There's a plethora of history in those hills. Jenny Wiley, a real-life pioneer woman, was taken captive after her family (including her four children and brother) was mistaken for another family and brutally slaughtered at the hands of Native Americans. While in captivity, she gave birth to her fifth child which was also murdered. She lived 11 months with the Cherokee before she finally escaped and was reunited with her husband, Thomas Wiley. Jenny and Thomas rebuilt their cabin which had been burned by the Indians and had six more children.
The Hatfield-McCoy Feud is quite a story. I would suggest watching the History Channel's rendition. I would not spend $20 on the driving tour CD from the Pikeville Tourism Commission. The sites in Pikeville were easy to find because the lady in the tourism office gave us directions but, once you get into West Virginia, the sites are not marked and the CD doesn't give you any addresses to plug into your GPS. It's somewhat of a wild goose chase. Instead, I would recommend this tour. Adam, the guy who heads this up, was out of town so we couldn't go but, given the opportunity, this was what we had planned to do. I have to give the Pikeville Tourism Commission props though, they had some great t-shirts and a ton of books and little souvenirs.
Loretta Lynn's home was worth visiting due to her brother, Herman Webb. Sure, she was great and all but, Herman made that trip worth the time and money. He's a humble man of 78 years young and he was a joy to talk to. While Herman's music career wasn't as well known, he has lots of musical talent and tons to tell about his gifted family.
Van Lear was a fascinating mining town on the way to Butcher Holler. The historical museum had lots of interesting artifacts from that time period and we learned a bit about the coal mining business. From 1910 to 1946 there were 5 mines open in Van Lear and it was quite the hoppin' place.
On our last day in Kentucky, we made the 2-hour trip northwest to Mt. Sterling where we visited the Ruth Hunt Candy Company. Ruth Hunt Candy Company has quite the reputation as they provided candy for the Kentucky Derby up until a couple of years ago. Unbeknownst to us, the factory only gives tours Monday through Wednesday. So, we proceeded to sample and purchase candy since Easter's just around the corner. Afterwards, we had lunch at Melini Cucina, an Italian restaurant not far away where we dined on breadsticks and chicken fettucini alfredo. It was a great way to end our trip.
This was the perfect weekend getaway even if it was destroyed by the weather! With lots of history, a love of the mountains, and adoring the Kentucky accent, this was a great trip. It was just right for a few days, not sure you would find a whole, whole lot to do there if you were staying for longer than that. Thanks for a fantastic weekend Thelma!