24 Hours in Prestonsburg, KY
22.01.2011 - 23.01.2011
I know I get more than my fair share of travel opportunities. That's why, when a friend needed us to take him to Prestonsburg, KY...which meant spending 24 hours in a place with very little to do and meant giving up a precious weekend....we agreed. Sometimes, you do things for others even when you get nothing out of the deal.
So that's how we came to spend noon Saturday to noon Sunday in Prestonsburg, KY.
Prestonsburg might be a great place to live and work...but not so great for play. There just wasn't much to do, unless you like bingo or bowling, so we decided to eat. You can always eat.
We stopped in old downtown Prestonsburg which had a definite charm. Some cute little shops, a cute park, and a few restaurants.
We chose Billy Ray's. They were home to the "famous poolhouse burger." How could we not?
I liked Billy Ray's as soon as I walked past the dessert counter. Why don't restaurants have these any more?
I had to get the Poolhouse Burger, now didn't I? Seriously....it was fantastic. Thick and juicy, just like a homemade burger on a hot summer afternoon when I was a kid. Pickle juice trickled down my hand as I stuffed another onion ring into my mouth.
Dessert was a tough choice. Everything was made in house and there was a lot to choose from: double chocolate cake, pecan pie, pineapple upside down cake, dreamsicle cake, carrot cake, apple pie, apple dumplins, blueberry pie, coconut cream pie, peach pie, and chocolate pie. I settle on the apple pie and he said, "Do you want it on a hot skilled with chocolate sauce, ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry?"
Why yes, yes I did.
It was good that we had eaten ourselves into a near coma at Billy Ray's because there wasn't much else to do. We strolled through a couple of shops before heading to our lodging for the night.
Prestonsburg had 2 choices: a low end hotel/motel or the Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. So, Jenny Wiley it was. Named after a pioneer woman who was captured by indians and endured the murders of her children and 11 months of captivity before escaping and returning home to KY, this was a right pretty little park. A small lake was surrounded by mountains. There was a rustic lodge with a restaurant and in the summer, a theater that has regular shows that are supposed to be pretty good. We chose a small cabin and we were pleasantly surprised. The cabins were basic, but were cute, clean, warm and had everything we needed. And it was only $80 a night.
It had snowed before we arrived and the cabin was snuggled down in puffy white snow. We spent the afternoon cuddled up with blankets and good books. After a bit, we drove through the park all the way to the Dewey Dam. It has a very pretty, small lake and what appeared to be some pleasant hiking trails.
I had brought a bottle of wine with us, but forgot the opener. That's when Matt decided to use a butcher knife to get it open. Folks...do not try this at home.
Nothing says "ROMANCE" like plastic glasses of wine on a fake log table.
We had decided on a "big night out." We'd hit the Strand Twin, the movie theater with 2 screens and just a few more seats. They had shows at 7:00 and 9:00. If you wanted to see one at any other time, well you were just out of luck. We hit the 7:00 showing of The Green Hornet, since we had already seen the other movie. I was thrilled that they still use old fashioned buckets no matter what size popcorn you got, unlike most theaters now that use flimsy paper bags. Bucket of popcorn in hand, we went and saw ourselves a movie.
I especially loved their movie poster. Particularly the fact that they took the time to put it inside the lighted case.
After the movie, we went to Reno's Roadhouse to throw some peanuts on the floor and eat a good steak. Reno's may not be fancy, but they had amazing yeast rolls and a very tender filet. And I really like throwing peanut shells on the floor.
We turned in late at the Jenny Wiley. The towels were thick and had been washed so many times they were soft, like the towels at my Grandmother Shaffield's house when I was kid that were mustard yellow and that she'd had since 1961. The beds were soft and the sheets clean. The pillows were fluffy and there were plenty of them. What more could you ask for?
On Sunday morning, I made coffee and hot chocolate and we lingered in our cabin as long as we could. When check-out time rolled around, we drove back to "downtown" Prestonsburg for a late breakfast/early lunch.
We were tempted by the Dairy Cheer that was apparently home of the Smashburger, but we ended up at Jerry's because we both really wanted breakfast.
Jerry's was like stepping back into my childhood. Light 70's tunes were playing and the orange vinyl decor was gleaming like it was brand new. Coffee came with only sugar, there was no artificial sweetener on the table. I felt like it was 1977 and I was having Sunday breakfast with my mom and dad. It was awesome.
The coffee was good and hot and the breakfast was as good as granny used to make: scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, and two fluffy biscuits with gravy. No wonder Jerry's has been in business for about 50 years.
As noon rolled around, it was time to say good-bye to Prestonsburg. No, it's not Midtown Manhattan, and yes, it's in the middle of nowhere, but it still had something to offer. Prestonsburg is proof that no matter where you go, you can have a good time if you set your mind to it.
Prestonsburg made me nostalgic for a simpler, easier time. It reminded me of a blend of visits to my grandmothers house, of vacations with my parents in our old Buick where a plain motel with an outdoor pool was magic, of summer camp with rustic cabins filled with polyester bedspreads and soft blankets. It reminded me of times before I became used to sushi and $15 cocktails, when the best meal I could imagine was a juicy cheeseburger and an ice cold coke. It reminded me of popcorn in buckets and movie seats that didn't recline and theaters with walls so thin that you sat giggling with your friends because you could hear the movie next door and when a fun night didn't involve anything more than roller skating and ice cream. It made me miss days when I wore more sneakers than stilettos and a big night out only needed to include Shoney's hot fudge cake.
I think next time, we'll have a Smashburger and play some bingo.