Monday, August 15, 2005

Big Time!
We've just returned from our vacation at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri. We went with friends and shared a place. Big Cedar is a beautiful place on Table Rock lake south of Branson. The grounds are perfectly balanced with trees, flowers, rocks, water, grass and buildings. The food is incredible, the service impeccable and the accomodations, well, quite accomodating. During our weekend visit, we squeezed in canoeing, swimming, hiking, miniature golf, banana splits, catching fireflies, paddleboating, wading for fish, rootbeer floats, games, and fellowship with friends. Spencer showed off his new-found swimming skills and Colin asserted his independence for the first time (and I didn't cry....much).

Friday morning we explored Crystal Cave with the cave's owner (shown above). He is 88 years old and he and his wife still work in their cave and take tourists on 90 minute tours every morning. He knew every inch of that cave and took great care to point out the tiniest of fossils and the stalactites and stalagmites that looked like everyday objects (shoes, carrots, roosters, you name it). Several times we were required to crouch down very low to get to another room of the cave and we got quite muddy. We saw bats and waterfalls and crystals and a lot of slimy mud. The handrails had been installed in the 50s and had held up well. The place where we paid to go to the cave was in a garage of sorts that was full of junk the owner was selling. There were several things he had made himself and a whole lot of kitsch. In the corner was a large tank where he had built a model of the cave using actual crystals and rock from the cave. On top of the tank was a photograph of the original owner, a woman who was "like a grandma" to the current owner. I loved seeing a cave in such a near-natural state, guided by the owner himself. All the other caves I've been to were more spectacular, but were also more commercialized and lit up with colored lights. None of them offered the intimate view this one did. It was perfect.


Blogger Muley said...

Wow, Jan, this sounds like a great place! We went to Branson earlier this summer, and we want to come back sometime soon. I told my wife that the next time we visit, I wanted to explore more of the surrounding countryside instead of the "Strip," and this place sounds perfect. I'll definitely check into it before we visit again. Was it very expensive? Sounds like it would be.

The cave and its owner sound very interesting.

10:57 AM, August 16, 2005  

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