Quickstops in Cumberland Falls State Park

1. Cumberland River Bridge (KY 90)

Cumberland River Bridge

This two-lane arch bridge over the Cumberland River above Cumberland Falls at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park carries Kentucky State Route 90. This bridge looks extra special in the glow of the golden evening light.

2. Natural Arch

Natural Arch

Towering above the forest, Natural Arch stands as an impressive monument to the forces of nature in action. The 50- by 90-foot arch was formed by the eroding forces of wind, water, and ice that cut away the soft sandstone leaving a hard rock cap that arches dramatically across the sky. This park did require a $3 per vehicle entrance fee. We would have gotten a lot more for our money had we taken the hike leading you to the underside of the arch, but at the time we didn't know it existed! Please note: This is not located in the park, however, it only takes a short drive to get there. It is definitely not something you'd want to miss seeing if in that area.

3. Riverview Restaurant @ the Dupont Lodge

Riverview Restaurant @ Dupont Lodge

We enjoyed dinner with a stunning view that overlooked the Cumberland River as it wound its way through the hillside. The night we were there they were offering a seafood buffet. Cody was sold as soon as he saw crab legs on the menu. Homemade desserts were also included, which for me was probably the highlight. I couldn't help but sample a few different sweet treats.

Yummy Puffy

The food was as outstanding as the view! Be prepared to wait if you'd like a window side table, although we lucked out and got one despite the packed dining room.

View from Riverview Restaurant

It was a great experience watching the multicolored sunset fade and the full moon appear. The same moon that would be illuminating Cumberland Falls, and at the same time creating the most beautiful spectacle in the process. (More on that in my next post!)

More Info:
2. Natural Arch Scenic Area Website
3. Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

Music on the Mountaintop Festival Boone, NC

Main Stage from Far Away

It was evident that the hardworking folks putting this shindig together learned quite a bit since last years festival because this one ended up being bigger and better in many ways. As diligent as the staffers were, there were some things, though, that they just didn't have any control over, and that was the not so favorable weather! Unlike the clear blue skies experienced the year before, the majority of our day was spent beneath an overcast sky. Mid-afternoon, we had to dodge a light rainstorm, thankfully, it didn't last very long. One thing the dreary weather didn't do was dampen the spirits of the carefree crowd. I did my best to hang around the outskirts of the madness because I really wasn't in a party-time state of mind. Last time we were very close to the front, in the thick of it, but not this time. After waking up at 6:30am that morning, the only thing I really wanted to do was kick back and relax in my crazy creek chair, and I did so, waaaaay in the back.

Love my Polka Dotty Umbrella :D

In addition to listening to some live music, we also had plans to consume mass quantities of vendor food (as usual), which we successfully achieved! They had so many vendors to choose from at this years festival that it was very difficult to decide on what we would feast on. But that quickly turned into a dilemma we didn't mind dealing with because we just sampled as much as our tummies could take! Well, and then some. I am almost ashamed to list everything I ate.

Outback Kates Offerings

Food Consumed: gyro with grape leaves, chicken on a stick, 2 orders of sweet potato fries, funnel cake with all the fixin's, famous grilled cheese, & a pesto quesadilla!! Yeah, I know, I paid for it a little bit at the end of the night. Talk about going overboard!

One thing, though, that I really liked about some of the food vendors were those who were a little more conscientious about what was being served. For example, the food made by students using locally grown produce, and another who offered antibiotic/cage free chicken. Small things. But a step in the right direction. It was refreshing to have these types of options at a 'green' event such as this.


I was also pretty impressed with the emphasis they put on recycling with signs and stewards who walked around passing out personal trash bags for groups accumulating cans and other garbage to help cut down on litter found later on. I was extremely pleased with the extra measures put in place. The Music on the Mountaintop Festival is clearly becoming a great example in keeping the focus on sustainability.

Second Stage

The musical line-ups seemed to be a series of crowd pleasers because they kept the crowd steadily swaying down in the 'pit'. I, on the other hand, kept my distance, viewing from afar. I didn't even attempt to venture down to the crowd below until it got dark. It was then that I figured the least I could do was try to get a few shots of the main stage closers, Sam Bush & Keller Williams. One thing lead to another, and the next thing I knew, I was standing only one row away from the stage. Taking photos was no easy undertaking either, especially with silhouetted heads popping up in the frame! It was fun being in the pit though, even if I didn't get any great photos!

Video of Keller Williams & Sam Bush

At one point, after Sam Bush played, I had to run to our home base in the very back of the grounds to grab a fresh battery and memory card since I was on the brink of exhausting both. In a matter of minutes, and without too much resistance, I got my spot back down in the depths.

Sam Bush & Band

Ideally, the crowd would have hoped to dance the night away, but local law enforcement didn't allow the party to go on past midnight. As a matter of fact, they were forced to pull the plug early! It was sad, actually. The crowd was chanting Keller's name in hopes for an encore, but no amount of noise would bring him back out on stage. Not the best possible note to end on, but it was a great day despite the few uncontrollable conditions threatening to thwart our good time.

Keller Williams

We are definitely looking forward to next year's event!

Did you see last year's photos? I was definitely a lot happier with those!
Wanna see?! Click Here (Post of Main Event) & Here (Favorite Photo 2008)

The Best Way to Recharge & Relax in Hot Springs, NC

Hot Springs Entrance

With no time to spare, Cody and I made a mad dash to reach the Hot Springs Resort and Spa in time for our 7:45 appointment. Once we were all checked in and paid up, we were asked to go out back and find the spa attendant who would most likely be under the welcome pavilion. Several people were walking around toting towels (Dang!? We forgot to bring towels!) and sporting that wet-look. I just tried to appear lost enough to warrant a "May I help you?", not to worry, though, they had us covered. She promptly took our tub ticket and lead the way to our private oasis.

Hot Tub #7

This idyllic setting tucked in the woods was made even more perfect once we realized that our hot mineral bath hut was overlooking the river! Having it all to ourselves felt a little unreal. I stood and marveled for a moment before sinking into the steaming hot pool of relaxation.

View from our Mineral Bath Hut

Good thing it was still daylight when we arrived because I would have hated to miss out on this sensory overload combo. Even though the sounds of the gentle stream could not be heard over the high-powered jets, the view added a dimension that was just as soothing. The effervescent water melted away the tension that perpetually binds my neck and shoulders. Finally, some relief after a long, sore, and painful week.

Hot Tub #7

After a while, you start to notice some of the healing waters other side effects. As you continue to soak, feelings of euphoria wash over your weary body, and you begin to detect traces of intoxication without a drop of alcohol having touched your lips. I absorbed as much as I could before I needed to step out for a few minutes (it gets mighty warm), we did this many times during our 1-hour session of soaking. We even enlisted a nearby hose to assist us with cooling off every once in a while.

On one hand, you didn't want your soothing dip to end, but on the other, you were ready to allow your body temperature to return to normal, but before you can decide, time expires and it's time to get out! Overall, the experience was positively invigorating! I can see why the town of Hot Springs, NC has drawn visitors from all over since the early 1800's.

Did you miss the post on our riverside campsite or the places we ate while in Hot Springs, NC?
If so, click here and here for more trip details.

~History of Hot Springs, NC
~Hot Springs Resort & Spa
For Reservations Call 828-622-7676