Of course everyone knows that Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, TN is the 14th longest cave in country. Tell me something I don’t know, you’re thinking.
I paid the ol’ cave system a visit recently. The last time I went was on a fifth-grade field trip. What better way to spend a miserably humid day than in a naturally air-conditioned cave? Sounds good to me!
Man, that place has changed a lot in the past 15 years! Wait, maybe that’s me who has changed. The grounds and the cave had both shrunk, I am convinced. The colorful and perfectly polished stones in the gift shop were still for sale and captured my eye; this time I resisted trading in my money. The little bathhouse was much smaller and reminded me of one at the summer camp I worked at years ago.
This time around, I just bought a $15 ticket, which included a tour of selective parts of impressive cave with a tour guide. She was great; however, she talked so fast with a thick accent that I could barely understand what she was saying. Thankfully I totally understood her when she said all the lights were going out so don’t get left behind. If I hadn’t been listening, you wouldn’t be reading this post right now.
One of the big hurrah parts of the cave is a room with a massive crystal chandelier where parties, receptions, and such are held. I remember eating a brown-bagged lunch in here on our field trip and thinking the room was super massive. This time it was a regular cave room (is there any such thing?) with a cheesy chandelier light show.
Cumberland Caverns is definitely out in the middle of nowhere, and the drive out there was nice. It’s something fun to do once, but it’s not something you have to make a point of visiting every year. If you do go, be sure to stop at City Café in downtown McMinnville for a tasty lunch. It was definitely more fun that stopping at your typical fast-food extravaganza.
Of course the pictures don’t do justice, but here are a couple that turned out nicely: