Historic Rugby: In the late 1800s, British author Thomas Hughes traveled to the States and purchased tens of thousands of acres of property along the Cumberland Plateau, just outside what is today the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, for the purpose of establishing a colony for the second sons of English gentry. Disillusioned by the social hierarchy of England, which saw the family’s assets inherited by the oldest sons, Hughes and his fellow second sons formed a thriving Victorian utopia here. Today, the quaint village is preserved much the way it was then. Tours are available, buildings can be explored, and lunch can be had at the Harrow Road Cafe.

Museum of Scott County: This unique museum, on the campus of Scott County High School, is the nation’s only student-designed, student-built and student-curated museum. The main museum building includes artifacts from the Cumberland Plateau’s prehistoric era, when only the Native Americans settled here, through the coal mining days of the mid 20th Century. Next door is the USS Tennessee Battleship Memorial Museum, which includes a large variety of artifacts from the battleship that was involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequently in World War II. Surrounding the buildings are a replica Appalachian village as it might have appeared in the 19th Century, complete with homes, a general store, barns and a replica of the Howard H. Baker Sr. law office. Farm animals roam the museum grounds, and sorghum is squeezed every September (fourth Saturday) for the annual Heritage Festival. Tours are available and the museum is open to the public at no cost.

Big South Fork Scenic Railway: In the late 1800s, the Stearns Coal & Lumber Company was established in what is now the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. Thousands of Cumberland Plateau families found jobs in the coal and lumber camps throughout the region. A railroad was built to help transport workers and supplies into these camps, and to transport coal and timber out. Today, Historic Stearns, Ky., is home to the depot of the Big South Fork Scenic Railway, an excursion train that carries passengers — pulled by an antique steam locomotive — through the Big South Fork backcountry to the historic Blue Heron mining camp, where the stories of those mining families is told.