You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.
Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.
The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.
Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.
The idea was to make it accessible to visitors and use the cave as a tourist attraction, and the small structure was eventually built into a two-story house. But it was closed to the public in 1954 after the land was purchased for limestone mining and it remained closed for nearly 70 years. (In the words of Stephanie Tanner, "How rude.") Sometime during that 70-year closure, the home that contains the cave was purchased by Dara Black, and in 2021, it reopened to the public.
Currently, the home is occupied by Black, but to gain access to the cave you can simply book a tour. The best part about booking a tour is that you only have to make a donation to enter. It's a pay-what-you-can sort of setup, but since someone actually lives in the home, you can't just pop in and ask for a tour. You have to go during the "open house" times available.
According to the Black-Coffey Caverns Facebook page, they treat the tours truly as an open house, complete with snacks and drinks. There's a waiting room area where people can chat and eat their snacks while they wait for the tour to start. They also offer cave yoga once a month. According to Uncovering PA, the tour takes about 45 minutes to complete and there are about 3,000 feet worth of passageways.
Imagine living on top of a cave and just taking strangers on a waltz under your floorboards essentially. It makes me wonder if the house is quiet at night or if you can hear echoes of the cave sounds while you're trying to sleep. From the Facebook page, it appears that the cave doesn't have any lights, but there were pictures with some Christmas lights mounted to the cave walls. Otherwise, you have to use flashlights.
Hopefully, no mischievous children decide to play hide and seek or you just might have to call in a rescue crew. Literally. But what an unbelievable "pics or it didn't happen" kind of story to tell. It's not every day you run into someone that has a door that leads you to an underground cave.
If you want to see what a cave tour looks like starting from the outside of the house, check out the video below:
The way she explained to Big Bird what she was doing is still an all-time great example.
In 1977, singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie did something revolutionary: She fed her baby on Sesame Street.
The Indigenous Canadian-Ameican singer-songwriter wasn't doing anything millions of other mothers hadn't done—she was simply feeding her baby. But the fact that she was breastfeeding him was significant since breastfeeding in the United States hit an all-time low in 1971 and was just starting to make a comeback. The fact that she did it openly on a children's television program was even more notable, since "What if children see?" has been a key pearl clutch for people who criticize breastfeeding in public.
But the most remarkable thing about the "Sesame Street" segment was the lovely interchange between Big Bird and Sainte-Marie when he asked her what she was doing.
"I'm feeding the baby," Sainte-Marie told him. "See? He's drinking milk from my breast."
Sainte-Marie didn't show anything that anyone could reasonably find objectionable, but she didn't have her baby hidden under a blanket, either. From Big Bird's point of view, he could see exactly what was happening, and Sainte-Marie appeared perfectly comfortable with that.
Big Bird contemplated her response, then said, "Hmm…that's a funny way to feed a baby."
"Lots of mothers feed their babies this way," Sainte-Marie said. "Not all mothers, but lots of mothers do. He likes it because it's nice and warm and sweet and natural, and it's good for him. And I get to hug him when I do it, see?"
Their conversation continued with Sainte-Marie answering Big BIrd's questions with simple, matter-of-fact, nonjudgmental answers, and it's truly a thing of beauty. Watch:
That segment was filmed 46 years ago, and it's hard to believe some people still take issue with seeing a mom breastfeed out in the open. We've seen waves of education and advocacy attempting to normalize breastfeeding, and yet it wasn't until 2018 that every state in the United States had laws on the books protecting breastfeeders from being cited or fined. Even now, some moms still get flack for not hiding away in a bathroom or a car to feed their babies.
Sainte-Marie recently spoke with Yahoo Life about how that segment came about. She had gotten pregnant during her second season on "Sesame Street" and she had her baby with her on set all the time. She'd breastfeed off camera, and she asked one day if the show could do something about breastfeeding.
"The reason why I did that really was because when I woke up from delivering my baby, I was in the hospital, and over here on the table was a big basket of stuff from some formula company. And I preferred to breastfeed, but the doctors didn't understand about breastfeeding. They hadn't learned it."
Even today, according to the CDC, physicians generally lack adequate breastfeeding education and training, so as far as we've come with education on this subject, we clearly still have a ways to go.
Watch Sainte-Marie talk about how she came to share breastfeeding with the "Sesame Street" audience:
Thank you, Buffy, for providing a beautiful example of how to talk about breastfeeding that's just as relevant today at it was four decades ago.
Hearing Kondo say, 'My home is messy,' is sparking joy for moms everywhere.
Marie Kondo's book, "The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up," has repeatedly made huge waves around the world since it came out in 2010. From eliminating anything that didn't "spark joy" from your house to folding clothes into tiny rectangles and storing them vertically, the KonMari method of maintaining an organized home hit the mark for millions of people. The success of her book even led to two Netflix series.
