Founded in 1801 and named after the famed home of Thomas Jefferson, the town of Monticello located on Lake Cumberland lives up to its claim as the Houseboat Capital of the World, hosting the largest concentration of houseboat manufacturers to be found anywhere. In addition to all the water recreation sports and activities on Lake Cumberland, Monticello also offers plenty of land-based outdoor thrills, historic attractions and unspoiled natural beauty.
For water sports enthusiasts it’s hard to beat Lake Cumberland’s 65,000 acres for world-class houseboating (short-term and long-term rentals available), jet-skiing, wakeboarding, skiing, tubing, canoeing, kayaking and record-setting fishing. The lake holds the state record with a caught 58-pound striped bass and attracts anglers from all over the country. Hiking, camping, swimming, birding and picnicking are available around the lake, along with a wide variety of accommodations, ranging from a lodge and cabins at Lake Cumberland State Resort Park to numerous cabin rental companies and home rental options.
Monticello’s historic downtown provides many opportunities for dining, including the Black Stallion Steak House or the City Pool Hall restaurant, established in 1946 and complete with pool tables and an original RC menu board. Shoppers can find Appalachian treasures at Margaret’s Gift Shop and Kennett’s Antiques.
History buffs will revel in the stories surrounding the 175-year-old Brown-Lanier House, which served as a home, headquarters and hospital in the Civil War, before and after the 1862 Battle of Mill Springs. Nearby, the Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument includes the Mill Springs Battlefield Visitor Center & Museum and Mill Springs National Cemetery. And the 1817 Mill Springs Mill features the world’s largest waterwheel still in operation.