Country Bed and Breakfast at One of Kentucky’s Largest Wineries
It may come as a surprise, but the first commercial winery in the United States wasn’t located in Northern California—it was in Kentucky. Marquis de Lafayette first planted vines here in 1798; by the mid-1800s, the Bluegrass State was the country’s third-largest grape and wine producer. Prohibition effectively ended Kentucky's run as a major vintner, but Elk Creek Vineyards carries on the tradition. Set amid rolling hills, it's one of the largest wineries in Kentucky, boasting its own art gallery, outdoor amphitheater, and bed and breakfast.
Accommodations are spread among three buildings: The Inn, The Lodge, and The Estates. The Lodge features private decks overlooking 30 acres of vineyards and stocked fishing lakes. No matter where you spend the night, you’ll be treated to a complimentary continental breakfast in the morning.
Live entertainment is available from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays in the tasting room, where you can sample offerings such as the Estate chardonelle and chambourcin. The winery also has a gallery that showcases work by area ceramists, painters, and glitter-glue prodigies.
Owenton, Kentucky: Rolling Hills near Horse Farms, Hunting, and Fishing
If you were to draw a triangle between Lexington, Louisville, and Cincinnati, Owenton would lie directly in the middle of it. Though it's within an 80-minute drive of each of these towns, Owenton remains charmingly rural. Elk Creek Vineyards might be the area's biggest draw, but there are also opportunities for fishing and hunting nearby.
About 50 miles southeast of Owenton lies Lexington, which has the spirit of a university town intertwined with a pedigreed thoroughbred-horse culture. The small city is fringed with horse farms, many of which have yielded Kentucky Derby winners. It’s possible to take a guided tour of many of these facilities—a great chance to see the next Triple Crown contender before it becomes famous and blows everything on oats and platinum bridles. At Kentucky Horse Park, you can see the gravesite statue of the legendary stallion Man o’ War and visit living race winners in the Hall of Champions.