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Cumberland Falls, KY

This was a nice weekend trip to what is known as "Niagara Falls of the South" or Cumberland Falls, KY. I will say ahead of time the falls would have been a lot prettier had they NOT had as much water running over them. The entire eastern seaboard has been overly wet with some areas having already had twice as much as their normal rain fall for the year by the time I took this trip, June 7th & 8th. This time last year the falls probably had very little water running over them which I am sure made them equally as less pretty as Niagara Falls. However, the resort park is beautiful with plenty of camping, hiking trails and other recreational activities if you enjoy that sort of thing.

I spent Friday evening with my sister Frances even though we were not leaving all that early on Saturday morning. Since she was taking us to meet the bus at the Winston-Salem pick up point it kept me from having to park my car in either her drive or dad's. Winston-Salem was the last pick up for this particular Holiday Tours trip with us leaving at 8:30 am. 

After a stop for a break at a rest stop on I-40 we were making good time for our lunch destination of Knoxville, TN. However, just 17 miles from the NC/TN border the highway was a parking lot. Dead stop, miles and miles of vehicles lined up on the road. The bus driver pulled up along side a 4-wheeler to find out what was going on. The truck driver said a very bad accident had happened up ahead and it would be three hours before cars could get through. 

When we finally inched up far enough for the bus to make a huge right turn, we took off down the exit everyone else had been doubling back to take the back roads over the mountain. It took us right through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park into TN. While I hate there was an accident and it made us late getting to our destination, we had a beautiful scenic tour as a bonus.

Just before going through the national park we stopped in Cherokee, NC at a Wendy's for lunch. The bus only had 23 people including escort and driver. We finally reached Cumberland Falls at 6:45, about two hours later than our scheduled arrival time.

The Dupont Lodge is in the Park about 3/4 of a mile from the falls. Our rooms were in the wing in the left side of the picture. Mom and Dad are standing on the back porch area of the lodge which overlooks the Cumberland River.

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We had dinner reservations for 6:30 in the Lodge dinning area which serves a huge buffet style meal or you can order off the menu. Our trip ticket included the buffet dinner. After we ate the bus drove us down to the parking area where you can walk along the river and below the falls. 

TMP20.jpg (41726 bytes)    TMP19.jpg (82177 bytes) As you can see, the river is way up on the bank. I am not sure of the history of the bridge but I believe it was built back in the early 1900's. We when left the park the next morning we drove over the bridge on the way out.

That was fun to see but to me the highlight of the trip was Sunday. We drove about 45 miles south to Stearns, KY for a ride on the Big South Fork Scenic Railway. We had about an hour or so to shop around the antique stores surrounding the railway station before boarding the train for a trip down to the Blue Heron and Barthell Mining Camps. 

 TMP15.jpg (78655 bytes) A picture of the train from where I was sitting as we were coming out of a tunnel. 

TMP11.jpg (61123 bytes)    At Blue Heron we got off the train. We were provided a box lunch, which was very tasty and given about an hour and half to roam around. The first picture is the old coal tipple where the coal cars came across and dumped them into that large while building. Dad and took the path up to the top and walked across looking down on the station and our train.

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After we left Blue Heron we proceeded back up the mountain stopping at Barthell on the way back up. A tour guide took us from the main buildings, below, up a path to the entrance of several of the old mines. I took the picture of dad standing up on the hill overlooking those buildings.

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Those are just the highlight pictures from the trip. We left Stearns at 2:45 stopping for dinner in Newton, TN. After we crossed the NC line we hit a horrible thunderstorm that followed us all the way down the mountain. We had prettiest double rainbow ahead of us for about half an hour that I have ever seen in my life. By the time we got back to Winston-Salem, around 9:30, it was pouring rain. But, we had a great time. 


Updated Tuesday, June 10, 2003



Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 by Barbara Fritchman Thompson. All Rights Reserved.