Watching the lanterns light up the sky is beautiful, but knowing that each lantern is connected to a person’s dream, wish or message is extremely moving. I was surprised I became misty-eyed after the first launch. I thought about my own message a little, but then I thought of the thousands of other messages. I hoped that everyone there received a little closure for their message or the motivation they needed to fulfill their dream.
I was a little skeptical of the Rise Festival since I had heard the horror stories from the previous years’ parking fiasco. I also thought the tickets, ranging from $60 to $100 plus $20 parking, were a little pricey. My final gripe: the 45 minute drive from our hotel to the event took about 2 hours as thousands of people were being funneled off the same exit. However, once we arrived, the event was flawless, and I understood the price of the ticket. The organizers delayed the first lantern send-off to accommodate the traffic situation, and event-goers were updated by Twitter, as well as by the band.
A folk band, Magic Giant, was playing when we arrived. It was a fun, but mellow vibe, which was perfect for the occasion. I often find the music at outdoor events too loud, but I could carry on a conversation even when we were next to the stage. I liked the band so much I plan on searching for them in Spotify and adding some songs to my playlist.
Before the event started everyone was busy preparing their lanterns to send off their messages. It was touching to see families working together to craft their personalized message. Some people were creating elaborate drawings on their lanterns, while others wrote personal statements not meant to be shared with anyone on earth.
The first wave of lanterns went up around 9PM. It was magical! I wish I would have sat and enjoyed it, but I saw so many people’s lanterns falling so I ran to save as many as possible. Once you light a lantern you must wait 1-2 minutes for the hot air to fill the entire lantern otherwise it only goes a few feet before heading back to the earth. I must have saved half a dozen lanterns, but there were a few I couldn’t help. It was heart-breaking to have to throw away someone’s wish.
Overall RiSE was a beautiful and magical experience. I look forward to going again in 2016!
When visiting the Land Between the Lakes you can’t help but to want to be on the water. When we were there in September the water was as smooth as glass and the weather was perfect for boating. We just missed the peak season, so rates were low and boats were available without reservations. We enjoyed a mid-day cruise around the Kuttawa Harbor Marina with Toko.
We choose an hour scenic drive from Lake Barkley to Kuttawa Harbor Marina so we could see some Kentucky farmlands and different sections of The Land Between the Lakes. Also, Kuttawa Harbor offered low rental rates and dog-friendly pontoons. We paid $156 for a four hour rental including gas.
The section of the lake near Kuttawa Harbor is busier and more industrial than the area near the Lake Barkley Resort. There were several barges hauling goods up and down the Cumberland River. We navigated up river to see the Kentucky Dam and then back down to see the State Penitentiary. I was surprised to see the State Penitentiary was a beautiful building on the water. The boating experience was fantastic. I especially enjoyed the tiny bird island and the tall river banks, but I would recommend another location, such as the Lake Barkley Marina.
The Lake Barkley Marina is located on a channel that branches out to the West. I imagine the barges that navigate the Cumberland River don’t travel into this section of Lake Barkley which dissolves into a few small creeks. The Lake Barkley channel has lots of little islands which make boating interesting, but it does not have the cliff-like embankment of the Cumberland River.
Anywhere you choose to take a boat out at The Land Between the Lakes is sure to be a wonderful experience. Enjoy!
My husband and I spent the first two days of our road trip back to California at The Land Between the Lakes. We stayed at the Barkley Lodge which is part of the Kentucky State Parks system.
I had read a few bad reviews about the lodge at Lake Barkley State Resort Park, so during the drive I told my husband to be prepared for a small, dirty motel room without a view. Since I booked the only pet-friendly room available I hadn’t noticed what type of room we had reserved. We were pleasantly surprised by a nice-sized room with a spectacular view of the lake and a balcony. The room did smell musty, but everything was clean. The beds were very comfortable and the pillows felt new. The sheets smelled fresh and were free of stains or hairs. The bathroom was very clean and I was surprised to find it didn’t appear too dated. I was also surprised to see a new flat screen TV. The carpet, curtains and walls did appear dated. The balcony could also use some TLC, but overall I was very impressed with the room at Lake Barkley Resort.
We were so excited to be right on the lake and to have a balcony where our dog, Toko, could lounge. As soon as we unloaded the car we headed to the lake. Toko loved the walk around the lake. There is a nice sidewalk which runs the length of the lodge adjacent to the lake. Along the sidewalk are plaques that describe the wildlife found in the area. People were fishing from the shore and boaters were just yards away. The sun sets just to the left of the lodge which is perfect from viewing from the room’s balcony or the restaurant.
We had dinner at the restaurant, and I would recommend the restaurant for a convenient, casual meal or to enjoy the view. The prices are extremely reasonable and the portions are filling. I had the veggie wrap with a baked potato. The wrap was delicious; very cheesy and full of juicy vegetables. I couldn’t finish the wrap or the baked potato. My husband had fried catfish with the baked potato and salad bar. He said the catfish had a light flavor and the texture was flaky and buttery. I recommend the salad bar as it includes lots of beans and seeds as salad toppings. Our total was $19.06 without tip, which I think is a bargain. While the service isn’t stellar, the view is amazing. If you go somewhere else for dinner, stop here for a drink on the patio to watch the sunset.
In addition to a restaurant the lodge has indoor and outdoor pools and hot-tubs, a game room, tennis courts and a fitness center.
I highly recommend the lodge at Lake Barkley State Resort Park. You can’t beat the price, and you get a fantastic view and great facilities.
Our first stop on the official beginning of our road trip was for Bar-B-Que in Tennessee. We shared a plate of slow-cooked ribs, which were absolutely delicious.
The ribs had a flavorful dry-rub that seemed to penetrate flavor to the bone. The ribs also had some sauce, but they weren’t soaked in sauce as is the style in Florida. The meat fell off the bone with just the slightest nudge. Even the bone was soft! I really liked that all of the fat seemed to have melted away during the cooking process. The ribs were moist, but not extremely juicy.
I was very impressed with the coleslaw. I wish I had asked how it was made. It wasn’t too sweet and it didn’t leave a pool of white liquid on your plate. I can usually only eat a couple bites of coleslaw, but I gobbled up the entire portion.
The service is great! Everyone was very friendly. The server saw us taking pictures of the entrance and ran outside so we could have a picture of the entire family. A cook came outside and asked if we wanted an extra large bone for our dog.
I would definitely recommend stopping at Hickory Pit Bar-B-Que in Chattanooga even if it is a little out of the way!