Cumberland Falls and Traditions, Legends and Music of Appalachia

Based out of a hemlock beam lodge in Daniel Boone National Forest, explore Cumberland Falls and the surrounding region. Plus, learn about Appalachian culture through music and lectures.
Rating (4.9)
Program No. 6722RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Stand in awe of Kentucky’s Cumberland Falls, the “Niagara of the South,” and discover the wilderness beauty and natural history of the surrounding area. As unique as the landscape of this region is the culture of Appalachia — gain insights into the proud people here, their customs and culture, socioeconomic characteristics and personal stories. Learn about the geological structure that underlies the Appalachian Mountains.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to 1.5 miles per day; some uneven terrain and stairs. One hike on uneven, sometimes steep terrain. Elevations of 600-1300 feet. Walking/hiking sticks recommended.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • During expert-led talks and walks in Cumberland Falls State Park, absorb its natural beauty and learn about the flora and fauna of the forest.
  • Experience the traditions, legends and music that reflect the unique culture of Appalachia.
  • Gain an appreciation for the realities of working life in Appalachia — past, present and future.

General Notes

The Retreat Difference: This unique, often basic and no-frills experience at a Road Scholar Retreat includes opportunities for early morning exercise, interaction with the local community for insight into local life, an authentic farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, a live performance or event, and a single room to yourself for only $100 more (for many programs). Max of 50 participants, divided into groups for activities.
Featured Expert
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Deborah Thompson
A naturalized Appalachian, Deborah Thompson has recently completed her doctorate in geography at the University of Kentucky. Deborah first came to the North Carolina mountains as a graduate student and never left Appalachia. She has served as the director of Appalachian studies at Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky, and has had several positions with Berea College. Deborah has researched the music of Appalachia extensively and is an accomplished musician.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Stephen Hollen
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Deborah Thompson
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Bret Smitley
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Suggested Reading List
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