Once in awhile,
Right in the middle of an ordinary
Love gives us a fairy tale.
And if the fairy tale comes once upon a time in the middle of a Kentucky winter, so much the better. Just in time for Valentine’s Day are these cozy and historic bed and breakfast inns, each offering the possibility of a unique but wonderfully romantic escape.
A mile from northern Kentucky’s bustling Newport on the Levee is Christopher’s Bed and Breakfast, a ravishing 19th-century former church that sparkles with jewel-toned stained-glass windows, three sumptuous Jacuzzi suites, and sits grandly in the heart of the Bellevue historic district.
Named for the patron saint of travelers, Christopher’s was transformed from a place of worship to a place of winsome respite by the Guidugli family in 1996. Today, two junior suites with queen-size beds, stained-glass windows, and private baths charm visitors. There’s also a luscious Governor’s Suite, radiating romance with its four-poster king-size bed, magnificent stained-glass window, cuddly living room, and two private “his and hers” half baths and shower, plus a two-person Jacuzzi that begs long massaging soaks beneath the room’s original pressed-tin ceiling.
Breakfast consists of fresh fruit, muffins, Brenda Guidugli’s specialty granola cereal, orange juice, milk, and coffee or tea served on a formally dressed table in an intimate dining room. There is also a guest sitting room with appliances, plus a selection of snacks from which guests may serve themselves.
Two miles south of Bloomfield (40 minutes from Louisville, Lexington, and Elizabethtown) is the Springhill Winery and Plantation Bed and Breakfast. Guests can choose from suites bedecked in Victorian, Kentucky Colonial, or Classic Renaissance themes named for different wines.
The elegant Rosé is perched at the top of a flying staircase and has a Mecklenburg bed and antique loveseat; the snug Chardonnay overlooks the winery and vineyard; Merlot features a king-size Plantation bed and vineyard views; and Cabernet, which opens from grand double doors, boasts the seductive king-size Renaissance bed.
“What makes Springhill a particularly romantic getaway is different for every couple,” says innkeeper and wine maker Eddie O’Daniel. “It is sometimes the quiet, privacy, and comfort of the old home. Sometimes it is the appeal of the Victorian elegance—the tall ceilings, tapestries, ornate beds, and interior woodwork. Sometimes it is the private wine tasting, a romantic moonlit walk in the vineyards, or the intimacy of the Victorian courtyard at sunset.”
Fresh-cut (seasonal) flowers trim the historic manor. Wine tastings are offered in the tasting room and private tastings after hours can be arranged. The innkeeper offers anniversary packages and Valentine’s Day and birthday specials that can include amenities such as fresh flowers, roses, chocolates, candlelight dancing in the parlor, or even massages and facials. Also, O’Daniel provides coffee and tea at the door every morning and breakfast in bed on special events. A full country breakfast is served in the dining room, after which guests may wish to stroll the vineyards or peruse the gift store and cellar for Kentucky-crafted gifts and Springhill’s wines.
This winter keep the chill at bay and escape to the warmth and romance of your very own fairy tale.
Christopher’s Bed and Breakfast
604 Poplar Street • Bellevue, KY 41073
(888) 585-7085 or (859) 491-9354
Innkeeper: Brenda Guidugli. Rates range from $89-$169.
Springhill Winery and Plantation Bed and Breakfast
3205 Springfield Road • Bloomfield, KY 40008
Innkeeper and wine maker: Eddie O’Daniel.
Rates range from $100-$130.
Other Romantic B&Bs
Hammack-Moore House Bed and Breakfast, (270) 821-5812, www.bbonline.com/ky/hammack-moore, 129 South Main Street, Madisonville, KY 42431. Innkeepers Joe and Shirley Thomas have created nothing short of an idyll in this gracious 1892 Victorian manor. Five antique-laden guestrooms well over with warmth: down comforters, fireplaces, footed tubs, charming views, and sitting rooms. Rates range from $85-$125, and include full breakfast.
1851 Historic Maple Hill Inn Manor, (800) 886-7546, www.maplehillmanor.com, 2941 Perryville Road, Springfield, KY 40069. Innkeepers Todd Allen and Tyler Horton are the architects of a lavishly romantic atmosphere. Guests enjoy seven spacious antique-appointed guestrooms with large beds, private baths, Jacuzzis, and fireplaces, and wake up to the delightful strains of chamber music and the wafting aromas of a full country gourmet breakfast. Rates range from $100-$165, and include full breakfast.
