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Day Trip to Land Between the Lakes

Sugar Bay at LBL
Sugar Bay at LBL

Last week Gummerfan wrote about Land Between the Lakes. It reminded me that’s a place my husband and I have not yet checked out, but one that was on my list.

I mentioned reading Gummerfan’s post to my husband. Wayne promptly suggested, “Let’s do it this weekend!” So, inspired from a fellow blogger in the blogosphere, we struck out for a day trip to Land Between the Lakes Sunday. Here’s what we saw…

WOLVES AND BATS AT THE NATURE STATION

If you didn’t read Gummerfan’s post about Land Between the Lakes and it’s monster legend history, I highly recommend it. Good quickie crash course into the area’s myths.

At any rate, two things he talked about were the area’s werewolves (in the form of a beast known as the Dogman) and the “Vampire Hotel.” We saw neither.

However, we did stop at the nature center and saw coyotes, red wolves, alligator snapping turtles, and bats. (Or at least bat houses.) I didn’t get any pics of the wolves or the coyote, but I did get a few of some of the other creatures we encountered.

Watch your fingers! Alligator snapping turtle, Land Between the Lakes Nature Center
Watch your fingers! Alligator snapping turtle, Land Between the Lakes Nature Center
Bat house, Land Between the Lakes Nature Center
Bat house, Land Between the Lakes Nature Center
Bald eagle, Land Between the Lakes Nature Center
Bald eagle, Land Between the Lakes Nature Center

THE MEMORIAL CROSS

cross at Sugar Bay
cross at Sugar Bay

Something disturbing we came across was at one of the picnic/campsites at the Sugar Bay lake access area. (There are a bunch of such areas. I just happened to photograph the sign from this one, which is the lead photo for this post. Easy documentation reminder about where it was we saw the cross I’m about to describe.)

another view of the cross
another view of the cross

I had a hard time fitting in the picnic table/fire pit with the cross, and it didn’t help the lighting wasn’t ideal. There wasn’t any written marker, so I don’t know who died there, when, how, if it was male or female, or how old they were. I just saw the cross and thought, “Creepy! I bet that makes a lot of potential picnickers uneasy. Bet not many pick this spot.”

(But to be fair, this is one of the first sites when you drive in and it doesn’t have a lake view like many of the others so…it might be more than a cross that deters people from this spot!)

ELK & BISON PRAIRIE

Pee now or wait until we're done seeing the animals!
Pee now or wait until we're done seeing the animals!

This was kind of an adventure. It reminded me of Jurassic Park…where you go through a gate to see the dinosaurs. (Except, there were no dinos of course.)

We paid at an automated booth, then pulled forward and let these big gates swing open to allow us access to the prairie. The sign above was posted at this point.

The dangers of a head butt
The dangers of a head butt

Then sprinkled along the three-mile loop through the park were the above signs. As Autumnforest pointed out in one of her recent posts about huge angry things, apparently not everyone has a healthy fear of beasts bigger than themselves. That’s why I’m assuming they included the graphic of the bison head-butting the man. (I guess an image of getting trampled was too graphic?)

We never did see any elk or bison, but the drive through the prairie was enjoyable. (However, they post peak viewing times and we entered during an off-time, so…We figured we might not have any luck.)

GRAND RIVERS

Grand Rivers - Village Between the Lakes
Grand Rivers - Village Between the Lakes

After all our exploring we worked up a pretty good appetite. When we were at the Golden Pond Visitor Center we picked up a brochure for a place called Patti’s 1880’s Settlement. The food pictured on the front looked good even when we weren’t hungry, but once our bellies started rumbling? Oh man, bring on the flower pot bread and the mile-high meringue pie!

The trouble was, Patti’s was up in Grand Rivers. We were about 20 miles away, because we went to check out Lake Barkley State Park, which isn’t on the actual strip of the Land Between the Lakes area, it’s just to the east. Also, if we went to eat there we’d be heading farther away from home rather than closer. Dilemmas, dilemmas! What to do?

