Arbor Lodge & John Brown’s Cave

We finally got to go on another weekend excursion.
It started out cloudy but sadly didn’t stay that way.


Though not an on purpose attraction, the Sapp Brothers truck stop is worth mentioning because the women’s bathroom is wieeeeeeerd. It had heated seats and an bidet.


I felt very technological with all those buttons. (The pictured panel is actually on the toilet but it seemed weird taking a pic of a toilet, so….)
This week was Mom’s turn to pick, so we headed to Nebraska City for Arbor Lodge. If you’re not familiar with it, it was the home of the Morton’s (as in Morton’s salt) and also the founder of arbor day.
This was another place I’d been to as a kid, but like the museum in Lincoln, this has changed. The first floor was always pretty much original furniture from what I can remember, but the second floor was random things, like a collection of arrowheads and a chair made of deer antlers, while the third floor was closed. The second floor is now all done in appropriate bedroom furnishings, and the third floor is home to various displays, no longer random but instead about the Morton family. There were clothes, and displays about what happened to the brothers, and an old printing press and “font cabinet” (I called it this to annoy hubby because he is not amused by my knowledge of type faces). I’d like to get a second go round at this, as we did not spend much time on the third floor because the air-conditioning was broken and so it was unbearably hot and stuffy. Since the brother was sick and did not come, we’ll have to go back anyway, so I will get my chance.
Aside from the house – which is well worth the trip because it is beautiful and just fun to look at – there is a huge park we didn’t look at, a stable and carriage house, which has carriages in it, an Italian terraced garden that we didn’t see, and more. For 7$ each it’s a very good deal, especially if you don’t have whiny people with you who demand food. Ha ha!
I did take the good camera but I haven’t had time to take them off yet, so it’s crummy cell pics.

As I said, when we finished the house tour some of the troops were hungry so we headed off in search of Johnny’s, a cafe recommended by the staff.

It was pretty good. Then we debated whether to go back to the lodge or do something else. Mom wanted to visit John Brown’s Cave, so off we went. Only, it’s not called that now. Now it’s called Mayhew cabin after the family that actually lived in it. Another place I’d visited in my childhood that is almost 100% different. Gone is the kitsch and the tourist trap and in its place is a serious museum about slavery and the underground railroad. Not saying that it isn’t worth a visit because it very much is, just that it was kind of sad to see it nothing like my memories.
Aside from the museum portion – which is very well done including a pair of shackles you try on and a part where you hide from slave hunters – there is the cabin and the cave underneath. Though you can’t go all the way through, just to the area with the rooms on either side, then you have to turn around. I was initially worried about having a claustrophobia fit now that I’m an adult but it didn’t even bother me, oddly enough.
As a plus to the cabin, there is an old train station, a schoolhouse, and a church you can go into. The staff was very friendly, and for only 3$ a person it’s well worth it.

And then we went back to the gas station with the fancy toilets and got milk shakes since by then we were all dying of heat stroke.


Yeah, it was a high calorie day. Deal with it.
We made it back to Red Oak in time to explore the DVD rental store. Yes, you read that right. A place that rents DVDs! I haven’t seen one in years, so it was especially fun.


As luck would have it, the clouds came back and the temperature dropped just as we got home.


And that about does it. It’s past my bedtime so I’m heading out (mom and I stayed up watching those aforementioned rental DVDs and since they were Horror movies… Well, we stayed up extra late so as to miss the creepy three a.m. hour)
Jo 🙂

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About Joleene Naylor

An independent author, freelance artist, and photographer for fun who loves anime, music, and writing. Check out my vampire series Amaranthine at or drop me a line at

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