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From Abe to Cave: The perfect day trip in Central Kentucky

From Abe to Cave: A Kentucky Trail For The Perfect Day Trip

Hey, y’all!

If you know anything about me, you know that I love Kentucky. Even more than that, however, you might also know that I love Central and Southern Kentucky. It’s God’s Country – and in my eyes, it’s hard to beat.

While the landscapes are easy on the eye, there’s so much to do and so much to learn in this area of the Commonwealth, as well. It’s rich in history! With that in mind, I present to you a perfect day trip that is chock-full of adventure, activities, food, and culture: From Abe to the Cave!

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park

2995 Lincoln Farm Rd., Hodgenville, KY 42748

The Abe in the trail? Well, no other than our sixteenth President Abraham Lincoln! The first president born west of the Appalachian Mountains, he was born in a log cabin on Sinking Springs Farm. According to the National Park Service, “the story of Lincoln’s journey from log cabin to the White House that began here has long been a powerful symbol of the unlimited possibilities of American life.  For almost a century, tourists and historians have come here to seek out the origins of the man and his virtues—honesty, unpretentiousness, tolerance, hard work, a capacity to forgive, and a clear-sighted vision of right and wrong.”

The approaching centennial of Lincoln’s birth brought interest in memorializing the president; in doing so, Robert Collier, publisher of Colliers Weekly, bought Sinking Springs Farm in 1905. He, along with his associates, formed the Abraham Lincoln Farm Association to build the memorial. To quote, “Over 120,000 individuals from across the country, including thousands of schoolchildren, contributed a total of about $350,000 for the memorial.” The cornerstone was dedicated in 1909 by President Theodore Roosevelt, while President Taft dedicated the space for the nation two years later.

From Abe to Cave: The perfect day trip in Central Kentucky

The small cabin reminds us of Lincoln’s beginnings, which were quite humble, and the granite + marble memorial building that houses the cabin is a luxurious, stunning reminder of Lincoln’s rich legacy in the United States.

From Abe to Cave: The perfect day trip in Central Kentucky

I am certain that y’all would love visiting the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park, as it is a fantastic piece of national history!

Mammoth Cave National Park

After a morning spent in Larue County learning about President Lincoln, head on down to the second half of the Abe to Cave Trail by visiting Mammoth Cave National Park! Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system known in the world – and it’s right in our backyards in Central Kentucky. How fabulous is that?

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Fun Fact:

Did you know that Mammoth Cave National Park was deemed a national park in 1941, a World Heritage Site in 1981, and an International Biosphere Reserve in 1990? That’s why it attracts visitors from nearby and afar, internationally and domestically!

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From Abe to Cave: The perfect day trip in Central Kentucky

The park spans into Edmonson, Hart, and Barren Counties. Mammoth Cave is famous for having over 400 miles of surveyed passageways, along with stunning limestone strata, capped by sandstone.

There are multiple tours and adventures that one can take at Mammoth Cave – ones that are geared towards families, children, school groups, adults.. you name it! You can find more information about visiting here.

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While a day can easily be filled going from Abe to Cave, if you need more activities (or want some great food), head over and visit my friends in Hart County! In beautiful, nearby Horse Cave, Kentucky, one can have fabulous Amish Doughnuts from R&S Salvage Grocery and Bakery, explore Hidden River Cave, shop locally downtown, dine at 5 Broke Girls (get the Chicken Fried Chicken!), have a glass of sweet tea and a bologna sandwich at the WigWam General Store, visit the famous Dennison’s Roadside Market, pet a kangaroo at Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo, and grab a pizza at a local favorite, Turtlelini’s!

You can find more information on what to do, where to go, and where to eat in Hart County here.

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Needless to say, there’s a lot to do in this area of the state; if I were you, I’d book a hotel + get ready to make some great memories! Take my word, my Kentucky oath, for it – you won’t regret it.

If you need help planning your trip to Central Kentucky, to the Abe to Cave Trail, or to Hart County, let me know – I’d be happy to help!

As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post; however, as always, all opinions expressed are my own.

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Dining Around Lake Cumberland: A Lake Goer’s Guide to Russell County

Hey, y’all!

