Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in Review

It is hard for me to believe that another year is drawling to a close. 2008 was a year of challenge with fire, extreme weather, crazy gas prices, and a slow national economy. Despite these challenges, our visitors, volunteers, and business community made it a good year for Grand Rivers.

In March Grand Rivers sponsored the fifth Annual LBL ultra Run with the West Kentucky Runners Club. We expected record attendance for the event and ended up with record low temperatures and snow. The winter storm closed down most of Western Kentucky, but the runners wanted to run. We had an event planned and people that wanted to come so we were going to make it happen. Almost 300 runners battled the elements to complete the race. All of our Chamber volunteers were on hand to help; despite the weather. The West Kentucky Runners Club is a remarkable group to work with and the community of Grand Rivers and our volunteers continue to amaze me.

In April the community of Grand Rivers lost the Iron Kettle Restaurant to fire. The Kettle was a Grand Rivers landmark. The Kettle stood on site of the historic Boston Block building which was also destroyed by fire in the 1940s. Six area fire stations responded to the call; Grand Lakes, Princeton, Eddyville, Kuttawa, Smithland and Ledbetter. The community of Grand Rivers owes a huge debt to these brave individuals who fought through fire, smoke and 25 mile an hour winds to contain the fire and saved the adjoining buildings.

Due to gas prices and the economy we directed our marketing dollars and public relations efforts close to home. The local media supported our efforts and our visitors came in record numbers over the summer. The summer also brought plenty of activity with a new Farmers Market, the Lighted Boat Parade, Kids Free Fishing event, Street Dances, and a huge August Marina Day Celebration at our Marinas. All organized by HUNDREDS of volunteer hours, and supported by contributions from the Chamber, the Commonwealth Yacht Club, Patti’s, Green Turtle Bay Resort, Lighthouse Landing Resort, Variety, Grand Rivers City government, and our entire community.

Despite the economy, our Chamber volunteers also raised over $4,000 this year for Breast Cancer, the Heart Association, City Beautification Committee, the Chamber Scholarship fund and more.

The fall was busy with the 1st Kentucky Commonwealth Cup race, the 30th Anniversary of the Hunters Moon Fall Festival, and the first year for the Grand Rivers Storytelling Event. We celebrated November and December with a record number of lights and a record number of visitors to the Variety Christmas Spectacular.

It was a good year for Grand Rivers. Thank you to our visitors, our community, the Chamber, and our businesses. You made it happen. Happy New Year to All!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

P Jammin'

When Christmas and New Year’s fall mid-week; what do you celebrate on the weekend in-between?
Our thought was Pajama Party!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Calling All Runners

Registration is open for the sixth annual Grand Rivers/Land Between the Lakes Marathon Trail runs scheduled for Saturday, March 14, 2009.

Four events will run simultaneously, 23k, marathon, 60K ultra, and 50 mile trail runs. The races will start and finish in Grand Rivers with the bulk of the run on the Canal Loop Trail in Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.

Participation will be limited to 400 runners, and interested runners are encouraged to register now. For entry fees, complete information and on-line registration; visit the event website at, or email Steve Durbin at

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Grand Rivers Jetty Pictures

I've had two requests for jetty pictures this morning. One from my post on Southern Living Readers Choice Awards, and one from an ilistpaducah reader. I'll add jetty pictures to the Grand Rivers website after the first of the year, but the quickest way to share them is to post them here -

Merry Christmas to All from Grand Rivers

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The First Dance

These pictures capture a magical moment in the lives of my best friends; Pat and JT. Thank you to Sharon for capturing the moment and to Pat for sharing them with me.

Did they just get married? No, they have been married for over 40 years. Was this the first dance together after over 40 years? No, they danced often, and beautifully. Are they celebrating an anniversary? No, they are celebrating life, just like they do every day.

JT had a stroke in September and every day they work together on his recovery. Every day they get one baby step closer to the goal. This was their first dance since September.

Want to know the steps to this dance? I watched my friend Pat and I can share them with you. Start with a strong foundation of love, compassion and communication. Don’t keep score. Give selflessly. Next, trust your partner. Know that the dance may not always be smooth but you will always have each other to lean on. Hold tight to each other in times of fear and pain and find strength in your partnership. Celebrate the little things and laugh often. Be a good friend and you will find yourself surrounded by supportive friends. And if he ever does anything irritating, step on his toes and pretend it was on accident (ok, this last step is part of my dancing skills).

