Today’s adventure was exploring the area north of Hillman’s Ferry Campground to the little town of Grand Rivers.
A little about Land Between the Lakes NRA:
“The Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers flow very close to each other in the northwestern corner of Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky, separated by a rather narrow and mostly low ridge. The area of land that separates the two bodies of water by only a few miles became known as "Between the Rivers" since at least the 1830s or 1840s. After the Cumberland River was impounded in the 1960s and a canal was constructed between the two lakes, Land Between the Lakes became the largest inland peninsula in the United States. Downstream from this area, the courses of the two rivers diverge again, with the mouth of the Cumberland emptying into the Ohio River approximately 4 mi from that of the Tennessee.
The Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area is a United States National Recreation Area located in Kentucky and Tennessee between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. The area was designated a national recreation area by President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The recreation area was originally managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority but jurisdiction has since been transferred to the United States Forest Service.”
More information can be found here: http://www.imnothere.org/ConceptZero/lblhistory.html
Our journey began in the campground. Here is our site from the boat launch – I will bet in season this is a prime spot!:
We saw many cranes. I don’t know if they are passing thru or if this is their wintering area.
We took all the paved roads until they ended. (The dirt roads were very muddy and lots of water.) Some areas were BEAUTIFUL!
One of the side roads:
Some of the areas are considered backcountry camping but we know we could get our motorhome here:
After taking the above pictures, I walked back to the car and Andy said “don’t say meow – there is a black cat by the picnic table.” I know he was saying “not again” but I had to try. So I slowly walked toward it and the cat ran away. Oh well. He/She was very healthy looking so it may be one of the feral cats here.
And here is the spot we found Bella in 2011. As we think about that time, we realize she must have been desperate. She came right out to us and let me pick her up. That first day, she used the litter box. For those who don’t know, most feral cats have NO CLUE what a litter box is…. So I knew she was taught (by her mom cat) and that she must have been dumped. So sad, isn’t it! (Now she is our happy little kitty.)
Continuing our exploring, we saw this dredge heading to the canal:
The bridge over the canal and into the Land Between the Lakes:
We had a lot of fun exploring and hope to do more tomorrow.
We had a 4:30 reservation for dinner at Patti’s 1880 Settlement. And it really is a settlement. There are two restaurants (Patti’s and Bill’s) on site plus numerous shops, walkways, gardens – you could spend a whole day there.
They are famous for their 2” pork chop:
And it was yummy! I had three meals with this chop!
Our waitress asked us if we were going to attend the lighting ceremony and we told her we did not know about it. So after dinner we hung out until the festivities began.
I will say that this is one of those special times of RV’ing- being at a big event in a small town. Chip (the owner of the settlement, oldest son of Patti and Bill) welcomed everyone and talked about their history, the town, many stories about his mom and dad and the things happening at the settlement. This little town of Grand Rapids has 300 residents. The settlement employs over 250 (not all from the town but all from the area).
We were entertained by a Christian Gospel group (Eternal Vision) of three young men who were AWESOME. In the middle of their performance of gospel and Christmas songs, Chip returned to the stage to introduce and thank his lighting and decorating crew. They put up almost 1 million lights and prepare many months for this event. And then the lights came on and our mouths dropped. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! All over the town – gave us the goose bumps..
As Chip came off the stage, Andy and I both thanked him for this magical place. Then we walked around and just enjoyed the lights and the music – what a wonderful evening.
More information can be found here: http://www.pattis1880s.com/pattis-history/
Another wonderful day!
Tomorrow we will continue our exploring so stay tuned and enjoy today.