Heading to beautiful Lake Cumberland? If you aren’t, take my word for it: you should be! Lake Cumberland is a cultural oasis for our Commonwealth and the millions of visitors that it has attracted to the South-Central Kentucky region. Lake Cumberland provides visitors with water sports a’plenty, gorgeous docks and marinas, and a community unlike any other in the region. Oh, and some delicious food + libations!

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Join me in celebrating the delicious bites and sips along the shoreline of the Houseboat Capital of the World! Warning: come hungry, bring sunscreen, and be prepared to make lifelong memories!

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Did you know that the shoreline of Lake Cumberland is 1,255 miles, which is longer than the contiguous shoreline of Florida? It also just falls short of matching the total Pacific coastline of the United States (California, Oregon, Washington).  Let that sink in for a minute, y’all! As for water capacity, it is the 9th largest reservoir in the United States!

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Side note: I’m not going to downplay my excitement for this post, yet I promise to only get somewhat sentimental — today’s post features the eateries on Lake Cumberland in Russell County. Russell County, specifically Jamestown, is where I am from, y’all. I grew up on the family farm that was homesteaded in 1798, located in what is now the Esto Community of Jamestown. Russell County was officially founded in 1825; thus, it’s fair to say that my roots run pretty deep in this community.

This is my first time getting to work here asJCP Eats in a professional capacity. This opportunity means a lot to me – and I owe it all to you, my dear readers.

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A Culinary Tour of Russell County via Lake Cumberland

The Tiki Bar & Grill

I started my day at the Tiki Bar & Grill, which is located at the State Dock Marina.  Upon grabbing a chair at the Tiki Bar, and after hearing a Jimmy Buffett tune, you’ll forget about all of your worries and be thankful for the forthcoming time that you will have on Lake Cumberland.

On the water, the perfect meal starts with a “boat drink”, as we Parrotheads call them, right? With plenty of beers and a wide-ranging menu, there’s a libation to please all palates. As for me, I started with rum-based cocktails – one with blue curacao and one with pineapple juice!

The fun didn’t end there, though. Don’t miss out on the fried fish, as it was one of my favorite bites on Lake Cumberland. Perfectly breaded, crunchy, and delicious. It was finger lickin’ good.

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

The calamari was also a favorite of mine – the portion size was incredible!

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

As for small bites + bar bites, I also tried the quesadilla, pulled pork sliders, chicken wings, fries, cole slaw, and pretzel + beer cheese.

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Just take my word for it: you can’t go wrong. Especially if you end your meal in an authentic Kentucky fashion: with bourbon pecan pie + vanilla ice cream!

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Fishtales

Fishtales is, without hesitation, my favorite place on Lake Cumberland. The food is absolutely incredible! Upon boating up to the banks of Wolf Creek Marina and landing at Fishtales, one could easily think that they are in the Florida Keys. I’ve made my rounds around Kentucky, as y’all know – and I truly believe that there isn’t any place quite like Fishtales in our Commonwealth.

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Start your meal with the mahi mahi bites, a healthier option that features perfectly-grilled fish in bite-size form. This is the perfect dish to share (or order your own, because, well, you’ll want it).

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

The fish tacos feature the same mahi mahi, so if tacos are more your speed, by all means – order these! So good, y’all.

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Oh, and crab cakes! Get the crab cakes. Just trust me.

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

If you would like another drink, look no further than “The Lake Cumberland” – a drink that was born at Wolf Creek Marina. I was so excited to be among the first to try it!

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Inspired by the gorgeous colors of the lake – blue and green – this cocktail is one that you won’t be able to get enough of. It was delicious!

Lake Cumberland Marina

Formerly known as Alligator II, Lake Cumberland Marina really impressed me. It had been several years since I had been on-site – and let me tell you: there have been so many updates! It was unrecognizable in the best way possible.

Lake Cumberland Marina is fixated in one of the best spots for boating and fishing in the Commonwealth. There’s also a nearby beach area, which is perfect for a day of relaxation. Apart from boat rentals, Lake Cumberland Marina has launched two new options: Floating Cabins and Harbor Cottages! This was my first time seeing either – and to say that I was impressed was an understatement. I left wanting one — an on-water office is sounding pretty good at the moment!

