Traveling northwards through Virginia on I-81, we noticed a series of billboards advertising the Virginia Natural Bridge. It rang a distant bell in my memory, but I wasn’t sure if I’d been there as a child, or if I’d just been told stories about it as a child, or if it was all a dream.
In any case, it only took us an enticing billboard and a half to realize that the Natural Bridge really was something not to be missed. For one thing, it has the distinction of being located on US Route 11 (actually, technically, it’s directly under US Route 11), otherwise known as the Robert E Lee Highway south of the Mason-Dixon line and the Molly Pitcher Highway north of the Mason-Dixon line. I find this to be nothing short of remarkable: not only did the US produce two people as different and noteworthy as Robert E Lee and Molly Pitcher; it manages, to this day, to eternalize the memory of both in a single highway. And not just any highway, but one that passes right over a natural landmark once surveyed by George Washington, owned by King George III, and bought by Thomas Jefferson.
I mean seriously. I put it to any other nation on earth to assemble such a cavalcade of personages within a single geographic reality.
But I digress: the point is, there is something even better about the road to the Virginia Natural Bridge than all that, and that is all the tourist traps one passes on the way to visit it. The greatest of these harks back to something older and greater than George Washington, Bobby Lee and Molly Pitcher put together: Stonehenge. Who knew we had a to-scale replica of the most famous stone monument of England’s Salisbury plains and a life-size model of the central joke of the funniest and greatest scene in the movie This is Spinal Tap? The fact is that we do.
And it’s made of foam.
Sadly it was closed to the public the day we drove by so all we were able to do was to stare and marvel and photograph it from afar, our jaws agape with wonder at its existence.
I think you’ll agree that the best part is the sign.