48 Hours In Prestonsburg, Kentucky

first_imgIt’s no secret Kentucky is a hotspot for outdoor adventure. So it’s a good feeling to know about the state’s under-the-radar locations — the ones where foot traffic isn’t quite as heavy — before the rest of the world finds out.Allow us to introduce you to Prestonsburg. Whether you’re chasing more technical terrain or looking for a brisk hike with a breathtaking view, this historic town will be your new, favorite hidden gem.Prestonsburg, KY MountainsPreston’s Station was the first town established in eastern Kentucky in 1797. Brave, adventurous men and women settled this new frontier, walking the footpaths of these mountains and paddling downstream in the waters of the Levisa Fork River. Present-day Prestonsburg — located 65 miles southeast of the Red River Gorge, 120 miles from Lexington, 136 miles from Bristol, Tennessee, and about 75 miles from Huntington, West Virginia — is a relatively new hub for hikers, bikers and paddlers, and there is plenty to explore.Day One Options: Breakfast at Billy Ray’sThe spot in Prestonsburg for a home cooking carb-load. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Billy Ray’s is known in these parts for salmon patties and meat-and-three lunch specials. Launch access point for the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River is located directly behind the restaurant. There is plenty of parking available and it’s free. Sugarcamp Mountain Trails: Choose Your Own AdventureAbout 20 total miles of trails begin on reclaimed mountaintop and descend into Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. The Sugarcamp Trails system officially opened to the public in July 2017. The project was more than three years in the making, made possible by a collaboration between a team of dedicated volunteers, the city of Prestonsburg and Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. It is a multi-use trail that includes a network of trails for bikers, hikers and horseback riders. It is recommended that riders are at least up to an intermediate skill level to tackle most trails on the mountain, though there are several hiking and biking routes which are accessible to all ages and skill levels. The Sugarcamp Trails website provides a map of the trail system with links to detailed descriptions, technical features and current trail conditions. Be sure to do some research before you head out so that you’re prepared. Read more about all of the adventures you can have on Sugarcamp Mountain.Lizzie B's CafeDinner at Lizzie B’s Cafe BakeryLizzie B’s is home of 23 Brewing Company and some of the best spinach and artichoke dip. There are healthy options like mahi mahi and salmon, or you can indulge a hamburger on a homemade bun after a day of literal running around. Homemade desserts are made daily and live local music is usually playing in the evenings. Check the restaurant’s Facebook page for the latest updates.Live music at May LodgeHave a drink on the patio at the state park’s May Lodge, where local bands play from 6-9 p.m. each week. Dinner is also available. If you’re staying at the lodge, then getting back to your room is an easy walk.Kayaking in PrestonsburgDay Two Options: Levisa Fork PaddlefestThe fourth Saturday of each month, from May to September, kayakers and canoers launch into the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River and make the 16.4-mile trek down river. The voyage begins at 8 a.m. in downtown Prestonsburg, behind Billy Ray’s Restaurant. Participants can bring their own kayak or canoe, or rentals are available. The scenic floating trip lasts four to six hours, depending on how fast the river is moving. Lunch is served once you reach the end of your expedition in Paintsville.Registration is $10, which includes lunch and shuttle service from Paintsville back to your vehicle in Prestonsburg. To register, call (606) 886-1341.Dairy CheerIf you want a dose of east Kentucky nostalgia, stop here. Though Ashland was the original home of the Dairy Cheer, this location in Prestonsburg is one of three remaining locations. In the early 1960s, someone in the Dairy Cheer kitchen discovered how much better a burger could be if you smashed the meat down on the grill with a No. 10 bean can and the “smashburger” was born. Retro charm chasers love to stop for milkshakes and French fries, or their soup beans and cornbread — a mountain staple.Elk In Prestonburg KentuckyGuided Elk Tours, September-MarchJenny Wiley State Resort Park hosts guided elk tours from September through March. You can choose between a red-eye, early morning tour or go out later in the day. The elk herd was reintroduced into its native Kentucky habitat in 1997 by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife. These powerful herbivores make their home in the scenic mountains that surround Prestonsburg. Reservation price includes transportation to the viewing site and continental breakfast for morning tours. To make reservations call (606) 889-1790. Special group tours are also available.Dinner at Pig in a PokeWho says Kentucky don’t know ‘cue? Pig in a Poke is a Prestonsburg original, serving all the usual suspects like pulled pork, beef brisket and ribs. We all know barbecue is only as good as its sides — fresh hand-shredded cabbage for coleslaw, special recipe baked beans, and homemade batter for fried pickles.MAC Prestonsburg, KYMountain Arts CenterCatch a show at the MAC. See a national musical touring act or discover your new favorite local artist. The MAC also has family friendly mountain comedy, weekly Front Porch Pickin’ open mic and is also home to Billie Jean Osborne’s Kentucky Opry. Read about Prestonsburg’s role in the Kentucky music revolution.Where to StayJenny Wiley State Resort ParkStay in a quiet room at May Lodge or, if you prefer to sleep under the stars, campsites are also available. Campsites include electric and water, a dump station and also includes access to shower facilities and restrooms. There is a small grocery store on site. The campground opens for the season on April 1.German Bridge CampgroundGerman Bridge is located near the headwaters of Dewey Lake and is a prime location for horseback riders. Facilities include a 20-stall barn. Electric and water hook ups are available as well as sites for primitive camping. Shower facilities and restrooms are also available. Call (606) 874-1150 to reserve.Hotels:Brookshire InnComfort SuitesLocal Outfitters & Watercraft RentalsPro-Fitness1243 S. Lake DrivePrestonsburg, KY 41653(606) 886-8604Jenny Wiley State Resort & Park75 Theatre CourtPrestonsburg, KY 41653(606) 889-1790Legends Outfitters606 Beach RoadLouisa, KY 41230 last_img read more