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

While at Lake Cumberland Marina, don’t miss out on a delicious meal — and in my opinion, the Philly Cheesesteak was a perfect mid-day treat! They use the same meat in their quesadillas, too. Yum!

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

The Cumberland Tap

I have so many childhood memories at Jamestown Marina (now known as Safe Harbor Jamestown Resort & Marina). Being a Jamestown boy, this is the part of the lake that I consider to be “mine” – however, I’m not alone in this sentiment. One of the busiest parts of Lake Cumberland, upon visiting the marina, you’ll be charmed, too.

The Cumberland Tap is the best-stocked bar on Lake Cumberland. This is not your typical drinking experience – they have everything from speciality cocktails to locally-sourced beers. I think that is what impressed me most — the devotion to our alcohol industry here in Kentucky behind the bar. From Jarfly in nearby Somerset to Country Boy & West Sixth in Lexington, one is sure to have a taste of the Commonwealth upon walking in at the Cumberland Tap.

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

My favorite drink of the day was the Q-Cumberland Mojito, which featured Don Q Rum, fresh mint, fresh cucumber, simple syrup, and a splash of Sprite.

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

I also enjoyed the Jam Marina Margarita, which featured Cuervo Traditional 1800 Silver Tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime + lemon juice, simple syrup, and a splash of orange juice. Oh, and it’s served with a shot of Grand Marnier on the side. Yes, you read that correctly. It made all of the difference.

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

Apart from drinks, the Cumberland Tap is also known for live music + their bar bites. Their oversized, salted, fluffy pretzel is what they are known for – and it’s what dreams are made of. That is if you have carbohydrate-filled dreams (am I alone in this?). The pretzel was served with homemade beer cheese, which featured Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Beer. A little extra touch of Kentucky goes a long way in my book.

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

The Mariner’s Cafe

Located next-door to the Cumberland Tap is the Mariner’s Cafe, which is a staple on Lake Cumberland. It’s truly a one-stop shop!

As for the menu at the Mariner’s Cafe, there are classics – burgers and other sandwiches perfect for a boater’s appetite – and special dishes, such as salmon + delicious southern sides.

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

There are also plenty of appetizers to share with your crew + delicious salads if you are trying to live on the lighter side of life.

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

However, the highlight was an off-menu dessert concoction that I am so proud to say will be available to y’all upon request: Loaded Funnel Cake Fries. No, I’m not kidding. Funnel Cake Fries, topped with cherry pie filling and whipped cream. Sinful? Potentially. Plate scrapin’ good? Absolutely.

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

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Adventure awaits in beautiful Russell County, Kentucky – especially on Lake Cumberland. I do hope that you’ll come hungry, as there are many delicious eateries located on the banks of Kentucky’s shining gem!

Dining on Lake Cumberland - Russell County

As I am from the area, if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help you in planning a trip to God’s Country – my home!

Thank y’all for making this post possible. I’ll always remember this one.

As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This post is sponsored by Lake Cumberland Tourist Commission (Russell County, KY); all opinions expressed, as always, are my own.

 

 

Shelbyville Horse Show Jubilee Breakfast - JCP Eats

A Kentucky Tradition: The 2019 Shelbyville Horse Show Jubilee Breakfast

Hey, y’all!

One of my favorite hobbies is the act of collecting experiences here in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. And my, oh my, have I had a new one!

Last week I was invited to attend the 2019 Shelbyville Horse Show Jubilee Kickoff Breakfast. Located at stunning Undulata Farm, this was a celebration — one with food, with music, with community, and with Saddlebreds! It doesn’t get much more Kentucky than that.

It was a first-class event, though I wouldn’t expect anything less from the Saddlebred Capital of the World.

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The breakfast was chock-full of southern specialities: sausage, biscuits, gravy, and quiche; they were served alongside sweets, fresh fruit, and typical breakfast beverages.

My favorite part, however, was that we dined inside of a horse barn and had Saddlebreds going around our tables! It was a beautiful setting and an even more beautiful experience.

