Rachel's B&B and Black River Cottages
202 West 2nd Street
Annapolis, MO, 63620, USA

Ozark Mountain Adventures

  • black river traditions 2

Hello, my name is Kelly McCulley. My partner, Bill Tidwell, and I own Rachel's Bed & Breakfast and Black River Cottages in Annapolis, Missouri. This blog is about our personal experience of living, working, and playing in the Ozark Mountains; it's basically a journal of my favorite things. The blog is random and is not in order by date or topic and therefore a accurate representation of myself. I hope you enjoy reading about our small town, beautiful people, country dreams, and wild adventures!  

Annapolis: an Ozark Jewel

“Living in a small like living in a large family of rather uncongenial relations. Sometimes it’s fun, and sometimes it’s perfectly awful, but it’s always good for you. People in large towns are like only-children.”
― Joyce Dennys, Henrietta Sees It Through: More News from the Home Front 1942-1945

The video above is part of the Homecoming Parade that runs next to the mansion each Fall.

Annapolis is a bit Mayberry, but I wouldn't trade it for all the world. Surrounded by memorable characters and breathtaking hills I am never left in need of stimuli. From Homecoming to pig hunting, Vacation Bible School to mini mart mayhem it seems that small town charm mixed with sawmill grit makes for a heart worthy of admiration. I hope I can give you a honest, though clearly biased, view of our Home Sweet Home.

Spelunking ... Discover a New World!

There are thousands of caves in America, and many of them are right here the River Valley Region of Missouri. The caves you find in Missouri are dolomite and limestone caves formed by water dissolving and washing away the calcite. This area of Missouri has an abundance of springs and it is not uncommon to come upon an opening along the Black River that is relatively new. On the day that we discovered the cave in the accompanying video, we also saw a wonderful spring cave that we had not previously noticed even though we are very familiar with this stretch of the Black River.

Before you dive into the adventures of Spelunking, be sure to check out the state laws and regulations for caving. These laws vary depending on whether you are playing on private property or conservation lands. Regardless of where you explore remember the motto, "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time." You can find everything you need to know about the mystery below on the Missouri Department of Conservation website.

Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind: 1. Don't touch the interior of the cave if at all possible; caves have delicate ecosystems and the addition of human disturbance may increase damage to rock formations or infestation of the local inhabitants through contamination from other cave locations. 2. Change clothes and decontaminate your tools including your shoes before you enter a new cave. WNS: White Noise Syndrome is a serious threat to our bat friends. Never visit more than one cave without taking time to protect its inhabitants.

Finding a cave is magical, it's fun to imagine who might have been there before you. You may be the first to step foot into the cool darkness or you may be following in the footsteps of the man who hid his treasure there long ago! Buried or not, every cave holds a treasure for those who find it.

Did you know that the combination of Missouri's caves and German influence played a strong role in Missouri's economy? Caves keep a constant temperature and are therefor good for the lagering of beer. Several breweries were built atop caves, and many beer gardens were housed in their inviting coolness; besides a cool dip in one of Missouri's spring-fed rivers, what better way to escape a scorching St. Louis summer?

Folklore suggest that the caves of Missouri may have been used in the Underground Railroad. Besides their uses as lodging, refrigeration, entertainment and sources of minerals such as saltpeter (used to make gunpowder), the mines are also a great place to escape after a train robbery! Whatever angle lures you into the sport, remember to educate yourself on safety measures and legal responsibilities.

Hope to see you on the trail!

Resurrection Arcadia

It has long been a traditon for those St. Louis folks, who had the means, to ride the rail down into Arcadia, on through Annapolis, and into Des Arc; this area of the Ozarks has historically been a social hub and artistic haven for many. But imagine that you were born and raised in heaven. What if you learned to walk on streets of gold. Would the breathtaking beauty become mundane? Would you fail to grasp the deep desire of those longing to enter? I think that is the same disadvantage those of us from the Ozarks might face. How easy it is to see where we lack when we've never been to places where the creekbeds crack. Any culture in time may deteriorate. Fasionations fade from generation to generation. Skills are lost. Lyrics are misplaced. Entire instruments are forgotten. And while the ladies in Annapolis still invest a great deal of time trying to out bake their neighbor, we morn the loss of many cultural & educational opportunities that once thrived in our valley.

How precious then is this concept of ressurection! If you haven't heard we have had a bit of a miracle. ABC caught wind that the Ozarks near Arcadia were infact magical! They, like us, realize that the impossible is more possible here than anywhere. Are you surprised? Would you expect anything less than miracles from a place named Arcadia? These hills truely offer utopic opportunities. It is only the human influence that would produce less. And yet our utopia persist inspite of our flaws.

So then, when an oudsider looks in and discovers what we've forgotten it revives us. It is delightful the ressurection that is taking place in our valley. The dormant questions that come to light, the rallying of neighbors in search of answers, the answers that create questions, each drawing us closer to eachother and defining our identity as a region. While ABC explores concepts of individule resurrection, Arcadia Valley is learning what it means to experience resurrection as a community. It is an honor to be part of this process. Stay posted for updates on meeting times, events, and accomplishments, and of course catch Ressurection on ABC, March, 9th at 8 central.

Recipe: Strawberry Dream Suprise!!

  • Strawberry Short Cake

Recipe for Kelly's Strawberry Dream Surprise....

Slice 2 lbs strawberries
Add a good dose of sugar

Strawberry glaze:
3/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 Tbls cornstarch
1 package strawberry jello
Mix together until smith
Bring to a boil and stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Once it is cooled stir in 1/4 cup strawberry vodka (more or less) Chill

4 cups flour
2 Tbls baking powder
2 tsp salt
Cut in...
2/3 cup Crisco until mixture is a fine crumble. 
Incorporate in two cups sugar
Finally, add two cups milk.
Bake at 375 until firm; consistency should resemble that of a drop biscuit.
Allow cake to cool

Whip a package of cream cheese until fluffy; add whipped cream vodka until very well blended (amount depends on event) mixture can bee slightly runny because you will add powdered sugar to sweeten and thicken the mixture. When the mixture is light enough fold it into a container of whipped topping.
Combined ingredients by pouring glaze over the cake, then spread the cream over the glaze, finally add the strawberries to the top!! Chill before serving.

Enjoy in small portions! Do not make for church functions or child's birthday party.