The Battlefield Area Troglodyte Society (BATS) is hosting 2015 Spring VAR at The Caverns at Natural Bridge (TCNB) on April 24—26, 2015.


DIRECTIONS From VA I-81, take exit 180A, take Route 11 south for 3.7 miles (you will pass TCNB entrance), turn left onto Bell Tower Lane, and go up the hill to the cottages and VAR Registration. Look for and follow the VAR signs!

Preregistration (CLOSED)
           On-Site Registration              
 Age 5 or under: FREE
 (must be accompanied by adult)
         Age 5 or under: FREE
         (must be accompanied by adult)
 Age 6-12: $15          Age 6-12: $20
 Age 13-16: $25          Age 13-16: $30
 Age 17-99: $35          Age 17-99: $40

 Adult price includes $5 VAR dues.

         Adult price includes $5 VAR dues.

Preregistration has now ended. Please register on-site at VAR.

College Student Discount! Get $5 off your registration with a current college I.D. (Make a copy show us at registration.)

Check out who is already registered.


We will accept cash or checks at VAR. Sorry, but we cannot process credit cards or PayPal at VAR.


VAR does not require host grottos to provide beer anymore. We are not providing beer. This solves a lot of problems: selection, cost, and the hassle of getting an ABC license. So, if you'd like to drink, BYOB.

Please do not bring alcohol to dinner. As always at an event practically in the middle of a town and next to a church, Please be discreet.


We will camp in the "Cottages" area, which is a 10-acre field right behind 30 cottages that are available to rent. Campers will have portable toilets and hand washing stations. We will also have a 500-gallon water "buffalo" of potable water. No showers available, unless you rent a cottage. Also, please do not bring pets.

Camping Alternatives: cottages and hotel rooms are available through TCNB for an additional fee.


TCNB will hold all the cottages for possible rental by cavers up until March 25, 2015. Cottages have two double beds and a bathroom. TCNB will hold the 10 closest cottages to the VAR camping field until April 23, 2015. Cancellation: If anyone rents a cottage, then changes their mind, they have until April 22, 2015, to let TCNB know they are canceling so they won't be charged. Contact the folks at the Natural Bridge Hotel directly to reserve: 1-800-533-1410.

There might be rooms available in the Natural Bridge Hotel (across the street), but call early if you want one. There are other hotels around, but they are miles away and you'll miss the fun while driving back and forth.


Inner Mountain Outfitters and Speleobooks have confirmed they will be attending!


TCNB will cater the Saturday night dinner at Washington Hall, across Route 11 from where we are camping and behind the Natural Bridge Hotel. There is a roofed area in front of Washington Hall where the food will be served. Please do not bring alcohol there (strict ABC laws are in effect). We will have picnic tables on the adjacent terraced hillside. If it rains, we will be able to use the three onsite meeting rooms. Washington Hall will be used for our speaker that night. It is a beautiful venue with a screen and projector.


Ernst Kastning will give the after dinner presentation, Natural Bridge of Virginia: A Brief History, From the 1750s to the Present, expounding on his research into the history and nuances of the most iconic natural symbol of the Commonwealth of Virginia. His new book, Natural Bridge, was just released by Arcadia Publishing Company. The 128-page book with over 180 annotated images has joined the ranks of their popular Images of America series. Copies of the book will be available for the special, reduced price of $20.00, and Ernst will be autographing books after the talk.

Door prizes will be given out after Ernst's talk. You must be present to win.


After dinner and the speaker, we will all head back to camp for a "bit of a party." The band Slumberjack will play at the campground party. You can hear some of their original music here:'s profile begins: Four guys that love to make music from Harrisonburg, VA. A unique blend of musicians fortunate enough to have chemistry to make such great tunes . . .   You can find Slumberjack on Facebook too.

Front Royal Grotto has agreed to hold its Pancake Breakfast on Sunday morning.

The VAR Business Meeting will start at 9 in the Registration Tent area. Please bring a chair and pen and paper to take notes. This meeting is an excellent way to find out what is happening in the Region, so come on by or send a grotto representative. View the Agenda for this meeting (PDF).

As part of your VAR attendance, you will get a voucher for both The Caverns at Natural Bridge and Natural Bridge for $12 per adult. (Usually the combo costs $26!) Bring the voucher to either ticket office when you buy your tickets.


We will be hosting a conservation project IN the show cave, The Caverns at Natural Bridge. This would be a great time for you "give back" to caving. Bring work gloves and cave gear. Cleaning supplies will be provided. We will be doing a lot of "lint picking" and other helpful things. There is a "trip limit" for the project, so please sign up and show up to help out.


There will be an Eastern Region--National Cave Rescue Commission Vertical Workshop held at Spring VAR this year. This workshop is intended to help cavers fine-tune their existing climbing system, work on ascending techniques, practice change-overs. If you don't know how to do a change-over, we will teach you. If you need some help with entry-level skills for the upcoming 2015 NCRC weeklong, come on by. The Vertical Workshop will begin on Friday and run until Saturday evening. Come by any time and play.


We will be offering led trips to these caves:

Trip signups will be posted in the campground at 9 p.m. on Friday night.

In addition, the following caves are open for self-led trips

More information on these and other caves in the immediate region will be available onsite at VAR.


Foamhenge! You can't beat this replica of the famous stone circle that is made out of foam for a fun time. It's is just north of the VAR site on the west side of the road and there is a turn-out at the gate where you can park. Be sure to find the face . . . (

Virginia Horse Center ( will be hosting a "AA" horse show the same weekend as VAR.

Virginia Safari Park (

Blue Ridge Parkway ( Drive the longest, narrowest National Park. Peaks of Otter Visitor Center is 27 miles away.

Lexington, Virginia is 15 miles away. For fun things to do "upstairs," see Historic Rockbridge County/ Lexington/ Buena Vista Web site at There is hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, canoeing/kayaking the James River, shopping, antiquing—you name it, this is a great area to visit!


There is a state-wide burn ban through April 30. NO FIRES.

• You may park at your campsite. There are secluded places to camp in the woods and field beyond the main field behind the cottages. Be considerate of nearby neighbors.
• Please leave the level "tennis court" area for those with pop-up trailers (no electricity, so bring your generators).
• Park in the Natural Bridge Visitor Parking lot and take the pedestrian tunnel under Route 11 to dinner at Washington Hall for dinner.
• DO NOT PARK at the Hotel unless you are a registered guest.
• DO NOT PARK or camp in the graveyard or at the Natural Bridge Baptist Church next to the VAR site.