Finding the Real America Along Kentucky’s Great River Road

By: David Shuffett
The Great River Road is America’s longest National Scenic Byway, skirting the Mississippi River for more than 3,000 miles and through four Kentucky counties – Fulton, Hickman, Carlisle and Ballard. Throughout the route, you’ll not only see great natural scenery along the mighty Mississippi but also the charm and individuality of picture-perfect towns. 
In much of America, corporate chain stores and sprawling shopping malls have given populated areas a homogeneous look and feel.  We know the buildings, the food and the inventory all too well. But less-traveled communities of the Kentucky Great River Road Region have been largely unaffected by that. And that’s a good thing if you want to shop for real treasures – for items you won’t find almost anywhere else.
Tempting Treasures
There’s an abundance of boutiques and gift shops with eclectic merchandise, and you’ll sometimes find local arts and crafts, flower arrangements, jewelry and distinctive clothing all in the same shop!
In Carlisle County, Rusted Roots boutique sells trendy clothing for the younger crowd as well as arts and crafts like locally made soaps.
In Fulton County, The WOODS has a little bit of everything, too – handmade crafts, Kentucky products, jewelry and clothing. Just down the street, The Leader Store carries designer jewelry, school mascot items, tuxedos and formal dresses, as well as fine clothing for the whole family.
In Ballard County, Cindy’s Flowers offers fresh-cut bouquets as well as boutique items like handmade scarves and other creations made right in the shop.
There’s no better example of this variation of inventory than at Sisters and Friends. Here you can shop for a beautiful selection of antiques and chalk-paint your favorite treasure, all in the same building.
Unique Boutiques
Boutique and gift shops in the four-county region are working together by recommending each other if need be.  In Hickman County, Bella's Boutique doesn’t have what you want, they might send you over to The Lemon Tree.
And each year, boutique and gift shops participate in the March Mania Boutique Trail, in which customers who have a card stamped at all locations are eligible to win more than $1,000 in merchandise.
The Kentucky Great River Road Region is full of small towns and friendly people. But most importantly it is the real America, proudly hanging on to its rural values and its family owned farms and businesses – the very things that built this country.
For more information about Kentucky’s Great River Road and its attractions, visit
Kentucky Great River Road Region
Rusted Roots
270 U.S. Hwy. 62, Bardwell, KY 42023 – (270) 816-0770
209 Nolan Ave., US 51, Fulton, KY 42041 – (270) 309-0696
The Leader Store
410 Lake St., Fulton, KY  42041 – (270) 472-3234
Cindy’s Flowers & Gifts
380 W. Kentucky Dr., LaCenter, KY  42056 – (270) 665-8500
Bella’s Boutique
111 East Clay St., Clinton, KY  42031 – (270) 356-0775
The Lemon Tree
117 East Clay St., Clinton, KY 42031 – (270) 653-8235

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