So many bridges, so little time. Hoedown Island has it all! Part ONE


Do you prefer your bridges natural, broken, bouncy, or with cow? Fancy Free Cloggers encountered ALL of these during our annual Hoedown Island visit!

For those who have never been, Hoedown Island is located within Natural Bridge State Resort Park in Slade, Kentucky. Jane Bolin hosts fun dances every Saturday night during the season, which runs May - October. Hoedown Island regulars and visitors alike can partake in clogging, two-stepping, line dancing, the Virginia reel, and even the Hokey Pokey!

It was FFC’s week to be the featured dance group, performing two sets of three songs each during the evening.

BUT, let’s back up to Friday:


Suzi and I continued the tradition we started last year and made a girls’ weekend out of it. (Taking liberties, perhaps, by calling a tradition already, but we do intend to keep it going.)

Our room wasn’t ready upon arrival at Hemlock Lodge, so we took care of a pressing errand: buying fudge from Ye Ole Country Peddler!

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This place has, in my humble opinion, the world’s greatest fudge. I chose chocolate tiger butter, maple, brown sugar, and red velvet. Suzi got milk chocolate and some other flavor I don’t recall. Trust me, she wasn’t sharing!


While debating fudge flavors, one can peruse the vast collection of Christmas village sets and pieces for sale. Miniature little free libraries are my favorite from the traditional Christmas bunch.


Tiny villages aren’t just for Christmas anymore! Halloween villages have been a thing for a while now, and the Peddler has a fine collection of those. They also sell a Smokey the Bear camping village set, and these Travels with Ed pieces. Fun stuff!


Behold, our balcony in the trees! Our room was much nicer this year. I suspect this part of the lodge has been renovated more recently than the musty room we stayed in before. The only drawback was a loose vent cover in the ceiling which kept vibrating and making noise.


We browsed a few more shops before heading to dinner. When your favorite clogging step is the outhouse, this photo op is a must!


The same shop advertises a “hilarious public restroom.” Genius! This guy talks to you in said public restroom. I suspect they get way more lookers than users.


Goats on the roof have major attitude if you walk over to say hello without purchasing food to crank up to them. The fact that I did purchase a bar of goat milk soap did nothing to improve our relationship.

I’m still enjoying the soap! It has a nice orange -and-minty smell.


A stroll around the park after dinner revealed the welcome sight of water around the island again, which has not been the case for some of our visits. It was clearly not our day to charm animals; a goose on the other side of the water did not approve human exploration of this dock and aggressively swam over to see what was going on. Suzi and I surrendered the dock territory at that point.

Good thing we didn’t run into any bears!


Families of geese looked for dinner around Hoedown Island itself. We kept a good distance (this photo is at almost max zoom on my camera) and watched the geese squabble among themselves.

I enjoyed a “Purple Lady” at the lodge bar before bedtime. This signature cocktail is named after one of the park ghosts. Her backstory is not clear - there are many versions on the internet, many of which mention her being a traveler on a train - but this mysterious woman in a purple gown has been seen in different areas of the park, lodge included.

The Purple Lady did not make an appearance for girls’ weekend, but there’s always next year.


And tomorrow we clog!

Planning a visit to Natural Bridge State Park Resort between May-October? Dances are held every Saturday night at Hoedown Island (sometimes indoors at Woodland Center, or may be called off if weather is bad). Warm-up starts at 6:30, regular program at 7:30. At time of this posting, admission is only $3 per person, with ages 12 & under FREE! Carry on the Natural Bridge Hoedown tradition, going strong for over 45 years!