Yesterday we decided to take a trip to Howe Caverns in New York. I wanted to get out of the house for awhile so was looking forward to the drive out there.
The drive itself was amazing. It took almost two hours to get out there. Much of the drive was snow covered farmland. I was relaxing completely just watching the sparkling landscapes go by me. On the way there I actually saw about six deer standing on the side of the road.
I've come to love history. I was sitting here working on a rewrite of the history of the caverns and really the website for Howe Caverns does such a nice job of it I decided to share it here...
From the Website
Legend has it that on the hottest of days, a cool breeze came from "Blowing Rock," a strange stony ledge. No one knew where in the hillside "Blowing Rock" was precisely as the 19th century began. There were tales, though, from the early 1700s in which the Native Americans spoke of "Otsgaragee," translated as "Cave of the Great Galleries" or "Great Valley Cave". It was near this "Blowing Rock" that Lester Howe, his wife Lucinda (Rowley) Howe, and their three infant children - Hulda Ann, Harriet Elgiva and Halsey John - settled.
On his farm in the valley east of Cobleskill, Lester Howe found fascination with the story of the "Blowing Rock," with reports placing its location about 10 miles west of the Schoharie River, on or near his property.
Twenty years before the outbreak of the Civil War, the alert farmer noticed that his dairy herd always pastured in the same spot, not on his land, but land owned by his neighbor and friend Henry Wetsel. As Howe approached his herd, he noticed the change in temperature. It was getting cooler. Slowly and carefully, he pulled aside the bushes. Lester Howe had found "Blowing Rock," giving credit for the discovery to his cow, Millicent.
On May 22, 1842, Howe entered the cave with Wetsel. Day after day, the two entered the caverns. Each time, they would go a little farther. Each time they would emerge wet and muddy but exalted by the thrill of their discoveries. They hammered a piece of tin into a lamp to burn whale oil as their light source. They explored about one and a half miles of underground passageways - all by the dim, flickering light of the small oil lamp. They built a raft and crossed what we know today as the Lake of Venus.
In February, 1843, Howe purchased the property from Wetsel for $100. At age 33, Lester Howe opened Howe's Cave as the country's third commercial cave venture. Improvements in the cave began almost immediately, with Howe's announcements to the press rivaling his cave with the great Mammoth Cave of Kentucky. The treasure that was 156-feet below the earth's surface, that had so
delighted Howe and Wetsel, had begun its mission of thrilling millions more.
The website is wonderful if you get the opportunity to jump over and check it out. Especially if you are into history. We opted to take the hour and a half guided walking tour and boatride through the caverns. It was amazing! :))) We took an elevator 156 feet down to the caverns. The lighting in the caverns is just beautiful. They did a beautiful job with it down there. I must confess I was a bit edgy on the elevator as I get a bit claustrophobic *blushes* but it was such a smooth ride and I was fine the minute it opened and my breath was taken away by the wonders of the caverns.
Unfortunately I really need to get a new camera as my iphone just didn't do any justice at all down there. :)) There are some really really wonderful pictures on the website if you are interested. The cave is a constant 52 degrees so we made sure to dress warm. The kids absolutely loved it. We walked on this walkway through the caverns and just marveled at the sites around us. There was a little waterway that ran under part of the walkway and let us down to this area that they call "the lake of venus" It was there that we were taken on a boat ride of part of the caverns.
I found myself running about with the kids pointing out different areas in the cave and wanting to discover the next area. My personal favorite area of the tour was what they called "the bronze room" I was just awestruck in that area. The colors were just amazing. I actually felt like I was in an egyptian temple. Why it made me feel that way I assume was the colors but I couldn't help but feel like I had just jumped back in time thousands of years. It was just breathtaking.
On the way back we went past an area that they actually do weddings at. It was an alter formed into the rock of the cave. They had a limestone heart lit up on the ground. I can see why people would want to have their wedding there. The view was just majestic around me. After that we walked up through this area called "the winding way". You had to walk single file through this area of the caves that just wound back and forth through the cave. I found myself looking up to the top of the cave and all around me just marveling at everything I was seeing. It's impossible to give a description that does it justice. It's something you really need to see and experience for yourself. So if you ever find yourself in New York it's definitely a tour that I would recommend.
All in all it was just a perfect day and the kids absolutely loved it. When we were getting to leave I snapped the picture to the left. The view from the parking area of the caverns was amazing. You could just see for miles and miles. Just an amazing view.
Love and Blessings,