THE CAVES AT CLIFF COTTAGE INN
Sandra purchased the Cliff Cottage property in 1992, and while building The Place Next Door, she discovered her first cave behind Cliff Cottage carved deeply into the three-story rock bluff. Realizing that the cave maintained a 52-degree temperature throughout the year, the optimal temperature for wine, she immediately decided to convert it into a wine cave. While cleaning out the debris inside, “… I discovered where hippies living on the property in the past had been growing you-know-what in the cave! No wonder the sheriff’s helicopter went over the inn every Thursday right after his lunch years ago when I was building that house, with the helicopter door open and some sort of device aimed in the direction of my cave….until he realized hippies no longer lived there and he stopped his weekly fly-bys. I was disappointed as I then had to buy a watch – I had been counting on his 1pm “visits” for so long, that I hadn’t had need of a watch!” Considering that Cliff Cottage was once the residence of Eureka Springs’ first Mayor, who knows what other secrets of the past these age-old bluffs might hold!
When Innkeeper Sandra purchased the old Humane Society thrift store property next door to Cliff Cottage in 2003, she discovered a cave behind some storage sheds on the property. Much to her surprise, this cave became a gushing waterfall that flooded the yard after the next big rain: she found out she had “inherited” a spring!
While cleaning up the mess after the first flood, she discovered that a channel had been built into the rock bluff under the spring that had been blocked by decades of debris. Once cleared, this channel guided the water away from the yard. Of course, this created yet another dilemma, as the water was now being siphoned to a two-story building that she wanted to restore for a lodging accommodation. Underneath this building, the limestone was unyielding. The only solution was to let the channel run under part of the building to be drained into the new sewer line. This part of the building happened to be the future location for the studio’s bathroom, so she toyed with the idea of a glass-floor so guests could see the water and maybe even some fish floating by, but her carpenter talked her out of it.
Sandra recruited help with the cave’s clean-out from a friend who happened to be a retired psychiatrist and master gardener in her ’70s! After removing about 18 inches of dirt, the two discovered pipes between the cave and the house (now The Artist’s Cottage), and other then-unrecognizable contraptions in the cave. Figuring a plumber would know about the pipes, she inquired… and found out that the cave, with gas lines leading to it from the house, had hosted a moonshine still in its colorful past!
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