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August 8, 2004

Murder, mayhem, and money

Folks living in Tug Valley, Ky., probably would have been happier if the country's most infamous domestic dispute were forgotten. But tourists kept coming to see the sites of the Hatfield and McCoy family feuds, which resulted in at least a dozen deaths by the late 1800s. If you can't ignore them, at least make money off them, tourism officials in southeastern Kentucky decided, and they are now courting the curious.

From the Pikeville-Pike County Tourism office you can get a ''Hatfield-McCoy Driving Tour" brochure that includes such gruesome landmarks as the spot in Pikeville where Ellison Mounts was hanged for the murder of two people at the McCoy home, as well as the murder site of Asa Harman McCoy, the feud's first victim. Other highlights -- or would that be low points? -- are Dils Cemetery, where Randolph McCoy and his daughter Roseanna are buried. The recently landscaped cemetery was one of the first sites to be upgraded for tourists. Historical markers have been added to six other spots, and local and congressional financing was approved to make even more improvements.

Don't think all is doom and gloom, though. Every June there's a Hatfield-McCoy Reunion Festival, where descendants of both families break nothing more than bread.

Pikeville-Pike County Tourism, 800-844-7453, www.tourpikecounty.com.

DIANE DANIEL

Shaken, stirred, and sedated

For those who want to fly a little bit higher, Virgin Airlines is introducing an inflight mixologist.

Trials began last month in Upper Class (the top flight category) on selected New York to London flights, with a Bombay Sapphire mixologist creating a choice of five gin-based cocktails for passengers. The private bar is in an area separate from the cabin. Passengers are handed cocktail menus and can choose from a French 75, Ivy Fizz Royale, Grapefruit Collins, Gin Martini, and Raspberry Debonaire. The cabin crew will serve the drinks or passengers may sit at the bar.

The service, however, is not intended to get you sloshed in the sky. It will be offered during the flight's first three hours only, and airline officials say consumption will be monitored and limited.

Virgin Airlines, www.virgin.com/atlantic, 800-862-8621.RICHARD P. CARPENTER

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