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Weekend Wanderings

A mountain meander

Part 2 of a 2-Part Series

We’ll start this tour where we left off last month, at the Mountain Homeplace in Staffordsville. From The Homeplace take U.S. 23 into Paintsville. There’s much to see and do here. Start by taking the walking tour, which includes such sites as the Mayo Mansion, built by coal baron John C.C. Mayo, and the Mayo Memorial United Methodist Church. This Gothic cathedral features an organ produced by Andrew Carnegie, and impressive stonework that was cut from the surrounding mountains and lowered to the site by cable.

Near Paintsville is Van Lear, the childhood home of country music singer Loretta Lynn. Also nearby is the gravesite of Jenny Wiley, who was captured by Shawnee Indians, escaped, and made her way back to Paintsville.

From Paintsville follow U.S. 23 through Prestonsburg, passing the Mountain Arts Center where, if you time it right, you can hear some of the best country music around. Connect with KY 404, and follow it to David.

David was the site of the Boone Salt Springs, discovered by Daniel Boone in the winter of 1767. Later called Young’s Salt Works, these springs provided salt for pioneers and Civil War troops.

Also located here is David Appalachian Crafts, (606) 886-2377, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary. The shop serves as the outlet for area craftspeople who produce needlework, woodcrafts, pottery, and other craft items. David Appalachian Crafts is a cottage industry, with the craftspeople paid an hourly wage.

South of David, off KY 899, is the campus of Alice Lloyd College, one of only six tuition-free colleges in the United States. One stipulation of the free education is that graduates return to eastern Kentucky to work and live. More than 4,000 of them have returned as teachers, and about a thousand as doctors and medical care providers. Visitors are welcome to tour the beautiful campus all year.

Continue on KY 899 to KY 160 and follow it south to KY 15. A few miles south is Rainbow Hollow, (606) 642-3650, a different kind of crafts center. Housed in log structures that date as far back as the 1780s, the center serves as an outlet for more than 200 area craftspeople who sell their wares on consignment.

Go north on KY 15 to Hazard. Historically tied to the coal and lumber industries, this history is showcased at the Bobby Davis Museum, (606) 439-4325. After visiting it, connect with KY 28. Follow it north about 16 miles to the Log Cathedral, (606) 398-7382. Now functioning as the Buckhorn Lake Area Church, this immense Swedish-style church was built in 1928 entirely of white oak logs as part of the Witherspoon College campus. Inside is a restored Hook and Hasting pipe organ, which is used during services.

Continue north on KY 28 in the direction of Booneville. Originally called Boone’s Station, Booneville is home to Morris Fork Crafts, (606) 398-2194, yet another type of mountain crafts outlet. This one is a co-op, with 100 members making traditional crafts from woodwork to quilts. Unfortunately, it’s only open on weekdays. Morris Fork Crafts, by the way, is actually closer to Buckhorn, being 12 miles south of town.

When you hit the traffic circle in Booneville, follow KY 30 to Jackson and the Breathitt County Museum, (606) 666-4159, which also has exhibits on the logging and coal industries, along with displays about mountain life in the 1940s. At the L.B.J. Elementary School, on KY 15, is the Little Red School House, a reproduction one-room school with authentic desks, books, and other memorabilia. Tours are by appointment only. Call the Breathitt County Judge Executive’s office, (606) 666-3800, for details.

From Jackson, follow KY 52 to Beattyville. On KY 11 is the new Three Forks Historical Museum. Brainchild of Bob Smith, editor of the Three Forks Tradition, the museum celebrates mountain life.

Continue north on KY 11. In the Zachariah area you’ll come to Torrent Falls, a horseshoe-shaped waterfall that drops 160 feet. Close by is a mammoth rock house once inhabited by the Adena Indians, which includes a hominy hole nearly 4,000 years old.

Torrent Falls has long been a resort area. The L. Park Hotel, built in 1890, stood here for many years. The Torrent Falls Bed & Breakfast, (606) 668-6441, has replaced it for lodging.

Just a short drive further on KY 11 is Via Ferrata, (606) 668-6613, Kentucky’s newest high-adventure family center. Using cables and a special double-rope system, you can experience the thrills of rock climbing without the danger. According to Mark Meyer, who operates the facility, it’s a step above the indoor rock walls, but a step below true mountain climbing. “Most of our business comes from family groups,” he notes, “rather than hard-core climbers.”

A few miles farther you’ll come into the Natural Bridge State Resort Park area and the attractions found there, including the park itself; The Mountain Horse Museum, (606) 663-0928; and the Kentucky Reptile Zoo, (606) 663-9160, before once more connecting with the Mountain Parkway at Slade.

Day Trips & Short Stops

Antiques capital

It’s a small town, literally on the Tennessee border. A small town you likely never heard of. Unless you’re into antiques and collectibles. If so, then Hazel, about 12 miles due south of Murray, is the place to be.

“If you go antiquing in western Kentucky or west Tennessee,” insists Ray Gough, “your trip has to begin or end in Hazel.” Gough, who operates Charlie’s Antique Mall, adds with some justification that Hazel can easily lay claim to being the antiques capital of the mid-south.

Virtually the whole town is devoted to selling antiques, or serving the people who buy them. There are, for instance, more than a dozen antique stores and malls, with nearly 500 dealers mostly operating out of buildings that are themselves antiques. Almost all the storefronts are of 19th-century origin.

“Hazel offers a wonderful day of browsing and shopping,” notes antiques dealer Dennis Morris. “Of course, all of the shops being here where people can come and spend a whole day is the big attraction. They can eat here, and shop here, and make a day of it.”

All of the shops, malls, and restaurants in town are within walking distance of each other. So you merely park the car, and browse to your heart’s content. Or, as one person put it, “gaze ’til you glaze, and you still won’t have seen it all.”

Although all sorts of antiques and collectibles are found in the shops and malls, Hazel is particularly rich in primitives and locally made furniture. “There was a lot of furniture made in this area during the Depression, and even back into the late 1800s,” Morris says. Hazel has achieved such a reputation that many dealers from outlying areas do their own antiquing there. Others have decided they need to be part of the action, and there are dealers from as far away as Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio who rent space in the malls.

All in all, if you’re into antiques and collectibles, Hazel is the place to find them. For information, contact: Hazel Merchants Association, P.O. Box 202, Hazel, KY 42049, (270) 492-8175. Or check out the Web site at

Outdoor Log

Dove shoot

No matter where you are, there are magic dates in the outdoor calendar. In Scotland, for instance, they talk reverently about “the glorious 14th”–August 14 is the opening of their grouse season, you see. In the Bluegrass State, September 1 is the opener of the dove season, a day when otherwise sane sportsmen and women go a little crazy.

It’s hard to understand why this little gray bird has wormed its way into the Kentucky psyche. But dove shooting is as much a part of us as a mint julep on Derby Day. Men and women who don’t otherwise hunt at all spend months trying to wrangle an invitation to a dove shoot.

The very words “dove shoot” conjure visions of huge fields surrounded by shooters. They come from near and far, and from all walks of life.

For those who haven’t been invited to a big estate shoot, there’s plenty of dove shooting to go around. Many of our wildlife management areas are open to dove shooting. You have to call to check, however, because dove is not listed among the WMA seasons in the Kentucky Hunting and Trapping Guide.

Also remember the special license requirement. You must have either the federal and state migratory bird stamps, or the special state migratory bird permit to hunt dove legally.
For more details, contact: Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources, #1 Game Farm Road, Frankfort, KY 40601, (800) 858-1549, or go online at

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