Berea Kentucky has been growing fast in recent years, as more and more people are realizing the potential of this artsy destination. More than anything, the town is known for its arts and crafts industry. In fact, Berea KY is nicknamed the "Folk Arts and Crafts Capital of Kentucky," and the town motto is "Where Art's Alive." at the Kentucky Artisan Center alone, Berea visitors can spend hours checking out all of the artistic displays and demonstrations.
Berea Kentucky is found just off Interstate 75 in the east-central part of the state. Approximately 45 miles to the north is Lexington, and to the near east of town are portions of the beautiful Daniel Boone National Forest. This location translates to numerous options for things to do, especially for those who enjoy both city pursuits and spending time in the great outdoors. In Berea proper, taking part in a fun festival is among the most popular things to do when it comes to tourism, as is shopping at the local arts and crafts centers.
Among the most renowned Berea KY events are they Berea Craft Festival and the Spoonbread Festival. The Berea Craft Festival features works by artists that hail from all parts of the country, and complementing the displays and demonstrations are live music performances and regional entertainment. It is held over the course of a weekend in July at the Indian Fort Theater (Highway 21E).
As for the Spoonbread Festival, it is held in mid-September and revolves largely around a kind of cornmeal bread that is popular in parts of the South. It's not all about the cornmeal bread when it comes to the Spoonbread Festival, however. All kinds of various side events and activities can also be enjoyed during the celebratory weekend affair. They include a 5K run, a parade, hot air balloon rides, a car show, and arts and crafts. There's even a scenic motorcycle ride that Berea residents and visitors alike can participate in.
When Berea KY visitors aren't taking part in a fun festival or enjoying area attractions such as the Kentucky Horse Park, they often find themselves shopping for arts and crafts. Among the most renowned arts and crafts retail centers that can be found in Berea is the Kentucky Artisan Center. Also one of the more unique museums in Kentucky, this center offers all kinds of fascinating arts and crafts exhibits, not to mention a wonderful gift shop that sells items such as baskets, jewelry, and pottery. Artist demonstrations can also be enjoyed at the Kentucky Artisan Center. An onsite café provides a tempting and convenient dining option. You can find the Kentucky Artisan Center just off Interstate 75 (exit 77), and admission is free.
It only takes minutes to get from downtown Berea Kentucky to the Daniel Boone National Forest. This federally managed forest in the Appalachian foothills offers beautifully rugged terrain characterized by ravines and sandstone cliffs. Trails such as the 269-mile Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail provide excellent hiking and horseback riding opportunities, and thanks to the rivers and streams, park visitors can also enjoy activities such as fishing and canoeing. Camping within the park's boundaries is also an option, though there are some good Berea Kentucky hotels to select from if you only wish to visit the forest during the day.
The hotels in Berea Kentucky include a few chain brand establishments that offer good rooms at a good price. Among them are the Comfort Inn & Suites Berea and the Fairfield Inn & Suites Berea. For those who are interested in a more unique lodging experience, Berea Kentucky hotels such as the Boone Tavern Hotel and the Pinnacle View Inn are worth considering. Relatively low-frill motels like the Days Inn Berea cater to those who really want to save on rates more than anything else. The Boone Tavern Hotel, it should be noted, is found on the Berea College campus at 100 Main Street, making it an especially good place to stay if you are in town for college-related affairs.
Image: Ann Althouse (flickr)