Friday, August 1, 2008

We really went for a dose of Mother Nature's airconditioning

Yesterday afternoon while we were on our way to buy some corn at the Amish vegetable stand in our neighborhood, I blurted, "It's so nice today. Lets do something fun. ... Like go to the caves or something."

Without hesitating, Jerry enthusiastically agreed.

Central Pennsylvania is filled with all sorts of caverns and caves. With all of the traveling we do on back roads, I've probably passed the billboards reading "PENNS CAVES, TURN RIGHT" or "LINCOLN CAVERNS, 3 MILES" a million times. And every time, I think to myself, "I want to do that someday."

Well, after discovering a lack of corn, but some fantastic "fresh dug" potatoes and a gorgeous seedless watermelon, we dropped off our purchases at home, packed an impromptu diaper bag and printed out directions. Because, well, even though those signs are everywhere, actual route numbers never hurt.

As we drove, we joked that we'd probably be the only people there on a late weekday afternoon. But the place was packed. Not only was the parking lot filled with cars, the license plates were from all over: New Jersey, Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina. And as we walked the grounds -- which were absolutely breathtaking including a wildlife reserve with bison, elk, black bears, mountain lions and caribou, plus a gigantic old Victorian mansion and guest house -- the accents and languages of the visitors were even more diverse.

It just goes to show that sometimes you can have these amazing sights right in your vicinity and go years without seeing them because it's easy to assume the opportunity will arise at some point. Meanwhile, people are traveling in from hundreds of miles away just to get a glimpse of what you have access to everyday.

Well, no longer. Now when I pass those billboards, I'll have memories instead of thinking "maybe someday."

The descent to the mouth of the cave was surprisingly steep.
And the further down we got, the colder it became. Even though it
was nearing 90 yesterday, the temperature in the cave was 52 degrees.

While we waited to board our boat, a little chipmunk scurried onto
the dock. I asked Allison if she'd mind sharing her Cheerios. She didn't.

The cave was absolutely spectacular and didn't disappoint.

After we climbed back up, we immediately ripped off our sweatshirts.

Allison and Jerry in the gift shop. Wearing moose hats, of course.

A small sign on the porch read "Private Residence." Jerry had to pry
me away from the door to stop me from shamelessly begging for a tour.

On the way there and back, we passed Allison Street.

And Little Miss was fantastic, as always.


the plains caveman said...

"Cool" day trip...and finding an Allison Street, too! I think the little one is on her way to becoming a world-class traveler. Never been to that cave, as your general area was always a bit too far west for mid summer daytrips, which caves were meant for!

Anonymous said...


that's so great!

Allison is so beautiful, you guys are such a beautiful family! And those caves? Wow! I'm glad you chose "live it now" and didn't put it off any longer, that's inspiring!

Kristin said...

It's great that she's so good when you guys go places.
I've seen some horrible babies in public =P


Ray said...

Glad you guys had a great time yesterday. I've never been in a cave, but I love the idea of it. It's so mysterious. And of course there's that added feeling of adventure and hope of finding some hidden treasures, that have been there for hundreds of years. LOL!

Great pics as always. I love the one of Jerry and Allison wearing those moose hats. Allison's expression is priceless. Like she's saying, "The things I let you people do to me." Hehe. And that photo of Jerry carrying Allison next to the Allison street sign is adorable as well.

Well, take care.

P.S. I don't think I've said this before but, "Great new haircut Kelly!" ;o)

Jennifer Suarez said...

We have Howe Caverns around here and I've been quite a few times. They are awesome.

My favorite pic, the one of allison by her road sign. That one is priceless (and oh so cute)

Lori :-) said...

Awww Kelly!!!! You should have waited a month!! The road to turn on to go into this place has a HUGE sunflower field(I thin it is on the right)! Then again, depending on the size of the card in the D40, Jerry and Alli may have been waiting a long time to get to the caverns!! Glad you had a good time! (BTW - LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the little bird picture!!)

Karen said...

lol I love her expression under the Allison Street sign!

I grew up in Chicago, we didn't often go "downtown" but we did at least once a year do something "touristy". Now I live just 25 miles from the city center. Before I met my kids' dad, in college, he had NEVER been to the city, and he grew up in the city I live in now. I just could not understand how someone could live so close to something so spectacular and not have seen it ever.

And its fun to be touristy sometimes.

Randall said...

Sounds like a great day!

...and you know, everyone needs a moose hat.

jsi said...

Your photos from your trip exude joy. The caves look terrific. I know what you mean about passing something for years and know you want to do it.It looks like those caverns are exceptional.
Allison St - its a classic!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Lewisburg, not far from PENNS CAVE. When I was a kid some scoundrel used to go around painting part of the second N white so that the signs read, "PENIS CAVE"

Naomi said...

Nice--your pictures and haircut are lovely as always! Thanks for the warm fuzzy reminder of those green and red PENN'S CAVE landmarks all over Rts. 45 and 192. As locals, we never actually went to see it of course. Maybe now that I don't live in PA, it'll work out sometime. Ha, ha.