LAUREN: I love that!
LAURITA: And I remember when you came you were just a little bitty chick.
LAUREN: A little stalagmite.
♪ My name's Laurita, and here I am with my daughter Lauren ♪ ♪ All the fam ♪ ♪ We've been on a very fine day ♪ ♪ Doing some filming, here's where we stay ♪ ♪ Good places, good food to eat ♪ ♪ And now we can't leave this beat ♪ ♪ This has been fun, our day is done ♪ ♪ But we're gonna see you next episode ♪ ♪ Yeah yeah!
♪♪ BOTH: Woo!
LAURITA: And non-stop fun, as we... GROUP: Get Out of Town!
LAUREN: And that's a wrap, people.
ANNOUNCER: To discover more places to visit outside the Washington metro area, visit weta.org/getoutoftown