Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ROAD TRIP! | Mammoth Cave KY and TN

Nothing says "road trip" quite like a barn painted with 'See Rock City'.  We traveled to the southernmost part of the bluegrass state...  Mammoth Cave, Kentucky.
We have an abundance of day-trips and easy overnight trips in every direction from our home.  I thought using one of these gorgeous autumn weekends to go exploring with the family was a wonderful idea.  A change of scenery is good for the soul and it helps me feel like I am getting out of our busy weekday routines, at least for a little while.  These mini road trips also help us to reconnect as a family.
--Nothing helps to bring you closer as a family than a 3 hour car ride...together.  We laugh and tell stories, get up to date on all the school news of the day... I try to have the kids use their electronic gadgets as little as possible... There are such beautiful things to see in every direction, if you just take the time to look for them.  I think learning how to entertain yourself on a trip by seeing new sights, trying new things, telling a good stories and being a good listener are all valuable skills... and skills that I'm trying to teach my children.
 We didn't see Rock City...but we did stop at Big Dave's Rock Shop, which was pretty cool.
This photo so reminds me of the Wizard of Oz... remember the field of poppies?? ...These are's real life...
I would have loved to just run through this field...although I'm sure I would have been slightly preoccupied with the possibility of getting ticks and the sound of a farmer's gun... oh well...maybe next time.
We drove to beautiful Mammoth Cave National Park.  It helped that we had amazing fall just added to the charm of it all.
We went on a cave tour a couple of summers ago and the kids wanted to do another one as soon as we had finished the first tour... So this was a great opportunity to take a longer tour.

If you plan to go to Mammoth Cave National Park...Here are my TIPS:

Take a jacket...the caves are cool, 50 degrees year-round--even in the winter months.  Wear comfortable shoes...what you would wear for a walk in the woods.

Buy your tour tickets online ahead of time...on busy weekends, you will be sure to have your space reserved.  

Tours range from 1-6 hours and vary in distance and difficulty level.  The Mammoth Cave National Park website details every tour and park amenities.

 If you are going with children, remind them there are no bathrooms once inside the caves... Keep that in mind too, when planning which tour to take.  We did a 2-hour tour this time and worked out great.

Look for wildlife... we saw deer, hawks, and wild turkeys during our short visit.

Cave darkness and cameras do not mesh ... I tried my best and I have only one or two pictures worth sharing... but there was plenty to see and experience inside the cave. I promise to read my camera manual... a promise I keep making and renewing every month... I don't dare tell you how long I've owned my camera....
After our spelunking adventure, we headed just over the boarder into Tennessee.  We were invited to attend a historical cemetery tour...I thought it as a perfect way to begin the month of October.
The tour was not spooky, other than it was a candlelight a cemetery ...and the characters were all dearly departed residents of the cemetery.... see, perfectly 'not scary' at all...  We had actually planned to go at sunset...I wasn't sure how my children would feel about touring a cemetery at night... but they did just fine...and probably could have attended later in the evening.
The cemetery tours were very entertaining, educational, not scary at all.  The historical tours serve as a creative and very popular fundraising event for the local historical society.  The locals seemed to really love the stories, they knew just which houses and movie theaters the "ghosts" were speaking of...
My good girlfriend from college and her two darling daughters were all gussied up in period costumes...they donned their best southern belle accents and told their tales as "ghosts"... It was very fun... and I was so happy to see them all.
On our way back from the tour, I spied a grand home...I had a spur of the moment photo shoot-- right there in the front yard of this historic home.  I fell in love with the urns planted with conical boxwood, the enormous pillars and the perfectly shaped outdoor lantern lights... swoon... I love old homes and this one was piquing my interest... Oh, how I wish someone would let me inside... I bet it's amazing in there!!
I was absolutely trespassing...I was so enamored, I just clicked away on the camera.
Yes please, I would like one stone fence --to go...  Thank you.

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