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Day trip south - from Columbia down Hwy 61
By Linda Waggener
When in the mood for a scenic drive, head south from the Columbia Public Square, the center of the universe, on Burkesville Street. Follow along through the Veterans Memorial bypass - very very carefully as this is a dangerous spot - on past Walmart on Highway 61 south to the county seat of Cumberland County in Burkesville.
In the old days, this was a curvy country road but thanks to Sen. David Williams in the recent past, the new Road is smooth and straight.
On this new road, you will bypass Sparksville, Kentucky old town and head on to greater Breeding Kentucky where you'd have had a chance to sit a spell and eat a home cooked meal before the Coronavirus shut things down there.
Just past that store, you find yourself entering Metcalfe County. Travel approximately 1 mile or so and you will re-enter Adair county.
From that sign travel approximately a quarter of a mile and you will enter Cumberland County at dividing Ridge Road.
It was my late husband's fondest wish to walk across Metcalfe County and he met that goal, documented, photographed and certified by yours truly.
You'll know you've quit jumping over counties and really are in Cumberland County when you pass the fish jumping out of the Welcome to Cumberland County sign. Staying on 61, the hills get deeper and in summertime dense forests keep temperatures a bit lower here.
It's easy to go too fast on this Smooth New Road, but be careful because farm vehicles use the road too and you can come up on them fast as you round a bend in the road.
You have the option to turn right onto old Kentucky 61 in a couple of different places along this way if at any time you'd like to experience outrageous curves on narrow roads around the steep hills that travelers of yesteryear got to experience.
In this valley, you'll be surrounded by hills, not mountains, but close enough.
You will have a choice to take a left on scenic Highway 704, Crocus Creek Road, but that is another day trip. Today we're going straight to the Cumberland County Seat in Burkesville.
Traffic pattern differs here from Columbia's round square where you yield from every entry onto the square. In Burkesville you yield on two sides, then get to go on from the other two entrances to the square. Pay attention!
To keep going south, travel halfway around the courthouse and exit on Highway 61 south a few blocks until you come to a Y in the road. Here you have to make a choice to head due east on highway 90 toward Monticello and Albany, or veer to the right and head south to Celina, Tennessee. Either east or south at this point you'll have to cross the wide Cumberland River. Prepare in advance for possible time-consuming distractions that might cause you pause when slowing and yielding, or not, as you go around the historic Burkesville Courthouse:
- A quarter of the way around the courthouse you may be distracted by the smokey flavor of barbecue in the air and feel pulled to turn right on Hill Street and stop for a barbecue visit with Pat and Norman Hamilton. Theirs is one of the finest lip-burning deep southern Kentucky vinegar barbecue sauces still around.
- If you've a mind for a great view, you can go straight past their barbecue restaurant on up the hill to the Alpine Motel, or in my son Pen's two-year-old speak, the Apple-Pine, now a mini resort.
- Or, you can go three quarters around the courthouse, and head down River Road and fish or sit a spell by the Cumberland River. You can even take your barbecue from the opposite side of the courthouse with you and picnic riverside.
On the square you may decide to go all the way around and head back home to Columbia, or stay Hwy 61 south, go ten miles south of the river, while still in Kentucky but barreling toward Tennessee, you may choose to turn left and wander to the Dale Hollow State Resort Park.
We'll call it a "day" here for this trip and head back north.
This story was posted on 2020-09-07 06:35:45
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