The Meeting House Bed and Breakfast, (502) 226-3226, http://themeetinghousebandb.com, a new B&B located in the heart of Frankfort’s Historic District, 519 Ann Street, Frankfort, KY 40601, features four comfy guestrooms, including an enchanting attic hideaway. The front parlor and the library, both fireplace-toasty, are tranquil and inviting. Innkeepers Gary and Rose Burke recently opened The Meeting House Café and Gift Shop in a cozy space off the kitchen, serving soups, sandwiches, salads, gourmet coffees and teas, and baked goods. Rates range from $115-$125, and include full breakfast.
Kathy Witt is a regular contributor to the Traveling Kentucky column.
With rumble seats, running boards and runabouts, dazzlingly ornate hood ornaments, and glossy sports coupes, in May 1999, Swope Auto Center Chairman Bill Swope opened Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum on the campus of his family’s car lots along Dixie Avenue in Elizabethtown.
The museum was not opened as a moneymaking venture, but as a means to thank the community for its support and to share the Swope family’s longtime love affair with vintage autos by displaying the best in their collection.
Either well-preserved or meticulously restored, every car is still operable and yields interesting anecdotes from the road—like the yellow 1914 Renault first used as a Paris taxicab and later to position French troops against the German onslaught in World War I, or the 1919 Chandler once owned by MGM Studios and used by gun-toting gangsters in the 1959 Jimmy Stewart film The FBI Story.
Among the 52 cars on display spanning 1910-1960s, visitors will find the first vintage car Swope purchased in 1952, a 1922 Dodge touring car, which he bought for $200 and coincidentally was produced within 10 days of Swope’s own birth.
Swope gladly shares these tidbits with visitors, and placards next to each vehicle explain their history, unique features, and purpose.
But aside from the polished chrome, restorative paint jobs, engine specs, dates, and model information, the cars elicit memories of long-ago first dates, courting, or learning to drive.
Bob Swope, Bill’s son, also owns a few cars in the family’s collection and explains their evocative allure.
“If folks have any interest or fond memories, interest in the history of the automobile, cars they used to own or remember growing up, there’s a good chance they’ll find something in the museum that will bring back some of those fond memories.”
Some of the cars are on loan from other collectors, though most belong to members of the Swope family. An annex behind Bob Swope Ford, just north of the main museum on Dixie Avenue, holds a dozen more antique autos shown only by request.
Displays change periodically and the museum can accommodate group tours. About 7,000 people visit each year, coming from all 50 states as well as overseas. Adults are asked to accompany young visitors.
The Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum, 1100 N. Dixie Avenue, Elizabethtown, is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., November 1-April 1; and 10 a.m.-5 p.m., April 1-October 31; closed Sundays and holidays. Admission is free. For more information, call (270) 765-2181 or go on the Web to www.swopemuseum.com/vehicles.asp.
Elizabethtown also showcases the past with other museums and historical attractions. For more information on other attractions, restaurants, or things to do while in the area, go online to Elizabethtown Tourism & Convention Commission, www.touretown.com.
Hardin County History Museum, 201 W. Dixie Avenue, (270) 737-4126. Discover the area from the era of Native American settlement to the Civil War and beyond. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Special hours for group tours available. Free admission.
Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola Memorabilia, 1030 N. Mulberry Street, (270) 234-1100, www.schmidtmuseum.com. Antique vending machines, advertisements, and memorabilia. Hours are 9 a.m.-5p.m., Monday-Friday. Adults $2, seniors and tour groups $1.50, students 50 cents, preschoolers free.
Brown-Pusey House, 128 N. Main Street, (270) 765-2515. Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Saturday. Free admission.
Good Eats & Entertainment
In the mood for food and fun? Try this sampling of locally owned Elizabethtown establishments:
3 Putt Willie’s at Pine Valley, restaurant and bar with nightly entertainment, 850 Pine Valley Drive, (270) 737-7772.
Arnold’s Coffee Café, coffees, pastries, gelato, and sandwiches, 2626 Ring Road, (270) 982-4400.
Back Home Restaurant, home-cooked entrees and desserts, gifts, and crafts. 251 W. Dixie Avenue, (270) 769-2800.
Cobbler’s Cafe, specialty coffees, soups, sandwiches, desserts, and artisan breads, 125 E. Dixie Avenue, (270) 982-CAFE (2233).
Fitz & Company, European-style bistro, 119 E. Dixie Avenue, (270) 735-1755.
Old Vault Deli, deli-style soups, sandwiches, and desserts, 45 Public Square, (270) 737-7550.
Stone Hearth, steaks, salads, soups, and house specialties, 1001 N. Mulberry Street, (270) 765-4898.
Shannon Leonard-Boone is a regular contributor to the Traveling Kentucky column.