The Wild, the Weird
and the Wonderful
In the Lakes Region of Western Kentucky and Western Tennessee
Every region has its oddities, and ours stretch from the Mighty Mississippi to the Cumberland River. This four-day excursion includes the wild side of Mother Nature, weird things from around these parts and a wonderful mystery dinner to round out your stay. The combination is, well… wildly intriguing.
1:00 pm – Arrive at Discovery Park of America (DPA) where an earthquake simulator and riveting film explain the mystery of a 15,500-acre lake that appeared out of nowhere. Follow your guide behind a secret panel in a bookcase to see dozens of oddities. Finish up in The Settlement where your DPA guide will share the peculiar story of the area’s own Sleeping Beauty.
2:00 pm – Enjoy more of this mini Smithsonian on you own. Don’t miss the Military Exhibit featuring oral histories from WWII veterans plus combat equipment galore. Delve into Native American artifacts, catch up on the latest in technology or stroll through gardens from around the world. Need a pick-me-up? Enjoy a tasty snack at The Café.
4:00 pm – Depart Discovery Park for Paris Landing State Park where your room will have a balcony or patio that faces the restful waters of the lake.
5:45 pm – Arrive at Paris Landing State Park Inn on Kentucky Lake and get settled in.
6:15 pm – Head to the inn’s Riverboat Restaurant for a buffet full of Southern delights, not to mention a gorgeous view. Take a close look at that river, because there’s something odd out there…more on that after dinner.
7:15 pm – It’s inconceivable to think that entire communities lie at the bottom of the Tennessee River. Our local historian explains both why and how this came to be.
8:00 pm – Take a stroll before bed or enjoy a breath of fresh air on your balcony, but get some sleep because tomorrow’s a busy day.
8:00 am – As Southern mamas are known to say, “Rise and shine, it’s time for a biscuit and gravy breakfast!” This buffet has plenty of each, plus lots of other options, too!
9:00 am – Depart Paris Landing State Park for Land Between the Lakes and the Homeplace, a working, 1850s farm. En route, you’ll encounter the Great Western Furnace, a structure that perplexes 21st Century travelers. Our step-on guide will explain why it was an economic driver in the mid-1800s.
9:45 am – Arrive at the Homeplace. There is plenty of mystery in the history of this area which has been home to Native Americans, settlers, Civil War soldiers and animals galore. Enjoy some uncanny tales of the region from your exclusive Homeplace interpreter.
10:15 am – Wander the farm and visit with “residents” who are happy to let you lend a hand and experience how your ancestors lived 160-years ago with no tractors, groceries or cell phones. Yikes!
10:45 am – Depart for the Golden Pond Planetarium and Observatory.
11:00 am – Arrive at the planetarium and take a seat under the dome for TONIGHT’S SKY – LIVE. (There are also additional movie selections.) Your personal planetarium interpreter reveals tonight’s locations of planets, stars, constellations and galaxies. Pay attention so you can show off your newfound knowledge on the way home this evening!
Noon – Depart the Planetarium for Patti’s 1880’s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. Get a look at America’s new national mammal, the bison, and perhaps a few shy elk as we drive through the 700-acre Elk and Bison Prairie.
12:30 pm – Arrive at Patti’s where the big mystery is, “How do they get that merengue so high?” Enjoy a scrumptious lunch then stroll through the gardens or check out their variety of delightful shops. Better grab some fabulous fudge in case you need a midnight snack!
2:30 pm – Depart Patti’s for Hopkinsville, Kentucky, home to a mystic, a moonshiner and some little green men.
3:30 pm – Arrive at the Pennyroyal Area Museum in Historic Downtown Hopkinsville and bone up on America’s greatest 20th Century mystic, Edgar Cayce. Dubbed The Sleeping Prophet, Cayce gave more than 14,000 psychic readings while in hypnotic trances. Clients included President Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Edison.
4:00 pm – Depart the museum for Cayce’s final resting place, Riverside Cemetery, where a local historian portraying Cayce will bring this historic local figure to life…metaphorically speaking, of course.
4:30 pm – Depart the Pennyroyal for the nearby Casey Jones Distillery where owners A.J. and Peg Jones will give you a hearty greeting.
