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Home on the range

Frontier heritage


Home on the range


People come to the Cottonmouth Lodge in White Plains, just outside Greenville, for a variety of reasons: some are hungry, some are weary, some are seeking adventure, and some are seeking retreat. But once you turn off the main highway and down the long gravel path to this out-of-the-way lodge, you know you’re in for something different. Sheltered by a grove of tall trees to the rear and surrounded by a freshly mowed hay field, the lodge appears to have been lifted straight out of Paul Bunyan’s logging camp.




On a typical Saturday night you might arrive at dusk just in time to see the reflection of the setting sun reflected in a nearby pond and enjoy the tranquility. But inside it’s all laughter and good food as locals and visitors from all over rub elbows and enjoy a meal. And if you time it right, you might even catch some tunes from a local band playing out on the back patio.




The lodge first opened three years ago as a horse camp and hunting lodge. Horse riding enthusiasts can bring their mounts for a day ride or stay overnight to enjoy all of Cottonmouth’s 40-plus miles of trails. With 43 RV hookups, a bunkhouse-style cabin for six, tent campsites, and a new bathhouse, the lodge can accommodate large riding groups. Even the horses receive a warm welcome in the stable with room for 47 horses.




In the fall and winter, riders give way to hunters who come to stalk their prey on the lodge’s 2,000 acres. Deer and turkey are plentiful in these rolling western Kentucky hills. And because the lodge has only four rooms, you aren’t likely to bump into any fellow hunters throughout the morning. After a long day of hunting in the cold, hunters can gather around the fireplace to share stories about the one that got away. Last fall, the lodge hosted 20 hunters who all had successful hunts.




Throughout the year, locals come out to the lodge for a relaxing meal prepared by a certified chef; Wayne and Linda Thompson came to the lodge for a new way of life.




“My father owned a little restaurant up in Indiana and he asked me to come up and run it when he retired. But we had just built a house here and we didn’t want to move. Ever since, I’ve wanted to run a restaurant,” says Wayne Thompson, who has managed the lodge with his wife, Linda, since last June.




The Thompsons live just down the road from the lodge and were regulars at the restaurant when they got the chance to manage the place. Since coming to the lodge, the Thompsons have worked hard to keep the horse trails mowed and clear of fallen trees. They also hired chef Daniel Bernardini who has added a 30-item buffet, prime rib, and several seafood dishes to the menu, including catfish, which Thompson notes “is seafood in Kentucky.”




No matter what brings you to this rustic retreat, you’ll enjoy scenic views, warm hospitality, and encounters with nature at the Cottonmouth Lodge.

DESTINATIONS

Cottonmouth Lodge is located in White Plains, just minutes from exit 32 on the Pennyrile Parkway. The lodge is open year-round and the restaurant is open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. It is also open at 7 a.m. for breakfast in summer.




Horseback riders can enjoy private trails that are maintained and offer a variety of riding environments from tree-covered paths to open grass fields.




Hunting package rates, based on length of stay, guided or unguided, range from $900 to $1,850. All hunting packages include rooms and meals. Horse campers can ride and use the RV spots for $19 or rough camp for $10. Day riders pay $5 for trail use, and stable fees are $5.




Plans are currently under way to build ATV trails and additional cabins on the property. For more information, call (270) 338-0909, write P. O. Box 285, Greenville, KY 42345, or visit www.cottonmouthlodge.com.




Similar Area Attractions



Circle T If you’re looking for a horseback riding adventure for your kids, try sending them to the Circle T, a dude-ranch style camp for kids, (270) 235-5353. It’s located in Cerulean, on the edge of Pennyrile Forest State Park.




Copper Canyon Ranch You could take the whole family for a ride on the 70 miles of trails at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, (270) 924-2020, near Cadiz. Or if you’ve got a bigger group to entertain, visit Copper Canyon Ranch, (270) 269-2416, in Hopkinsville. This replicated 1880s mining town is a complete time-travel experience with Old West gunfights, horseback riding, entertainment, and live entertainment.

