It’s no secret that I adore Central Kentucky. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Call me biased, sure — but, I believe it with my entire being. One of the best places to visit? Well, with my friends in Hart County, of course!
I hope y’all enjoy this guide that I’ve crafted; from sunrise to sundown, there’s so much fun to be had on this Kentucky Getaway!
Doughnuts at R&S Salvage Grocery & Bakery
235 Irvin Cemetery Rd., Horse Cave, KY 42749
There’s no better place to start your day than at R&S Salvage Grocery and Bakery. First and foremost, a warning: this place is HUGE! You could spend a good chunk of your morning wandering up and down the aisles — and if you have time, I recommend it. Among the inventory, you’ll see familiar brands and items; however, without hesitation, I can say that you will find many items that you didn’t know you wanted to try, but you will be so glad that you did.
While the groceries are great, the highlight is the bakery. Owned and operated by the local Amish community, these sweets are the real deal, y’all. Steps away from the case, one can see the young women working hard to make each treat — and, if I do say so myself, the smell is intoxicating. Both the doughnuts and the fried pies are glorious, all while being extremely inexpensive. My best tip? Come early — they sell out fast!
Side note: All small towns have a local watering hole where people hang out. In Horse Cave, that’s the bookstore — and I was lucky enough to take some doughnuts and fried pies to share with the morning crowd. These men, quite literally, solved the world’s problems around that wood table. That, to me, is Kentucky. Kind, genuine people — it was very reminiscent of my hometown. I am so appreciative that they allowed me to be their guest.
Explore Hidden River Cave
119 W. Main St., Horse Cave, KY 42749
Amazingly located in downtown Horse Cave (I couldn’t believe the location – it’s literally in the middle of town!), Hidden River Cave is a gem of our state. This was my first time visiting and I left in disbelief that I hadn’t been sooner! From the American Cave Museum, to an amazing zipline, to rappelling — adventure awaits at Hidden River Cave!
Oh, and it’s a fantastic photo opportunity!
Downtown Horse Cave, KY 42749
After exploring Hidden River Cave, don’t miss out on the plethora of shops that downtown Horse Cave has to offer.
From A Walk Through Time, to Geega’s, to Nana’s (love her!), to Caveland Antiques, to All Things By Mel, to Sims Studio and Art Shop — you’re sure to leave with a shopping bag or three (trust me on that one!).
Have Lunch At A Local Eatery
I couldn’t just choose one lunch in Horse Cave (and, if you’re like me, you’ll hit them both up!). That said, hear me out — they are two totally different experiences and I know you’ll be pleased by choosing either.
5 Broke Girls
904 E. Main St., Horse Cave, KY 42749
5 Broke Girls is self-described as homestyle cookin’ with a Texas twist — and with one bite, you might just be yee-hawin’!
From the southern hospitality, to the mason jars, to the chive biscuits, you’re in for a treat at 5 Broke Girls. But, don’t take your eyes off of the prize — the food. Chicken fried chicken (Praise the Lord, Hallelujah!), chicken fried steak, ham, fried okra… need I say more?
Oh, and don’t forget about dessert!
WigWam General Store
7015 S Jackson Hwy., Horse Cave, KY 42749
This is, in my opinion, the pinnacle of Kentucky cuisine. Fine dining is great — and as y’all know, I enjoy it regularly. That said, the culinary scene of Kentucky should be defined by what the people eat. The average Kentuckian. What I grew up eating. And what is that, you ask?
Fried bologna. Pimento Cheese. Country Ham. Soup Beans. Cornbread. Garden-fresh produce. Wilted Lettuce. Sweet Tea.
Upon opening the door to the WigWam General Store, I knew that I was in the right place. A place reminiscent of my childhood. Sweet tea out of a plastic pitcher (and it’s damn good, y’all). Seats at the counter, much like those at my favorite Main St. eatery growing up. Having lunch at the WigWam General Store should be on your Kentucky Bucket List — trust me, y’all.
Visit Dennison’s Roadside Market
5824 S. Jackson Hwy (US 31E), Horse Cave, KY 42749
Sweet strawberries, fresh produce, Kentucky Proud goods, a family-owned farm — need I say more?
I wrote an entire post about how much I love Dennison’s. You can read that post here.
The synopsis? If Dennison’s isn’t on your itinerary, brainstorm again, my sisters and brothers!
Pet a Kangaroo at Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo
3700 L&N Turnpike Rd., Horse Cave, KY 42749
Yes, we have kangaroos in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. And Sloths. And Lorries. And Camels. And a plethora of other beautiful, extremely fascinating creatures — all of which can be found at the Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo.
I can’t ignore a favorite childhood story of mine here. My grandmother, the late Linda Sullivan, was a very crafty woman. One Halloween, most likely to appease her animal-obsessed grandson, she made me a kangaroo costume. It was a full-body suit — complete with a pouch (in which I carried a Beanie Baby kangaroo!).
I’ve always had a fascination with kangaroos — and that costume was one of the greatest gifts that I have ever received. I wore it multiple times/week after Halloween (much to the chagrin of my family, I’m sure)… I only stopped wearing it when I outgrew the costume.
Seeing live kangaroos for the first time at the Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo was, simply put, amazing. It took me straight back to that moment — to those precious memories with my Nanny — and for that, I will always be thankful. From petting a joey (with the guided assistance of the fabulous zookeeper), to feeding the ‘roos, to posing for photos… it was an unforgettable experience.
There’s so much to do at Kentucky Down Under — come ready to allocate appropriate time to see it all. You’ll be amazed, just as I was. Oh, and if you’re hungry for a snack (no judgement here!), their on-site eatery serves up some delicious, inexpensive comfort food. Sloppy joes, quesadillas, burgers, fresh fruit — it was all delicious.
There’s also a fudge counter in the gift shop!
At this point, I know y’all will want to freshen up. If staying overnight, which I recommend, a convenient hotel is the Holiday Inn Express. I loved how close it was to downtown — and it’s right across the road from Kentucky Down Under!
Holiday Inn Express
750 Flint Ridge Rd., Horse Cave, KY 42749
Another trip tip? If you need to stop at a rest stop, don’t miss out on the two in Horse Cave. As odd as it sounds, they are some of the nicest that I have ever visited. They see major foot traffic each year — seven digits — and upon stopping, you’ll see why.
Enjoy Dinner At Turtlelini’s Pizza and Pasta
103 S Dixie St., Horse Cave, KY 42749
Turtlelini’s is a local favorite. The staff is friendly, the restaurant is homey, and dinner crowd was well-attended. While I don’t know this to be certain, I’d be willing to bet that the people that I saw inside were regulars. Always go where the locals go.
Pizza at Turtlelini’s is comprised of fresh, house-made dough + a seasoned sauce that is blended in the kitchen. It’s SO delicious — as are the cheese sticks! Don’t miss those. I’m drooling at the memory…
As I always say, adventure awaits in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Even more true is that adventure awaits in beautiful Hart County!
What are you waitin’ for? Go out and explore, y’all!
As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!
Y’all come back now, ya hear?
FTC: This is a commissioned post; however, as always, all opinions expressed are my own.