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A week at a Knoebels cottage!


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A while back, there was some mention of the Knoebels cottages, and at least at the time, no one in that thread had stayed in one or knew anyone that had. I'm lucky enough to be able to fix that problem now!

 

I'm not posting this in the Knoebels thread specifically as the TR has other places as well, but if mods think it's better off there, feel free to move it!

 

Anyway, for the last few years, I've tried to put one big trip together to gather friends from around the country for. Last time it was Disney World; this year we decided to do something a bit more affordable to save for the next big one...and, as it turned out, too many of my friends had never been to Knoebels! That had to be fixed...and of course everyone that had been there before was more than happy to go back. It isn't really Knoebels if you just stay in a hotel off site, but no one really wanted to tent camp for a full week, so...a cottage it was! I wasn't too afraid to give one a try; it's Knoebels, how bad can anything there be? Back in the spring, I reserved one; I wasn't able to get my first choice, the Cedar Log cabin, which looks awesome in the pics, but I did score the Glass House, which looked nice enough and was big enough for the group I was bringing, apart from the...slight...issue of having one bathroom for ten people. So....how did it go?

 

As usual, apologies for the half-assed photos; I'm really not a photographer at all, and a lot of them are terrible, or I just entirely forgot to take pictures of some things I should have!

 

Day 1 - Monday

 

We headed down from Rhode Island a bit after 9, and had a nice easy drive...as far as the Connecticut border. At which point traffic immediately came to a complete standstill, because I-95 in Connecticut...

 

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almost 45 minutes of this, and we find out all the slowdown was caused by a car pulled entirely off the road, well out of everyone's way, that everyone had to stop and gawk at. of course.

 

Once we got past that, things were fine until New Jersey, where a truck kicked up a rock that put a nice big hole in my windshield. The windshield that I replaced three weeks ago because a truck put a hole in it. Fortunately that was the end of the bad luck for the vast majority of the week...once we hit PA the drive was fine, and as anyone who's driven into Knoebels through the Delaware Water gap area knows, absolutely gorgeous. Unfortunately, since I was driving...no pictures there. Soon enough, we were turning down the road into the back side of Knoebels, and pulled up to see our cottage up close for the first time!

 

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Okay, not bad! A bit rustic, but cute!

 

A quick run down to the main Knoebels office to get the keys, and we could take a look around inside and see what we were in for.

 

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The kitchen and dining area is pretty nice! Very airy and open with all the glass. Cheap table, but it did the job fine.

 

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All the basics included; refrigerator, stove, microwave, etc, and pretty much every kitchen tool and utensil you could think of, in a collection that apparently grows every time someone rents the cottage and leaves something else behind.

 

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That chair on the left was far more comfortable than it looked. Minor wars were fought over it.

 

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...okay, I'm not really sure what I was trying to take a picture of here, but the high ceiling out here made the place feel bigger.

 

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Okay, I could maybe do without the Jesus clock, but...details.

 

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This was a little unfortunate, if understandable. Being a dog friendly park, it would have been great if they could stay in the cabins too. We had a couple people along who would have loved to bring theirs along.

 

Only real issue out here...I have no idea what was going on with the flooring. It's so uneven it looks like it was once liquid and just frozen mid-wave. It's not sagging, exactly. It just has bumps, ripples, and valleys. A bit disconcerting, but no huge deal.

 

Out in the living room...well, this is looking even better!

 

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Cozy! Sadly, visible-but-not-touchable, the incredibly soft carpet that we could have just slept on right there.

 

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Plenty of room, super comfy couches...it's not as if we're planning on spending a lot of time indoors here, but still, this is really nice!

 

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The pictures on the Knoebels website show an ancient tiny CRT TV. I'm happy to say that, in case of a rainy day, there is actually a real TV.

 

Wait, why would you be staying inside at Knoebels and watching TV, just because of a little rain? This didn't get used.

 

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The decor in here was...interesting. As one of our group put it, it looked like someone let two grandmas into the place, lit their fuses, and ran. It was pleasant enough though.