Well, Wayne’s motto is, “You only live once!” so we went for it.

Patti's front entrance
Patti's front entrance

Patti’s is a neat place. It has more than just the restaurant, which is good because apparently there’s always a wait. (We went at 4 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon and still had an hour and fifteen minute wait!)

Things to see and do at Patti's
Things to see and do at Patti's

We didn’t stick around the restaurant’s property though. Wayne’s a nut for boats and there was a marina just down the street. We headed there first.

Lighthouse at Lighthouse Landing
Lighthouse at Lighthouse Landing
Jetty - Grand Rivers
Jetty - Grand Rivers
Seashells ...in KY?
Seashells ...in KY?

Then we went back up to the town proper and checked things out.

Grand Rivers shopping district
Grand Rivers shopping district

And then, exhausted and ravenous, we made it back to Patti’s to check stuff out until our name was called.

Part of the Settlement
Part of the Settlement
Wedding gazebo
Wedding gazebo
Butterfly wind spinner
Butterfly wind spinner
sail boat wind spinner
sail boat wind spinner
whale wind spinner
whale wind spinner
Patti's water tower
Patti's water tower

(Can you tell I liked the spinners?)

There are also shops on property, but not all of them were open. And mini golf, and animals…aw heck. This blurp from their website sums up what makes Patti’s and it’s surrounding property so neat and unique:

Our three restaurants serve over 350,000 people in our little town of 350 people. They come from all over for our great food, beautiful gardens and Patti’s great Southern hospitality. With our log cabin gift shops, animal park for viewing, streams, fountains, Arielle’s miniature golf, rock climbing wall and remote controlled boats we needed a meaningful name that would describe it all.

Finally we were seated and could indulge in Patti’s for the first time. I thought the flower pot bread was so cute, I had to get a picture of that. Same with the meringue pie behind the glass…my kind of desert!

flower pot bread - yummilicious strawberry butter!
flower pot bread - yummilicious strawberry butter!
Can you hear the heavenly music playing?
Can you hear the heavenly music playing?

It’s a shame there’s no way to let you experience the butter that was served with the bread. Two kinds: regular and strawberry. I don’t normally like sweets in my butter, but Holy Crumb! That strawberry butter was amazing!

Our main courses were impressive too, but I was done taking pictures right then. I needed nourishment! (After I devoured my food I had enough energy to get a pic of that pie. Barely had room for dessert, but we did share a mud pie and somehow managed to get that down.)

BUT WERE THERE GHOSTS?

Nope. Now Land Between the Lakes has a lot of myths and legends associated with it, but I coudn’t find anything on Patti’s or Grand River.

I’m sorry. I might have suckered you a little. This is Haunt Jaunts, after all. A travel blog about restless spirits. You’d be right in anticipating I’d go through all of this and offer something ghostly.

I came up empty handed this time. But I figured why waste a good day trip?

Yet, it wasn’t a total loss. There were some odd sites along the way: crosses at campsites, an image of a man getting head butted by a bison… (I don’t know about you, but those are things I don’t see everyday.) There was even a funny looking girl on a pink tractor… (Who is that wacko anyway?)

I bet I could plow me some fields in style on this bad girl!
I bet I could plow me some fields in style on this bad girl!
Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
http://www.courtneymroch.com

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11 thoughts on “Day Trip to Land Between the Lakes

  1. Wow! I could spend a week there! That was beautiful and awesome–so many different things and so much wildlife. That’s my kind of place. I’m glad you had a nice time. I’ve always wanted to make those spinners, but I’m such a spastic klutz, I know I’d probably cut myself to ribbons. Yummers on the dessert. I’m vigorously dieting and that looks pretty good about now. 🙂

  2. We want to rent a houseboat next summer and spend more time there. Was nice to do a day trip, but this is the kind of place that requires more time! Hey, and isn’t it getting closer to your trip??? (I’m really looking forward to hearing what you experiences you have!) Vigorously dieting??? UGH! I need to do that, but have so far managed to blow every effort this week. Oh well…there’s always tomorrow…

  3. It isn’t always about finding the ghost, but the search for them that is interesting. I think this would be an awesome place to viist. I have to admit, I loved the grave (cross) next to the picnic area. I would have been all over that. Things like that don’t bother me at all.

