Friday, January 13, 2006

When I was a child growing up in Alabama, my parents used to take me and my sister camping in the Great Smokey Mountains. We would see Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and many of the attractions located there.

But one place I always wanted to go, we never made it to: The Lost Sea.

The Lost Sea is located in Sweetwater, Tennessee, right off I-75 between Knoxville and Chattanooga, and is known as "America's largest underground lake".

The caverns are rich in geological formations such as the "cave flower", known scientifically as anthodites. The website says "These fragile, spiky clusters commonly known as "cave flowers" are found in only a few of the world's caves. Their abundance in Craighead Caverns led the United States Department of the Interior to designate the Lost Sea as a Registered National Landmark, an honor the Lost Sea shares with such unique geological regions as the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina and the Yosemite National Park in California."

The website also states that the anthodites are so rare, that the cave hosts "50% of the world's known formations".

The underground lake itself is immense, covering about 4 1/2 acres, much of it inaccessible. Vistors can take a glass-bottom boat tour where you will see large rainbow trout swimming in the lake's crystal clear waters.

The cave has a very interesting history as well. Tour guides tell guests of the Cherokee Indians who once used the cave, an giant Pleistocene jaguar who once became lost in the caverns and fell to it's death - it's bones much later found and displayed in the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and how the cave was used by Confederate army during the Civil War to mine the cave for saltpeter, "a commodity necessary to the manufacture of gunpowder". The cave was also used by moonshiners during Prohibition.

Outside the cave you will find shaded log cabins housing the General Store, an ice cream parlor, a glassblower's and a Trading Post.

Tours are given to the general public during the day, every day of the year except Christmas. There is also a Wilderness Tour offered to groups of 12 or more, such as scout troops, church groups, etc... It is an overnight tour with some grubby crawling through tiny spaces in the cave and ending with a camp-out in the cavern itself.

For more information such as pricing and hours of operation, visit the Lost Sea's website at I know we're headed there this summer and I can't wait!

**photos courtesy of
Copyright Dana 2005
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Name: Dana
Location: Chicago, and if y'all call me a Yankee, I'll have to cyber-smack ya'!

I'm just a mom of two, a crafter of jewelry, and to keep my sanity among the Yankees (kidding)I write southern-themed poetry, short stories and memoirs. I have been published on the web on sites such as USA Deep South, Southern Humorists, Muscadine Lines - A Southern Journal, Mosaic Minds and Long Story Short. I am also a contributor in Dew on the Kudzu and Weight-Loss where I write dieting humor.

And this is my blog... Kudzu, funny family stories, poems, family ghosts, snakes, sun-kissed southern memories all inside! Plus some travel reviews, recipes and more! I also make handcrafted jewelry! Check out my jewelry blog - Colors of the Woods

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"I believe that no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, you can not baptize cats." - Larry the Cable Guy

A Tennessee man and an Alabama man were both fighting in a war and were captured by the enemy.
"Before we put you to death," said the enemy, "do you have any last requests?"
"Yes," said the Alabaman. "Could you play 'Yeah, Alabama' before you shoot me?"
"Sure," said the enemy. "How about you, Tennessean?"
"Could you shoot me before you play 'Yeah, Alabama?'"

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