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Winter Warm Ups at Kentucky Inns

Unchained Vittles – Culinary Treasures of Hometown Restaurants

Winter Warm Ups at Kentucky Inns

Winter’s frosty temps and icy attitude send many people ducking beneath the nearest wool blanket, but there are a number of reasons to postpone hibernation–at least long enough to make the drive to a cozy bed and breakfast or inn to indulge in warming amenities.

Alpaca blankets. Crackling fireplaces. Hot toddies. Is it warm in here?

When Old Man Winter comes a callin’, head to one of these hot spots and chase the chills in style.

Fleece dreams
At Historic Maple Hill Manor, an 1851 Greek Revival Plantation home in Springfield, innkeepers Todd Allen and Tyler Horton keep luxurious alpaca fiber blankets on all guest beds for extra warmth and comfort. Cuddly teddy bears and swaddling throws, also made of alpaca fiber, add soft, homey touches in each room. Fireplaces spark in several guestrooms; in two, Jacuzzi tubs bubble away.

“Each evening, we serve a warm homemade dessert, local wines, specialty teas, hot cocoa, and our own specialty evening drink–hot toddies,” says Allen, noting that the B&B prides itself on using Kentucky-made products, wines, and spirits. “Our hot toddy is ideal for the onset of colds and sore throats and is an overall warm-up during winter.”

Warm hospitality and pie
At the Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, innkeepers Helen and Chuck Dedman and their son Dixon keep the hearth fires burning in the Main Inn on frosty days and nights.

“You can often find guests reading and resting and taking care of the fire throughout the day,” says Helen Dedman.

The Dedman family has been warming up guests since 1919 with Southern hospitality and snug rooms in buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“In our Diamond and Platinum suites, we have electric fireplaces that look very real and give off heat–romance and heat,” she says. “On very cold nights we have down comforters for our guests.”

The inn, famous for its yellow-legged fried chicken, 2-year-old Kentucky cured country ham, corn pudding, and cornmeal batter cakes, also adds a glow to their guests’ cheeks with fine wines and spirits.

“Nothing is more warming than a piece of warm Kern’s Derby Pie and a cup of hot coffee,” says Dixon Dedman. “Of course, it’s best enjoyed in front of the roaring fireplace in the Old Owl Tavern.”

Four-alarm amenities
Toasty is the word that comes to mind at the Fox Briar Inn at RiverPlace in Paducah’s historic district. The renovated warehouse complex overlooking the Flood Wall Murals and the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers has 10 guestrooms. One of the rooms has a fireplace, another has a freestanding ceramic stove, four have whirlpool tubs, and all have 400-plus thread count sheets as well as woven throws that are perfect for burrowing beneath.

In the winter, innkeepers Ron and Sue Clark stock cocoa and apple cider in addition to coffee in the rooms. The Clarks also turn up the heat at dStarnes, their restaurant on the street level of RiverPlace. Homemade soups simmer on the stove daily, with vegetable, Italian tomato, cabbage dill, chicken noodle, and cheesy potato warming diners from the inside out. Hot tamales and chili are always on the menu and, every Friday, hot cinnamon rolls.

Hot tamales. Down comforters. Thermal throws. You may not want to come home ’til the spring thaw.


Beaumont Inn
638 Beaumont Inn Drive
Harrodsburg, KY 40330
(800) 352-3992

Fox Briar Inn at RiverPlace
100C Broadway
Paducah, KY 42001
(270) 443-7004, (877) FOX-INN1

Historic Maple Hill Manor
2941 Perryville Road
Springfield, KY 40069
(859) 336-3075, (800) 886-7546

Beaumont Inn
Valentine’s Day package:
Special candlelight Price Fixe dinner ($35-$45) and special overnight rates ($85-$145). Includes full Southern breakfast.

Historic Maple Hill
Romantic Touch/Pampered Partners package:
Includes one night accommodation; champagne and chocolate-dipped strawberries or truffles on arrival; 60-minute couples’ “how-to” massage instruction with professionally trained therapist; $50 dining certificate for a romantic gourmet dinner; rose petal turndown and keepsake music CD; and 3-course Fine China & Crystal Breakfast, set before the dining room’s wood-burning fireplace. $479. Available throughout February.

Winter’s Wine, Dine & Whirlpool for Two package: Includes one night accommodation in a Jacuzzi-for-Two guestroom; limo tour of two or three wineries or bourbon distilleries for private tasting, discount offers on purchases and souvenir glasses as a memento; $50 dining certificate for a romantic gourmet dinner; full country Fine China & Crystal gourmet breakfast. $449 weekdays, $499 weekends. Certain restrictions apply; limited availability.

Linger Longer Winter Special: stay two nights/get one night free. Available December and January.

Kathy Witt is a regular contributor to the Traveling Kentucky column.

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Unchained Vittles – Culinary Treasures of Hometown Restaurants

“When we open for breakfast at 5, people are always waiting at the door,” says Jacqueline Burge, owner of Wilma’s Kountry Kitchen in Mayfield. Like scores of non-franchise restaurants across the state, this western Kentucky eatery is a local favorite, where waitresses call you Honey and serve bottomless cups of coffee.

