CAVE-IN-ROCK

The Cave-In-Rock ferry crosses the Ohio River in Cave-In-Rock in 2014.

The next time you're planning a day trip, consider heading to Cave-In-Rock and ferrying across the Ohio River to Kentucky's Amish country.

The Amish have plenty to sell just across the river -- from vegetables and baked goods to hand-crafted furniture. But, it's not always about the destination. Sometimes, it's the journey.

Of course, not everyone who ventures out onto the ferry is planning to spend very long in Kentucky. Plenty of us like taking a round-trip joy ride across the river and back. The ferry is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, but it does shut down once in a while because of wind or ice.

It's not unusual, especially during pretty weather, so see a line of cars waiting to board the ferry. The price is more than reasonable. It's free.

Once on board, most passengers step outside of their vehicles to better enjoy the scenery. I like to close my eyes, feel the wind pass through me and dream about rafting down the river the way Mark Twain did.

Cave-in-Rock ferry is more than two centuries old and dates back to at least 1807, when it appears on the original land surveys, according to local historian Jon Musgrave.

"Ferries started really developing in Gallatin and Hardin counties after the federal government took over the saltworks at the Great Salt Springs in 1803," Musgrave said. "That year, at least two ferries started -- one just downstream from Hurricane Island at what is now Elizabethtown, and one upstream from Cave-In-Rock at what is now Weston, Kentucky. The ferry at Shawneetown started the following year in 1804. All three ferries ran from the river to the saltworks at what is now Equality."

Call 618-289-4599 if you have any questions about Cave-In-Rock ferry. And, bon yoyage!

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