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A Real Outdoor Theme Park

By Glenn Arnette, lll

As an International Travel and Entertainment Journalist, I had the pleasure of touring Knott County in Kentucky about a month ago and was overwhelmed by the opportunities available to all of those who visit. As stated by Matt Osborne, Director of Adventure Tourism, “Knott County offers the total package in adventure”. True, but it is far beyond that. It is a real life adventure and offers the tourist one of the most exciting times outside of a theme park like Disney or Universal. This one is real and offers everything from being certified for bike riding or ATV’s to a fantastic trail ride where you can watch elk watching you around every corner. To top it all off there is the Appalachian Artisan Center where we had the pleasure of meeting Amanda Combs, the Executive Director of the Artisan Center and Kevin Blomenkamp, a Master of Arts in Metals who explained the concept of the Center and its offerings for artist in the area and around the country.

The one question we, as journalists, asked revolved around why there was no “major hotel or resort” in Knott County. This territory lends itself to crowds of people who would come just to discover a real vacation. All of us really wanted more time and would have stayed “on the trail” had we been asked!

My congratulations to Judge RandyThompson and the Tourism Commission for bringing all of these adventures together in Knott County and for making things happen instead of just talking about it! The citizens of that County are so proud and would welcome support from an outside investor who sincerely wants to generate excitement for guests, family vacations and the thousands who travel Highway 80. Dreams do come true in Knott Counties and certainly should be in the future for tourism in Kentucky. This is a destination and not a pass through tourist adventure. Kentucky might be about horses, but you can ride and pretend you are a Derby winner when you hook with Saddle Up Elk Tours and place your memories with Willie and Bernice Amburgey or feel like you are visiting museums of quality like found in New York or Paris. Yes, I said Paris. It is like a tall mountain covered with the blue grass of Kentucky accented with art and crafts beyond your imagination. There were two winners that day. My horse while on the Elk Tour and the real Kentucky lifestyle! Thank you, thank you, and thank you! Oh, don’t forget to enjoy a nice lunch and a cookie at the Artisan Center and Cafe on the Main Street in Hindman, Kentucky. (606) 785-9855 Want something special? Stop in at Yoder’s in Hindman and try some of Arlene’s banana nut bread. (606) 785-3344.

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