Sing! Play! Act!
Fresh from the Orchard
Sing! Play! Act!
Country Music Highway 23 begins in Greenup County, where Billy Ray Cyrus and his daughter, Miley, live. The area shines with well-known musicians and up-and-coming musical talent who light up the stage nearby at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland. But for years, local performers had no outdoor venue.
That changed in 2007 after the county received matching federal funds, teamed up with the State Department of Parks and the Kentucky Finance Cabinet, and built Greenbo Lake State Resort Park Amphitheatre.
Now in its third season, the facility fills a natural bowl on a hillside in the 3,300-acre park, with a 75- by 40-foot stage and two dressing rooms, all tucked in front of Greenbo Lake State Forest. Buffalo Creek flows behind the structure, which has festival seating for 5,000 bring-your-own-chair visitors.
ï¿½Itï¿½s absolutely gorgeous,ï¿½ says Cary Lyle, park manager. ï¿½The slope is just enough so every seat has a great view of the stage. Our next goal is to add chairback seating for 300.ï¿½
So far, the project has cost $880,000 and seats will add another $350,000. Though the seat moneyï¿½s not there yet, the amphitheater is rockinï¿½.
Every August, the Colonel Bill Williams Heritage Music Festival pays homage to legendary blues guitarist and Greenup native Williams with a weekend of music rooted in eastern Kentuckyï¿½blues, bluegrass, country, and gospel.
During the venueï¿½s May through October season, the community-based Red Lion Theatre presents five musicals and/or dramas. Last year, a Halloween Shakespeare offering brought down the house. Come September, Jesse Stuart Weekend honors the beloved Kentucky Poet Laureate who lived nearby. In 2008, his A Pennyï¿½s Worth of Character morphed into a musical drama.
Local musicians play and split gate receipts with the park. The Genuine Junk Band, a popular Ashland rock group, is set to give a free 10th anniversary fan appreciation concert on August 1, just prior to the annual Battle of the Bands right as school starts.
After the venueï¿½s slow 2007 season, the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Council provided two-year funding for a Fine Arts Extension agent (the second in the nation, behind Pike County), who joined forces with an existing committee of dedicated regional advisors. In 2008, the amphitheaterï¿½s audience grew fourfold, adding to a park revenue increase of 3 percent. Through February 2009, that total was already up by $25,000.
ï¿½During a recession, people need reasonably priced recreational and cultural arts activities, and a lot of people want to perform,ï¿½ Lyle explains. ï¿½We could never have been so successful without expert leadership. It just shows what happens when an entire region works together for a common good.ï¿½
Visitors who come for artsy events can stay on Greenbo Lake in the parkï¿½s 36-room Jesse Stuart Lodge. Its 220-seat Anglers Cove Restaurant showcases lake-view windows and specialties from fried catfish and chicken to Kentucky Hot Browns and homemade pies.
Folks can belly up to the Sunday buffet, then work off those calories playing tennis, mini-golfing, or swimming. Anglers can drop a line in largemouth heaven. Stocked annually with rainbow trout, 225-acre Greenbo is an idle-speed only fishing lake extraordinaire. A 13-pound, 8-ounce largemouth bass caught here in 1966 held the state size record for 14 years.
Hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders can roam on 25 miles of forested and lakeside trails, sharing the habitat with deer, turkeys, bobcats, and a few elusive bears.
Greenbo Lake State Resort Park
The park is located in northeastern Kentuckyï¿½s Greenup County, seven miles from the county seat of Greenup, eight miles from Country Music Highway 23, and just 20 minutes from Ashland.
Play in the Park
Greenbo Lake State Resort Park events for the remainder of 2009 include:
ï¿½ The Odd Couple: June 4-7
ï¿½ The Wiz: June 25-28
ï¿½ Fourth of July Fireworks Weekend: live music all weekend
ï¿½ Colonel Bill Williams Greenup Heritage Music Festival: August 14-15
ï¿½ Jesse Stuart Weekend: September 18-19
ï¿½ Camper Halloween Haunted Trail: October 23-24 and 30-31
ï¿½ Antique Weekend: November 8-9
ï¿½ Christmas Open House: December 5-6
Cruise the County
Once youï¿½ve left the park, amble over to 155-foot-long Bennettï¿½s Mill Covered Bridge, built in 1855 and recently restored to the tune of $1 million. Drive through this rare Wheeler truss bridge and then walk through 192-foot-long Oldtown Covered Bridge, circa 1880, a National Register of Historic Places structure.
Greenup County is known for its historic Georgian architecture, and the McConnell House Heritage Arts, Science and Tourism Center is a fine 1833 example in Wurtland with a tasty serving of history on the side. Stop for a leg-stretcher and bird viewing at Jesse Stuart State Nature Preserve in W-Hollow, where the author once found inspiration in 733 acres of woods and fields.
Then point your Pontiac down either Country Music Highway 23 or ogle brightly painted quilt squares along Route 7ï¿½s section of the Kentucky Quilt Trail that begins at the Ohio River in Greenup.
For more information, contact Greenup County Tourism and Convention Commission, www.tourgreenupcounty.com, (877) 868-7473.
Katherine Tandy Brown is a regular contributor to the Traveling Kentucky column.
