Food

Peaceful, Easy Feeling in Southern Kentucky

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#Southeastern Kentucky?# people wondered when I told them where I was going. #Why are you going there?# We#ve learned that this part of Kentucky is a great place to visit.

Since going there, I have gone back again. There#s something about the state that tugs at you. The area is certainly not opulent. You dress casually wherever you go.

One thing you won#t find in southeastern Kentucky: the rush and hullabaloo of city or suburban living. There simply are no big cities in southeastern Kentucky. Its many smaller towns have their own distinctive charm. It#s a refreshing feeling, especially when you come from always-busy Gwinnett. The pace is unhurried and easy-going. And the good part: the Kentucky border with Tennessee on I-75, the best route to Southeastern Kentucky, is just 300 miles from Gwinnett.

The scenery is wonderful, green and fresh, with its rolling hills, the Western Appalachians and its abundance of water life on its lakes and rivers. There#s an emphasis on the outdoor life, whether camping, boating, hiking or fishing. Pick-ups easily outnumber sedans.

It may be #old fashioned# to say that its people are wonderful. Yet this is a major strength, as you feel welcomed when meeting people, enjoying their friendliness, and the way they look out for you. You realize once you make a trip to Kentucky that Georgians have no lock on Southern hospitality.

What to do in southeastern Kentucky?

The Outdoors

Visit its state and national parks. In particular, go to Cumberland Falls State Park, and see what they call the #Niagara of the South,# as the river tumbles straight down off a ledge of rocks. We also enjoyed Lake Cumberland State Park, with its 1,200 miles of shoreline, twice as much as Lake Lanier.

If you like fishing and boating, you are in for a treat on its rivers and lakes. The Cumberland River south of the Wolf Creek Dam is renown as a premier trout stream, some saying best trout fishing in the USA.

The part of Kentucky is the center of the building and enjoying houseboats for the nation. There is a fleet of houseboats to rent, some of them enormous and quite comfortable. Check out Dale Hollow Marina, or Green River Marina, or the State Dock on Lake Cumberland.

Don#t overlook one of the area#s most historic of parks, the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park. Many of Kentucky#s early settlers streamed through this gap in the Appalachians. Today the park#s more than 20,000 acres are protected. It is one of the best areas for hiking in the country.

Be sure to see the Big South Fork National River and recreational area, which the straddles Kentucky-Tennessee line. The area lures fishers, swimmers and paddlers. Your kids will enjoy the Big South Fork Scenic Railway!

Arts and Crafts

This area near the Appalachian Mountains has for years been known as a center for local arts and crafts. The designs are unique, and prices are good, especially when you visit the craftsman at their studios.

You will have to get off the beaten path to visit these artisans in their shops, but consider: