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 in the Bluegrass State in 1798, and by the mid-1800s, the state was the third-largest grape and wine producer in the country. Prohibition effectively ended Kentucky's run as a major wine producer, but Elk Creek Vineyards carries on the tradition. Set amid rolling hills, it boasts one of the largest wineries in the state as well as its own bed and breakfast, art gallery, and outdoor amphitheater.
Live entertainment is available from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays in the tasting room, where you can sample offerings such as the Estate chardonelle and chambourcin. Elk Creek's gallery showcases work by area ceramists, painters, and glitter-glue prodigies.
Lodge-style accommodations are split among three distinct buildings: The Inn, The Lodge, and The Estates. The Lodge features private decks overlooking 30 acres of vineyards and stocked fishing lakes. Rooms in The Lodge and The Estates feature en suite bathrooms, while accommodations at The Inn either share a bathroom or have their own across the hall. Call ahead to request a room with an en suite bathroom.
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 hour or two of each of these cities, Owenton remains charmingly rural. Elk Creek might be the area's biggest draw, but there are also opportunities for fishing and hunting nearby.
Lexington, located about 50 miles southeast of Owenton, 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 derby winners in the Hall of Champions.