5:30 pm – Arrive at Casey Jones Distillery. A.J., grandson of famed maker of stills, Casey Jones unlocks the secret of the perfect batch of moonshine. When the liquor starts flowing, catch a little in your glass, take a few photos or just absorb the process as A.J. demonstrates what was once the best-guarded secret in Land Between the Lakes. Purchase a little shine for the road or another fun gift and bid farewell to the Joneses.
6:30 pm – Depart for Lake Barkley State Park, home of the Windows on the Water Restaurant.
6:45 pm – Arrive at Lake Barkley. In this restaurant you’ll want to face the wall – the glass wall, that is, with its stunning, panoramic view of magnificent Lake Barkley. The food is as good as the scenery; enjoy Southern staples from the mouthwatering buffet.
7:45 pm – Question: What is the Kelly Incident and where was young Geraldine when it took place? Geraldine Sutton Stith recounts this bizarre episode in her family’s history that resulted in a festival, books, and even a Pokémon character.
8:30 pm – Depart Lake Barkley for Paris Landing State Park.
9:00 pm – Offload on The Trace in Land Between the Lakes for a little stargazing. Search for constellations, contemplate the likelihood of extraterrestrials or simply delight in the ageless beauty of the majestic night sky. You haven’t seen this many stars in long time.
9:30 pm – Arrive at Paris Landing State Park and your comfy bed. Have a good sleep.
8:00 am – Enjoy another scrumptious breakfast at Paris Landing where the delicious biscuits and gravy will mysteriously disappear from your plate.
9:00 am – Depart for Camden, Tennessee where they not only farm vegetables, they farm pearls, as well!
10:00 am – Arrive at the Tennessee River Fresh Water Pearl Museum and discover how these official state gems are grown and harvested. From orientation to mussel shucking, the museum’s official tour guide gets you up close and personal with this fascinating feat from Mother Nature…who obviously loves pearls!
11:00 am – Depart for lunch.
12:00 – We’re so glad that first generation American, Roger Ciarrocchi and his wife, Lisa found Paris, Tennessee. You’ll be glad, too, after sampling their traditional Italian lunch fare at Paris Winery and Bistro.
2:00 pm – Depart for charming downtown Paris where they’ve been welcoming visitors since 1823.
2:15 pm – Arrive downtown and pick an activity: join the lively director of the downtown association for a brief tour that includes three mysteries of downtown or poke around on your own and enjoy more than a dozen shops and boutiques. Can’t decide? Do both!
4:00 pm – Depart for the Grove Tower, home of the school that came from a bottle.
4:15 pm – Arrive at the school’s Weston Hall, where our genealogist and storyteller extraordinaire will regale you with the history of Dr. E.W. Grove, plus the mystery behind the murderous sons of Tennessee Governor James D. Porter, as well as the origins of a unique murder defense.
5:15 pm – Depart Weston Hall.
5:20 pm – Arrive at Eiffel Tower Park. You may not be in Paris, France, but you’re about to have your photo made in front of the Eiffel Tower with a keepsake beret, to boot!
6:00 pm – Arrive at Paris Landing. Freshen up and get ready for a delightful dinner and a surprise!
6:30 pm – Enjoy the enticing, dinner buffet, then don your Sherlock Holmes hat and deduce who the devious killer is in this hilarious murder mystery from the Badgett Playhouse Acting Company.
9:00 pm – Now that you know “who done it,” you can rest easy. Nighty night.
Day 4 –
8:00 am – Enjoy your last Riverboat Restaurant breakfast and their mouthwatering bacon and eggs.
9:00 am – Depart for Dover, Tennessee (watch movie en route)
9:30 – Arrive at the Fort Donelson Visitor Center, Dover Tennessee where your personal National Park Service ranger will lead a tour of the battlefield, the Dover Hotel (Surrender House), and unravel several vexing wartime questions, including:
- What happened to body parts of soldiers who were dismembered in battle?
- Who were the two women buried in this cemetery filled with men?
- What was the contraband community?
- Where are all of the Confederate dead?
12:30 pm – Enjoy a catered lunch at the Stewart County Visitor Center.
1:30 pm – Depart for home. Hope you’ve enjoyed your Wild, Weird and Wonderful Mystery Tour. Come back and see us soon!
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