Abandoned Buildings and Autumn Scenic Drive
  • Presented By:
  • November 18, 2023
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • 350 Independence Blvd, Virginia Beach, 23450
  • 17572889595
  • Time: 9:00 AM

Join The Nature Bus on an autumn adventure! If you have a love of history, abandoned structures, photography, and/or beautiful fall mountain scenery, then this tour is not to be missed! Our inaugural “Abandoned Scenic” adventure is a new one for The Nature Bus. Our guide has been photographing timeless structures for years, and will share some photography tips to help you capture that perfect moment. We will be visiting the beautiful Swannanoa Place with a private guided tour. Swannanoa is an Italian Renaissance Revival villa built in 1912 by millionaire and philanthropist James H. Dooley, above Rockfish Gap near Afton Mountain. Abandoned many years ago, it is still a piece of history to be admired. Another stop on our adventure includes an abandoned truck graveyard filled with unique trucks of our past, creating a stroll through memory lane. Photography is permitted, so capture your own memories with us!

Stay overnight at the historic and scenic Graves Mountain Lodge (GML) located in Syria, VA, which is still a working farm today. Take in their mountain scenery as our adventure allows time to enjoy the many activities the lodge has to offer.

Our trip will make some unique food stops! We will be going to Tanglewood Ordinary, Blue Mountain Brewery, and the Graves Mountain Lodge dining room. ITINERARY SATURDAY 8:30 am arrive at REI. Seat selection is based on the order you check-in, so arrive early! The check-in process takes a bit of time. Bring your printed, signed waiver form; it is your ticket to board the bus. 9am departure. During our 4 hour drive, our guide, John, will provide a power point presentation and history about abandoned buildings along our route! We will stop at the halfway point for a restroom break/stretch legs/snack (please snack when you step off of the bus). 1:30 lunch at Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton, VA. 3:30 guided tour of Swannanoa. Then we will drive one hour to Graves Mountain Lodge (GML) – checkin to our rooms. ACCOMMODATIONS: Graves Mountain Lodge. We have a GROUP RESERVATION. Rooms have two (2) queen beds. $140 private room. You will call them directly to book your room and breakfast/dinner reservations. (Side note: IF you are interested in possibly sharing a room, you’d need to communicate your preference to Suzanne via text after you have registered. We will “try” to help you find a room-mate, but we cannot promise that others will want to share a room. Just let us know and we will do our best. $70 shared room or $35 if you have 4 people/room). 7:30 pm group dinner reservations at GML restaurant (aprox $30/person includes tax and gratuity). We must enter the dining area at one time, and we are seated together. Evening socialize with new friends! Or retire to your room for an earlier much needed sleep. SUNDAY 8:00 am breakfast in the GML restaurant (aprox $30/person includes tax and gratuity). Again, we must enter the dining area at one time, and are seated together. After breakfast you’re on your own for a variety of optional activities offered by GML (not included in your tour ticket) – horseback riding, massage, group guided nature walk, visit the barn, and more. Call GML ahead of time to arrange these special opportunities. 11:00 am departure. Please don’t miss the bus! 11:00 – 12:30 drive 1.5 hours to the “Truck Graveyard” in Columbia, VA. Spend 45 min here. Snack off of the bus since lunch won’t be until 2-2:30ish). 2:15 pm Late lunch at Tanglewood Ordinary restaurant (Southern comfort food, family style – “home of Grandmother’s Sunday Dinner”). Then we will drive back to REI in Virginia Beach. We hope to arrive back sometime between 5:30 – 7:30ish depending on the traffic and the tunnels. Sundown will be at 4:45 on this day.