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Fresh from the Orchard
ï¿½Weï¿½ve been doing this a long time,ï¿½ says Mark Haney, referring to the family-owned 450-acre Haneyï¿½s Appledale Farm, known for its 25 varieties of apples and 10 brands of peaches.
ï¿½We were doing agritourism before it became defined as such.ï¿½
The farm, located in Nancy in Pulaski County in south-central Kentucky, is today in the hands of the fifth generation of Haneys, brothers Mark and Don, and is double its original swatch of 225 acres established back in the late 1800s. Once a small roadside fruit standï¿½known as Cloverdale in the early daysï¿½Haneyï¿½s Appledale Farm has morphed into a large-scale agritourism operation encompassing vast apple and peach orchards, a thriving certified Farm Bureau roadside market, and a pie shop with pies so mouth-wateringly fragrant your taste buds will be on high alert long before you ever reach the road to turn into Haneyï¿½s.
An apple a day
Favorite apples include sweet Golden Delicious and Ginger Gold, tart Stayman Winesap and Jonathon, an old variety called Grimes Golden that is sweet and tangy, and a sweet and crisp new variety called Gala.
ï¿½We have some early-in-the-season varieties like Mollieï¿½s Delicious that are very popular,ï¿½ says Haney. ï¿½Mutsu is another one we sell lots of, and of course we grow Granny Smith.ï¿½
Peaches and nectarines power up the orchardï¿½s visitor appeal, and the Haneys have enjoyed a fair amount of success in the last dozen years with these fruits in varieties suitable to Kentuckyï¿½s climate.
U-pick season begins on the farm in mid-July for peaches and early apples, and August through October for U-pick apples. The farm remains open until Christmas, although the crops are usually finished by the first of November with all fruit picked from the orchards.
Shop for other products
For visitors on U-pick forages or sightseeing trips to the farm, Haneyï¿½s has lots of other products, the emphasis on made-in-Kentucky: jams, jellies, specialty sauces and salsas, Pennï¿½s Country Ham, cheese, and popcorn. Kentucky crafts and locally made toys are market staples and, during the summer, thereï¿½s produce aplenty (corn, beans, tomatoes, sweet potatoes) from neighboring farms. Pumpkins, gourds, mums, and other traditional fall products put in an appearance beginning in September.
One unique line of products not found at most roadside markets is Haneyï¿½s Civil War-related souvenirs and memorabilia: the farm is located right next to Mill Springs Battlefield.
ï¿½A section of our farm was part of the soldiersï¿½ encampment and next to actual battle lines,ï¿½ says Haney, adding that his family has been involved in ongoing preservation efforts of the battlefield siteï¿½a Civil War buffï¿½s dream that comprises the Visitors Center, overview of the Battle of Mill Springs, and a battlefield walking tour.
Yummy times five
And about the fried pie five-packï¿½
Batches upon batches of these succulent treats are made fresh at the Pie Shop for weekend visitors, although you can get a hot fried apple pie any day Haneyï¿½s is open. Peak season for apples is mid-August through mid-Novemberï¿½and itï¿½s a time when the shop churns out more fried pies than Haney can count, with many leaving by way of carryout orders. The peach pies are made only in seasonï¿½from late June to Labor Day.
Haney says the tradition of the five-pack was started years ago because ï¿½in a family of four, everybody gets one and Dad gets two.ï¿½
Orchards around the state
Ayres Family Orchard, 525 Wilson Lane, Monterey, (502) 484-5236. Hours: Sunup-sundown, Monday-Saturday, July-October, U-pick apples and peaches end of June; blackberries the second week of July.
Bray Orchard & Roadside Market, 2580 Highway 42 West, Bedford, (502) 255-3607. Hours: 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. May 1-October 30;
8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. October 31-November 30. U-pick strawberries in June; summer veggies; fall apples and pumpkins.
Haneyï¿½s Appledale Farm, 8350 W. Highway 80, Nancy, (606) 636-6148, www.haneysappledalefarm.com. Hours: 9-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday; U-pick apples and peaches.
Hillside Orchard and Country Store, 4979 AA Highway N., Foster, (606) 747-5635, www.hillsideorchardandcountrystore.com. Hours: 3-7 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, and 12-7 p.m. Sunday. Memorial Day-December. U-pick apples. Also on-site Country Store; Christmas trees after Thanksgiving.
Jacksonï¿½s Orchard & Nursery, 1280 Slim Island Rd., Bowling Green, (270) 781-5303, www.jacksonsorchard.com. Hours: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. six days a week and, after Labor Day, 1-6 p.m. Sunday. U-pick apples Labor Day.
Reedï¿½s Valley Orchard, 239 Lail Lane, Paris, (859) 987-6480, www.reedvalleyorchard.com. Hours: June 11-November 30, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday-Saturday, closed Sunday and Tuesday. U-pick apples, peaches, pears, and berries. Country Store, nature trail, and Stagecoach Trail (where the notorious James Brothers hid out).
Reidï¿½s Orchard, 4818 Highway 144, Owensboro, (270) 685-2444, www.reidorchard.com. Hours: 8 a.m.-7 p.m. daily, April-December. U-pick strawberries mid-May; apples September.
For a listing of other orchards, go to the Kentucky Agritourism Web site at www.kentuckyfarmsarefun.com.
Kathy Witt is a regular contributor to the Traveling Kentucky column.
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