Shadowcliff is currently closed and will reopen Memorial Day. We begin accepting reservations for the summer season on February 1st, 2020.

By Jay Liebenguth

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It’s supposed to reach the 70’s here in Kansas City this week, which sets me to daydreaming about the upcoming spring & summer.

I’m especially looking forward to late June this year and a vacation with my adult daughters, their significant dudes, and my first grandchild. I’ve convinced them that Shadowcliff will be an awesome base for this adventure and I’m excited about sharing this beautiful place with them. (It will also be about the same time as this year’s edition of Critters, Creeks & Crows, a family adventure at Shadowcliff and all around wonderful time for families from 5 – 95.)

In order to entertain seven adults and a 1-year old, I started to think about what kinds of activities you can plan that include everybody. Obviously there’s hiking, a trip down the hill for an ice cream cone, sitting around a campfire – if conditions are favorable,  and all the other things that we’ve come to associate with Shadowcliff.

Kayak Grand LakeI see us hiking up to Adams Falls, taking turns lugging the grandson up the trail as we flatlanders remember that oxygen is a premium in the mountains. We’ll cook family meals and leave plenty of time to nap, read, or work on a puzzle, if weather becomes an issue.
I think this is a great learning of Shadowcliff; there’s always something to do and plenty of “not to do,” if that’s what you want. (Unless you’re attending one of the many educational or recreational conferences that occur at Shadowcliff each season – those are a little busier but don’t worry, downtime is always a piece of the schedule.)

I want to leave time to enjoy those special moments like sitting on that flat rock out near the cross that overlooks Grand Lake, on a spectacularly blue day. Or a walk along the trail with just a couple of people and one of you spots the south-side of a moose. And it looks up!

I’d want them to take in the sounds of the wind and the fragrance of pine and dirt.

My oldest daughter is a landscape horticulturist at Iowa State University’s Reiman Gardens. I am looking forward to an abundant wildflower presentation like Shadowcliff can put on, and ask her the names of all the flowers. My youngest, is finishing up her degree and has great interest in the environment and natural resources, and I’m seeing us walking the Laws of Nature Trail. And for my grandson’s momma (and fourth grade teacher) I see her in the hammock on the deck of our cabin, catching up on a few winks, knowing she has plenty of people to entertain the babe.

I’m looking forward to sharing experiences and so much more.

Knowing that if these people experience Shadowcliff in the same way so many others of us have, I will be melding my immediate family into my Shadowcliff family.

Hope to see you at Shadowcliff this year!
Jay crop

Jay Liebenguth is a content strategist and producer, when he’s not volunteering at Shadowcliff on the Marketing team. He can be found online at or follow him on Twitter @LivewithJay.