I am amazed by their strength, courage, and love. I am honored to call them my friends. Love you guys,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Southern Living Readers Showing the Love for Grand Rivers

Wow. Grand Rivers has placed in TWO categories in the 2008 Southern Living Readers Choice Awards. The Grand Rivers Jetty is number 4 in the Most Scenic View Category. Grand Rivers is number 8 in the Best Small Town Category.
I don’t know how many people voted, but I do know that with a population of about 350, we are the smallest town (village) on the list. Thank you to all of our visitors and citizens that voted. We are feeling the love in Grand Rivers.

Here is the link to the info -

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas

This morning it is cold and icy in town. A few cars are out but they are moving slow. I’m moving slow too. I’m nursing a cold and have been for a couple of days, so I’ll keep this weekend review short and sweet and then go home and nap.
Saturday was Miss Linda’s annual Community Christmas breakfast and neither my cold nor the 8:00 am start time could keep me away. Linda embodies everything I love about Grand Rivers. She is outgoing and warm hearted. She was one of the first to welcome me to Grand Rivers when I moved here. She is also high spirited and full of pluck. I love her jokes. Visit her at Canoe Antiques, and you will love her too. At breakfast we said farewell to Marie, another long time resident of Grand Rivers. She will be moving soon to be closer to her children and she will be missed.
Sunday was the Chamber Holiday Open House. The hand bell choir from the Grand Rivers First Baptist Church performed magical Christmas harmonies on the bells.
My personal highlight of the weekend was a surprise gift from a friend. Now, I’m not much on receiving gifts. I’m hard to buy for because I don’t think there is anything I need and most of the time I would rather people just save their money. I’m not much on surprises either, but I LOVED LOVED this particular surprise gift. So may I close in saying, Thank you, thank you Susan for the frog pajamas. Neither my mom nor my husband will be able to outdo this gift…maybe even for years to come.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Today is my wedding anniversary. Tonight my husband and I are going to dinner with friends. Tonight is also the Grand Rivers City Council meeting and they are swearing in the new candidates for 2009-2010, and the thing is I would really like to go. I know if I told my husband that I was going to spend our anniversary evening at city hall his response would be something like this, “Every day we spend together is a celebration so go. I’ll cook and have a late dinner waiting when you get home”. No lie. That is precisely why that even though I want to go to the council meeting, I want to spend time with him even more. Because every day we spend together is a celebration and I don’t want to miss a minute of it.
I hope someone gets pictures of the swearing in for me. I will be at dinner with my husband.

Another Wow Grand Rivers Weekend

It was another wow weekend in Grand Rivers. Friday night we went to the Variety Christmas Spectacular with friends (our second time to see the show- I love it). If you haven’t seen the Christmas show, make your plans now. It is a must see for the holiday season in Grand Rivers.

Saturday night was the Sailboat Lighting contest at Lighthouse Landing Marina and Resort. My husband and I were the judges and with all of the great decorations and bribes, it was a challenge to choose the winners. The celebration included all my favorites; Christmas lights, friends, music, food, bribes, and beverage. My camera did not work in the cold, but you can see pictures and a review of the event on sail boater Leslie Moore’s blog here. If you visit Grand Rivers to see the Festival of Lights, make sure you drive by Lighthouse Landing and see these dazzling decorations.

We finished the evening with a stop at the Commonwealth Yacht Club Christmas Party where we were entertained by Miss Dawn and the Misters.

I love the holidays.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm Looking for a Bail Out

So if the big three can ask Congress for billions; surely I can ask my friends for a couple of ideas, right?
As the new recording secretary for the Commonwealth Yacht Club I am responsible for sending out agendas and take minutes. No problem. The officers are also encouraged to write articles for the Green Turtle Bay Resort and Marina publication, The NautiNews. Well, the articles for January are due on the 10th of this month, and I still don’t know what to write about. Most of the club's offices lead naturally into a story. As the leader of the club, the Commodore can write about his plans for the new year. As the cruise organizer, the Fleet Captain can talk about all the activities he has planned for the year. So how do I take the duties of a record keeper and spin it into a fun story on boating and the new year? Throw me a line please.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm a Fan of Patience

O.k., so not the kind of patience that means you have to wait for something. I have been known to yell at the coffee pot for taking too long.

