Living near Roanoke, VA and having family up in South-Central PA, we take I-81… a lot. All throughout college, my sister and I would make the trip up and down 81 at least 4 times a semester! You could say we are well versed with interstate. However, during that time, I never actually stopped to see the local sights that were just an exit away. It wasn’t until I married the Prof that I took time out of our travels up to PA to explore the surrounding areas.
I honestly thought I-81 was the worst. Everyone was in a hurry to get somewhere and there are so many tractor-trailers!! Plus, I had about a 2 hour stretch on it that I just wished I could teleport through it. But my adventurous husband had a desire to make every trip an experience (something I am finally starting to appreciate) and had a list of things to stop at during our ride on I-81.
1. Luray Caverns
We will have a post in the future detailing more of our trips to the Luray Caverns, but if you are traveling on I-81 around Harrisonburg or New Market, you need to stop here at some point in your life.
I’ve never been much of a cave person (quite opposite of my husband), but these caverns left me breathless! Just take the New Market exit and it’s a short drive to an astounding experience. You can find out more about it here.
2. Frontier Culture Museum
This museum is so unique because it’s less of a museum and more of a collection of exhibits to explore how pioneers lived in this area during the 1600-1700s. This is one that we didn’t have too much time to get to explore, so I would love to go back and spend a few more hours looking at the different exhibits. It is right off of I-81 in Staunton, VA, but you can check out their site here to see if you would be interested!
For the Foodies…
3. Route 11 Potato Chips
This is for all the foodies out there! If you like/love/tolerate potato chips, you should absolutely check this place out!
They have a plethora of types of chips including salt & vinegar, dill pickle, Chesapeake crab, sweet potato, and (my personal favorite) Mama Zuma’s Revenge. Yes, it is just as hot as it sounds! I can only eat about 5 chips before my throat is on fire! They make their own chips and they have two levels of glad windows so you can watch the process!
4. Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint
When I say, “hole in a wall,” I am not exaggerating with this burger. It’s big enough for a bar and maybe two or three tables, but honestly, we all know these are the best places to get a burger. Their menu is unique, even for a burger restaurant (loose meaning of the word). My personal favorite is The Elvis…. This amazing creation from the burger gods consists of peanut butter, mayo, Applewood smoked bacon, and cheese… I know what you’re thinking, “Ew.” Don’t knock it till you try it! There’s something about peanut butter that brings out the deliciousness of that burger. From what I understand, Jack Brown’s has multiple locations, but this one in particular is in Harrisonburg, VA, right off of I-81.
There are a few other stops I could list but we want to know where you guys love to stop while making the arduous trip on I-81! Feel free to leave a comment or share your own experiences!
PC for Jack Brown Burger: Jack Brown’s Burger & Beer Joint – H-burg facebook page
PC for map: I81Highway.com