So this was an awesome caveman experience.
We had seen a sign a number of weeks ago from the highway for Crystal Grottoes Caverns.
Today, we decided to try it out, and made the trip to Boonsboro!
I wasn't expecting much, since I had heard a lot about Luray Caverns in Virginia, but never anything about this one in Maryland.
Well we were really pleasantly surprised.
Half an hour tour underground through a literal maze of caves filled with the densest formation of stalactites (hanging from the ceiling) and stalagmites (springing from the floor).
These things grow only like a centimeter every 150 years, so when we saw literally countless that were meters long, we were really looking at thousands of years history.
Incredibly, these beautiful mineral rock formations come into being from water seeping through the limestone a drop at a time, and we saw rocks sparkling with crystals, and in shapes ranging from hands to turtles and much more.
The guide even showed us a special place (almost like a chamber) where a number of couples had gotten married down there...sort of an appropriate place to tie the knot ever so tight in those caves.
It was also nice that we had our own tour guide for this thing, and that made this all the more interesting to ask questions and really get to see everything.
At one point, the guide suddenly shut the electricity in the caves, and we were left in complete and utter darkness...it was so surreal and sort of scary, but peaceful to be in a complete void.
The guide explained that if you were down in the blackness for 6 or 7 months, you would actually go blind from not using your eyes whatsoever.
Overall, it's sort of a oxymoron, but we just felt so alive down there...breathing this super pure and clean oxygen (no real carbon dioxide down there, because basically nothing grows there) and the cave is this marvelous perfect 54 degrees all year round.
The owner is third generation and you can tell that he truly loves owning this precious jewel of a cavern, and he meticulously cares for it and continues to expand and improve the spectacle.
However, from a business perspective, I definitely don't think he has took advantage or capitalized on this priceless property.
There were basically no concessions (except that you could buy some samples of the rock from a single display case under the front counter), and there was no cross-selling of t-shirts, pins, posters, hay rides, animal petting, hiking, boating, or food stands!
We took some (as in like 20) brochures from the owner on the way out to give out at Rebecca's school (especially, since she is taking Environmental Science this year), but this guy otherwise doesn't seem to even advertise.
This place was a hidden underground gem...50 feet down underground, but no Starbucks. ;-)