  4. So, you weren’t in the woods after dark? 😉
    Looks like a great place to visit. As Autumn said, you could probably spend a week there at least. From what I’ve read, the “Vampire Hotel” is pretty remote, the roads leading to it are closed, and the building is fenced. The small-town residents would prefer to leave its grisly history behind them.
    I also stumbled onto another interesting place name: there’s an area there called “The Devil’s Elbow”, lol!
    The strawberry butter sounds awesome, sounds like you had a great time and I’m glad the Dogman didn’t get ya’!

  5. Patty: My husband thought I was nuts for taking a pic of it, but that cross…you don’t see that at a picnic site everyday! I thought it was pretty cool too! And, like you summed up PERFECTLY, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. This was a particularly good one! Thanks for the comment!

    Gummerfan: That’s when it would have been PRIME to be there, right? They even have a planetarium! Maybe we’ll get the chance for an after dark (not to mention longer in general) stay next time. Oh, and I saw that Devil’s Elbow!!! We didn’t go there, I wanted to, but it was in the opposite direction of the other places we were seeing. So we have that and the Homestead to investigate on our next mission. Good info about the vampire hotel too! THANKS! (No wonder we didn’t see it!) And thanks again for your great post inspiring me to venture here!!!

  6. I love LBL. I used to go biking there when I was stationed at Ft Campbell, Kentucky with the Army. The only downside is that the trails always seemed to be wet and muddy and I think I picked up some ticks there. I guess that’s the price you pay to live in the south, but the greenery makes it worth it. -Aaron

  7. Julie: I think you would really enjoy it. Grand Rivers reminded me a little of Jerome and even Prescott. (MUCH smaller than both of those, but had that same “feeling” if you know what I mean.)

    Aaron: COOL! We saw people mtn biking and wished we had our bikes. We didn’t plan far enough ahead…but gives us a reason to go back! Oh, and we saw signs at the visitor’s center and nature center that it was tick season so be prepared. ICK! Hate ticks…but I won’t let them stop me from exploring!

  8. Ha, so I work at Patti’s its nice to see that ppl really enjoy it there sooo much. Lol Sad to say you didn’t mention our awesome dresses that we wear! haha… And if you talk to some of the servers, they swear Bill, our second resturaunt is haunted. I’ve never come across Bill himself at the end of the night, but you never know.

    And! there are many places in LBL that are haunted, take it from me, I practically live there lol.. there is a REALLY OLD hotel we call it Hotel California, but yes, it is also the “Vampire Hotel” down road 120, but you gotta know how to get back there… it sooo freaky! Just ask a local teenager haha… you gotta take 112, which is past the north station going south, then turn left down 120 when you get there, then you gotta stop and walk the rest of the way…I suggest stoping at the north station and getting a map of all the “roads” (they are mostly dirt, but still drivable) I’ve never been to Devil’s elbow though I’ve heard about it, but never been so i cant tell ya. there is a bunch of things out there in those woods that I would HATE to run into in the middle of the night… it sooo freaky! ha

    The homestead is an AMAIZING place to go visit!!! And if ya wanna camp you gotta camp at Hillman’s Ferry!

    Everything that I have been talkin about has been closer to the Grand Rivers, Kentucky Lake Area, not Lake Barkley. And if you get a hold of that local teen, they will know plenty more spots, like the angel that cries blood on Halloween around 1 in the mornin(Paducah), and the glowing tombstone (but that one is on private property) lol

  9. Hey SothernGirl! Thanks so much for leaving this most awesome comment! It’s really interesting to hear a 1st hand perspective from someone who works at Patti’s. And you’re right…I should have said something about your dresses! I was too focused on that great good you serve…

    This is really interesting info. Neat to hear about “Bill.” And all the other info you shared! Wonderful! Thanks again so much for taking the time to write!

    Court

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