Welcome to the first installment of the Appalachian Travel Guide. The intent of the ATG is to provide people with glimpse of the beautiful and interesting places I get to visit when I’m on the road collecting stories for Fahe. I hope that you find it informative and that it whets your appetite to come and visit.
The City of Kyle’s Ford, Tennessee has been heralded as one of the last great places on Earth. Located in beautiful Hancock County, it’s easy to see how the view of the unspoiled mountains and rivers could make any person want to stay. I can easily say that my travels to Kyle’s Ford proved to be more fun than a business trip had any right to be.
I visited Kyle’s Ford while collecting stories from Fahe Member Clinch Powell Resource, Conservation, and Development Council, Inc. Clinch Powell RC & D began as a conservation organization to protect the Clinch & Powell rivers and surrounding lands. After they realized that helping the local farmers and families would both better serve their mission and improve the surrounding communities, they began offering more social services, including affordable housing and ecotourism.
Kyle’s Ford has two very important features. The Clinch River, which flows through, is one of the most ecologically diverse rivers in existence today and it contains the largest population of fresh water mussels in existence. The other reason is that it’s the site of River Place on the Clinch, a combination store, restaurant, campground, and tourism destination.
River Place is owned and operated by Clinch Powell RC & D as a way to earn revenue through ecotourism and provides a valuable service to one of the poorest counties in the country. River Place is Hancock County’s largest employer and is the area’s only general store. Folks go to River Place for all their essentials including bread, milk, toiletries, medicine, and even some clothing. The locals also go there for their meals and nightly entertainment.
The main reason that River Place is able to function so well is that it’s a great tourist destination. Outdoors enthusiasts are able to get kayaking, water tubing, fishing, hiking, camping, and a great restaurant all in one place. People come from all over the country and even from around the world for a chance to get away in the Tennessee wilderness.
I was put up there for two nights in the “Catfish” cabin which provided a great view of the valley going down to the river. It was clean, cozy, and had all the amenities I’ve come to expect from staying in different cabins throughout Appalachia.
Both mornings I walked down to the River Place kitchen and was greeted by fresh coffee and a hearty country breakfast. I’m a huge fan of biscuits and gravy and
this was by far the best brown gravy I’ve had in years. Elizabeth, the head cook, made us feel right at home, even after we committed the faux pas of taking a favorite table of her regulars.
I didn’t get to ride in any kayaks but I was taken for a tour down a trail that runs parallel to the river and it was gorgeous. If I had the time, I would have spent my entire day sitting on the river’s edge watching the fish through the clear waters.
At night and on the weekends, locals gather for dinner after a hard nights work and on the weekends they have live music and entertainment.
If you’re interested in a beautiful, affordable getaway that also benefits an entire community, then look no farther then River Place on the Clinch. If you want more information about one of the last great places on earth, then visit their website at www.riverplaceontheclinch.com.
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