Kentucky Backroads Adventure
BACK ROADS OF KENTUCKY
Welcome to the back roads of eastern Kentucky! Kentucky has a rich history and heritage. It’s the home of Daniel Boone, Abe Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, Bill Monroe, and Henry Clay, Loretta Lynn, and many others. Bluegrass music, the Kentucky Derby, and bourbon originated here. Driving the back roads offers the opportunity to see awesome scenery, find great out of the way restaurants, shop for bargains, and appreciate the culture of Kentucky, all at a lower price and with less crowds than on the interstates. http://kentucky.gov/Pages/home.aspx
We started in Catlettsburg with lunch at RJ Kahuna in the mall. Two cups of spicy, delicious Chicken Bama, a small salad for MaryJo and a Cuban sandwich with fries for Greg was a mere $19. Two beers added $6. http://rjkahunas.com/default.htm
We saw some great scenery! Small farms, deep woods, rolling hills, grazing cattle and horses, and rivers kept us interested. We passed a business that was called “Bibles and Tires”, certainly an interesting mix! We saw some very pretty homes. A stop at Boonesborough Civil War Fort Park was fun and enlightening. We walked the same road the Union soldiers of the Civil War did in 1863. Then it was a supply line, with the fort at the top of the hill. The tour utilized our cell phone! There is a number to dial at the different sites, and someone tells about one facet of the fort’s history. The one mile round trip walk is somewhat steep, but the views at the top are beautiful, and a canon and remnants of the earthen works are there. A picnic area and bathrooms make it an attractive hike and place for lunch. http://heritage.ky.gov/milsites.htm Across the Kentucky River is Fort Boonesborough State Park and Ft. Boonesborough. The state park offers picnic grounds, camping, a swimming pool and hikes. Also there is the lock keepers house and the locks, providing insight into the lives of the people who operated the locks in the early 1900’s. Self guided tours are available. Admission is allowed by purchasing the fort ticket. The prices are $7 for adults and $5 for children. Fort Boonesborough is a recreated colonial fort, a living history museum. Costumed artisans will demonstrate pioneer life in the 1770s in the Kentucky wilderness. Allow at least an hour to see the fort. http://parks.ky.gov/findparks/recparks/fb/
Settling down for the night, we stayed at the Comfort Inn in Richmond, Kentucky. A suite with pull out couch, Wi Fi, fridge, microwave, and coffee maker costs $84. A hot continental breakfast, indoor pool, and fitness room are in the hotel. There are many places to eat in the area. We chose The Logan Roadhouse. MaryJo had grilled tilapia with salsa; Greg had a steak. Both came with two sides, and everything was delicious! MaryJo’s portion was so generous, she brought the leftovers back. The bill before tip was $35. The Logan Steakhouse is a fun place where you can throw your peanut shells on the floor. http://logansroadhouse.com/Default.aspx
A walk along Main Street allowed us to see some of the fine old homes close up. Colonial, Antebellum, and Victorian homes overlook the town, some with beautiful gardens. http://www.richmond.ky.us/ Driving south from Richmond, we came upon Berea, home of Berea College and a showcase for Kentucky handcrafts. Berea is reminiscent of colonial towns, with white wood and red brick, and multi-paned windows. At the Kentucky Artisan Center we found shopping for everyone! Carvings, books, pottery, jewelry, postcards, cooking sauces, biscuits mixes, and candies were some of the wares we found. We bought lunch at the café – two highly stacked smoked turkey sandwiches with a large side of coleslaw and a bag of chips were only $10.60! We took lunch to a nearby park and enjoyed a quiet picnic lunch. Plan on spending an hour or two in Berea. http://www.berea.com/
Further along, we stopped at Renfro Valley, full of interesting sights. The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame is there. So is the Brush Arbor Village of 1812, constructed of logs, and consisting of several buildings including a store, barn and several houses. Not far away is the Renfro Valley Entertainment Center featuring shops, restaurants, country music concerts, a mill, pond and reconstructed buildings. Admission is free. http://renfrovalley.com/
The real gem here is the 1819 Homestead, Mammy and Pappy’s Home. Although it was closed, owner Jones Hiatt opened the house for us. He went back to mowing the lawn and let us explore on our own! The house was built for his grandfather’s grandfather and only Hiatts have ever lived there! The house is restored to the early 1900’s period. Jones’s grandparents, Mammy and Pappy, were the last to live here, over 40 years ago. Several of Mammy’s quilts are on display, some old calendars, Mammy and Pappy’s bed, an old Victrola record player, original linoleum, and so many other treasures! Jones showed us the 1953 tractor that his grandfather owned. Jones told us that pappy never could drive it, but hired someone to use it! The pride and love as he talked to us was unmistakable. Soft drinks and water are free, but donations are welcomed. That’s real hospitality! Admission is also free, but donations are accepted.
Cumberland Falls State Park, near Corbin, is known as “The Niagara of the South.” It’s a truly spectacular falls! Near the time of the full moon, when the sky is clear, visitors can see the moonbow! This rare phenomenon is found nowhere else in the western hemisphere. The mist of the falls combines with the moonlight to form the moonbow. It is awesome! There are nature trails that enabled us to get different views of the beautiful falls. The state park offers camping, cabins, a lodge, restaurant, gift shop, pool, tennis courts, hiking, and horseback riding. Admission to the park is free, although the services have a fee. We recommend at least two days.
Allow 3 -4 days for this trip, or more, if you find undiscovered treasures of your own, or want to spend more time in Cumberland Falls State Park. Our costs were reasonable, and we had fun! http://www.2geton.net/martin/moonbow/cumberlandfalls_ky.html
Backroads of Kentucky, Part 1
Backroads of Kentucky, Part 2
Backroads of Kentucky, Part 3, Cumberland Falls