 

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A bit odd, but I'll take her over the Jesus clock.

 

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Bathroom was fine! Modern ish shower with plenty of hot water (and pressure like a firehose), and...despite the website saying toilet paper wasn't to be provided, about a year's supply of it. Okay then.

 

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No terrible surprises lurking here either!

 

So what about the bedrooms? Well, downstairs we find...

 

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Okay, so the place was clearly furnished by yard sale, but it has a sort of charm to it.

 

Somehow I neglected to take any pictures of the bed situation, but it was fine. Mattress, box spring, nothing half-assed. Not a huge fan of the plastic mattress cover, but then, also not a fan of sleeping in a mattress with someone's kid's pee stains on it, so...the plastic was fine, I suppose. Only minor complaint here; we paid the extra for bed linins to be provided, but what we got for that extra $10 a person wasn't great. Two plain top sheets, no fitted ones, that all just slid right off the bed. We ended up making a run to Walmart anyway to get proper bed sets. I'd definitely suggest bringing bedding for yourself.

 

And...upstairs!IMAG1291.thumb.jpg.492385875436fdf4c3c7f523a2a1e069.jpg

These are some interesting stairs...it's hard to tell in the picture exactly how steep they actually were. The steps were barely big enough to get a foot on.

 

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The upstairs bedrooms were a bit more...basic. Some beds had box springs, some were just mattresses on a wire mesh base, not much for decorations on the plywood walls.

 

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Still, they weren't /bad/, exactly, and no one spent any time up there except to crash after a long day. Maybe don't plan on a nice romantic rendezvous up there though.

 

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...but you get to look out at Knoebels from them!

 

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So, cottage is for the most part a big win! No one had any real complaints, and we looked like we'd have every we needed for a cozy, content week! All settled in, we just needed to go get food. Definitely getting food first. Everyone's hungry, no time to stop for rides...

 

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...just have to walk past here...

 

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...yeah, no big deal, it's just a roller coaster, and we really should eat...

 

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Yeah, right. We're at Knoebels. First things first.

 

At this point, I'm not really sure what there is to say about Phoenix. It's Phoenix, and everyone here has heard it all...and it's all true, of course. It was running as amazingly as always last week. I let friends have the magic third row, and settled for sitting behind them; there's a definitely difference in the airtime just moving one car back, but...it's still Phoenix.

 

Okay, NOW we can get food. There's an Alamo hot turkey sandwich swimming in a lake of gravy in my future!

 

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Oh. Okay. Well...further in my future than I'd been hoping for.

 

So, we hit Cesari's instead. They were out of their awesome Sicilian pizza, so I went with taco pizza and a promise to myself that I'd get back there for Sicilian later in the week...which I'm only now realizing that I never actually did do. A horrible failure on my part, but it's not as if we didn't get tons of other Knoebels food!

 

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Knoebels just looking pretty like always

 

We had a few things we needed to pick up for the week, so a stop at the camp store was in order.

 

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Despite its small size, Knoebels' camp store manages to have nearly everything you might need for a week of camping; toiletries, charcoal and grilling tools, flashlights and batteries, hamburgers and buns, whatever you can think of. Also, most importantly, Catawissa orange cream soda.

 

No one really wanted to end our first night early, so it was time to break out some board and card games for a bit.

 

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...I don't actually remember why the stuffed corgi was at the table. It likely had something to do with one of the hex cards that "punish" players who lose a round in this game.

 

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Exhibit A

 

And that was day one. The cottage lived up to expectations, and seemed a great value at that price, so I think I can safely recommend them to anyone, as long as you're not a four star hotel minimum type!

 

I'll update later with Day 2, and Penn's Cave and Wildlife Park!

Edited by Rai Fox
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thanks for posting this report!

 

the cottages are *way* nicer than I had been expecting them to be, what a pleasant surprise.

 

I too, would prefer a less-Jesus-y clock. . but I absolutely adore the Gran'ma decor. a perfect fit for the place.

 

How long did you say you stayed there? a full week?

