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Guntown Mountain revisited

Monday, September 19, 2011

Wow, it's already been over two weeks since Labor Day and I still haven't gotten around to posting the photos from our latest outing. Maybe it doesn't feel pressing since we did the same thing we did two years ago. The difference this year, though, is we knew what to expect.

View from the top
The view is still spectacular, but there's a bit more development built up around Cracker Barrel.

Look, I'm not going to lie: Guntown Mountain ain't the greatest. The chairlift is rickety, the shows are cheesy, and everything could use a coat of paint. Still, the chairlift is thrilling, the locals are surprisingly talented, and there's an undeniable charm to the whole affair. In fact, for me, the chairlift alone was the selling point that convinced me to go back.

We started the drive with struggling to keep the kids awake in the car. We stayed up later than they did, so if we didn't get a nap, neither did they, dammit. To keep them occupied, we played the alphabet game, but had to keep changing the rules to make it more difficult. The first game went quickly: find the letter A, find the letter B, etc. Second game, each letter had to be on a different sign, no reusing signs (e.g., couldn't use a speed limit sign for the E, then another later for the P) and absolutely no "No Passing Zone" signs. Next version were letters had to be at the beginning of the word. This didn't go too bad until we got to Q, where it took almost an hour to find one, during which the kids fell back asleep and we passed I don't know how many "X-ing" signs.

Gunfight on Guntown!
This time were were able to get a relative front-row seat. Unfortunately I was too busy fiddling with my camera to see the actual hanging. (Kids, don't try this at home.)

So our first activity at Guntown was to check out the country music show, which is apparently a long-running staple of attractions there but they didn't have on our last trip. The band was good, it was disappointing that they "took a break" to peddle some CDs, but on resuming the stage played only one more song. Really? I mean, I get capitalism and all, but come on.

We did the gamut of all the shows, some of which last less than ten minutes, none more than twenty. The plus side is there's a new one starting every thirty minutes. The downside is there's about a dozen employees who perform in all of them. I feel for these poor souls. All-in-all entertaining, though, if you're willing to turn off the critical part of your brain that's telling you this is extremely kitschy.

Ye Olde Haunted Hotel
I wouldn't go in there if I were you.

We also ventured into the Haunted Hotel, an adjacent attraction operated by Guntown Mountain. Priced at five bucks a head, not worth it. It consists of narrow hallways in the dark (and I mean narrow) punctuated by some darkroom lighting and occasional animatronic vignettes triggered by pressure pads in the floor. I've seen worse (hell, I worked in worse) but still not worth it. There was also blacklight mini golf, but we firmly denied this craptastic experience to our children.

Our final adventure of the day was Onyx Cave, located just above the Guntown parking lot. I swear it wasn't open last time we visited, but apparently its been there a while and we just missed it. Before spelunking (which it wasn't - some stairs but no crawling) we bought the kids a couple bags of sand filled with rocks so they could pan for gold stuff. Did find some pyrite but the big prize was a pretty cool-looking arrowhead.

I'm not sure how to describe Onyx Cave expect to say if you've ever been in a fake cave (like at a museum) you realize how realistic those fake cave walls are. I swear this stuff looked like formed concrete, except it was all cold and sweaty (which we know because, despite chastising from the tour guide, we touched the wall). However, there were several fantastic formations, none of which are done justice by my meager phone camera.

So in no particular order, here are my uninteresting photos from the cave:

By the way, we skipped the Mystery House. I wish now we'd done it (especially since I wrote last time that "if I was passing by, I'd definitely make a detour") but we were just plumb tuckered out and ready for dinner, home and bed.

This is probably our last trip to Guntown Mountain because this place is clearly geared toward younger kids. I think ours were the oldest there. I won't say it'll be our last visit to Cave City, Kentucky; after all, Mammoth Cave is right down the road. But so long, Guntown Mountain, I've had fun.