The charming town of Grand Rivers is nestled in Livingston County, Kentucky, at the peninsula where Lake Barkley, Kentucky Lake, and the Tennessee River come together — which is why it’s known as “The Village Between the Lakes”. This small but vibrant lakeside community has a host of unique offerings.
The unmatched charm of downtown Grand Rivers consists of quaint antique and farmhouse home décor shopping, locally owned restaurants, and a grocers market that’s all very accessible by car, foot, or golf cart. Yes, Grand Rivers is one of the only western Kentucky communities where you can legally drive golf carts on the street! This leisure approach to life is also a testament to how easy it is to get around the whole town. There’s a great sense of community with more people meeting by way of walking and riding their golf carts through town than there is otherwise.
“What makes Grand Rivers so special?” you might ask. This is one of the only communities along the Kentucky and Barkley Lakes that have a sweeping water views from town. The picturesque blue waters of the main channel of Kentucky Lake is the backdrop of Lighthouse Landing Resort and Marina. Their quintessential sailboat harbor is a landmark for the town.
At this nautical resort you can stay in a cabin overlooking the water, take sailing lessons and fish off their pier which has amazing sunset views. There’s even a small beach and picnic tables to enjoy. Lighthouse Landing is a short walk from the downtown and residential community, as most things are in Grand Rivers, so the sweeping water views and sailboat silhouettes can easily be enjoyed by all.
The acclaimed Green Turtle Bay Resort and Marina is across town on beautiful Lake Barkley. This retreat-like resort allows you to feel tucked away from the rest of the world! Besides their pristine rental condos overlooking the lake and great marina, it has an array of amenities including a large indoor pool and boat rentals with houseboats and recreation boats, of all kinds.
Green Turtle Bay Yacht Sales, where you can shop or dream over the yachts, hosts two of the most successful “in water” boat shows every spring and fall. Jade and Earth Spa and Salon is where the stresses of life melt away with a massage or facial, and they offer rates for singles or couples.
Dockers on the Lake is a casual breakfast and lunch eatery on the water and makes for a wonderful way to watch the sunrise! For the one who wants to experience the leisure of lake life to the fullest, The Commonwealth Yacht Club, better known as “The Club” is fine dining right on the waters of the harbor. “The Club” provides an array of decadent Southern surf and turf cuisine.
From their fried green tomatoes and crab cake appetizers and an aged, hand cut New York strip steak cooked to perfection or crunchy coconut shrimp, the food is delicious! Don’t forget a slice of tangy key lime pie for dessert. It’s a rare find in this part of the state to find an elegant meal with a water view, but The Club has it!
If you feel like some entertainment, the Badgett Playhouse has been putting on exciting shows that rival those of Branson! They put on sixteen impressive shows per year featuring top-notch entertainers with incredible music in a theater with state-of-the-art sound and lighting. The holiday shows are favorites and a great way to get in the Christmas spirit, especially around the time the Festival of Lights is happening across the street!
The Festival of Lights is an anticipated weekend in early November, when Pattis 1880s Restaurant and Settlement turns on their spectacular display of Christmas lights that rival any in this part of the state. It truly turns Grand Rivers into a holiday wonderful, and when Patti’s lights up, so do the spirits of everyone in the community. Since Patti and Bill Tullar opened it in 1977, Patti’s 1880s Restaurant and Settlement has become the heart beat of Grand Rivers and Patti’s face is quite literally the one you’ll see on the billboard as you enter town.
The 1880s themed restaurant, famous for their 2” pork chop and “mile high meringue pies” gives patrons more than just a meal, but rather a memorable dining experience. Every Patti’s employee is dressed in clothing reminiscent of the olden days, and the large restaurant is separated into cozy dining rooms exquisitely decorated in seasonal décor.
A meal at Patti’s always begins with their fresh flower pot bread and strawberry butter and should always end with a piece of their delectable, scratch-made desserts! Whether it’s a slice of one of their “mile high” meringue pies, or sawdust pie piled with fresh whipped cream and bananas, or a chocolate-y Bill’s Boatsinker, you cannot go wrong!
The hardest part of the meal is deciding what to eat! Strolling through the lovely garden paths of Patti’s Settlement property is a great way to walk off your meal. There’s an array of unique shops to buy anything from Christmas décor, clothing, or homemade fudge. There’s even small playground, and mini golf course. At Christmastime, Pattis truly turns into a wonderful village scene as they have one of the area’s best light displays, as mentioned, and photo op with Santa that will make even the grown-ups “believe”!
Just a few miles south of Grand Rivers, you enter into LBL and there you will discover the great outdoors in its fullest! Hillman Ferry Campground, arguably the area’s best campground, is one of the closest attractions. For the horse enthusiast looking for a peaceful getaway, Wranglers Campground and Horse Trails in the heart of LBL is a place to go for you!
Experience the peace and solitude of nature as you get to experience horseback riding or wagon driving. They have primitive cabins available and camp sites with hook up for large motor homes and horse trailers. There are 100 miles of horse trails to explore and a blacksmith onsite — what a great way to spend a beautiful weekend!
The Harvest Moon arts and craft festival is a great way to end the summer and enter into the fall season. With local artisans and food vendors, this festival sets up on a shady side street and brings in a crowd every year. This is a great way to meet some locals, and see the artistic expression of the community.
Grand Rivers has a heart beat that sounds like the gulls over the lake, looks like a beautiful sunrise over the water, and feels like a warm welcome. The holiday lights make the town more than just a summertime community, but truly a bustling place year ‘round. The location makes the perfect spot to reside if you want to feel like you’re on vacation every day! Those who come through Grand Rivers only hope they could stay, and those who live there, never want to leave.