It also sparked backlash from parents who insisted that keeping a tidy home with children was not so simple. It's one thing to get rid of an old sweater that no longer brings you joy. It's entirely another to toss an old, empty cereal box that sparks zero joy for you, but that your 2-year-old is inexplicably attached to.
To be fair, Kondo never forced her way into anyone's home and made them organize it her way. But also to be fair, she didn't have kids when she wrote her best-selling book on keeping a tidy home. The reality is that keeping a home organized and tidy with children living in it is a whole other ballgame, as Kondo has discovered now that she has three kids of her own.
"My home is messy," she admitted in a recent webinar, according to The Washington Post, "but the way I am spending my time is the right way for me at this time at this stage of my life.”
Despite the Schadenfreude many parents may feel at Kondo's confession that kids change things, her reasoning for letting things go is actually right in line with her philosophy of embracing joy.
“Up until now, I was a professional tidier, so I did my best to keep my home tidy at all times,” she said. “I have kind of given up on that in a good way for me. Now I realize what is important to me is enjoying spending time with my children at home.”
Kondo has offered tips for tidying with kids at home since she became a mom, and they're pretty solid. But as any parent can attest, some children are naturally neater than others, and how many kids you have makes a big difference as well.
Kondo gave birth to her third child in 2021, so she's currently in the adorable hell that is toddlerland. Research has also found that parents of three kids are the most stressed, so if Kondo has found a way to enjoy time with her kids and create more balance in her life by letting go of her tidiness standards, more power to her.
Her new book, "Marie Kondo’s Kurashi at Home: How to Organize Your Space and Achieve Your Ideal Life," focuses on designing your living space so it works for you. "Kurashi" loosely translates to "way of life" or "the ideal way of spending our time," and Kondo says it's about seeing the world through the lens of what matters most.
“I believe that when we consciously cherish something precious, we deepen our relationship with it,” she shares on her website. “This, in turn, deepens our bonds with other things in our lives, bringing out the best in them and in ourselves.”
Applying that philosophy to family, Kondo's "giving up" on tidying all the time makes perfect sense. If spending quality time with your children sparks more joy than keeping your belongings organized just so, then that's what you should do.
Kudos to Kondo for publicly acknowledging that having kids has altered how her home looks and for validating what so many parents have felt in the face of unrealistic expectations of tidiness. She could have kept up a front of always being on top of organization and having a perpetually tidy home, but she didn't. Here's to her willingness to share the reality, here's to embracing joy in the fleeting time we have with our children, and here's to letting go of the rules that might interfere with that, even if it means humbly admitting defeat in the face of our kids' messes.
Nearly four million Americans don't live with their spouses.
One of the topics that we like to highlight on Upworthy is people who are redefining what it means to be in a relationship. Recently, we’ve shared the stories of platonic life partners, moms who work together as part of a “mommune” and a polyamorous family with four equally-committed parents.
A growing number of people are reevaluating traditional relationships and entering lifestyles that work for them instead of trying to fit into preexisting roles. It makes sense because the more lifestyle options that are available, the greater chance we have to be happy.
A recent trend in unconventional relationships is married couples "living apart together," or LATs as they are known among mental health professionals.
Actress Helena Bonham Carter and director Tim Burton, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and producer Brad Falchuk, and photographer Annie Leibovitz and activist Susan Sontag are all high-profile couples who’ve embraced the LAT lifestyle.
“I think it certainly helps with preserving mystery and also preserving the idea that this person has their own life,” Paltrow said, according to the New York Post.
The lifestyle appears to have become more mainstream in America as the number of couples living apart rose by more than 25% between 2000 and 2019.
A couple wrapping their furniture in bubble wrap.
According to The New York Times, there were 3.89 million Americans who live apart from their spouses in 2022, just under 3% of all married couples. The statistics do not include couples intending to divorce but do include those who are forced to live separately due to military duties.
Couples Therapy, Inc. says that LAT couples enjoy the lifestyle because it allows for “independence without sacrificing emotional support,” more time for hobbies and interests, fewer conflicts, and prevents “exploitation along gender roles.”
The disadvantages that LAT couples experience include maintaining emotional connection, occasional loneliness and dealing with the expectations of adult and minor children.
\u201cMore Canadian couples are choosing commitment, but not to share it under the same roof. It\u2019s called Living Apart Together.\n\nFor #GlobalNewReality, @MDimainGlobal speaks with couples and researchers about this growing trend.\n\nRead more: https://t.co/uOEQg4n1v8\u201d— Globalnews.ca (@Globalnews.ca) 1647108002
Although there isn’t a wealth of research on LATs, Bella DePaulo Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today that people who prefer to live apart from their spouse are looking for “independence and privacy.” They also tend to be in their 40s and older and are less likely to need a live-in spouse to help with child-rearing duties.
