It would be a short drive to make up for the longer one of two days ago that took us from Pineville to the edge of Virginia. This time, we’d see a “Welcome to Kentucky” sign as we rounded a two lane road back into Pike County and a tree-lined Elkhorn City. After a few curves on highway 80 north, we would link up with fabled US 23, the Country Music Highway, busiest in this part of the state. Six lanes in places! Think of it as an interstate with stop lights. But a welcome sight after spending so long on the narrow roads of the past couple days.This route would take us first to Pikeville and a look downtown there. Here’s a small city of just over 6000 that’s known as well as Lexington or Louisville when Kentucky is mentioned in polite company. It’s the very definition of beautification. Brick crosswalks. Antique looking lampposts and street signs. Flowers hung abundantly at every corner. Flags unfurled all about. Pikeville has accomplished the idea of what Americana should look like, and is showing it off in style.
We spent some time walking the downtown and visiting the gravesites of the McCoy family of the famed Hatfield and McCoy feud. Another feature we partook from an overlook high above was the Cut-Through, an engineering marvel that moved a mountain and a river to allow for expansion and flood control. City saved, city admired.
Wanting to move from Bowling Green to Pikeville right then and there, I knew I first had to go on with the visitation of the parks. To Prestonsburg. Dewey Lake State Park was created some 50 years ago and renamed in honor of Jenny Wiley, who was taken captive by Indians during the early days of settlement here in Kentucky. Jenny Wiley State Resort Park is a surprising paradise nestled in the mountains. It has every look and feel of a summer camp. I kept waiting for a whistling Hayley Mills to romp up a stairway looking for her twin a la Parent Trap. Seems every day is an activity day here, from star gazing to tie-dieing shirts to pontoon tours of the lake. Never an empty moment. The way a day at a resort park should be.I wanted a hike but inherited rain as soon as I looked to leave the lodge and hit the trail. A check of the radar showed a squall line from the north (!) colored red covering the park and surrounding area. I looked out of my window to watch a tree fall in the woods next to my room. I could wait!
After the red on the radar succumbed to green and then bare, I set out on the Lake Trail for a quick two mile hike. A light rain still fell, but the smell is amongst my favorite after a downpour in the forest. A better hiking option would be the historically charged Jenny Wiley Trail which uses the same route she took to escape captivity, but on this day the 4.5 miler would wait for another trip as rain continued to threaten.
One unique feature of the park is the Jenny Wiley Theater located on the property, which has been putting on full outdoor musical productions for nearly 50 years! Mom and I were able to watch a very excellent presentation of Grease, live orchestra and all!
I am waiting to see if there will be a bugle call in the morning. Hoping to see some elk out and about.
Greenbo Lake is the final stop on the tour tomorrow. Till then…
THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF TRAVEL
Capital Plaza Tower 22nd Floor, 500 Mero Street, Frankfort, KY 40601