Mark Twain Cave, which is nationally known from Mark Twain’s books, is also known as Missouri's first show cave.

Mark Twain Cave, which is nationally known from Mark Twain’s books, is also known as Missouri's first show cave.

While Hannibalians are familiar with the cave, some may not know its advantages include its level surface.

“There are no steps in Mark Twain Cave,” said owner Linda Coleberd. “It is nice and flat and 52 degrees. Mother Nature was quite kind to us and made ours flat on the ground” as compared to many other caves.

The cave, which is one mile south of Hannibal on state Highway 79, was first shown in 1886 and is a Registered National Natural Landmark. It offers 55-minute tours. Summer hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, with the last tour beginning at 7 p.m., Coleberd said.

The nearby Cameron Cave, also part of the cave complex, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, with its last tour at 4:30 p.m.

In late summer of 2013 a new “Total Eclipse” tour was added at Cameron Cave. It is by reservation only.

This two-hour tour is also called “Get Muddy With a Buddy,” Coleberd said, because the people on the tour do get muddy. “They have to crawl (on part of the tour), and it is quite strenuous,” she said. “They have to be physically fit. … They get very muddy and (afterward) go to the shower house and get back into regular street clothes.”

While waiting for their cave tour to begin, visitors may buy items at the fudge shop, Coleberd said, where a new “cave-aged grilled cheese” sandwich has been added.

Mark Twain Cave has perfect humidity and temperature to age cheese, she explained, and cheese is brought from Heartland Dairy - 6,000 pounds at a time – to be aged in the cave. Then it is taken back to Heartland to be repackaged and sold. “A lot goes to the east coast and to Georgia,” Coleberd said.

People visiting the cave also may camp at the cave campground, where 99 campsites are offered. Campground reservations are needed for holidays, Coleberd said, but campers usually just stop in to register. “Most camping sites are 50 AMPs,” she said, “but we still have primitive sites.”

The Mark Twain Cave Complex also includes a rock shop, “Sticks, Stones and Bones,” which has scheduled a new fossil dig this year.

Another building houses the Missouri Mercantile store, which features “old time mercantile,” Coleberd said. “Most of it is Missouri made.”

Both the rock shop and mercantile are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Cave Hollow Winery offers special events


Regular musical events are scheduled at the Cave Hollow Winery, and the winery personnel also participate in events elsewhere.

On Saturday, June 21, it will participate in the Fiesta Del Sol in Central Park.

The winery is open from 11 a.m. to 7 daily, and later during special events.

Among the scheduled events are:

• Saturday, June 28, the winery will host a performance by Twain City Jazz and serve a barbecue.

• The winery will be at the Tanyard Gardens July 3 concert. The performers will be Josh Thompson and Madd Hoss Jackson.

• Saturday, July 19, Ragtag band and a fish fry at the winery


• Saturday, Aug 16, back to school bash at the winery


• Saturday, Sept. 29, musicians Mike and Kathy at the winery

Winery to honor label winner

A reception is planned at the winery at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 22, to honor Susan Osterhout, the winner of a wine label contest. The public is invited.

Cave Hollow West Winery, West Winery and the Hannibal Arts Council will honor Osterhout.

Music will be provided by Rosenkrans & Jones.  

Osterhout is the inaugural winner of the First Annual Artist Series Wine Label Contest coordinated by the HAC.

For the contest Osterhout submitted a sepia-tone photograph of the Tom & Huck Statue at the north end of North Main Street.

Her winning artwork was incorporated into a label for Cave Hollow West Winery’s newest wine, Mischief, a Chambourcin described as lightly oaked, with notes of raspberry, blackberry and plum.

The Chambourcin has the unique distinction of being the first batch of wine processed and bottled in a Hannibal area winery since prohibition. The bottle featuring a label incorporating Osterhout’s photograph will be available for sale at the reception.   

Osterhout, who works for the City of Hannibal as a code enforcement officer in the building Inspector’s office, first shared her photography with the public when she entered a photo in the Hannibal Arts Council’s “Through Their Eyes” photograph exhibit and competition. She won an Achievement Award.

Coleberd is proud of the Cave Hollow Winery, reporting, “the winery was a good idea. … I’m happy with that decision.

“There are a lot of wineries in Missouri, making wonderful wine, so I hope that our (Courier-Post) readers go to our Missouri wineries and enjoy what they make.

“Our wines are all Missouri grapes and Missouri grown and made, start to finish,” Coleberd said. “We have five exclusive wines, just at Cave Hollow Winery: the Mark Twain Series and Landmark Series.”