The McCoys of Kentucky
and The Country Music Highway
3 Days | Spring | Summer | Fall
Starting At $Flexible Pricing
Come learn about the McCoy Feud from the Kentucky side of the line, listen to a storyteller on the Country Music Highway, discover the roots of Bluegrass, enjoy dinner from a Moonlit balcony one night and learn about the Moonshine process while eating a stolen pig dinner the next.
Day 1 – Pikeville – Grand Canyon of The South – Coal, Railroads, Hatfield & McCoy History
Local touring begins this afternoon when you meet your local storyteller at Breaks Interstate Park, aka “The Grand Canyon of the South.” Here, on the Kentucky/Virginia State line, 180 million years ago, a vast inland sea receded, leaving in its wake a veritable cradle of botany. Carving out an immense, spectacular gorge, renowned as the largest east of the Mississippi your storyteller will point out fractal ferns, galax, colts foot, tea berries and a profusion of fungi and moss species dot an undergrowth of rich greens with their bright yellows, oranges and pinks.
Next the Big Sandy Heritage Museum provides a unique perspective on Appalachian Culture and history. There are exhibits on Daniel Boone and early explorers. Coal & Railroad history and the effect of industry on the land and people. As well as artifacts from the Hatfield & McCoy Feud, a war between two Appalachian mountaineer families that attracted nationwide attention in the 1880s and ’90s.
The origins of the feud are obscure. Some attribute it to hostilities formed during the Civil War in which the McCoys were Unionists and the Hatfields were Confederates, others to Rand’l McCoy’s belief that a Hatfield stole one of his hogs in 1878. The animosity built with occasional fights until the first major bloodletting in 1882, when Ellison Hatfield was mortally wounded in a brawl with McCoys. Then in revenge, the Hatfields kidnapped and executed three McCoy brothers—Tolbert, Pharmer, and Randolph, Jr.
This evening with the sun setting over the forested hills of Coal Country you enjoy an Appalachian Mountain Dinner: traditional Southern Fried Chicken, Sliced Beef in Gravy, Red Skin Mashed Potatoes, Southern style Green Beans and Apple Pie a la mode. This is accompanied by a local Bluegrass Band from up the holler, whose sole mission this evening is to make your toes tap, hands clap and head bounce in rhythm. You’re gonna hear that good ol Mountain Music, just like Grandma and Grandpa used to play. (D)
Day 2 – Country Music Highway – Mountain Home Place – Loretta Lynn’s Butcher Holler – Stolen Pig Dinner
Tracing the length of Eastern Kentucky, the Country Music Highway is devoted to the rich musical heritage and history of this region. You will be immersed in mountain music stories as you tour an area that has been home to over a dozen well-known country music stars, including Naomi Judd, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam, and Patty Loveless. Beginning at the Country Music Highway Museum where exhibits offer insights into the childhood of these musical legends. Then you set out on tour to discover the simpler time and lyrical place where they grew up.
Your next stop is the Mountain Home Place, a historical learning experience with unique buildings from the 1850s. Discover the blacksmith shops, barns and cabins, livestock in pastures framed by split rail fencing, gardens with heritage crops, interpreters in period costumes demonstrating and discussing early farm life. You will find a shop with wonderful Appalachian crafts, seasonal produce, painted gourds, hand-sewn dolls, children’s toys and a selection of homemade quilts on sale. In addition there is an award winning film that details the life and history of the early settlers.
We were poor but we had love
That’s the one thing that daddy made sure of
He shoveled coal to make a poor man’s dollar
At the end of the day’s tour, your group will visit the Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery. They invite you to explore the regions rich history and culture of brewing and distilling. You will receive tokens for tasting then enjoy a catered Stolen Pig Dinner with all the trimmings. This is a tongue-in-cheek celebration to the famous feud (No Shooting Allowed) and your meal is again accompanied by live Bluegrass Music. (B,D)
Day 3 – Ground Zero of the Feud – Historic Hog Trial Site – McCoy Well and Homesite
A half day sightseeing tour awaits before you start home. First stop is Ground Zero of the Hatfield & McCoy Feud, the site of the Historic Hog Trial. This historic Log Cabin was not only the site of the Feud’s beginning, but it was here that Johnse Hatfield (son of Devil Anse) had a chance meeting with Roseanne McCoy and their tragic romance began. This is also the site of the McCoy Cemetery and the burial place of the three McCoy Brothers killed at the Paw Paw Massacre.
One more stop this morning is at the McCoy Well and Homesite where Randolph McCoy and his family lived. Here one of his sons and a daughter were killed and his wife was nearly beat to death in an attack by the Hatfields on New Years Day in 1888 . Visitors to the site can drink from the well and will find this to be a unique photo stop. Afterwards you group returns to Pikeville for a quick lunch on own then you depart for home.