"Pikeville - Part 1"
hrs on the road
When it came time to organize adventure #3, we already knew where we wanted to head to next. Pikeville is known not only for its gorgeous views created by the massive land moving project of the 70s-80s, but also for its friendly people, good food, and exciting activities. Since it was the middle of February, we knew that we’d have to focus more on staying cozy and spending time inside, but we loved our time there so much that we’re already planning to go back this summer for Pikeville Part Two and visit everything we didn’t get to on this first go ‘round.
What We Did
FAITH LIFE MARKET
After the team met up bright and early at the office, we piled into Chase and Kevin’s trucks and headed off to Faith Life Market. Here, we got some coffee and pastries for breakfast, while meeting Jared, who started the market. Natalie set up the camera and interviewed him, while the rest of us looked around the shop and talked to other customers. Soon after, we met up with Jeffery (the Business and Retention Manager of Pikeville) and Jill (the Executive Director of Economic Development in Pikeville), who would be our guides around the area for the day. We updated them on our game plan for the day and finished our breakfasts and headed out to our next stop.
Appalachian Wireless Arena
On our walk to the arena, we got a little distracted by the 10 Bears of Pikeville. There are several different bear statues around the city that have been painted by different local artists and they all represent something different. James was a big fan and made it his mission to take a picture with each one before we left.
We were welcomed into the Appalachian Wireless Arena by Josh, the Director of Sales and Marketing. He gave us the inside scoop on the arena- letting us check out the arena itself, taking us up to the conference room on the top floor, and then all the way back down to the basement to the green room, where music legends like Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton have hung out before their performances.
We were all getting pretty hungry by this point, so we knew it was time to head out for lunch!
After a short drive, we made it to the infamous dive that is Dairy Cheer. The owner, Chris, welcomed us inside to the colorful booths and we ordered lunch. We filled up on some classic American food, took some pictures, and headed back to downtown Pikeville.
BRIDGETT’S QUILTING AND FABRIC SHOP
Heading into the quilt shop and meeting Bridgette herself was a great way to start off our afternoon. We checked out her collection of quilting and sewing goods, met a couple of people taking a class from her, and heard Bridgette’s heart behind starting the store in Pikeville. Then, it was time to head to The Breaks!
BREAKS INTERSTATE PARK
After about a 45-minute drive, we made it up at Breaks Interstate Park, on the VA side. We connected with our park ranger guides, Austin and Daniel, and followed them to the Clinchfield overlook parking lot- but not before we could introduce Daniel to Ale-8! He’d never tried it before but called it “crisp” after one sip. (We think he’s a fan).
Easily one of the prettiest parks we’ve seen, the Breaks crosses over the Kentucky/Virginia state line. The hike from the parking lot to the overlook was a short one, but the views did not disappoint. We hung out there for a bit, but once it started to get dark, we knew it was time to go home. We said goodbye to the rangers and Jeffery, and headed back to our home base in Corbin, KY.
Who We Met
JEFFERY AND JILL, PIKEVILLE TOURISM EXPERTS
Jeffery was a huge help in planning out the itinerary for this episode and connected Sydney with the right people to plan the day out in advance. Jill was able to show us several extra places around the city that we wouldn’t have known about if it weren’t for her, and both she and Jeffery shared a lot of history with us that helped us tell this story even better.
JARED, FOUNDER/OWNER OF FAITH LIFE MARKET
Jared was easily one of the kindest people we’ve met, and it was awesome to hear about his heart behind starting FLM and seeing where and how he wants it to grow to impact the lives of others.
CALEB, PIKEVILLE MED STUDENT
Caleb just happened to be studying at the coffee shop when we came by, so we had the pleasure of meeting him and hearing about his experience living and learning in Pikeville.
JOSH, DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING AT ARENA
Josh was able to give us the inside scoop on everything about the Appalachian Wireless arena, which really showcased just how much the music and arts scene is celebrated there.
CHRIS, OWNER OF DAIRY CHEER
Chris really treated us like friends and fed us extremely well when we came by the diner for lunch. He has owned the restaurant for 27 years and has done an amazing job of keeping it exactly the same as it was when he first took over.
BRIDGETT, QUILTING GENIUS
Bridgette was so sweet! Even though she was in the middle of helping prep for a class when we came by, she made time to tell us all about both of her stores in Pikeville, as well as her desire to make quilting and sewing accessible for anyone that wants to learn.
AUSTIN AND DANIEL, BREAKS RANGERS
Austin and Daniel met us at the park entrance and gave us the low-down on the park’s specs, history, and sights. They knew the perfect overlook to show us and made sure we got all the best views in our drone footage.
What We Ate
At Faith Life Market, we enjoyed different traditional Greek pastries, baked fresh by Marianna Toumbourou and her food catering business, Greek Puff Bites. The coffee was also fantastic! James stuck with his classic iced vanilla latte, and several others followed that trend. Sydney ordered an iced hazelnut latte and Chase and Josh had the same idea and got caramel cinnamon bun lattes.
Since we went to Dairy Cheer on a Tuesday, we got to experience Tater Tuesday, which is a specialty consisting of soup beans, cornbread, fried potatoes, sauerkraut, and wieners. Josh and Jeffery ordered the special and described it as “good country cookin’. You can’t beat beans, cornbread, and fried potatoes.” The rest of the team ordered an assortment of burgers, curly fries, cheese bites, onion rings, and milkshakes.
Honestly, all of the food we ate on this trip was top notch, and we can’t wait to go back!
What We Saw
THE 10 BEARS OF PIKEVILLE
Across the city, there are these amazing bear statues that symbolize different aspects of the culture in and around Pikeville. A couple of our favorites were the Aurora Borealis bear and the Musical Movement bear.
OVERLOOK AND EVENT CENTER
After lunch, but before meeting Bridgett at the quilt shop, Jill led us up to the Pikeville event center, which gives viewers an incredible overlook view of the city and the river. All kinds of conferences, parties, events, and other gatherings are held here annually.
We spent a chunk of time just exploring downtown Pikeville and chatting with different store owners and curious residents. Jeffery was able to tell us about renovations going on close to the quilt shop and plans for revitalization of the local restaurant scene.
BREAKS INTERSTATE PARK
The Breaks are known as the “Grand Canyon of the South” and is one of only two interstate parks in the U.S. Getting to see mountain range and river views from the Clinchfield overlook was easily one of the coolest things we did, and we can’t wait to go back during Pikeville Part Two this summer!