The Gap Gazer: March 2019

Dear faithful reader,

The March edition of the Gazer is finished. The articles of this edition are longer than the small thoughts last month. Still, it took as much research and rereads to develop and proof this edition. As the editor, photographer and writer of the Gazer, I do take total responsibility for the content. I aim for perfection in every edition but rarely do I attain it for those who are reading the Gazer with a discriminating eye. Still every edition is thought about, researched and written with journalistic and grammatical skill as well as a touch of imagination and visual language. This edition gave me a chance to display some night photography in the Gap. Those receiving this edition on the computer, enlarge the night shots to enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them. The new Mine & Rail menu is one of the best overall I have tasted. Try it on your next visit here, The zig zag trail issue is very local but also overlaps a problem where National Park funding has been so reduced that directors are rewarded by saving money despite the loss to the public enjoyment.

Kathy Matthews

Editor: The Gap Gazer


616–540-7532 or 281-754-3457

Upcoming events, news and any other ideas welcome.

Volume 11, Issue 3

L: Restaurants & Streets are full on Valentine’s Day

R: The peace of the Gap even spawns Elfin Love!

The Zig Zag Path to Nowhere

The wooden raised walkway bordering South Cumberland was intended to connect the town and the National Park. Now by choice of the National Park, the path ends at a blockade and a stairway which connects to an unkempt earthen trail. The last National Park Director, who has now been reassigned, decided to block the Park’s half of the walkway instead of fixing it. She authorized a steep stairway built down to a ground path which parallels the wooden route’s course.

The zig zag trail was built in that configuration because the town received a grant which required the path be handicapped accessible. The slope necessitated the extra length to enable the correct angle for wheelchairs. Betty Howard and her son Neal granted the easement for the construction of the trail on the Gap side. This grant lasts until 2020 and assigns the town responsibility for upkeep and maintenance.

Mrs. Howard sent a letter which was read during the February Aldermen meeting requesting that the town take responsibility for their part of the path; both maintaining it and repairing it. She has contacted previous boards with inconsistent results. Now her request has been entered into the public record, this new Board must perform their assigned responsibility. In the past, citizens Jerry Hopson and Walter Matthews have donated their time to keep the town’s side clean and maintenance man Ray Paul has tried to fit upkeep in his already busy schedule. Now the town’s officials have been publicly notified of the town’s obligation to maintain their side of the popular boardwalk.

Unfortunately, the National Park does not have to be accessible and they have control of their part, so shutting their half down was an option. Their trail ends at the Daniel Boone Parking lot which serves as a trailhead as well as a staging area for their popular Gap Cave Tour. An audio and visual tunnel exposes visitors to the pioneer experience. A complete and maintained pathway which connects the Gap to the Park greatly benefits them also.

A current $50,000 Health Grant obtained by the town is intended to identify health opportunities for Gap residents. Though this grant does not allow actual funds for maintenance, the zig zag pathway is definitely an opportunity for exercise for residents and needs to be maintained. Upkeep by the town was required by the original grant; upkeep will provide a health opportunity which should be identified by the current health grant; and upkeep is the town’s responsibility to citizens Betty and Neal Howard in return for the generous and gracious offer of their land. Though the National Park is not bound by any of these commitments, the fact they originally chose to finish their portion should indicate a responsibility to maintain that portion.

Local Residents enjoy Southern Cooking!

Introducing The Mine & Rail

The Pineapple Tearoom, established by Susan Bain, has been a Gap fixture for several years. The restaurant has matured and developed. Now there are two very different experiences in the building after five pm. The Tearoom by the front entrance still is inhabited by college students studying, many tourists and locals who visit for coffee drinks, ice cream and food from the menu all throughout the day. The Cumberland Gap Coffee Club meets there around 10:30 AM every morning to discuss news of the Gap and elsewhere. All are welcome.

Now, with the advent of Sue’s son, Rick Bain, as an impressive chef and an idea man, the dining room has transformed into Mine & Rail both in menu and décor. The walls boast impressive murals, the menu has become filled with ‘good ol’ Southern cooking’ and more. Steaks, ribs, chicken and vegetarian items are offered. There is an impressive array of steaks as well as true southern sides. From the included wedge salad and sides which accompany so many unique main courses to the array of desserts, no one will ever leave the Mine & Rail hungry. Many nights the restaurant features entertainment so a potential dinner guest, one may want to check The Pineapple Tearoom’s Facebook page prior to arriving.

Reviews on their Facebook page are now approaching 5 out of 5 stars by over 200 people who have tried the new menu and atmosphere, The Pineapple Tearoom with the Mine and Rail restaurant is becoming a dining destination. Reservations are not needed except on busy nights, but Valentine seating was booked completely by reservation prior to the event. The Pineapple Tearoom with the Mine and Rail is located at 604 Colwyn Ave in downtown Cumberland Gap. Operating hours are Tuesday through Thursday 10 AM - 8 PM; Friday and Saturday, 10 AM - 9 PM; and Sunday, 10 AM-3 PM. On Mondays, the establishment is not open. With the addition of a fine dining experience at the Mine & Rail, the Gap now boasts four excellent dining establishments serving all tastes and will continue to be a favorite destination for the hungry!

Matthews’ Musings

So many small squabbles that loom so large and keep people indignant and arguing—on a national level, on a local level and in private homes. How large are these when one looks backwards? Can I even remember what I was so upset about even two months ago? New issues have already arisen which seem larger and more upsetting (for another brief while). I believe my God is in control and all I have to do is pray, listen and take the next seemingly right action. Even without sharing my beliefs, others still need to do the next seemingly right thing. Then look backwards to put the importance of present turmoil into perspective. Through a backward lens, life really is less complicated.

Upcoming Events

Cumberland Mountain Music Show featuring the music of mountain life with Steve and Debbie Gulley.

Feb. 16., Mar. 16 @ 7:30 pm - LMU Convention Center. $12 at the door

The Spring Fling Antiques Arts & Crafts, April 27, 2019 Starts at 9 am.

Art Extravaganza June 1, 2019 Cumberland Gap Artists’ Co-op. Click here for more information.

Harvest Moon Festival Oct.12, 2019. More details upcoming.

Genealogy Jamboree October 18-19, 2019

Pumpkin Lights Oct. 29,30,31, 2019 Bring you best carved pumpkin for prizes!

Victorian Christmas December 7, 2019 — Mother and Father Christmas 10-3 Whole Day celebration Downtown

Gap Gazer Statement of Ownership and Responsibility The Gap Gazer is the creation of Kathy Jo Matthews, a Gap resident, and she alone is responsible for the content. The town government and other agencies have no responsibility for publication and distribution of the Gazer. All articles are based on research and are as factually accurate as the editor can present them. Contact the editor at the phone numbers and email address listed in this issue if any questions arise in the veracity of the news presented. The news in each issue is as journalistically correct and as impartially presented as possible. Events posted are all in the immediate tri-state area and if an event is missed, that usually means no one contacted the editor with the information. The ”Matthews’ Musings” is an editorial and, while still based on fact, may contain editorial comment and opinion. Distribution is via email and through stacks of newspapers distributed to the Gap Post Office, the Gap Creek Coffee House, The Pineapple Tearoom, The National Park and the Cumberland Gap Artists’ Co-op. The Gazer contains no advertising and is responsible to no one for funding. All printing is at the editor’s expense, eliminating any connections with another entity. The Gap Gazer is produced monthly and is in its 8th year of continuous publication.

#KathyMatthews #TheGapGazer