A Tour of the Cumberland Plateau, a full day excursion (maybe two).
(approximately 2hr drive to Rugby from Whitestone)
There is a lot to see in this part of Tennessee and Kentucky. On this trip you will visit some beautiful and historic sites in Appalachia. It’s all part of the relatively new Big South Fork River and Recreation Area. The area received this designation in March of 1974. Included in your day out should be a visit to the town of Rugby. Rugby is a turn of the century utopian community founded by Thomas Hughes. The community was comprised of a group of English “second sons”. The community failed but the buildings remain, most restored to authentic Elizabethan grandeur.
Your trip from the Whitestone Tennessee Bed and Breakfast will take you through the gorge of the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River. You will see wonderful rock formations of all types. You may opt to take a train trip and visit an interpretive mining community.
It’s really going to be hard to see it in one day. You may want to plan on a second day to see what you miss on the first day.
Points of Interest:
- Rugby. A Victorian Village
- Twin Arches. A majestic double stone arch. A short hike in.
- Big South Fork Scenic Railway (May – Early November) Ride the train to the Blue Herron Mine.
- River Gorge. Carved out by the river.
- Blue Heron Mine. An impressive interpretation center telling the story of Appalachian coal mining. Highly recommended.
- Horseback riding
- Plan on an early start, you have a packed day.
- You may wish to take a picnic. Let us know the day before and we can have it ready for you at breakfast. There are no food concessions in the park.
- Water and/or drinks
- Daypack. We can loan you one.
- Swim suit. ( In season)
- Towels (If you plan on swimming)
- Hiking boots or shoes. (If you are so inclined)
- If you want to ride the train, call for schedule. Season is May – Early November. Phone is (800) 462-5664.
- It’s likely that you will be back past dinnertime. If you have reservations for dinner you might want to consider eating before you get back to Whitestone. Please let the office know if this is the case.
- Have an early breakfast and pick-up your picnic basket if you ordered one. Tell your server and they will get it for you.
Getting Going and Itinerary:
- Turn left out of Whitestone onto Paint Rock Road.
- At Hwy. 72 turn right and go to Hwy 58.
- Turn right onto Hwy 58 and follow it to I-40.
- Take I-40 West, 6 miles to the Harriman Exit. Exit and turn right onto Hwy. 27 North.
- Stay on Hwy. 58 for approximately 20 miles until you come to Hwy. 52. Turn left onto Hwy. 52 and go 5 miles to Rugby.
- You are in the town of Rugby. Visit the chapel. Our Tennessee Wedding chapel at Whitestone is patterned after this chapel. Visit the Thomas Hughes Library. It has the second best collection of Elizabethan literature in the world. Scholars come here from all over the world to study and do research. There are some shops and eating-places as well.
- Weather permitting, take a swim at “The Gentlemen’s Swimming Hole”. There are signs showing the way. Ladies, you can swim there also unless you hold to Victorian principles.
- After a couple of hours consider getting back on the road. Go back to Hwy. 27 and head north to the town of Oneida. It’s now choice time:
- If you are going to ride the train and/or go to Blue Herron Mine, you will stay on Hwy. 27 to Stearns, KY.
- If you are not you will need to turn left/west onto Hwy. 297 in Oneida. This will take you to the river gorge, Twin Arches, and Bandy Creek Stables and Visitors Center.
Train and Mine Option:
If you are going to ride the train and/or visit the mine, stay on Hwy. 27 N. It is 20 miles from Oneida to the town of Stearns, KY. In Stearns, follow the signs to the Big South Fork Scenic Railway. If you are on schedule, you can ride the train to the mine. The train is great fun and quite often the crew entertains you with Bluegrass. Otherwise, follow the signs down to The Blue Herron Mine. It’s a short drive.
When you depart the mine/railroad, go back south on Hwy. 27 to Oneida and take Hwy. 297 West.
- Follow Hwy. 297 West to the entrance of The Big South Fork Recreation Area. It is around 12 miles from Oneida to the entrance.
- Once inside the park you will come to East Rim Overlook on your left. Drive to the parking lot and walk the short trail to the fenced overlook. It’s majestic. See the road to your right? In a minute you will follow that road down into the gorge and back up the other side. Be extra careful if it’s wet or icy.
- Back to Hwy. 297 and turn left. When you get to the bottom of the gorge stop at Leatherwood Crossing. There is a nice river walk.
- Out of the parking lot and turn right. You will climb out of the gorge going west. At the top of the rim you will see a sign pointing to Bandy Creek. Follow the signs and stop at the visitor’s center. The rangers here are great. There is also a stable and you can rent horses. Watch your time.
- When you leave, look at the time. You are about two and one half-hours from Whitestone. Try and work in Twin Arches. If time does not permit, come back tomorrow.
- Go back to Hwy. 297 and turn right/west. Follow Hwy. 297 to Hwy. 154. If you have time, (allow 2.5 hours) turn right onto Hwy. 297 toward Twin arches. If time does not permit, turn left onto Hwy. 154 towards Jamestown. This is the way back to Whitestone.
If you are going to Twin Arches:
Follow Hwy. 154 north for 3-4 miles. You will see a gravel road on your right with signage for “Twin Arches and Charet Hostel”. Take this road and follow it to the Twin Arches parking lot. Be careful, this is a narrow curving road. At the Twin Arches parking lot follow the short trail to the arches. There are some steep steps. If you are in moderate to average physical condition you should not have any problem.
When you get back to your vehicle, go back the way you came and stay on Hwy. 154 South.
- Follow Hwy. 154 South to the town of Jamestown. Jamestown is the home of Sergeant Alvin York. You probably won’t make it back for dinner tonight. There are several restaurants in Jamestown and quite a few in Crossville.
- In Jamestown pick up Hwy. 127 South and follow it to Crossville. It’s about 40 miles.
- In Crossville take I-40 East towards Knoxville. Take the Kingston, TN exit for Hwy. 58 South.
- Follow Hwy. 58 South to Hwy. 72 East. Take Hwy. 72 East to Paint Rock and turn left onto Paint Rock Road. You’re almost “home”.
- We’ll keep a candle burning for you.