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round the world and home again
photogeek
crschmidt
We went to Kentucky for my brother's wedding this weekend. It was the first time I can think of in the last 6 or 7 years that I have been so thoroughly disconnected from the world: We were staying in a cabin near Slade, Kentucky that was far enough into the woods that there was no cell reception at all for any of us, which I don't remember happening since Jess and I went to the Mount Washington Resort back in 2008.

The wedding was really nice. The place they had the wedding at -- the Big House at Red River Gorge Retreats -- was a beautifully put together house, with a great reception space upstairs. Prior to the wedding, we were curious why the wedding was there, but it turns out that this was where Tony had proposed. (They had gone there to go rock climbing.) While he was in the process of planning his proposal, he noticed that they did weddings as well, and let his then fiancée know that he had come up with a rough plan for the wedding already as well :)

The place they stayed actually reminded me somewhat of my former boss's house up on the beach in Rockport: a nicely appointed home, with Lots Of Bedrooms.

The place we were staying was... not quite as nice.

Really, it wasn't bad for what it was: a large cabin, with a queen size bed, two twins, and a futon, for $105 per night. It was spacious; it came with a set of kitchen amenities (fridge, stove, microwave, etc.), had a nice fire ring, and a porch with a swing out front. There was nothing wrong with it from the perspective of a rustic cabin.

But when I pulled up to the main office for the facility, and found that the "check in" hut had ... nobody in it, and that there didn't even appear to be a way to get into the building (the stairs were gone), I was a bit surprised. (The main area was also full of chickens, who we joked were running the place.)

When I realized that the front door didn't actually latch, and it was just padlocked shut, I was a bit surprised. When I realized that the walls between the bedrooms didn't actually go up to the ceilings, so any conversation or sound could be heard equally across the entire space, I was a bit surprised. When I found that the bathroom door was just a piece of plywood on hinges, rather than something that might latch -- and that even the hook for the hook-and-eye lock on the inside had somehow gone away -- I was a bit surprised.

Now, none of these things say that this is a particularly bad place to stay: for $105 bucks a night for a space that fits 6 people with plenty of extra space, it's not like it was bad: if what you're comparing it to is staying in a tent / camping in the area, it was a palace, and really well appointed.

However, compared to where my family generally likes to stay, it was a bit more... "rustic", "quaint" or "of a shithole" than you might otherwise think :) I've stayed in places like this a few times, and I described it as "about 30% more rustic than I expected": It's not that it was *bad* in any particular way, it was only the gap between expectations and reality that was jarring.

The area is quite beautiful. The view from the penthouse at the wedding reception out across the Kentucky hills was gorgeous, and the lack of connectivity wasn't a real problem at all. (It's a shame that two of my girls are afraid of heights, and that none of us are great hikers; the Natural Bridge area has a bunch of great trails, as well as a chair lift to the top of the bridge, but we didn't end up going up there.

Overall, we mostly just had a relaxing and lazy trip; we went to Waffle House twice, and got to spend some time with family around the wedding. We got to see a pretty part of the country, and things went mostly okay. But we were all pretty happy to be back home.