I'm on a working vacation along with my husband and four of my boys. It's always nice to get away and fascinating to see new things and explore new places to write about. We left home about 36 hours ago and here's some of what we've experienced. The first six hours were spent on the road getting to our destination in Kentucky.
Stop #1 was Cub Run Cave. It's only been open since 2006 after three years of preparation, including adding wooden walkways that were constructed by Amish craftsman. The formations were amazing. The boys were in awe. It was a nice start to the trip. We stopped for dinner at a little place called Nana and Papaw's and then went on to our accommodations for the evening. We stayed at Country Girl at Heart Farm Bed and Breakfast. We got checked in to the former Amish farmhouse and our hostess, Darlene, gave us the tour. As the sun was setting, we went out back and the boys helped her round up the chickens and get them into the hen house. In the distance, we could see the neighbors walking up their driveway and could tell instantly from the attire that it was an Amish family. Then we went down to the rec room for some pool, air hockey, foosball and game playing. There's also a large projection screen, craft area and playroom with lots of toys for young kids. The B & B opened in the fall of 2009 after a two-year project of renovating and constructing a 6,000 square-foot addition.
This morning we woke to a table of fresh fruit and the smell of pancakes and sausage. (I'll post pics of what we had on the food blog my sister and I started - www.chicagofoodiesisters.blogspot.com.) After breakfast, the kids loved heading out to gather eggs and feed the horses. While the older boys were hesitant, my six-year-old couldn't have been more thrilled to reach into a nest and pull out eggs. My husband always says he should have been a farmer. He is a morning person who doesn't mind getting up at the crack of dawn, he doesn't mind getting dirty, he's an animal lover and loves the outdoors. He was in heaven and the boys were also loving it.
After checking out, we went on to our next stop - the American Cave Museum and Hidden River Cave. On the way, my husband had to brake for a wild turkey crossing the road. We got to the museum just as a tour was starting. We rushed out to catch up, got down the stairs into the cave and my youngest let us know that he had to go to the bathroom - NOW. He and my husband went all the way back up to use the facilities and caught up just as the tour ended, so it was back up again. They were ready for a nap by the time we were done. The cave tour was interesting, focusing on conservation and recounting a massive clean-up effort that had to be undertaken for the cave to re-open in 1993. After the tour, we walked through the two-level cave museum that was full of exhibits on cave history and cave life.
After we left, we walked around the corner to the Gallery Bakery. The kids got some cookies. They have a decorating station where kids can decorate plain sugar cookies. My youngest picked out a bat-shaped one and then decorated it with black and green frosting. He had a blast.
Then it was on to Kentucky Down Under in Horse Cave. I have been there twice. Once in 1997 and again in 2004, but this was the first time for my youngest and my eight-year-old was turning one on our last visit, so it was all new to them. I love the place and couldn't wait to return to pet a kangaroo, feed the lories and visit the woolshed. The first time I was there itwas because I happened to come across an ad while planning a trip to Tennessee and we decided to stop since it was right off I-65. For anyone traveling south on I-65, I'd recommend it as a stop. It offers a great overview of Australia and the wildlife there and admission includes a tour of a cave on the property. P.S. The fudge in the gift shop is awesome!
It was sweltering during our time there and we were happy to get into some air conditioning at our hotel, the Hampton Inn, just a couple minutes away. It's a modern, clean, tastefully-decorated choice for lodging. We took a dip in the pool and are now chilling out in our room. It's been a busy couple of days. Can't wait to finish the trip. I'll post some pics once we get home. Time for some shut-eye. There's another busy day ahead tomorrow.