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thanks for posting this report!

 

the cottages are *way* nicer than I had been expecting them to be, what a pleasant surprise.

 

I too, would prefer a less-Jesus-y clock. . but I absolutely adore the Gran'ma decor. a perfect fit for the place.

 

How long did you say you stayed there? a full week?

 

Knoebels is the land of pleasant surprises, isn't it? The decor really did have me thinking of my grandparents' old cabins up in Maine.

 

We stayed a full week, Monday to Monday. I have lots more to post about the rest of the trip, when I get around to sorting pictures and all!

 

 

I'm curious how much the cottage cost you all? For "future planning", thanks.

 

And personally, I would just "drape something" over that clock.

 

The cottages are each priced differently, from $515 to $1430 a week, and vary a bit depending on when in the season you want them. The Glass House is one of the bigger ones and ended up being just over $1200 for the week. Not bad for a place that can fit 10-12 people.

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I absolutely love the cabin and it COMPLETELY fits in with the overall "homey" feel of Knoebels.

 

They could have won some of the decor at the Fascination Parlor

 

I didn't even know cabins were an option there so I have learned something new today.

 

David

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too grandma jebus for me, plus one bathroom makes it hard to share with other people.

My thoughts exactly. I'm actually VERY HAPPY you posted this report because after being at Knoebels again this year we thought about our options for spending time "on property" there and we are just not "outdoorsy" camping people at all so staying at the campground is out of the question, and sadly that cabin would be outside of my comfort zone as well.

 

We really would love to do more of an extended stay at Knoebels, and I'm really hoping that someday Knoebels builds something more like what Cedar Point has with their Lighthouse Point cabins. Nice, newer accommodations that feel more like a more modern hotel, but in a small cabin with a fire pit! That's more my idea of "roughing it!"

Edited by robbalvey
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Very interesting look at the cottage, thank you for sharing. Slightly too grandma jebus for me, plus one bathroom makes it hard to share with other people. In your research did you see any that had two bathrooms?

 

Yep, I had to call to ask about that. I don't remember for absolute certain but I'm pretty sure all of the larger cabins except the Glass House have two bathrooms. I know the Cedar Log does. I suspect that might be a big reason why the Glass House was the last one still available, when it's pretty good otherwise! (The Cedar Log also looks a bit more like Grandpa did the decorating instead of Grandma, so depending on your preferences...)

 

They could have won some of the decor at the Fascination Parlor

 

They just might have! I took home a toaster from Fascination tickets last week, and we were all amused when we opened the box and realized it was the same toaster that was in the cabin!

 

 

My thoughts exactly. I'm actually VERY HAPPY you posted this report because after being at Knoebels again this year we thought about our options for spending time "on property" there and we are just not "outdoorsy" camping people at all so staying at the campground is out of the question, and sadly that cabin would be outside of my comfort zone as well.

 

We really would love to do more of an extended stay at Knoebels, and I'm really hoping that someday Knoebels builds something more like what Cedar Point has with their Lighthouse Point cabins. Nice, newer accommodations that feel more like a more modern hotel, but in a small cabin with a fire pit! That's more my idea of "roughing it!"

 

Well, depending on what part is out of your comfort zone, take a look through what they have - they're all very different from each other. Not all look to have the same grandma theme. https://www.knoebels.com/stay/knoebels-cottages I'm not sure any really count as "modern" though - the Evergreen and Cedar Log might come a bit closer.

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Very interesting look at the cottage, thank you for sharing. Slightly too grandma jebus for me, plus one bathroom makes it hard to share with other people. In your research did you see any that had two bathrooms?

 

Grandma jebus...love the Simpsons reference!

 

This kind of reminds me of the hotel we stayed at in Indiana Beach. I swear that it was all straight out of the Starsky & Hutch era complete with the lime green bedspread, pink tiled bathtub wall and sink (and the obligatory 70's traditional rust streak/stain under the faucet and rotten egg water smelling/tasting water)...and of course, a tube television that was 2'x2' square and probably weighed 200 lbs.

