We made our way west through Tennessee so we could make our way east through Kentucky. Paducah was a town we had heard of on the western edge of the state, so that is where we started our month in The Bluegrass State. Although it was only about a 3.5- hour drive from West Memphis to Paducah, we drove through 4 states to get there. That was a bit of a novelty for these two native Texans. (Three hours on the road in Texas won’t even get you from Houston to Corpus Christi)!
We divided our time on this stop between errands/maintenance issues and tourist attractions. Our park was only 6 miles from downtown, so had time to get to know the ‘local’ scene. Piper went to the vet for some annual tests, the Honda got its oil changed, we had a mechanic look at the engine in the Monaco, we had the ice-make replaced in our freezer, and Mike fixed my broken dryer. We also got to see Kentucky Lake, The Land Between the Lakes, and Lake Barkley. I went to The National Quilt Museum, and we spent our last evening at a Willie Nelson Concert. All in all, it was a good stop.
My first impression of Kentucky was a good one as we drove along this highway painted with miles and miles of bright yellow wildflowers.
At the Elk & Bison Prairie we thought we were going to end up seeing only cows, but then we spotted this big bull grazing on some leaves off of a tree in the shade.
There was an Elk & Bison Prairie at Land Between the Lakes. We paid about $3 to drive through a protected area and get a first-hand look at these huge animals. The dogs were in the back of the Honda staring intently and quietly. It is as if they understood it would not be wise to bark at these creatures. None of us wanted to see them agitated!
It was a good thing we decided to stay a bit longer at our first Kentucky stop. My dryer broke. Mike was able to take the thing apart, figure out what was wrong, order the correct replacement part, and put it back together again. Problem solved for about $20. I’m incredibly thankful he is so ‘handy’.
We braved a few thunderstorms while we were at this location.
I think the best thing about Paducah is The National Quilt Museum. Guests are not allowed to take pictures of any of the pieces inside. All I can say is that it was incredible.
More murals from the wall that is supposed to protect the city from the river.
I’m not sure if these carriage rides are offered daily in Paducah, or if she only operates when special events are taking place in town.
Paducah sits right on the water where the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers converge. Obviously, flooding is a common occurrence here. The city has built a giant wall along the banks of the river to protect itself from future natural disasters. In an effort to take some of the ‘ugly’ out of the concrete structure, they have painted murals on each panel. Each panel depicts an different portion of the area’s history.
The festival had two musical stages, dozens of food booths, and lots of artist booths. The weather was beautiful and it was a fun way to spend the afternoon.
Our accidental springtime festival sub tour continued when we got to spend an afternoon at the LowerTown Paducah Arts and Music Festival. I even bought a new dress!
The former Texas Main Street Manager in me was very interested in Paducah’s Artist Relocation Program. Since 2000, the community has utilized public private partnerships to use the arts for economic development. The results are restored historic properties centered around an eclectic community of talented artists.
I had never heard of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area before we saw a sign while driving from Nashville to Memphis. We were only 30 minutes from the north side when we got to Paducah, so we drove over a couple of days to enjoy the natural beauty. This was our view at the beginning of one of our walks on the trails.
According to Wikipedia, Kentucky Lake is a 160,309-acre lake that holds the distinction as the largest artificial lake by surface area in the United States east of the Mississippi River.
I continue to try and convince Mike we need to have another adventure on a boat after this tour is complete. That is why I needed to check out these ‘dockaminiums’ – each boat slip had their own little patio area across the walkway from their vessel.
There were no ducks or creeks at Duck Creek Campground. There really wasn’t even any grass (except for at the dog park), but we came prepared to make our own atmosphere.
We drove over to Metropolis, Illinois one afternoon. The tired little town had two things going for it: Superman and Harrah’s Casino.
Downtown Paducah had lots of personality and charm… as well as a wonderful bakery that made the most delicious cranberry walnut bread!
A pre-concert selfie.
We were hoping Alison Krauss and Willie Nelson would sing a duet together, but it didn’t happen. She was certainly wonderful with her band Union Station. Once she left the stage, she never came back.
We only intended to stay in Paducah for one week, but when we heard that Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss were playing an upcoming concert at Murray State University, we extended our reservation by one week and got in the car to go buy our tickets!
It was a very sweet scene when Willie Nelson played the first chord of Whisky River and the Texas flag dropped down behind the stage.