The scenery is lush and the food is tasty at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park’s eateries
“I SAW A REINDEER TODAY,” guests at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park’s two restaurants often tell Natasha Moore, food and beverage operations manager. She smiles, knowing that what they really saw were elk, and that this area of eastern Kentucky is a common place to see them.
Named for the legendary pioneer woman Jenny Wiley, the park’s perfect mountain experience is rounded out with food.
Its two restaurants overlook beautiful Dewey Lake. At the more informal Admiral Dewey’s Bar and Grill, favorites include the Wiley Buffalo Burger, a three-quarter pound buffalo-hamburger blend. Or try the park’s homemade four-cheese spinach and artichoke dip with homemade fried tortilla chips.
The other restaurant is the Music Highway Grill, pictured. For meat lovers, there are plenty of steaks to choose from, including filet mignon wrapped in applewood bacon, rib-eye, sirloin and a 12-ounce New York strip. Most popular is the all-you-can-eat, deep-fried, sustainably raised catfish that comes with three sides and hushpuppies. Be sure to save room for the hot banana-and-vanilla wafer pudding topped with golden meringue.
The lodge, Moore says, “is a beautiful setting. There is nowhere else you can get the view and the food that we offer.”
When you go to Jenny Wiley State Park, you can’t help but wonder who Jenny Wiley was. The answer is “the Pocahontas of the mountains,” Moore says. “Her story alone sells this area.”
Don’t forget one of the newer attractions—herds of elk. The resort offers guided elk packages that include a room, breakfast, dinner, and the opportunity to take two elk tours—one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The tours run from September to early March. Elk were reintroduced to Kentucky in 1997 as a restoration project by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife. From 1997 to 2003, 1,513 elk were transported into Kentucky.
The rustic Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, served by Big Sandy RECC, is 8 miles from the East Kentucky Science Center and 6 miles from StoneCrest Golf Course.
The Music Highway Grill serves breakfast 7–10 a.m., lunch 11 a.m.–4 p.m. and dinner 5–9 p.m.; Admiral Dewey’s Bar and Grill serves dinner 5–9 p.m.; both seven days a week.
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park
419 Jenny Wiley Drive