Kentucky Off The Beaten Path Tips by deecat Top 5 Page for this destination
Kentucky Off The Beaten Path: 77 reviews and 126 photos
The story of Lake Barkley is a strange one. Lake Barkley was actually formed in the early 1960s when a dam was built on the Cumberland at Grand Rivers. There were two communities with a combined population of 3500 that rested on the banks off the Cumberland. The river was "impounded (or flooded by the dam), and the two towns, Eddyville and Kuttawa, had to be relocated.
It was the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that did this work. They did the same to Kentucky Lake which is about 38 miles up stream from where the Cumberland empties into the Ohio River. One mile above the dam is a canal connecting Lake Barkley with Kentucky Lake to form one of the greatest freshwater recreational complexes in the nation. These two lakes run parallel courses for more than 50 miles. The Land Between the Lakes recreational area is located between them.
Lake Barkley is about 134 miles long, and the shoreline measures 1,004 miles long. Strangely, the lake's level is mechanically fluctuated from summer to winter for flood control purposes. The "Summer Pool is usually reached by May 1. Then the water level begin dropping gradually on July 1, and winter pool is reached by December 1. The spring rise starts April 1. So, the lake's water surface area varies accordingly from 57,920 acres at summer pool to 45,210 acres at winter pool. That fascinates me.
So, when people refer to Eddyville and "Old Eddyville", the "Old" areas were the portions of the city that were left above the water after the areas were flooded. You can see old foundations and streets during winter pool. Can you believe that highways were even relocated including US 68 and US 62. The Illinois Central railroad was relocated and can still be seen under water from low flying planes above!!!
Today, Lake Barkley is a beautiful lake and recreation area.
White Hall State Shrine
This tip is to tell you about lesser-known sites that I've been to that are not usually in travel books, but I still think that they are worth visiting.
Nostalgia Station Toy & Train Museum
This museum is located in Versailles, Kentucky. It really is a 1911 restored railroad station that has a model train display of 1916 and 1950s Lionel Train layouts with all the original accessories. It also has railroad memorabilia and children's toys.
If you are a fan of the old Lionel Trains, then you want to see this. Or, if you have children, it would be great to show them what used to be.
Big Bone Lick State Park
This park is near Union, Kentucky. During the Ice Age, many animals came to this particular spot to lick the salt springs. The bones of these prehistoric creatures have been preserved and are on display in the park.
The Kentucky Opry is located in Benton, Kentucky, near where my parents lived. It's a musical theater that showcases fine Kentucky talent in the fields of Bluegrass, country, and gospel music. We've gone here many times, and we were never disappointed.
Newport Aquarium is located in Newport, Kentucky, and it is quite unusual and interesting. Here, it's like visiting the depths of the ocean. You walk through 200 feet of clear, underwater tunnels that contain thousands of sea creatures. Children really love this place.
White Hall State Shine
This home is located in Richmond, Kentucky, and it is the restored home of Cassius M. Clay, an abolitionist, diplomat, and publisher of the antislavery paper The True American.
Hopefully, you will venture out to some of these lesser-known places.
Bybee Pottery is located in Richmond, Kentucky and dates from the early 1800s. This hand-thrown pottery is still being made by a fifth generation of the founding family.
Hopefully, you will venture out to some of these lesser-known but wonderful sites here in Kentucky.
Cumberland Gap National Park, located in Middlesboro, honors the pass through the Appalachian Mountains that served as a "natural doorway for wildlife, explorers, and settlers." There is a grandeur here like nowhere else on earth. Thank goodness that Congress authorized this area as a national historic park in 1940!
It's at the southeastern tip of Kentucky, and you enter the park on U.S. Highway 25, which follows the rail route that Daniel Boone blazed. You are able to journey back into history if you participate in nature hikes and listen to Appalachian music. Or, you may wish to take a self-guided hike. How about going to the visitor center museum and their movie theater? The best thing to do, I think, is to join park rangers on their guided tour. Vistor Center is open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
You might want to see Gap Cave by joining the park rangers on a two-hour adventure.
The actual park contains about 70 miles of hiking trails that go through beautiful forested mountains. Drive up the mountain to the Pinnacle Overlook for an overwhelming view into three states (Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee).
For nature lovers, this is a "must see"...it just takes your breath away.
Natural Bridge State Resort Park
In Eastern Kentucky, there are many reminders of Daniel Boone. Daniel Boone National Forest (located in Winchester in the rugged mountain country, takes up much of the land here), is a 690,00-acre forest featuring the Red River gorge, waterfalls, caves, sandstone cliffs, and natural stone arches. You should realize that this bridge developed naturally from solid rock!
This long strip stretches all the way south to the Tennessee state line. High on a hilltop about three miles from the Mountain Parkway, there's a gigantic natural sandstone arch called the Natural Bridge. Hikers climb to the top (65 feet high) for spectacular views. Only experienced, rugged hikers try it. The less experienced (like me) take a skylift.
The bridge is close to the Red River Gorge Geological Area where 50+ more natural arches can be seen. Also there, we saw lovely spires, steep cliffs, abundant palisades, and numerous pinnacles.
Whenever you see a map of Kentucky, you will note a long strip of green; that represents this enormous Daniel Boone National Forest.
We saw another influence of Boone at a town called Barbourville which holds the Daniel Boone Festival each October, and people dress in pioneer clothes.
Of course, Fort Boonesboro State Park in Richmond shows a re-creation of the fort built by Daniel Boone in 1775, and artisans demonstrate 18th-century trades and skill as well.
Mounds in Ashland
Historic Ashland is a great city for you to see centuries of Kentucky's history all in one place. This small city is located near the point where three states--Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky--meet.
The people who settled in the area in the eighteenth century built houses in the middle of ancient Indian burial mounds from 2,000 years earlier! We visited the mounds (see photo) as well as the ornate homes. What wonderful architectural details we saw such as the cast-iron dragons that glared down from the roof of one of the homes.
Ashland is a steel-making and oil-refining center. Who has not heard of Ashland Oil Company?
Ashland is Eastern Kentucky's largest city, and it's located along the Ohio River in the far northeastern part of the state.
Kentucky's one-time poet laureat, Jesse Stuart, lived ten miles north of Ashland. This land that he lived on was willed to and set aside as a nature preserve where there are many trails to hike.
We visited the Kentucky Highlands Museum that is located in a 1917 Mansion where we learned about the fascinating past of the region. I really enjoyed the antique clothing that they exhibited. There was also an interesting exhibit about the development of the radio!
If you enjoy out-of-the-way places, you'll love Ashland.
In Kentucky's northern tip, you will find the city of Covington. Don't miss it!
Since Allan has relatives who live here, we just happened to discover it.
The town was named for General Leonard Covington who was an American hero. The town lies across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Onio, and is Kentucky's fourth largest city. An interesting bridge called The John A. Roebling Bridge links the two cities.
I loved the Animated Clock (one of the country's only one). It's located at the Carroll Chimes Tower. The clock has twenty-one small figures who march out every hour to perform the story of "The Pied Piper of Hamelin"
By all means, don't miss Covington's Basilica of the Assumption because this church has one of the world's largest hand-blown stained-glass windows. It's truly marvelous.
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