I’m often perplexed at how people view their own communities as boring and dead when I see them much differently … rife with opportunity and excitement. Brimming to the hilt with interesting places to go and things to do.
I guess just like sports, about 50 percent of the game of life is mental. You can think your way into negativity and failure the same way you can think your way to success and happiness. It’s all a state of mind.
I love this area. I moved here a dozen years ago to work for the newspaper. I’ve never regretted it. I’ve embraced its uniqueness and have often wondered what it would have been like to grow up here rather than in southern Indiana. Both have their charms.
The other day I overheard a young man complaining loudly about “there is nothing to do around here,” followed by the usual “this place sucks” comment. I always force myself to stay silent when I hear this all too common refrain. I don’t like to meddle.
I feel just the opposite about things, however. To me there is SO MUCH to do in this area; I am often bummed because I have neither the time nor energy to do it all. I want to experience everything.
The New Year is nearly upon us. I love resolutions. So resolve to do 10 things, locally, you may have never done before. I have some suggestions that range from free to relatively cheap that will keep you busy in 2009:
1. Get off the beaten path at Cumberland Falls – Everyone has seen the falls. But the park is more than just that one feature. There are miles and miles of well-maintained trails just waiting to be explored. I suggest the Blue Bend Loop or the Eagle Falls Loop. If you do the latter, split off the trail and visit Eagle Falls. It’s worth it. Oh, and take the opportunity to find a geocache I’ve hidden on the trail. Don’t know what I’m talking about, go to www.geocaching.com.
2. Check out some fine arts – The Fine Arts Association of Southeastern Kentucky, Inc. has had a mission for the last 47 years to bring top quality fine arts to our small communities. The concert series every year, which runs roughly from mid-August to April, is packed full of great shows. All of them are top notch. There are posters hanging everywhere with a schedule. The next show will be Hello, Dolly! The musical play starting Feb. 27.
3. Catch a flick at the Redhound Theater – It’s right in Corbin High School’s auditorium, but it has a real movie theater feel to it. The screen is huge and the sound system booms just the way I like. You can get a ticket, popcorn and a drink for less than $5! Showtimes are listed in the News Journal weekly, or call 526-6981.
4. Great college sports – Right now is a great time to catch a University of the Cumberlands basketball game. The men are ranked No. 1 in NAIA! The venue is a wonderful, and comfortable place to catch a game.
5. Check out one of those “other” sports – I think a lot of people only go to football and basketball teams. But all of our local high schools and colleges field teams in other sports like volleyball and soccer. I’ve attended many of these matches and they can be quite exciting. Check one out. You’ll feel good you supported a local team and they will be glad to have you.
6. Join the Rec Center – For the money, the Princess Vermillion McBurney Recreation Center in Corbin is a great buy. It gives you access to all kinds of good weight equipment, treadmills, a walking track, full gymnasium, table tennis, pool and other things.
7. Go to the library – I walked in the Whitley County Public Library the other day for the first time in years and was totally blown away! Both it and the Corbin Public Library offer a great selection of books, films, audiobooks and other media for free. And staff at each are always offering interesting programs for children and adults alike.
8. Catch a show at The Arena – That big thing on the hill in south Corbin, well there’s going to be some pretty big events going on there soon. Tickets are already on sale for comedian Larry the Cable Guy. Get them by going to www.ticketmaster.com
9. Museum tours – The Cumberland Inn in Williamsburg hosts two really cool museums, among others: The Henkelmann Life Science Collection and The Carl Williams Cross Museum. Admission to them is cheap ($4 for an adult) and worth every penny. I’ve seen both and they are amazing.
10. Get a subscription to the News Journal – I’m not just peddling here! For less than $30 a year you can get the best source in the universe for local news, sports and info on cool things to do. Also check out our constantly improving Internet website www.thenewsjournal.net to read interesting staff blogs, view compelling photo galleries and other extra content that doesn’t make it into the paper edition. How could you ever get bored with all that to look at!