even though it seems like we just got back from Arizona, we just got back from Spring Break. we decided to take a road trip to Mammoth Caves and were really looking forward to it. however, in the interest of seeing the 50, we had to also scooch over into indiana, which jovie was most excited about.
apparently, she’s “always wanted to see Indiana”. who knew?
Sun- Nashville, TN
so because we were going to be doing a lot of driving, we decided to stop in nashville for the night. neither The Mr. nor i had ever been there, and it was about halfway. we are so glad we did. we had a great time being leisurely and exploring the downtown area. we pulled into our swanky & free hotel (thanks, points!!) and had a super fun view.
after getting settled, we walked down Broadway and ended up at a nice riverfront park where jovie had the time to wander around and imagine while The Mr. & i soaked up the sun and sights. the coolest thing about that was the walk down, where we must have passed 10 restaurants- all playing live music. it was a bit reminiscent of the jazz being played on Bourbon street last year. we walked across the pedestrian bridge & sat on the other side of the park for a bit before venturing up to the Capitol. [i found it interesting that this was the first Capitol jovie had ever been to. we had never taken her to ATL, nor even the one in columbia!]
and then- THEN- we were able to go to the public library! it was open on a sunday and WOW! we spent over an hour at the coolest children’s section we’ve ever imagined. a fort. tunnels. a rock wall!! it was great. and of course, we had to venture in the massive & gorgeous rest of the building too. she’s never seen so many books!
mon & tue- French Lick, IN
i decided to surprise jovie with our hotel. french lick doesn’t have a ton to offer. so we were either going to go to a fancy resort or an indoor water park hotel. i had showed her both to figure out her interest level. either way, she kept saying she had “always wanted to see indiana”
so we checked into our hotel and she was very excited.
we enjoyed 2 days at the French Lick Springs Resort. it was quite nice. we used quite a few amenities- and they had several we did not. it was kinda nice to just take it easy for a few days. there is a neighboring resort that we also explored. that place is known for its dome & it’s quite lovely. apparently, FDR accepted the nomination from the democratic party in the dome.
unfortunately, these springs are sulphur springs. think about that for a minute. both hotels have blocked their little spring where people could go and soak. however, it is still quite odiferous!
we explored those lovely gardens you see from our room and didn’t last as long as we would have liked, but lasted much longer than we should have. i never did understand it. because the odors seemed to come and go; we spent a lot of time outside that wasn’t foul. but the gardens surely were. alas they were pretty!
jovie enjoyed: swimming in the pools, playing on the playground while waiting to rent a surrey, bowling in the basement, homemade ice cream in the lobby, a pony ride & a trolley ride from West Baden.
wed & thur- Hodgenville, & Mammoth Cave, KY
there were a lot of severe storms in ATL on wed; and our area was due to get some as well. so we left our hotel as early as we could to get ahead of the storms. both things in KY would include outside entertainment, and i wanted to try. luckily it all worked out; and those storms did not really pan out until evening; and weren’t anything at all like the hammering the south got!
first up- President Lincoln’s birthplace! i was very excited when the librarian from school told me about this being nearby the caves because that was our sole focus on this trip and i wouldn’t have looked into other ideas. jovie loves history so it was a no-brainer to make this stop! the monument was pretty informative, but The Mr. & i laughed because it literally stopped with Kentucky. the movie we watched said that many states can lay claim to Lincoln. So when he moved to Indiana about 10yrs old, the movie stopped with it. it definitely left me wanting more info on this amazing life!
sadly, they were renovating/cleaning the steps, so we had to walk in the back way. but the monument literally just houses a log cabin model resemblant to one that he would have been born in.
Lincoln must really like stairs!
here is a spring that *didn’t* stink…. where Lincoln used to actually get his water.
in front of “his” cabin
afterwards, we got to our lodge at Mammoth Cave. after checking in we explored above ground. we were surprised it still looked a little wintry there. it was a little cool, though. above ground was a nice (and hilly) walk in the woods. once we got below ground the next day, tho- WOW.
wednesday was just spent exploring, having a delicious dinner of homestyle cooking. (warm banana pudding was tremendously delicious!) and watching the hailstorm roll in. we also found out that the next available tour advertised would be on SUNDAY. i was awfully upset and disappointed! there was only the self-guided tour available to us the next day.
for the record- i am a planner. i love planning. i even plan spontaneity. i knew that “reservations are encouraged”. i did not know they were basically mandatory. nowhere in my research did i see that they sell out days/weeks at a time. so i am saying it here and now- for anyone wanting to go to mammoth, book a tour as soon as you know! i truly thought that meant if you wanted the 10am tour, it may be booked and you might be booted on a 3pm tour. we were hoping to do the dripstones tour which also included a stop at Little Niagara.
after a most delicious dinner (ben’s favorite of the week so far), we couldn’t wait for their breakfast buffet! it was fantastic, too. and luckily The Mr. suggested going over to buy the tickets for the self-guided Discovery Tour in case it also would sell out. when we got to the visitor center we saw that LUCKILY they have a 4pm Little Niagara tour that they only sell on the day of, and not in advance. so HOORAY!!!! we were able to enjoy the cave afterall. [it sold out about an hour later]
so we spent time in the very informative visitors center and did the quick Discovery tour where- WOW. WOW! huuuuuge. MAMMOTH. the rotunda room is naturally occurring (the whole cave is. it’s has only been mined a little for saltpeter back in the day; and some doorways had been added… )
sadly, you can’t use flash photography (obviously!) so my pictures really didn’t turn out super- but i will try to show the expanse of this place.
google the rotunda room if you wanna see it better.
The Mr. hiked much of the park while jovie & i relaxed and read for the afternoon. the power went out at 2pm. it did not come back on until 9pm that night.
meanwhile, we took a very different look at the cave. forgo the huge rooms of smooth walls & ceilings and replace it with the formations of stalactites & stalagmites.
this is pretty far down
we really enjoyed this place. the history is absolutely astounding. as well as the size! it rivaled our favorite Tuckaleechee Caverns but definitely overwhelmed Ruby Falls. i recommend it!
we had a lovely spring break. home on friday, which meant the whole weekend was spent in her room, just pretending, drawing, reading & listening to music. for some reason she didn’t want to enjoy the lovely weather we had; she rarely played outside. i think she liked finally having her space back.