 

This cottage is at least kicked up to the Michael Bolton era.

 

This comment is gold:

 

The decor in here was...interesting. As one of our group put it, it looked like someone let two grandmas into the place, lit their fuses, and ran. It was pleasant enough though.

 

 

Can't wait to see the rest of the report...a great start so far!

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Okay, on to day two! The forecast for Tuesday was scorchingly hot and humid, the worst of the week in that regard, so we decided somewhere OUT of the heat would be a nice idea. Several of the group was interested in Penn's Cave, and underground seemed like a great place to be, so that was the plan!

 

But not before breakfast, and an excuse to wander into the park for a bit.

 

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I love being in the park early to watch it wake up for the day

 

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I've never noticed this guy before; looks like he's from the woodcarver in the back corner of the park! Pretty awesome!

 

I went with the creamed chipped beef on toast, feeling daring and wanting to see how far Knoebels' ability to make everything good could go. Got some weird looks for that, but it turns out that yes, they can even make really tasty creamed chipped beef. And then, off to Penn's Cave.

 

Driving out there seemed like we couldn't possibly be heading to a tourist attraction; even more so than Knoebels itself, this place is in the middle of nowhere. We literally passed three horse drawn carriages within a few miles of the place, and then had to take a road out behind a farm. No one was entirely sure they trusted my GPS, but then...

 

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Yep, this looks more like it.

 

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Penn's Cave has three actual attractions; the cave tour (a boat tour of the underground river), a walkthrough maze, and a wildlife exhibit. We figured the first would be the big deal and the others were afterthoughts, but given that it wasn't too much more expensive to get a combo ticket for all three, and we had time to kill, we went for that. Good decision.

 

Heading down the winding path to the cave first...

 

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The cave mouth is pretty well hidden from view until you come around and down the cliff

 

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Rainbow trout! I found lunch! I wish. The tour guide told me I was free to try to go in after one, but the water is two to four degrees above freezing year round.

 

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These are the flat-bottomed boats for the tour. Nice and stable despite being narrow, they seem to work well

 

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It gets dark pretty quickly

 

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The cave's "Statue of Liberty"

 

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I forgot what they called this formation (bottom left of center) but it looks very much like a bunch of cloaked people up to something. Pretty cool.

 

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Some of the chambers are quite big here

 

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Closer look at that earlier formation

 

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On the left, in the spotlight, their crouching lion formation

 

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Foggy. Eerie.

 

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Fellow travellers!

 

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I'm not entirely certain what the point of this room was, except that they wanted to play with colored lighting underground. I don't blame them

 

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Apparently in some seasons this room is FULL of bats. Not this time, sadly (for me, anyway. I'm sure some were grateful)

 

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The cave opens up into this lake on the far side. Jurassic Park theme playing for anyone?

 

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It's rather pretty out here

 

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Okay, not quite dinosaurs, but at least they have distant relatives...

 

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No idea what this was.

 

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The boat turns around and heads back through the cave

 

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Of course there's a ghostly legend

 

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The closest I got to seeing any bats there.

 

We had a little while before our wildlife tour, so we hit the maze first. This maze is a little different than most; finding the exit is easy, but the trick is to find four checkpoints and get a card stamped at all four before you leave. It looks very small from outside, but it's far more confusing than it has any right to be, and quite a bit more fun too. It took each of in my group between 7-12 minutes of frantic racing around to finish, so not too bad for the $3 or so it cost!

 

We grabbed lunch at the Cave Cave afterwards; this was the only disappointing part of the place, I think. Their much-hyped bison burger could have been a school cafeteria burger; small, dry, and not particularly flavorful. I've had amazing bison burgers; this was not one of them. The one at the food court at Knoebels was quite a bit better, and even that's not up to most of Knoebels' food standards.

 

Fortunately we didn't have much time to be upset about the food, because it was time for the wildlife tour. I was fully expecting a few little animal cages and stuff. I wasn't expecting a bus to pull up to take us around a 1,600 acre wildlife preserve. They have a huge area with a lot of beautiful, well cared for animals, most of them with generous enclosures; this ended up being one of my favorite zoo type attractions I've seen! Incredibly nice surprise here.