I am a fan of writer Patience Renzulli. She is an author, blogger, WKMS commentator and mother to nine blue-ribbon-winning Whippets. She is also a guest writer on ilistpaducah where this week she featured the Friends of LBL Adopt an Elk or Bison program. Thank you Patience! Read her story here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hotties off the Press

The 2009 Men of Grand Rivers Calendars are now at the printers, and will be available for sale at the Chamber Holiday Open House. The Open House is Sunday, December 14, at the Senior Community Center from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. EVERYONE is invited. The price of the Calendar is $15 and all proceeds go to the Chamber City Beautification Fund. A big thank you goes to all of our models for donating their time and talent to our beautification fundraiser. One look through the calendar and you will agree that these cuties definitely add to the beauty of Grand Rivers. Make sure you attend the Chamber Holiday Open House and purchase your calendar. The Chamber printed 50 copies and once they are gone they are gone!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Blame it on Momma

If you have noticed my lack of posts over the last week, you can blame my mother. She came to visit and so I have been busy enjoying home cooked meals, shopping excursions, and family time. Although she is not officially a local character, she is a character so if you are reading this you will meet her anyway.
My mom has the best laugh in the whole world. It is a cross between a deep belly chuckle and a giggle. And that eye twinkling thing that Santa does; well he learned that from my mom. He did not however learn the suit covered with ashes and soot thing from her because she is always impeccably dressed.
My mom is a good listener but never judges so you can tell her anything. She wants my life to be stress free and will offer to do all my worrying for me.
She is a master in the kitchen where her repartee features southern comfort food (my fav) and lots of it.
She is also a shopper extraordinaire. She can help you find things on sale that you never even knew you needed.
If she wasn’t my mom, she would still be my friend because she is so much fun to hang out with.
She thinks I am smart, beautiful, funny, and a good person. She wants me to be happy. She wants me to be the best I can be. She thinks that with just a little lipstick (“to add a little color”) that I would be perfect.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas in Grand Rivers

The Christmas lights are amazing. Even a little rain did not put a damper on the weekend in Grand Rivers. My pictures were not the best. Thankfully, Danielle with Green Turtle Bay did get some good pictures. Here is one she shared with me.
Joi with Genuine Kentucky was also in town this weekend. You can read her review of Variety! Christmas Spectacular here -

Friday, November 14, 2008

Grand Rivers Festival of Lights

Patti's turns on the lights tonight! The gospel group Eternal Vision plays at the gazebo behind Patti's at 5:30 and the lights come on around 6:00. This is one of my favorite nights of the year in Grand Rivers. My mom and my son are in town and both will be joining us tonight. The gang is meeting at about 5:00 in front of Anna's Coffee Shop. I can't wait.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cooler than a Puppy

Not to be outdone by last week’s news of the pending Obama puppy, I will be surprising my friends and family with an American Bison for Christmas. Yep, if you wake up with one of these adorable creatures under your tree or peeking out of your stocking, you will have me to thank for it.

You should get bison for your friends for Christmas too. A bison is way cooler than a puppy. A bison is a patriotic gift. They are an icon of American history and have appeared on flags and coins. They are also the largest land animal in North America and big gifts make you look like a big spender.

Ok. So I do realize that bison are dangerous and unpredictable wild animals. Poetic license aside, what my friends and family will actually receive on Christmas morning, is a cute plush stuffed animal representing an adopted bison through the Friends of LBL Association.

The Friends of LBL is a non-profit organization that assists with the education, improvement, and conservation of the USDA Forest Service’s Land Between the Lakes. The friends are offering a new program where you can adopt a symbolic bison or elk. The cost is $30, plus a shipping charge if the package is mailed, for each animal adopted. With the adoption you receive a cute plush elk or bison tagged for the year you adopted it, an adoption certificate; and an information piece about elk or bison, depending on which you adopted. You also receive a collage picture of elk or bison, an Elk-Bison prairie brochure and a token for a free admission to the prairie.

The proceeds from the adoption go to Friends of LBL and support environmental education, conservation activities, and programs in the Elk-bison prairie of Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. A unique gift and a good cause! It is the “Tickle me Elmo” for outdoor enthusiasts.

