By Kathy Witt
Who needs an ocean? The Kentucky Southern Shorelines Region has more miles of freshwater shoreline than Florida’s entire coastline – and it ripples peacefully along Dale Hollow Lake, Green River Lake and Lake Cumberland. This 10-county region also encompasses Amish communities, historic landmarks, inviting downtowns, the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and exciting year-round events.
Inland Water Paradise
Water worshippers can visit South-Central Kentucky for scuba diving at Dale Hollow Lake, fishing in all lakes and the Cumberland River, houseboating on Lake Cumberland (“Houseboat Capital of the World”) and kayaking or canoeing on Green River Lake.
Then there’s boating and water skiing at Dale Hollow Lake, Lake Cumberland State Resort Park and Green River Lake State Park. You can also houseboat, or stay in a floating cabin with a personal touch, at family-owned resorts like Sulphur Creek, Hendricks Creek, Conley Bottom, Alligator II, Emerald Isle, Holmes Bend and Lee’s Ford Marina Resort.
And don’t miss more than two dozen waterfalls, including Yahoo Falls – Kentucky’s highest, cascading 113 feet – in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.
As Big as all Outdoors
Speaking of this 640,000-acre timberland – whose timeline has been touched by prehistoric Paleo Indians, the Civil War and coal miners – is a natural wonderland with plenty to see and do, including hiking, paddling, horseback riding and golf. Ride 600 feet into the Cumberland River Gorge on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway. See what life was like in a company-mining town at the coal camps.
Return to 1862 and the scene of the Civil War’s first decisive Union victory in the western theatre at Mill Springs Battlefield, Mill Springs Battlefield Visitor Center and Museum and Mill Springs National Cemetery. At Mill Springs Mill Park, marvel at one of the world’s largest vertically mounted “overshot waterwheels” at this circa 1877 grist mill.
Then leave the mill and muskets behind for a visit to the region’s wineries and their tasting rooms, gift shops and scenic vistas: Lake Cumberland Winery in Monticello, Cedar Creek Vineyards in Somerset and Sinking Valley Winery in Plato. Anyone for a glass of sweet “Prohibition Repeal Red” wine?
Pretty as a Postcard
A mixed bag of must-see attractions are found along Kentucky’s Southern Shorelines: unique antiques, arts and crafts shopping; Lindsey Wilson College’s Begley Chapel, reflecting Gothic, Romanesque and Byzantine themes in its cylindrical shape topped by crowns; postcard-pretty Fountain Square in downtown Somerset; the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery near Jamestown; and Amish communities near Liberty.
Many of the best local and most memorable dining experiences are located – you guessed it – on the water. Dine on Kentucky Proud fruits, veggies and meats at the restaurants at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park and Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park. You’ll also spot Kentucky Proud items like salsas, jellies, jams, barbeque sauce, relish, honey and cobbler mix in their gift shops.
Mike’s Landing at Sulfur Creek Resort is a floating restaurant known for its American-raised catfish. Guthrie’s River House tempts palettes with hand-cut steaks and mouth-watering seafood that pair with a nice wine list. And with romantic ambience to spare, The Harbor Restaurant and Tavern at Lee’s Ford Resort Marina has been featured in Southern Living Magazine and “101 Must Places to Eat in Kentucky.”
Pack your fishing pole, swimsuits, scuba gear and hiking boots with a desire to explore, discover and have fun. Then head to the water and outdoor recreation heaven – Kentucky Southern Shorelines. Plan your adventure today at www.KySouthernShorelines.com!
If You Go
Somerset-Pulaski County, 606-679-6394, website
Russell County Tourism, 270-866-4333, website
Wayne County Tourism, 606-348-3064, website
McCreary County Tourism, 606-376-3008, website
Cumberland County Tourism, 270-433-5133, website
Adair County Tourism, 270-384-6020, website
Taylor County Tourism, 270-465-3786, website
Green County Tourism, 270-932-4298, website
Casey County Tourism, 606-787-7992, website
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, 606-376-3787, website
Big South Fork Scenic Railway, 800-462-5664, website
Cedar Creek Vineyards, 606-875-3296, website
Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park, 270-433-7431, website
Green River Lake State Park, 270465-8255, website
Guthrie’s River House, 606-802-2922, website
Harbor Restaurant and Tavern at Lee’s Ford Resort Marina, 606-636-6426, website
Lake Cumberland, website
Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, 270-343-3111, website
Lake Cumberland Winery, 606-348-5253, winery
Mike’s Landing at Sulphur Creek Resort, 270-433-7272, website
Conley Bottom Resort, 606-348-6351, website
Emerald Isle Marina, 270-465-3412, website
Indian Hills Resort-Alligator II Marina, 270-866-6616, website
Mill Springs Battlefield, 606-636-4045, website
Mill Springs Battlefield Visitor Center & Museum, 606-636-4045, website
Mill Springs Mill Park & Mill, 606-348-3064, website
Mill Springs National Cemetery, 859-885-5727, website
Sinking Valley Winery, 606-274-0223, website