Nikole Christensen

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Frontier Heritage


Exactly 200 years ago, the cornerstone was laid for what is now called the Old Green County Courthouse in Greensburg. One of several limestone buildings perched on the town square, it is the oldest courthouse west of the Alleghenies and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One of its claims to fame is that President Andrew Jackson once practiced law here, as did Aaron Harding. Now a museum, it is right in step with the rural sensibilities of a county that loves to preserve its historic treasures.




In this former frontier territory that once hosted the Long Hunters, Abraham Lincoln’s only formal schoolteacher, Mentor Graham, served as headmaster at the Greensburg Academy from 1818 to 1825. The building, circa 1812 to 1815, is now the Greensburg Academy Bed and Breakfast and has been restored to its original dignified country elegance. Like the courthouse, the inn, which has four guest rooms and features private baths and in-room fireplaces, is listed on the National Registry.




Other historic treasures line Greensburg’s town square, including Glover’s Station Antique Mall. (Glover’s Station was the original name of the town that was established in 1780 by John Glover. With the formation of the new county in 1794, it was renamed Greensburg.) A row of limestone buildings, known as Old Stone Row, includes the early 1800s (failed) Independent Bank of Greensburg; Allen’s Inn, where, according to Andrew Jackson’s diary entry of September 26, 1832, the then-president spent the night while traveling from Washington to Nashville by way of the Lexington-Nashville Turnpike; and the Old Clerk’s Office built in 1818, which served as a home for Greensburg’s first classical school, the New Athens Academy. It is now a museum, housing artifacts that relate to the history of Green County.




A stationary 445-foot-long wooden plank footbridge, constructed in 1929, connects the town square to the historic L & N Railroad Depot and the valley across the square. Across the street from the depot is the home and gravesite of General Edward Henry Hobson, a highly regarded general in the Civil War. His tombstone is located in the family cemetery directly behind the house. By the end of March, the official markers will be installed, marking both as historic sites on the Civil War Driving Tour. (This is part of a larger driving tour that takes in a number of sites in Bowling Green, including homes, forts, a cave, monument, and museum.)




The best way to get acquainted with Greensburg is to take the one-hour walking tour that includes 24 properties (historic homes and government buildings, the railroad depot, cemeteries, and other sites) and articulates Greensburg’s efforts to preserve its rich and multi-layered heritage.

DESTINATIONS

Greensburg/Green County
Chamber of Commerce

(270) 932-4298, www.greensburgky.com
e-mail: gcchamber@greensburgky.com




Greensburg Academy Bed &
Breakfast
, 101 South Second Street, Greensburg. Innkeepers: George and Dottie Gagnon. Rates: from $65 to $95. (800) 417-3365, (270) 932-6222, www.bbonline.com/ ky/Greensburg.

A Cool Kentucky Drink

While touring through town, plan to visit the family-owned Greensburg Bottling Company, 108 North Depot Street, (270) 932-5061, www.doublecolaski.com, which produces Ski, a soft drink beloved by its fans for its unique thirst-quenching combination of real orange and lemon flavors.




Begun in 1926, Greensburg Bottling Company is one of the few soft drink bottling operations in Kentucky and is a franchisee of the Double Cola Company, producing and distributing Double Cola and Double Cola products across central and south-central Kentucky.




The bottling operation runs Monday through Friday (except for major holidays) and visitors are welcome. Those who tour the plant will see a historic bottling operation, which still produces returnable bottles, and taste a sample of Ski soft drink made famous by the Kentucky Headhunters and their Grammy-award winning song, Dumas Walker.



Other Points of Interest



In Greensburg and surrounding Green County: the oldest home in Greensburg, actually a log cabin built in 1796 by Jeremiah Abell; the Long Hunters Camp (Camp Knox) used as a Union camp during the Civil War; and the Jane Todd Crawford home site. Mrs. Crawford was the first woman to undergo successful abdominal surgery: she had an ovarian tumor removed on Christmas morning 1809 by the “Father of Abdominal Surgery,” Ephraim McDowell, in his Danville home–without benefit of anesthetic or antisepsis.

Kathy Witt is a regular contributor to the Traveling Kentucky column.

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