Property at a Glance: The Lodge at Elk Creek Vineyards
It may come as a surprise, but the first commercial winery in the United States wasn’t in California—it was in Kentucky. Marquis de Lafayette first planted vines here in 1798. While Prohibition effectively ended Kentucky’s run as a major vintner, Elk Creek Vineyards carries on the tradition. Set amid rolling hills, it’s one of Kentucky’s largest wineries, boasting its own art gallery, outdoor amphitheater, and bed and breakfast.
- Where you’ll stay: Accommodations are spread among three buildings: The Inn, The Estates, and The Lodge, which features private decks overlooking 30 acres of vineyards and stocked fishing lakes.
- Added perk: Each a complimentary continental breakfast in the morning.
- This deal includes: An Elk Creek Vineyards winery tour and a cheese-and-crackers plate.
- Catch a show: There’s live entertainment on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
- Wines produced here include chambourcin, merlot, and vidal blanc.
- Onsite art gallery showcases work by local ceramists and painters.
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.