 

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Bison, first. Did I feel a little bad for just eating one? ...Nah. Bison are tasty.

 

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Elk! Elk are also tasty, but these guys weren't on the menu.

 

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And deer, which as we were told, co-exist very well with elk since they eat different types of vegetation, so they're fine with sharing space.

 

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Piebald deer, very cute with their white markings

 

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Cows. Well, how interesting are cows, compared to the other animals out here...

 

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Well, these are friendly, curious cows...

 

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Very friendly. They came up to try to get their heads into the bus and beg for treats. I missed getting a picture of the one that started licking the windows, sadly, since everyone in the front of the bus rushed to get that shot and blocked the view.

 

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The wolves have a huge enclosure, a small forest to themselves. Because of that, we didn't see most of them, but one of them came right over to investigate us when our tour guide called her.

 

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This is Chorro

 

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And Chorro is a very pretty wolf. She didn't stick around for too long though, once she was sure she'd gotten all the treats she could convince the tour guide to give her.

 

The fox exhibit was next, but unfortunately, the foxes were having nothing to do with the temperature and humidity that day. We could just barely make out one hiding far back inside a log, but I couldn't get a picture of any. Of all the animals for me not to get to see...ah well.

 

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The bears were the only animals there that seemed to have an inadequete space, but the tour guide told us that this was a temporary space only while their permanent one was being set up.

 

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I forgot this guy's name, but he came out, according to our tour guide, to beg for Double Stuff Oreos. Bears, apparently, love Double Stuff Oreos. Yeah, me too, bear. Me too.

 

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Slurp

 

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This is a working wildlife preserve and farm; they grow a lot of plants to feed their animals here, or to sell and trade for what they can't grow.

 

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This area is a Monarch Butterfly waystation

 

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Fake kitty

 

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Real kitty! This is Apache. Such a gorgeous cat.

 

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And this is Seneca. You can just see her hiding in there. I don't blame her for wanting nothing to do with the sun.

 

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And over at the bobcat exhibit...this is Tom.

 

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Tom's sister Kit was in the airconditioned indoor part of their area, but Tom came to hang out with us.

 

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Bighorn sheep; apparently a carefully bred cross of four types that can survive Pennsylvania weather

 

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The farm's breeding horses have their own pen here

 

The tour ended up being somewhere between 90-120 minutes, and while they don't have some of the exotic animals you might see at a zoo, the animals they do see are active, well cared for, and for the most part seem curious and interested in coming over to see visitors too. The tour guides are knowledgeable and fun, and see to love what they do. Everyone in my group agreed that this was one of the big surprises of the trip, and I'd absolutely recommend a stop there for anyone in the area.

 

Once we were done, we needed food and air conditioning. Sounded like a good night to try the new (as of last year) Nickel Plate Grill at Knoebels' golf course! Reviews are good, and...well, it's Knoebels, so how bad could it be?

 

It's fantastic. As good as all of Knoebels food is, Nickel Plate absolutely tops it all. This ended up being the first of three times we ate there this week. This first time, I went for their spicy Firebox burger.

 

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Well, not that spicy by my stanards, but juicy and perfectly cooked, soooo good. Tasty fries, too.

 

Everyone in our group had something different, and from salads to tuscan ravioli, everyone raved about their meals. Several of the group got drinks; I didn't that night since I was driving, but those that did gave theirs top ratings too. On top of all that, it's incredibly inexpensive. The majority of the meals are under $10, drinks are mostly under $6...it's pretty much just...well, Knoebels. Affordable, delicious, and of course the service was flawless. If you're going to be anywhere near Knoebels...absolutely make sure to stop in here.

 

And then back to the cottage to rest up and get in a little time hanging out and playing Jackbox games with friends.

 

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I wasn't technically lying when I said we didn't use the TV...one of my friends brought a nicer one that we used for this. Gotta have something to do after the park closes!

