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Kentucky Spring

Paducah blossoms as a weekend retreat offering art and history.

Mar/Apr 2014 Issue

Plan a Paducah getaway and discover why thousands of visitors flow into this city located at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers. Join in the American Quilter’s Society’s QuiltWeek festivities, see interesting cultural attractions, follow the Dogwood Trail’s 50th anniversary tour, and find the perfect reason for a springtime getaway.


Above: Dogwoods will be in bloom throughout Paducah this April. ©Colette/

Below: AQS QuiltWeek is a busy time in Paducah. Paducah CVB photo.


Pick up maps, begin walking tours, and get free visitor guides right on the square at Paducah’s Visitor Center. From here, it’s an easy walk or drive to the National Quilt Museum.

Sew up an interesting stay

Expect to be impressed at the National Quilt Museum (215 S. Jefferson). Some of the most innovative art in the country is exhibited here.

The National Quilt Museum is one of Kentucky’s most popular tourist attractions. In an average year, the museum has visitors from 50 states and more than 40 countries.

Before you leave the museum, ask the volunteer to point out a hand-carved wooden quilt. Be sure to pop into the gift shop after your museum tour; it’s well worth a visit. Adult tickets for the museum are $11. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday–Saturday. From March 1–Nov. 30, the museum also is open on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

In April, the whole city of Paducah becomes a crazy quilt of activity highlighting QuiltWeek, this year April 23–26. Even store window displays, church dinners, and a Rotary antique quilt show honor this art form.

Always inspiring, the Yeiser Art Center (200 Broadway) will feature a “Fantastic Fibers” exhibit this spring. There’s a $5 fee for this show. Discover new art and artists here as Yeiser encourages the development and appreciation of the visual arts. Yeiser Art Center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday.

Eat like the locals

You won’t find touristy restaurants in Paducah, but you will find plenty of local favorites. For breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon coffee break, the steady trail of locals will lead you to Kirchhoff Deli & Bakery on South Second Street that has been operating for five generations in downtown Paducah. Buy some of the cookies to take home.

Another downtown option is Tribeca Mexican Cuisine (127 Market House Square). Start with margaritas and guacamole. Fajitas, enchiladas, and taco salads are other good choices.

Every meal at Flamingo Row (2640 Perkins Creek Drive) feels like a special occasion. Soups and salads are good choices for a light meal. The entrées are enormous.

Where to sleep

Shows, festivals, or fairs happen every month in Paducah. Even though the number of hotel rooms in Paducah is growing, reservations are a good idea. During QuiltWeek, rooms are booked up as far away as 50 miles outside Paducah.

Chain hotels include Residence Inn Paducah (3900 Coleman Crossing Circle); Hampton Inn & Suites (3901 Coleman Crossing Circle); and Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites (2880 James Sanders Blvd.), which offers breakfast. Each hotel has AAA Three Diamonds.

More things to do

River Discovery Center (117 S. Water St.) celebrates Paducah’s maritime legacy and lore. The big draw is a pilothouse simulator. Captain a towboat, pleasure watercraft, or Coast Guard vessel through various scenarios. Everybody gets a turn at the wheel.

Other exhibits include a lock and dam model, river habitats, rain table, and more. Looking over the floodwall from the center’s second floor is your best opportunity to actually see the confluence. There is an excellent nautical/science-themed gift shop here.

The River Discovery Center is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday–Saturday. From April through November, Sunday hours are from 1 to 5 p.m. Adult admission is $7.

The Annual Dogwood Trail is 12.5 miles of blooming dogwoods, redbuds, and other flowering trees and plants. Signs point you along the way through the historical downtown area, LowerTown, and residential neighborhoods. Beautiful by day and stunning at night, when the blooms are lighted, the seasonal trail is open when blooms peak, usually mid-April.

Whether it’s a walking tour of the historical square, a stroll along the river, or a driving tour of the dogwoods, your Paducah getaway will be unforgettable. It may even become one of your favorite springtime traditions.

Patsy Bell Hobson is a contributor from Cape Girardeau, Mo.




For more information, contact (800) PADUCAH (723-8224) or

To visit Paducah, first stop by your nearest AAA service office for maps, reservations, TripTiks® and TourBook® guides.

Order free information about Kentucky through the Free Travel Information Card found online.


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