October 3…Mammoth Cave, Shaker Village, Jefferson Davis Monument
Drove to Mammoth Cave Monday, spent the night in their Woodland Cottages and toured the Domes and Dripstones section of the numerous tours available. Mammoth Cave is the longest known cave system in the world with more than 400 miles surveyed to date. The park is approximately 52,830 acres. Since Don had been to Merrimack Cave numerous times and he knows how much I love rocks, he was determined to introduce me to caves. Well…it was not what either of us expected. We and 60 others idiots wound down through deep pits and high domes via a 280 step staircase, winding and snaking through very narrow walls. It was NOT Merrimack!!! We both experienced the heebie jeebies. I forced myself to look at my feet rather than look up or down and realize the extreme vertical drop we were taking along a 2-foot wide twisting staircase…it really was frightening, dim and spooky. The vertical shoot gave way to large canyons and underground hill-climbs enhanced by vast overhead slab ceilings of flat rock. I just knew it would drop and crush us at any moment…more hyperventilating! At the conclusion of our trek was a fairyland formation of dripstones. That was pretty. Our tour was 2 hours and 500 steps!
Our cottage was built in the 1930’s. Very clean and very quaint.
While driving back to GTB we pulled into the Southern Shaker Village. Hadn’t planned this stop, but it seemed interesting and it was. Founded in 1807 by Shaker missionaries hoping for large numbers of willing converts in “the west”. By the 1830s they had constructed 75 buildings to house the community and provide work space for their industries. Many of the original buildings were torn down or destroyed. The existing buildings are immaculate and spacious.
They tried to live as Jesus lived: simply and frugally. They were celibate. They took in orphans. They were industrious and believed that hard work was Godly. Since there were few children to carry on their lifestyle and few converts, they couldn’t sustain what they’d created and the community disbanded in 1922.
The Docent grew up in Mtn. Home, Idaho, 30 miles from my hometown. Go figure. That relieved my homesickness. Thank you Cheryl Williams.
Further along Interstate 24 we came upon an unusual sight: an enormous tower piercing the skyline. We pulled in to visit the Jefferson Davis Monument. In 1917 construction began on this 351-foot obelisk resting on a foundation of solid limestone and containing walls seven feet thick the the base. This site is a memorial to the famous Kentuckian born here in 1808. He was the only President of the Confederacy.
September 29…Kuttawa, Kentucky Penitentiary, Buzzard Rock
Visited the Marina at Kuttawa, KY for lunch. HU-B’s Restaurant is perched above the water with captivating views of the harbor and lake. It it a large facility with numerous multi-level decks for casual dining. The staff was wonderful.
Eddyville and the Lyon County Museum. Beautiful old southern home Rose Hill overlooks Lake Barkley and depicts the history of Lyon County and features a working replica of a typical iron furnace with exhibits of iron mining and processing of the mid- 1800s. Inside were hundreds of pictures of the old town before the great flood took most the town down river and left Rose Hill and the Penitentiary on rim view properties.
The Kentucky State Penitentiary, also known as the “castle on the Cumberland,” is a maximum security and supermax prison with capacity for 856 prisoners located in Eddyville, Kentucky on Lake Barkley. This enormous facility rests beside the Rose Hill Museum.
September 25…Back to Paducah.
We spend a lot of time here. Bigger town with lots of options. This time we visited Whitehaven, a restored 1860s Southern mansion featuring period furnishings and memorabilia of Paducah native Alben Barkley, who served as Vice President under Harry Truman. Whitehaven is one of the finest Classical Revival residential structures in Kentucky. Gorgeous.
Annual Barbeque on the River.
Paducah Wall, Portraits of the Past. I love this feature. Hand painted panels depict the beginning of time to the present on 50 life-sized murals. I can’t get enough of this wall.
Beautiful homes in Paducah.
River Discovery Center celebrates Paducah’s maritime legacy and lore with interactive, water-filled exhibits, including a working model of a lock and dam.