Fulton is one of the farthest western towns in the state of Kentucky and is located in Fulton County. It is on the Tennessee border, with part of the town lying across the state line called South Fulton. This town is in the flatlands near the Mississippi River, and it’s the river that has given this small town an intriguing history! Fulton is called the Banana Capitol of the World! Bananas do not grow here, however about 70 percent of the world’s imported bananas to the U.S. used to make a stop at Fulton while on boats going down the river to going New Orleans. They stopped at Fulton to get more ice at Fulton Ice Plant (now closed) to keep the bananas fresh and chilled on their journey! To this day, there’s an annual Banana Festival complete with “the world’s largest banana pudding”! The railway is still operational in Fulton and even has an Amtrak train station there. This station is on the track that is a part of the City of New Orleans route which traverses from New Orleans to Chicago, and this really opens travel opportunities originating from this small, rural town. This an unstaffed station for passengers who already have purchased tickets, but there are programs available to help get you to the station safely & on time!
Fulton County is on the Kentucky Great River Road National Scenic Byway, which runs the length of the Mississippi River and through four Kentucky counties. There are several historic points of interest along this byway in Kentucky and none of them are far from Fulton. Drive north to Wickliffe, and discover ancient Indian Mounds from natives who occupied this area overlooking the river during 1100-1350 AD at the Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site. Such an interesting place to explore actual Native American mounds that have remained for almost one thousand years! This park has a museum where you can view other artifacts that have been dug up from the area, and a gift shop. There’s a picnic area, a pavilion to rent, and a walking trail for more outside exploration. They host educational tours and programs for an additional fee if you want to dive more in-depth about this culture. Another place to visit as you descend the KY/MO border is the beautiful Columbus-Belmont State Park on the banks of the Mississippi River in Hickman County. This was the site of the northernmost Confederate base during the the Civil War that divided the Mississippi River between Columbus, Kentucky and Belmont, Missouri. This park is steeped in history that’s evident the moment you arrive and see Polk’s massive chain! The chain once spanned the width of the mighty river during the war. The anchor itself weighted between 4-6 tons, and each chain link is 11 inches in length. Since 1934, when the state bought the land, the anchor and chain have been displayed on a memorial stone that’s still a part of the park today. Another attraction to see there is the Antebellum building that was a house and served as a hospital during the war. Today, it’s been turned into a museum and cultural center about the history forged there. Lastly, there’s the 10 foot and 15,000 lb. cannon, known as “Lady Polk”, that bombed Grant’s troops in the Battle of Belmont. This cannon could fire a cannon ball up to three miles away! The historical value here makes this park worth the drive, but there’s even more to do! With a mini golf course, a 2.5 mile hiking trail along the bluff, picnic tables with grills, a boat ramp to the river, and a nice campground, you could easily make a weekend retreat at Columbus-Belmont!
Fulton isn’t far from some fun attractions that bring people to the northwest Tennessee area. In 2008, Discovery Park of America was built in Union City, TN, and it has brought brought people in from around the tri-state area! The impressive 100,000 square foot museum can be seen from miles away, and is surrounded by a 50 acre “outdoor heritage” park with interactive exhibits all around. Learn more about history, science, geography, and culture in a fun, interactive environment! Step inside to see life-sized dinosaurs, sit in an airplane, and walk though real traincars of a passenger train from when they were in the primary means of transcontinental transportation. Feel the intense vibrations of the New Madrid earthquake that devastated this very area over 200 years ago, and redirected the flow of the Mississippi River! Discover what kind of ancient artifacts have been dug up in the area and learn what kind of fish and creatures are in the river. The highlight for most children is the 2 story indoor slide, which is where most kids want to begin and end their visit at the park. Outside on the sprawling grounds, there’s even more to take in! Take a walk through a detailed replica of a settlement town and stroll through lovely gardens adapted from ones around the world. They even have a large outdoor playground for the little ones, and a nearby ice cream stand that is a perfect treat for summer days. There’s so much to see that it will take all day to check it all out! Want more time to explore? Get a season pass!
After a long day at the Discovery Park, wind your way to The Grind Mac & Cheese Burger Bar in Martin, TN for a one of a kind meal! Go if you’re really hungry, because they serve everything in large portions. This eatery instantly became such a hit when they opened a few years ago, that they have a following that drives over an hour to eat there! They serve unique Mac and cheese dishes like fried Mac and cheese balls and lobster Mac and cheese. They also have juicy burgers with unique toppings, such as the delicious Farmers Daughter burger. You absolutely can’t miss out on one of their famous over-the-top milkshakes! With flavors like the Strawberry Shortcake complete with a strawberry cupcake on top, or the S’more the Merrier with a campfire ice cream sandwich and toasted marshmallow on top, or a chocoholic’s dream with the Chocolate Freak—you really can’t go wrong! This place has a lively atmosphere and is fun for the whole family!
Back in Fulton, you’ll also find some good eats like the Keg Bar and Grille that has been a Fulton staple since 1939. Start off with one of their many delicious appetizers like their Loaded Keg Chips which is their house-made potato chips loaded with bacon, cheese sauce and jalapeños. They serve open pit smoked meats such as baby back ribs, half chicken and pork chops. What something fresh? They have a great salad selection, too. Get delicious BBQ and wings at Vaughn’s Grill or satisfy your taco craving at El Vallarta Mexican restaurant. The Two Doors Down Boutique is a charming clothing boutique serving all ages with chic fashion trends with reasonable prices! Shop shoes, jewelry, perfume and candles, and treat yourself or find the perfect gift! The newly built Meadows Hotel is a boutique hotel in a building dating from all the way back to 1900. This gorgeous hotel has individually decorated rooms—all very stylish and classic with exquisite bedding with soaring ceilings and windows. This is a great venue to rent for a special occasion, as well. These lovely accommodations make a great addition to the town and highlight some of the history there.
The quaint town of Fulton is a lovely place to call home and is easy to settle into. It has charming traditions that bring the community together, and is in a region steeped with history and discovery in both the landscape and the people who has made this town great!