SPRING HAS BREEZED INTO KENTUCKY, bringing with it a yen to get out and about and taste adventure: foodie fun in a silo off a country road and in the 1800s; sipping suds in an old bus station, a national forest and the heart of Bourbon Country; getaways on the lake, in the canyon, up in the trees and deep in the woods; and live music with the power and purity to lift the soul.
Here is a 21-fun salute to memorable ways all around the state to spend those warm-weather days.
12 Mile Creek Winery, California
California is famous for its hillside vineyards, delicious wines accompanied by freshly made cuisine and inviting tasting rooms. California, Kentucky, that is—the home of 12 Mile Creek Winery and the first Kentucky Jalapeño Wine Bloody Mary. (And yes, it does have a kick.)
In addition to this unusual wine, vintners Tamara and Kevin Stewart offer a variety of dry and sweet wines to sip and enjoy in the homey setting of the tasting room, as well as select specialty foods, like their stone-baked naan bread pizza, and live music on select Saturdays.
“We’re known for our seasonal bruschetta,” says Tamara Stewart, “which we only serve when the tomatoes are just right.”
Bluebird Cafe, Stanford
Culinary Director David Sanderlin has three words for diners: hospitality, excellence, stewardship.
“The Bluebird Cafe is a hospitality experience that is communicated through the medium of amazing food from a desire to reach out and build up community,” he says.
The farm-to-table restaurant sources locally (Marksbury Farm, Weisenberger Mill, Penn’s Country Ham) to bring from-scratch, seasonally oriented cuisine to the menu, like gourmet beef burgers, shrimp and grits and the Monte Cristo. Everything is served in a setting that feels more art gallery than eatery, thanks to the original paintings of Kentucky’s own Henry Faulkner, in one of Stanford’s historic downtown buildings.
Patti’s 1880’s Settlement, Grand Rivers
Flower Pot Bread, Mile High Meringue Pie, 2-inch thick pork chops—Patti’s leaves an indelible imprint on it visitors (and their tastebuds) through its famous foods, but this dining destination with recreated historical log cabin village, gardens, gift shop and lodging is so much more.
“Patti’s is a true story of one woman’s dream to continue the importance of time with family,” says Ann Martin, co-CEO and director of marketing. “Miss Patti (Tullar) always felt that time around the dinner table was family time spent without any distractions.”
Patti’s marked its 45th year last month—45 years of dishing up charm, memories and Bill’s Boatsinker Pie in a picturesque resort setting tucked between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.
Triplets BBQ, Cadiz
A grain bin filled with barbecue? Yep. Triplets BBQ in Cadiz is inside a 48-foot-tall metal silo and specializes in authentic regional barbecue: hickory smoked pulled pork, Texas-style smoked brisket and whole smoked chickens. Saucing the meats are the house-made, Kansas City-inspired Dr. Pepper Sauce and the restaurant’s regionally inspired Hollis Sauce.
Triplets is the sister restaurant of Harper House, a Southern steakhouse occupying two nearby grain bins and serving up made-from-scratch cuisine. A welcoming vibe comes from the restaurant’s piano bar and gleaming dining tables made of live edge wood. Both Harper House and Triplets feature theme nights and weekend entertainment.