Sharon Hyman told Today that living apart from her husband, David, puts their relationship in the proper context.
“Living separately allows me to have my needs met by others in addition to David, including friends and family. I feel that expecting one person to be your everything is setting yourself up for disappointment,” Hyman wrote. “It’s also unrealistic and puts tremendous pressure on a relationship. There are so many other people who enrich our lives. I’m a big believer in community. People in the past lived in villages or extended family groups, and I feel that a primary relationship should ideally exist within that framework.”
Sana Akhand, 33, told The New York Times that living apart from her husband helped relieve her from the burdens of being a woman in a traditional marriage. “Being a wife is subconsciously really draining, because you’re just thinking about this other person, their well-being,” Akhand said.
Married couples who live apart from one another all appear to have taken the time to consciously consider their relationships and position them based on their needs, instead of the demands of the culture at large. It makes a lot of sense. Just because a lifestyle works for someone else doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you or your partner.
"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up."
Blindness touches people's lives around the world and YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, more popularly known as MrBeast, is trying to do something about it. Donaldson made it his mission to help 1,000 people regain their eyesight with the help of Dr. Jeff Levenson, an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida.
Levenson has been operating a program called "Gift of Sight" for over 20 years. The program provides free cataract surgery to uninsured people who are legally blind for free, so long as they meet certain criteria. Levenson had never heard of Donaldson, and he almost hung up on him when the YouTube star called to ask about a partnership.
"I had never heard of MrBeast so I almost hung up. But gratefully did not hang up," Levenson told CNN.
After figuring out that Donaldson was indeed a real person who wanted to help others, the duo called around the Jacksonville area to determine the people who needed help the most. They got their list of clients from free clinics and homeless shelters, which covered the United States portion of the surgeries.
Donaldson and Levenson were able to provide surgery to 40 people in Florida, and if you know anything about MrBeast, you know that some of those folks left with more than just their eyesight. Several of the patients, who were just thrilled to have their eyesight back, were gifted with thousands of dollars. In the video, one woman fell to the floor when Donaldson told her that he was also giving her $10,000, and another family burst into tears when he handed over a $50,000 check for college tuition. One teen was given his first car, a Tesla.
Person holding eyeglasses in front of eye chartPhoto by David Travis on Unsplash
The enormous act of kindness didn't stop with Florida. Levenson is also the chief medical officer of SEE International, an organization that provides free eye care internationally. It was through this nonprofit that Donaldson was able to help other patients in need in several countries including Mexico, Jamaica, Vietnam and Brazil, among others.
Not all blindness is curable, but in the video, Levenson tells Donaldson, “Half of all blindness in the world is people who need a 10-minute surgery.”
This means that those who don't have the means to afford this surgery may simply have to resign themselves to being blind, even though there's a quick cure. And Levenson knows firsthand what it feels like to lose your vision due to cataracts because he also had to have the surgery years ago, which sparked his passion for helping others see again.
Donaldson is known for his generosity and has amassed over 130 million subscribers on his YouTube page, so it's not a surprise that he would try to team up with Levenson to do more good. After all the surgeries were complete, Donaldson had achieved his goal of curing 1,000 people of blindness, but he had one more gift in store.
At the end of the video, MrBeast was back in Florida with Levenson when he dropped unsuspected news on the doctor. Donaldson had donated $100,000 to Levenson's organization.
"It'll bring sight to thousands of people," Levenson replied with his hand over his chest.
Watch the moving video below:
No sandbox? No problem.
A parenting influencer who goes by the name @ellethevirgo on TikTok has shared a brilliant hack that can turn a simple box of Cheerios into a fun sensory sand experience. The great part is that the sand is edible, so you don’t have to worry if your child puts some in their mouth, which they will inevitably do.
The recipe for Cheerios sensory sand is pretty simple:
- Grab a box of Cheerios (avoid honey nut flavor unless you want your kid to have a sticky sensory experience).
- Grind the cereal by dumping it into a blender or food processor. You can also get a rockier texture by putting it in a sealable bag and grinding it with a rolling pin.
- Pour the sand into a bin and add some scoops and containers for the full sensory experience.
Now, here's where we'll include our mandatory disclaimer: Children should only play with the sensory sand under adult supervision. Always make sure the bin is clean and the sand is replaced before every use.
"Yess!! So if she accidentally eats the sand it’s ok bc it’s freaking Cheerios," Nelly Gomez wrote.
"Wait, what? Holy hell this is genius," Momma Cusses added.
🌞🐠🌴 #fyp #sensoryplay #upcycling
A few commenters were concerned that the sensory sand may encourage small children to eat real sand. This is a legitimate criticism because, according to doctors, sand can be a choking hazard. "Isn’t she going to be trained that all sand will taste like Cheerio dust now?" Eric asked.