The adopt a bison or elk program is brand new. They will be in Friends of LBL gift shops before Thanksgiving or you can order them through the Friends Administrative offices. For more information or to order, contact . For more information on Friends of LBL, visit their website at

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fond Farewell

On Saturday night the gang met up at our house to say farewell to (and Happy Birthday to) more boater friends; Frank and Cindy. Frank and Cindy arrived in Grand Rivers in the spring sporting glowing tans and long blonde hair. We called them the Vikings. The marina assigned them a slip on pier 6 and “Mayor” Pat took them under her wing. Frank and Cindy live every day to the fullest. They are a welcome addition to Green Turtle Bay and Grand Rivers. They volunteered on Marina Day, cooked for Tuesday night clubs, participated in cruising club and CYC events, and added to the fun of summer with all their enthusiasm. We laughed. We cried. We now call them friends and will miss them over the winter. Frank and Cindy shared with me this letter to express what these few short summer months meant to them.

“In October 2006 we arrived at Green Turtle Bay; one of the “must stops” when doing the Great Loop. We were traveling with another boat and we planned to stay one night and then move on. Well, all of us had such a great time that we stayed four days. Since then, we have always talked about our great experience at Green Turtle Bay.

Due to Hurricane insurance, we have to be north of the 35 parallel by the first of June. We started thinking of all of the nice places we visited when doing the loop. Well, Green Turtle Bay popped into our minds and we thought it would be a great place to spend a few summer months. What a great choice it turned out to be.

We arrived in April on a windy rain filled day. As we were tying up at our designated slip on Pier 6, we were welcomed by the “Mayor” of Pier 6; Pat Terry and her faithful companion Luke. As the days went on the mayor introduced us to everyone on Pier 6 and to others from piers 12, 5 and 4. We were overwhelmed by the kindness of everyone. We joined the Commonwealth Yacht Club and participated in many of the events throughout the summer. There is so much to do at Green Turtle Bay there was never a dull moment.

To try and find all of the right words to express our memories and new experiences of the past several months would be a challenge, but here are a few; awesome, overwhelming, fun, learning, relaxing, and enjoyable. By far this was the best stop in our three years of boat travel. We have so many special thank yous to give to all. To try and list everyone by name would take another six pages so to everyone a big THANK YOU.

Over the summer our pet of 7 years, Diamond passed away. Our hearts were empty. The kindness and compassion of our new friends helped us get through this difficult time and we will never forget any of you.

Winter is moving in and it is time to go south. We would like to thank the entire Green Turtle Bay staff for all of your friendly smiles, and help with whatever we needed. The Gary’s for having the foresight to build such a beautiful resort for boaters. And once again to everyone we have met, Thank you so much. All your warm hearted and thoughtfulness is what makes Green Turtle Bay in Grand Rivers, KY one of the finest boating area’s around. See you in the spring. Have a safe and happy new year. “

Frank and Cindy Staffe

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Boater Friends

About this time of year in Grand Rivers we start seeing many of our boater friends migrate south. Last night we met our friends Jay and Owe at the Commonwealth Yacht Club for their seasonal farewell. Also present were Pat, Jerry, Diane, Marcia, Stu, Diane, Cindy and Frank (did I mention that I am the new recording secretary for CYC).

As another boating season draws to a close, I reflect back to the memories of this season and past seasons that bonded us as friends. Tuesday night dinner clubs at the Green Turtle Bay Pavilion, get-togethers on the pier, parties at the Yacht Club; all are more fun when Jay and Owe are in town. I have never once seen Jay in a bad mood. She has a genuine concern for others and always asks me how my son or mom is doing. Whenever you invite her somewhere the response is, “What can I bring!” She is always ready to help and she has one of the best laughs I have ever heard. What I like most about Owe is his quick wit and one liners. I am privileged to call them friends. To Jay and Owe, thank you for your friendship, travel safe, have a warm winter, and we will see you back in Grand Rivers in the spring.

And in Other Election News...

Congratulations to Mark Sunderman and all of the new 2009 Green Turtle Bay Commonwealth Yacht Club board members and officers (and by "all", I mostly mean me and my best friend Pat :). Click on the article to read the full story.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

You Go Girls!

