By Toni W. Riley
While flip-flops and T-shirts have given way to tie-up shoes and jackets, there’s still plenty of good weather and good temperatures to have an outdoor family outing.
There are several excellent day trips for families to get outside, enjoy each other’s company and talk about the upcoming holidays.
The Hopkinsville Greenway, better known as the Rail Trail, has an entrance at North Drive with a parking lot and map leading visitors to a bridge at Pardue Lane. The greenway is a scenic space for walking, biking, running and other outdoor activities. The trail travels northwest and concludes later at the Hopkinsville-Christian County Public Library near the downtown area.
If you want to see scenic sights across the Tennessee line, visit the 4.6-mile Clarksville Greenway, which has a trailhead at the end of Pollard Road.
Pack a picnic lunch and travel 10 miles east of Hopkinsville to Jefferson Davis Monument State Historic Site. The park has picnic tables, a shelter and a playground for youngsters to enjoy.
The recently renovated 351-foot obelisk constructed on a foundation of solid Kentucky limestone marks the site, and an elevator to the top gives visitors a picturesque view of Christian and Todd counties while they learn about Davis.
Another great picnic spot with excellent hiking trails is Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park. The park has several hiking trails that provide different levels of difficulty and a chance to enjoy fall foliage, scenic views and possible animal sightings. The park also has horse, mountain bike and canoe trails.
Apples and pumpkins are available in the fall and a make for a fun family outing at a U-Pick orchard or pumpkin patch. Spending time picking apples helps children learn where their food comes from. Then take the apples home and enjoy the fruits of the family’s labor making pies, jelly and applesauce or just eating. Pumpkins make perfect fall décor or use them to make pies, jams or jellies this Thanksgiving.
For a directory of U-Pick orchards in Kentucky, visit www.kentuckytourism.com/things_to_do/agritourism.aspx and Tennessee at www.picktnproducts.org
Land Between the Lakes has the Woodlands Nature Station, the Elk and Bison Prairie, the Homeplace and Planetarium — all of which offer a variety of activities for a beautiful, fall fun day. There are also hiking, biking, camping, fishing and picnicking.
Special programs can be found on the calendar of events at www.landbetweenthelakes.us/calendar/
The most nostalgic part of all these outings is to simply enjoy the drive. While traveling down country roads, roll down the windows and enjoy the sights. sounds and smells of fall harvest and planting on the rich farmland of the area. There will be whiffs of dark tobacco being smoked and farmers preparing fields and planting wheat for next year’s harvest. Just be sure to put up the video games, turn down the music and take it all in.
By Toni W. Riley