Profile: Kuttawa Harbor Marina
Local boaters enjoying lunch on the patio overlooking the marina.
Capt. Jeff Yates
There’s no way to overlook the dramatic changes that have taken place at one of Lake Barkley’s prominent marinas following its sale to new owners in January. Although Kuttawa Harbor Marina’s name remains the same, almost everything else is different at the facility located behind a breakwater within the Hammond Creek embayment at Cumberland River Mile 42.2.
The changes came following the marina’s purchase by Wayne Breedlove and his fiancée, Lisa Walton. Breedlove also owns a construction company in Eddyville, and Walton had previously owned a boutique shop for runners in Colorado. She is now concentrating on marketing the marina and its expanded ship’s store and boater’s boutique.
Minority shareholders include Barbara and Jim Suitor and Walton’s mother and stepfather, Cheryl and Vernon Spencer. The Suitors had previously owned Holiday Hills Resort and Campground on Lake Barkley, and Jim is a partner with Breedlove in a couple of restaurants in Madisonville and Franklin, Ky. Cheryl is marina manager, and Vernon is harbormaster. All the principals are longtime boaters and former slip renters.
The marina was bought from Bob and Linda Heubschman, who retired after operating the once popular establishment for 17 years following its purchase from Rudy and Eudell Bennett and Don and Ruth Colbert, who had owned it since 1974, a year after it was opened.
Following a devastating storm in 2008 and two disastrous floods in 2010 and 2011, the marina never seemed to spring back to its former popularity, even though the restaurant continued to offer its famous Rudy Burger, a signature creation by Rudy Bennett many years earlier. The restaurant, now called Hu-B’s at Kuttawa, is being touted to the whole twin-lakes region as a completely new lakeside gathering spot.
The new owners have retired the old stand-by sandwich and have replaced it with the Hu-B Burger, an eight-ounce Angus beef burger, topped with grilled onions, bacon and cheddar cheese, served on a toasted Kaiser roll. The menu has been expanded to include several kinds of sandwiches, appetizers and specialty deserts. Lunch and dinner are served from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Early morning boaters or fishermen can get off to a good start at Hu-B’s now, too, with a breakfast specials, served from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The dining area has taken on an “another day in paradise” ambiance, reinforced by a new paint and decorating scheme complete with large, island themed murals from local artist, Jannette Parrent. Smoking is restricted to a separate but equally well appointed outdoor deck, featuring several inviting tables with palm fronds, tiki umbrellas and potted palm trees overlooking the marina and on similarly-augmented patios adjacent to the transient docks.
Hu-B’s has become the second “wet” establishment on Lake Barkley, which is good news for patrons, who have want beer and wine to be available for some time. Having beer and wine available will not cause the marina to lose its family-friendly atmosphere, Cheryl promised during an interview shortly after the restaurant opened. “This is not going to be a bar,” she said. “We want this to be a destination not just for boaters but for everybody who wants a good meal in a relaxing environment where they can gather with friends for fun and relaxation.”
Twenty-two new covered slips have replaced a section of docks that were destroyed by a severe storm during last year’s record flooding event. Walkways on existing docks have been repaired, and courtesy or transient docks have also been updated and expanded. Following a couple of seasons with slip vacancies, there is now a waiting list for available slips, according to dock master Vernon.
Trailer boaters will be happy to see the elimination of the launch fee at the ramp adjacent to the marina’s parking lot. The ramp has been widened to accommodate two boats at a time, and the parking lot has been re-striped to gain more parking places with the removal of a couple dozen boat trailers that in recent years had taken up valuable space. Breedlove said he hopes to attract more fishermen, who had previously been discouraged from fishing within the harbor. In that effort, he has already worked with area fishing clubs and tournament promoters to schedule events from Kuttawa Harbor.
Three rental pontoons and two fishing boats have also been added for the convenience of area lake vacationers.
The changes at Kuttawa Harbor Marina are obvious and have been well accepted, and boaters are looking forward to seeing this port of call become the busy and popular destination it had become several years ago.
AT A GLANCE
Kuttawa Harbor Marina
1709 Lake Barkley Drive
Kuttawa, KY 42055
Hours: The marina season runs from April through October. Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hu-B’s restaurant hours are the same, but it is hoped it may be open on weekends during the offseason.
Fuel: The fuel dock is open every day until dusk. 90-octane gas with no ethanol added and diesel fuel.
Dockage: 160 covered slips (20’ x 10’ to 90’ x 22’); 12 open slips; 16 transient slips for restaurant and overnight. 30 and 50 amp, 120 and 240 volt electric.
Services: Water and ice; wireless Internet; pump-out; restrooms; ship’s store; pontoon and fishing boat rentals; free boat launch ramp.
Water depth: 7 to 15 feet throughout harbor.
Monitors: VHF Channel 16.
Getting there by water: Cumberland River Mile 42.2, right descending bank at Hammond Creek Light (flashing green); new sign on breakwater; half-mile downstream from federal mooring cells. Lat/Lon: 37.03.373N – 088.06.087W
Getting there by land: From I-24, Exit 40 on to U.S. 62 West, go for a half-mile to KY 295 (Lake Barkley Drive) and turn left; continue two miles into Kuttawa. Marina is on the right.