Ralph's Vision

The Versatile Moors Resort & Marina

October 2010 Feature Roy Sparks

In 1951, Ralph Moore purchased a section of land on the western shore of the Tennessee River at approximately mile marker 30. This land was undeveloped and could have been utilized for any number of projects. In fact, for many years after its purchase, cattle and sheep grazed upon this diamond in the rough. Moore, a developer and homebuilder by trade, constructed a four-unit cottage, a bait shop and a campground.

A few years later, Moore added a restaurant and grocery to the grounds and soon to follow, a gift shop. This property, known as "Moore's Camp," had become the second tourist-related facility on a very young and yet undiscovered Kentucky Lake. The business developed primarily as a result of family vacationers, who continued to return with their children and grandchildren every season. Over the years Moore's Camp established itself as a family tradition.

By the 1970's the "camp" had become a full-service resort facility and was renamed Moors Resort & Marina. The business was family-owned and operated by the Moore family until 1986. That year, a group of investors from western Kentucky and northwest Tennessee bought Moors Resort with hopes of promoting expansion and development in this area of the country. In 1990 they hired Mark Wood to manage the resort facility. He was no stranger to the lakes, having been employed in tourism-related businesses since the 1970's. In October 2002, Mark and Kathy Wood saw a dream become a reality when they became the sole owners of Moors.

Paradise Found

Kentucky Lake has blossomed over the years and developed into a vacationer's paradise. While Kentucky Lake is known as the "Crappie Fishing Capital of the World," many nationally-recognized tournaments and organizations come for bass fishing as well. Let's not forget the leisure-time fisherman either, because nothing relieves stress as much as getting into a boat and sitting in calm water dangling a line, whether anything happens to bite or not. Fishing is one of the more obvious draws to the lake, but the list of activities is endless. Boating has something for everyone in the family. Dad may want to fish while the kids want to go tubing and mom may want to stretch out in the sun with a good book. The famous "Rock Quarry" is just across from the Moors and lures thousands of guests each year. The cliff walls are covered with graffiti, not tacky or distasteful, and many of the "rock paintings" show quite an artistic flair.

Another draw to the area is Land Between The Lakes. This inland peninsula formed when the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers were impounded, creating Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.  Bordered on three sides by water, Land Between The Lakes is a 170,000-acre national recreation area in Western Kentucky and Tennessee. The eastern shoreline of Kentucky Lake, the land you see when you look across the lake from Moors Resort, is the USDA Forest Services Land Between The Lakes (LBL) National Recreation Area. LBL offers all the outdoor recreation "basics," with some unique opportunities for environmental education and historic interpretation. This recreation area consists of many attractions, trails and facilities. Beyond the traditional water sports, sightseeing is the ultimate for those who enjoy nature and all things beautiful. The lake area is a photographer's dream, amateur and professional alike.

Future Plans

While 57 years have come and gone since the Moore family stared this operation, the "Moors Family" is stronger than ever. Still family-owned and operated, the Woods, along with their two daughters Mandy and Lizzy, look forward to the continued growth and expansion of Moors Resort & Marina. What began all those years ago as a campsite for enthusiastic fishermen has expanded to include a full-service marina facility with 200 slips capable of housing boats of all sizes, a ships' store and gas dock, two concrete launching ramps and a large fleet of rental boats. The campground has become a 115-site full hook-up camping area surrounded on three sides by the lake and bath-house facilities that include showers and coin operated laundry. A recreation department is available during the summer months and offers activities for guests and their children.

Finding something to do is not a problem, as the resort has a sandy beach, a day-use picnic area with a volleyball net and basketball court, swimming pool with hot tube area, swing sets, shoreline fishing and postcard-perfect scenery. Lodging facilities are versatile. There are 34 cottages, a 24-room lodge with a great room, which is often used for holiday events, tournament meetings and family reunions. The Moors Restaurant offers onsite catering and on Sunday mornings beckons resort guests and hungry boaters off the lake for the famous all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. The newly-designed restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining in a charming, fishing lodge atmosphere, complete with buoys, anchors, nets and nautical memorabilia, representative of a time enjoyed by Ralph Moore and the Moore's Camp families of yesteryear. The gift shop contains souvenirs, knick-knacks, clothing and a limited amount of grocery items. Tucked away in the corner of the gift shop is a country store, selling hand-crafted items and antiques for those who appreciate attention to detail and fine workmanship.  

To find Moors by water, travel approximately six miles south of Kentucky Dam. Moors Resort & Marina is located on the west shore at Mile Marker 30 at the mouth of Bear Creek. By land, take exit 25A from Interstate 24 onto Purchase Parkway. Take the first exit (47) and turn left onto US Hwy 68. Go approximately five miles and turn left onto Moors Camp Highway (formerly Hwy 963) and then follow the signs to Moors Resort, about five miles. 

For more information on the Gilbertsville, Ky. marina, call 800-626-5472 or visit www.moorsresort.com.

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