Southern Hospitality and Local Artwork at Historic Appalachian Hotel
Located on Berea College Square and built in 1909 out of bricks manufactured by students in the school's masonry department, the neoclassical Historic Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant has attracted several world icons over the years. Its notable guests have included President Calvin Coolidge, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Dalai Lama, but the hotel's true legacy is its century-long relationship with the school. Today, students make up most of the staff at the hotel's award-winning restaurant, and guest rooms feature wood furniture handcrafted by Berea College students over the past century. This time-honored tradition, combined with the hotel’s exceptional hospitality, helped convince the Official Best Of TV series to name Historic Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant Kentucky’s Best Historic Hotel in 2011.
Fine dining has been at the heart of the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant since the 1930s, when it was first featured in Duncan Hines's Adventures in Good Eating guidebooks. Today, as a Kentucky Proud restaurant, the Boone Tavern dining room crafts contemporary southern cuisine using local ingredients, many of which come from the Berea College gardens and greenhouses.You can sample the famous corn-bread soufflé called spoon bread, which inspired an annual community-wide festival. Or try the restaurant’s signature Chicken Flakes in a Bird’s Nest dish, which consists of creamed chicken in a potato nest.
Old-fashioned room keys open the hotel’s guest rooms, which are filled with cherry, oak, or pine furniture—all handcrafted from indigenous forest wood. Woven bedding and hand baskets pay homage to Appalachian tradition, and private bathrooms feature luxurious soaking tubs. As a LEED Gold-certified hotel, the Boone Tavern boasts natural bath products and low-emission windows that let in abundant natural light.
Berea, Kentucky: Arts and Crafts and Abundant Hiking Trails in “Best Small Town in Kentucky”
Located about 50 minutes south of Lexington in central Kentucky's mountain region, Berea has been hailed as Kentucky’s Best Small Town in Southern Living for its arts-and-crafts reputation and strong Appalachian traditions. Guests can see some of the community's handcrafted wares at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, 2 miles north of the hotel. Hundreds of local craftsmen and women flock to this 25,000-square-foot emporium to display everything from fine jewelry and specialty foods to woven mats, and permanent installations educate guests on the area's history.
Berea is also home to numerous hiking trails. They include the recreational routes that cut through Berea College's 7,700 acres of old-growth woodlands, which double as teaching-and-research grounds for the forestry department. East Pinnacle Trail follows a 6.6-mile loop through the Appalachian countryside, where you’ll encounter breathtaking mountain views.