O.K. So I didn’t get the chance to vote for Hillary yesterday, but I did get the chance to vote for three AMAZING women in Grand Rivers. In our local election, nine candidates ran for six City Council seats. And the 2009 – 2010 Grand Rivers City Council Members are (ladies first of course)……

Brenda Lady
Dianne Bingham
Pat Gorbett
Bud Hunt
Frank Buchanon
Bill Huffman

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Weekend in Review

On the weekends, I become a tourist in my own town. This weekend the weather was gorgeous and the events were all about friends and celebration here in Grand Rivers.
Friday night we celebrated Halloween with friends at the Commonwealth Yacht Club Halloween Party. Saturday morning was spent downtown working on Christmas decorations with Chamber volunteers (thank you to Pat, Jack, Martha, Lauren, Clinton, and TJ for all your hard work on Saturday). Saturday night was the 25th Anniversary of the Friends of LBL Dinner. Sunday was our last breakfast of the season at Docker’s Restaurant (they will reopen in the spring), and the maiden voyage of the Frog’s Pajamas (our new old boat). Thank you to our friends Pat, Jerry, Cindy, and Frank. Without you all, I don’t think we would have made it out of the dock.
I think I will let the pictures tell the details as I need to get to work...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Behind the Scenes at the Grand Rivers Festival of Lights

Visit Grand Rivers from mid-November through December and you will witness the splendor of the Holiday Festival of Lights. It is pure magic. Ever wonder what it takes to make the magic?

For Patti’s 1880’s Settlement employees, the work starts in September. Patti’s has five fulltime employees on grounds crew, plus two fulltime decorators indoors. The Patti’s staff starts by reviewing the inventory of lights and decorations, planning out the displays and new purchases, and then organizing the work.

The crew checks over 70,000 strands of lights and 10,000 decorations, replacing bulbs and refurbishing where needed. Owner Mike Tullar plays an active role in organizing the work. He also does the shopping for new lights and displays. The grounds crew hangs all the lights and outdoor displays, while the decorators and retail employees are busy decorating Patti’s Restaurant and stores. Jackson Purchase Electric Cooperative provides a key element; the loan of a bucket truck to hang the higher outdoor decorations. Jackson Purchase is also a financial sponsor for the event.
All together, Patti’s employees spend over 2,500 hours and hang over 500,000 lights and install over 10,000 decorations.

I want to thank Mike and the Tullar family, Ricky, Chris, and all of the employees of Patti’s for creating the magic for thousands of people to enjoy.

This year the Festival of Lights kicks off on Friday, November 14. It is one of my favorite nights of the year in Grand Rivers. Eternal Vision, a gospel singing group will be performing. The festivities will begin about 5:30pm. Santa Claus and his elves will be there. The lights will be turned on at dusk and the Festival of Lights show will continue through the first week of January, 2009.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Meet the Pats

In this tiny community of 350 people, you will find special events and activities all throughout the year. The amazing thing is that most of our events are organized and manned with volunteers. We have a lot of great volunteers in Grand Rivers and topping the list are “the Pats”. The Pats enjoy working together and they make a great team. And, if it is happening in Grand Rivers, chances are the Pats are helping out. Here are the highlights of their 2008 contributions:

In February the Pats organized two events for National Heart Health Month and raised $880 for the American Heart Association. In March they Co-chaired the Chamber hospitality area for the Grand Rivers Ultra Run providing hot food and nutritious snacks for over 300 runners. In April they Co-Chaired the Grand Rivers Quilt Show. In May they organized a fashion show and raised over $500 for the Grand Rivers Chamber Scholarship Fund. In June the Pats volunteered for the Grand Rivers Free Kids Fishing Event. In August they volunteered for the National Marina Day festivities. In September they worked with Kentucky’s Western Waterlands on the Arts and Crafts festival and they raised over $1,400 for the Grand Rivers Chamber in concession sales. In October they Co-Chaired the Hunters Moon Committee, organized the Chamber Silent Auction fundraiser, and organized a breakfast for National Breast cancer awareness month that raised $900 for the American Cancer Society.

Hunters Moon Festival is all wrapped up and now we are getting ready for the Festival of Lights. The Pats (and other volunteers) are going to meet me downtown on the next two Saturdays and help with Christmas decorations. The Pats are also busy working on a 2009 Men of Grand Rivers Calendar to raise funds for the Chamber. You may also see them in November and December at the Badgett Playhouse where they volunteer as ushers.

And then in January, they will start over again. Thank goodness for volunteers and thank God for the Pats.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Welcome to Kentucky Lake Views

Welcome to my blog. I work, live, and play in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, the village between the lakes. I love this village and the lakes that surround us. Most of all I love the spirit of the people in this community. We are connected and we are accountable. We laugh, sometimes argue, and always look out for each other just like family. We find our common goals and work toward them. Some of our visitors do have the opportunity to meet our locals and connect with that spirit. For those of you who don’t, this blog is a peek inside our community.