If You Go

How to get there: Tompkinsville, Kentucky, is just 83 miles from Nashville International Airport. From the airport, take I-65 North out of Tennessee and into Kentucky. Make a right onto exit 43, the Cumberland Parkway, and then take exit 14 to Highway 90. Make a right on 90 and go 20 miles to Highway 163 South. Tompkinsville is 13 miles down the road.

Where to sleep: The Tompkinsville Inn is a marble's roll away from the Super Dome on Highway 163 North. Contact the inn at (270) 487-9228, or visit www.tompkinsvilleinn.com.

When to play (or watch): Visit the Monroe County Marble Club Super Dome any day after four p.m. and on Sunday mornings after about 8:30. No marble handy? No worries. "We'll let anybody play. We'll even loan them a marble," says Rondal Biggerstaff. Friday night is the best night for marbles, though there's sure to be a game or two going on every other night of the week as well.

What to eat: There's another reason to show up in town on the weekend: barbecue. Hunger for the local vinegar-based barbecue sauce on slow-cooked pork shoulder (along with a side of vinegar slaw) keeps eight or nine barbecue restaurants going at a time in this county of only 12,000 residents. Beware: Most of the barbecue restaurants are only open Thursdays through Sundays, and when they're sold out, they shut tight. Call ahead to make sure your favorite cut of meat - or some pulled pork - is still available. Three of the best:

Backyard BBQ
293 Old Edmonton Road, Tompkinsville
(270) 487-9271

Frances Bar-B-Que
4134 Vernon Road, Hestand
(270) 487-8550

R&S BBQ
217 South Jackson Street, Tompkinsville
(270) 487-1008



Beyond Super Dome

If you’d rather tie your Rolley Hole–watching in with a weekend’s worth of festivities, give one of these events a shot:

United States Marbles Championship
Middletown, Maryland

August 4 and 5
www.omnilex.com/usmarbles/index.html

Monroe County Watermelon Festival
September 2
www.monroecounty.virtualave.net/watermelonfestival.html

Standing Stone Marbles Festival & National Rolley Hole Championship
Hilham, Tennessee

September 16
www.tnvacation.com/events/1449