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Cool report so far. When I first saw you were staying a week I thought, as amazing as Knoebels is, that might be a bit much. But clearly you found lots of other things to do.

 

I'd be cool with the cabins, if they threw a hot tub on the patio. I've gone done to Hocking Hills here in Ohio a number of times, a lot of the remote cabins have hot tubs. It's a fun experience, especially during a winter snowstorm!

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Yeah, the cottage at Knoebels was just a nice central location for a lot of stuff we wanted to do. As it turned out, we ended up spending more time just hanging around Knoebels than we planned, and didn't get everywhere else, but...that wasn't a bad thing at all!

 

And thanks!

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Penn's Cave could be an awesome themed dark ride called 'The Descent'...it looks a lot like the movie set.

 

That burger looks great! I remember looking at the price of the golf course for an 18 hole round a few years back and thinking that either the golf courses are super cheap in rural PA - or this course really sucks.

 

I'd like to check it out myself one day to see!

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1) Thank you for creating a new thread. If someone can type the words Knoebels and cottage correctly, this will be the only post to show up if they search by topic heading.

 

2) I think people have already been decorating the the cabin with merchandise won at Fascination. I guarantee that clock is a Fascination prize.

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Maybe there's something stuck on or behind the clock, something secret that nobody knows.

 

Beautiful shots of your cave tour. Although at first, I might find myself a touch nervous

about being in a narrow flatboat, treading c-c-c-cold water, into darkness, even with spotlights etc.

 

Still, they're beautiful shots. Thanks for sharing them.

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Maybe there's something stuck on or behind the clock, something secret that nobody knows.

 

Beautiful shots of your cave tour. Although at first, I might find myself a touch nervous

about being in a narrow flatboat, treading c-c-c-cold water, into darkness, even with spotlights etc.

 

Still, they're beautiful shots. Thanks for sharing them.

 

Well, we were told that in well over a hundred years of giving tours, they've never had anyone end up in the water...but if the absolute worst does happen...just stand up. The water's only two feet deep for the majority of the cave. That does help somewhat.

 

It really is beautiful down there! My phone does pretty well in dark shots, for a phone, but it's definitely a "you have to really see it" kind of place. Or at least have pictures taken on a real camera.

 

Rai Fox.....do you always hang out with homeless people?!?’v

 

Not...sure what you're getting at?

 

2) I think people have already been decorating the the cabin with merchandise won at Fascination. I guarantee that clock is a Fascination prize.

 

Now that you mention it...I'm pretty sure the microwave is the one that you could win in the Fascination parlor, too. ...makes sense.

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^ I toured some caves in Japan in 1972, and you're right about photos not doing justice to what you really see.

What I saw was just breathtaking, and the funny part was, I was so overwhelmed by it all, I forgot to take any photos

in the caves! Silly me.

 

Looking forward to more "Days of Your Tour."

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1) Thank you for creating a new thread. If someone can type the words Knoebels and cottage correctly, this will be the only post to show up if they search by topic heading.

 

 

Larry. . have you met "people"

 

the odds of correctly spelling Cottage and Knoebels are about the same as spelling out "SteVen"

 

 

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Rai Fox -- the cave tour looks fantastic, and I had absolutely no idea that was even there!

 

the next time we plan a trip thru Pennsylvania (and we will do that again in the future), we're gonna do multi days at Knoebels and do the cave too!

 

wonderful pics.

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Unfortunately the decor of the cottage is really just an "old school central Pennsylvania aka Pennsyltucky" thing. Having lived up there my entire life, I've come to learn that some people in the region have almost hick-like appearances and mannerisms but in the end are perfectly decent people. A while ago, my parents and I would often go to this local restaurant where the food was amazing and the hospitality was absolutely wonderful BUT they had taxidermy all over their walls because nearly all of the family members that ran the place and cooked the food were hunters.

 

Also, it's about time someone actually posted a trip report about Penn's Cave. I've driven past exactly seventeen million "Penn's Cave, See It By Boat" billboards in my life and yet have never gone.

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