For nearly 40 years, Wilma’s has offered home-cooked breakfast any time with hash browns to die for and meat, and lunches with daily specials ranging from salmon patties to white gravy-topped country fried steak with sides of pickled beets and fried okra.

“All our food is made from scratch,” says waitress Christina Holland. “You don’t get that when you drive through at the chains.”

And you especially don’t get Wilma’s melt-in-your-mouth cream pies. We’re talking caramel, chocolate, and coconut with meringue up to glory. If you want to take one home, you’d better go early.

Early isn’t an issue at Ferrell’s Snappy Service, as the legendary Hopkinsville eatery is open from 5 a.m. every Monday until 3 a.m. each Sunday. For several generations, the tiny Main Street business has been flipping Hoptown’s tastiest hamburgers. Don’t ask for the burger recipe. It’s a secret.

One of the five oldest hamburger stands in the country, Ferrell’s was started in 1929 by the current owner and her husband.

“Mrs. Ferrell is 88 years old now,” says manager Jack Rittenberry, “but she’s still working here 12 hours a day, six days a week.”

Six generations have owned and operated the Doe Run Inn in Brandenburg since its inception at the turn of the last century. Daniel Boone’s brother, Squire, named the creek that gives the inn its name and meanders peacefully nearby.

“My ancestors bought the property around 1900, and it’s been going ever since,” explains Cherie Whitman, the 12-room “rustic” hostelry’s sixth generation. “We’re country cooking at its best, and we’re known for our country ham balls.”

You’ll find those on the Sunday smorgasbord, and the luscious, salty ham itself on the family restaurant’s regular menu, along with fried chicken.

A family affair lies but a few steps from a slew of artisans’ shops in downtown Berea, the Crafts Capital of Kentucky. For the past 10 years, brothers Jerome and Brad Lewis have owned Papaleno’s Restaurant, where college students, faculty, locals, and visitors all cram into cozy booths.

“Everything on the menu does really well,” Jerome says, “but our top sellers are pizza and subs. I think that’s because all our bread, including the pizza dough, is homemade.”

If you’re looking for carbs, take your tummy to the Cedar Village Restaurant. Hit the bountiful buffet for country ham, turkey and dressing, catfish, hush puppies, sour cream cornbread, and hoecakes. But save room for the piece de resistance.

“Everybody comes from everywhere to get our butter rolls,” says Princess Benton, who owns the 49-year-old establishment with her husband Ray. “We serve them with a sweet sauce, and a lot of people put our soft ice cream on top. We don”t give out the recipe.”

A recipe from old Kuttawa is the basis for the wildly popular barbecue sauce at a second-generation chow-down spot in Grand Rivers.

“Our sauce has sort of a sweet and sour taste,” explains Hugh Knoth, whose parents opened Knoth’s Bar-B-Que in 1965. “We cook our pulled pork over hickory wood charcoal, just like they did it 100 years ago in this part of the country.”

Stop salivating, and pull up a chair!


Following are a few of Kentucky’s non-chain culinary treasures.

Big Moose’s BBQ and Smokehouse
Glasgow, (270) 651-1913
HUGE 8 oz. pure Angus Moose Burger, barbecued pork shoulder

Bread of Life Cafe
Liberty, (606) 787-6110
Amish-run, homemade breads, yeast rolls, pies, proceeds benefit Galilean Children’s Home

Cedar Village Restaurant
Irvine, (606) 723-7777
Country ham, catfish and hush puppies, turkey and dressing, butter rolls, soft ice cream

Dinner Bell Restaurant
Benton, (270) 354-6521
Fried catfish and chicken

Doe Run Inn
Brandenburg, (270) 422-2982
Country ham balls, country ham dinners, trout dinners, Sunday smorgasbord

Knoth’s Bar-B-Que
Grand Rivers, (270) 362-8580
Pulled pork, cooked over hickory wood

Melini Cucina Italian Eatery
Grayson, (606) 475-1521
Italian meatball calzones, Melini stromboli, baked lasagna

Miguel’s Pizza
Slade, (606) 663-1975
Breakfast omelets, big salads, specialty pizzas

Our Best
Smithfield, (502) 845-7682
Farm-fresh catfish, fried pork chops, chicken livers, white bean soup, fried green tomatoes

Papaleno’s Restaurant
Berea, (859) 986-4497
Pizza, sub sandwiches, ravioli, homemade bread, pizza crust, and tomato sauce

Murray, (270) 753-1632
Biscuits and gravy, fried tenderloin, white beans, Friday fried fish dinner, and karaoke

Wilma’s Kountry Kitchen
Mayfield, (270) 247-9153
Country fried steak, salmon patties, meat loaf, fried okra, cream pies with meringue

For a wonderful link to dozens of other great restaurants across Kentucky, go to:

Katherine Tandy Brown is a regular contributor to the Traveling Kentucky column.

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