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Tourists Clamoring for Post-Prohibition Tours!

Article Sponsored By: Prestonsburg Tourism Commission

By Shar Scanlon,


It was this time last year when I showed up, camera in hand, for Prestonsburg’s new moonshine tour. I was to wait on the Jenny Wiley boat dock to join the New Moonshine Hideaway Tour portion of a multi-day group tour in Prestonsburg, Ky.

prestonsburg-moonshine2From my “baby boomer perspective,” I assumed a gray bus would show up with gray-haired people for mainly a grayish day. Wow! Was I surprised!

When the bus arrived, I noticed everyone was wearing the same thing – a smile! And, I noticed the decibel meter rose as talking and laughter echoed in the surrounding mountains!

From participant’s comments, this “moonshine, music, & mountain adventure thing” really began the minute the bus crossed the imaginary border into Prestonsburg and the tourism commission’s Executive Director, aka step-on-guide, Fred James got on the bus and began to weave the tales and legends about the area’s past.

We then climbed aboard pontoon boats and set sail across Dewey Lake for the Moonshine Hideaway. It was interesting to find that hidden inlets or coves actually did serve as preferred locations for moonshine stills. On the ride we enjoyed some of the most beautiful, unspoiled scenery you could ever find, while hearing about other secrets of the old moonshine trade as it evolved in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.

As the boat approached a wooded cove, sounds of mountain music rose from the hills. The cove’s dock was an easy, short walk to the still where the scene was set for a re-enactment of what it was like “before daybreak.”  The moonshine still was demonstrated, so the whole group could clearly see, up close & personal, just what goes into the process.

But, the fun was just beginning! When our attention turned to the Moonshine Band, even those of us unfamiliar with mountain music, couldn’t help but start tapping our feet! There were sing-a-longs, dancing, skits and laughter! Again, everyone wore the same thing  –  a smile!

All in all, it was an experience that transformed the whole group to another place and time. The stories told made it real; made it part of our reality. We enjoyed a place and a time that was unique to us, and it was the type of experience that stays with an individual long after the return home.

Speaking with Mr. James after the tour, I found that Prestonsburg, Kentucky’s Moonshine Hideaway Tour is customizable, and things like a barbeque and customized entertainment can be added.

He mentioned that the whole local itinerary is customizable and most tours are several days and include: music shows at the Mountain Arts Center, tours of Loretta Lynn’s Home Place & more. Accommodations for the tours can be found at Jenny Wiley State Park and other affordable area hotels. For more information, contact Fred James, Executive Director, Prestonsburg Convention and Visitors Bureau,, 800-844-4704.

Jenny Wiley State Resort Park

Mountain Arts Center