Financial Aid Office hopes changes help

first_imgThe USC Financial Aid Office, which is preparing to send incoming freshmen their financial aid awards this week, is hoping that improvements to its process will help eliminate the confusion and concern that was prevalent last year.According to Noemi Garcia Tagorda, senior assistant dean of financial aid, the Financial Aid Office reviewed approximately 322,000 documents this year for approximately 22,000 financial aid applications. The office allocates a budget of more than $180 million dollars to more than 20,000 new and continuing students who require financial assistance.Under the direction of Katharine Harrington, dean of admission and financial aid, the Financial Aid Office has made several changes this year to speed up the process and help boost efficiency.At the beginning of this year, a number of students ran into problems with financial aid. Some students were notified that their documents had never been received, even though they had been sent. Other students had questions about their aid packages and had difficulty finding answers.To eliminate problems and confusion, Harrington initiated a dramatic redesign of the financial aid workflow.“In the past, it was mostly paper that was mailed in or faxed,” Garcia Tagorda said. “But we have this new feature called document upload. It gets information to where it needs to be so much more quickly than before.”The Financial Aid Office also redistributed staff to help process data more efficiently, even enlisting the aid of the admissions processing staff.“Things that used to take a couple of days or more are now only taking a day or two,” Garcia Tagorda said.The office also hired four new people in charge of analyzing each family’s need and two new staff members to help assemble the aid packages.“Because we have new staff, we’re really moving through it,” Garcia Tagorda said.She added that the Financial Aid Office works overtime during these weeks to ensure awards are prepared in a timely manner. USC students are hopeful that the process will indeed be more efficient this year.Monica Yap, a freshman majoring in business administration, recalled a particular incident last year that made her wonder if forms sometimes slip through the cracks.“I remember last year, for USC, we had to fax something, and it was about to be due in a couple days. And I remember USC sent this e-mail: ‘We’re sorry, there was a really high volume of faxes, and we just wanted to confirm that we got yours.’ And I thought, I guess that could definitely happen, where they just don’t get it, because so many people are turning theirs in,” she said.According to Garcia Tagorda, financial aid requires three core documents to determine awards for the majority of applications: the prior year’s tax forms, the College Scholarship Service Profile and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.“Once we’re sure we have those three core documents, we use the documents to determine a family’s expected contribution,” she said.She did note that additional documentation might be required.“Sometimes everything we need is in [the core] documents, sometimes we need a little more,” she said.Some students said the number of documents needed for financial aid can create a lot of work.“It’s just a pain applying for USC financial aid,” said Chris Rayon, a freshman majoring in philosophy. “They tell you they need the FAFSA and the CSS Profile, but after you send that in they ask for W2s and all sorts of other stuff after the deadline they give you.”With USC’s annual cost of nearly $54,000, financial aid awards are critical to many.Garcia Tagorda said the university does its best to assist students.“We want to help families out; we want to help your situation as necessary,” she said. “In the end here, this is a partnership between parents, students and the university. I hope students know that every single person [in the Financial Aid Office] really cares that a student is dealt with in a fair, equitable and timely manner.”last_img read more