Visiting Natural Bridge

Visiting Natural Bridge

Virginia Natural Bridge Hotel

The first thing you’ll see when you arrive to the area is the large Natural Bridge hotel. There are so many things to do in the immediate area that it makes sense for a lot of people to stay at the historic Natural Bridge Hotel. The hotel itself organizes weddings, excursions in the area, and of course offers a luxury stay. Just a few minutes away from the hotel is the entrance to the Natural Bridge visitor center and gift shop. The gift shop had all the normal souvenirs you’d expect, but what surprised me is they had so many vintage guns for sale! Below are some of the guns on the left and right, with myself posing with a giant black bear.
Virginia Natural Bridge Gift Shop Myself in Natural Bridge Gift Shop Virginia Natural Bridge Gift Shop Guns

Butterflies at the Bridge

Virginia Natural Bridge Butterflies Natural Bridge Butterflies
After you enter the gift shop you have an option to visit the “Butterflies at the Bridge”. This small indoor garden is packed with various species of butterflies. There are hundreds of them flying around and new species are always being brought in. The surrounding photos are all from the butterfly garden with the exception of the caterpillar on the lower right, I have him outside along a trail!
Virginia Natural Bridge Butterfly Virginia Natural Bridge Caterpillar

Native American Village

Virginia Natural Bridge Squirrel Virginia Natural Bridge Path
After the butterfly garden you’ll begin a short trail that leads to Natural Bridge. To be honest, I thought this was the kind of place where you drive up to a parking lot and view Natural Bridge from an overcrowded lookout. Instead the trail passes by several other places such as Native American village.
Virginia Natural Bridge Monacan Hut Virginia Natural Bridge MonacanHut
 What’s most interesting about this Native American village is that it’s from the Monacan tribe. The Monacan tribe is very small and not well known. Their are only about 2,000 remaining today and they aren’t even officially recognized by the Federal Government. The Virginia government does recognized them however, and together they reconstructed this village. Above are some of the types of structures they would build for shelter. Below is a photo of some fur being set out to dry, and a small nearby creek where they would have used as a source of water. The Monacans hold Natural Bridge as sacred ground, as it’s said to be the site of an ancient battle between their tribe and the Powhatans some hundreds of years before Europeans came.
Virginia Natural Bridge Monacan Skins Virginia Natural Bridge Creek
Virginia Natural Bridge Five Lined Blue SkinkVirginia Common Water Snake

As I continued the walk to Natural Bridge, I was amazed by how much wildlife I came across. Above on the left is my favorite lizard from the east coast, the five lined skink. I’ve always loved the deep blue color of their tails. On the right is a large northern water snake. These guys get to be close to five feet in length, so this guy I found was about as big as they get. They aren’t poisonous but known to be particularly mean. I used to always try to catch them when I was little and I’ve been bit numerous times by them! Below is a wolf spider on the left and an arrow head spider on the right.
Virginia-Natural-Bridge-Spider Virginia-Natural-Bridge-Spider-Arrow-Head
Virginia Natural Bridge Creek Virginia Natural Bridge Waterfall
All the wildlife in the area, and the former Monacan villages were supported by all the rivers and creeks here. One creek was even coming out of this small cave seen on the upper left. There were also plenty of others that made small waterfalls like on the upper right.
Virginia Natural Bridge Cave Virginia Natural Bridge

And finally on the right we have Natural Bridge itself. The bridge sits 215 feet (66 meters) over the Cedar Creek. Something I found interesting was that I had to Google if it was possible to walk over the bridge. Not only is there a highway that goes over the bridge, but if you’re coming from I-81 like 90% of most people will, you need to drive over Natural Bridge in order to arrive here. So it wasn’t until months later that I realized I had actually driven over it myself!

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