The Music of Lake Malone

Take a stroll down memory lane at Don Everly's inn situated in Dunmor, Kentucky.
Wanda Butler

While driving through the western Kentucky countryside, my Bluegrass-knowledgeable guide casually mentioned Lake Malone Inn. "You might want to visit there sometime," she said.

"Really?" I said, suppressing a yawn. "What's so special about it?"

"Well, Don Everly, of the Everly Brothers, owns it and comes by when he's not on tour."

"What!" I exclaimed, flashing back to the days of "Wake Up Little Susie," and "Cathy's Clown." "You mean one of the Everly Brothers lives in Dunmor, Kentucky?"

"Yep," she said, already turning off the main road. "Don Everly bought it in '97. I'm assuming by your reaction you want to see . . ."

"Yes, yes, of course," I interrupted. "Do you remember 'All I Have To Do Is Dream, Dream, Dream?' " And much to my friend's chagrin, I began to sing it. Luckily for her, Lake Malone Inn wasn't far off the main road.

The inn rests near Lake Malone State Park, a compact park at 950-lake acres, which captures the essence of Bluegrass beauty. High sandstone bluffs surround the lake, and hardwood forests complete the scenic view. Caves in the area supposedly sheltered another famous local--Jesse James (though he was not thought to be musically inclined). The inn itself fills a lodging need, and I was thrilled to learn that its large dining room is open to all for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

"We're open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day serving good country cooking," says Carolyn Morgan, who has worked for the Everly Brothers for 19 years. "Don isn't here all the time," she says, smiling at my obvious disappointment. "But when he's not on tour, he usually comes by about once a week. He keeps a room in the inn."

To make up for missing a real live Everly, Carolyn shows me the many Everly Brothers photos and gold records in the lobby and dining room.

My friend, the Kentucky native, pretends not to be mortified by my schoolgirl obsession. But I can't help it. The collection holds many memories of the fifties and sixties. On display is the gold record for "Wake Up Little Susie." And photos run the gamut from Don and Phil as small boys performing with their father to concerts held just a couple of years ago.

"Most folks really enjoy the rooms with wood-burning fireplaces," says Carolyn of the 50-room inn. "And on Friday and Saturday nights we have live music in the lobby." Open since 1975, the inn features tennis courts and a nearby 9-hole golf course. "Lots of people come here for the fishing," says Carolyn. "The lake is just across the road and is stocked with bass and crappie."

After a hearty meal and a heartfelt trip down a musical memory lane, my friend and I head east. It seemed only appropriate--to me, anyway--to sing "Bye Bye Love."

Everly's Lake Malone Inn: P.O. Box 56, Dunmor, KY 42339; (270) 657-2121.
Directions: From the Western Kentucky Parkway, take U.S. 431 South to Dunmor; then take State 973, and follow the signs to Lake Malone State Park.
Rates:Begin at $47 for a single room and run to $150 for a suite. Some rooms have wood-burning fireplaces.
Restaurant: Open 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Breakfast is served all day. Lunch runs $4.95. Dinner costs from $5.95-$9.95. Friday is fish night; Wednesdays and Saturdays are Prime rib nights.

This article is from the November 2001 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.