Among the crowd were senators, mayors, commissioners, and other dignitaries; however, the most important attendees, in my opinion, were the Shelby County farmers + those in the horse industry.

Those individuals are my kind of people — the hardworking Kentuckians that ensure that we perpetuate our agricultural legacy here in Kentucky.

Whether it’s a horse farm, corn, tobacco, cows, or hemp — we, myself included, are Kentucky Proud. That’s something to celebrate and honor, y’all.

This was my first time attending this breakfast and it certainly won’t be my last. I will also be attending the Shelbyville Horse Show for the first time this weekend – and I’m so excited!

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The Shelbyville Horse Show – located at the Shelbyville Fairgrounds – is celebrating it’s 30th anniversary this year.

That, my friends, is a legacy – a staple in the community – which is clear upon chatting with any local or industry professional.

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I value tradition; and if you do as well, please join me! Occurring from July 31st – August 3rd at the Shelby County Fairgrounds, from 7-9 PM, the Shelbyville Horse Show is a summer event not to be missed!

Note: I will be attending on Friday, August 2nd!

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Shelby County is a Kentucky treasure. While in town, don’t miss out on the plethora of local shops, boutiques, businesses, and restaurants. There are many guides located here on my website – just search for them.

I just know that y’all will love Shelby County as much as I do!

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As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post; however, as always, all opinions are my own.

Brick + Mortar Coffeehouse in Simpsonville, Shelby County, KY

Coffee in Simpsonville, KY: Brick + Mortar

Hey, y’all!

There’s nothing that I love more than exploring new-to-me places in the Commonwealth; and if you’re a regular around these parts – my nook and cranny of the Internet – you know that my favorite Kentucky road trip destination is nearby Shelby County, KY.

Shelby County is chock-full of activities. It’s hard to beat an afternoon (or the delicious corn!) from Gallrein Farms. Maybe you want to have a cocktail + tour the Jeptha Creed facility. Like antiques? Look no further than Wakefield-Scearce! Love wine? Talon Winery is delicious! If it’s time to shop, there’s no better place than the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass! Oh, and don’t get me started on the Saddlebred farms — there’s a reason Shelbyville is the Saddlebred Capital of the World!

The commonality between all of those activities? You’ll need an energy boost to get through it all and there’s no better place to get it than with a cup of coffee at Brick + Mortar Coffeehouse!

Brick + Mortar Boutique and Coffeehouse

6999 Shelbyville Rd.

Simpsonville, KY 40067

Brick + Mortar Coffeehouse in Simpsonville, Shelby County, KY

Brick + Mortar Coffeehouse in Simpsonville, Shelby County, KY

Located in picturesque Simpsonville, Brick + Mortar is everything that a small-town coffee shop should be: quaint, quiet, welcoming, and above all else, delicious.

I found the menu to be all-encompassing; there’s truly something for everyone! From hot teas, lattes, mochas, macchiatos, americanos, and espresso to chai tea lattes, cold brew, and frappes – I’m excited to go back and complete my quest of drinking my way through the menu.

Brick + Mortar Coffeehouse in Simpsonville, Shelby County, KY

I implore that you come to Brick + Mortar parched, ready for a drink; however, additionally, come hungry — you’ll love their food offerings!

Start your morning with toast + jam, granola + yogurt, or a power smoothie. Or, if you’re like me, the Elvis Presley — which is a grilled sandwich made with fresh bread, peanut butter, bananas, and local honey. The sandwich is a favorite flavor combination of mine — one that is simplistic, reminiscent of childhood, and one that will always be held near and dear to my heart.

Brick + Mortar Coffeehouse in Simpsonville, Shelby County, KY

In for lunch or later on during the day? Try one of their four signature paninis: ham + cheese, turkey + cheese, pizza, and grilled cheese. Apart from that, you can choose from a  range of sandwiches, such as chicken salad, tuna salad, pimento cheese, and a classic PB&J (with the option to upgrade to almond butter).

Brick + Mortar Coffeehouse in Simpsonville, Shelby County, KY

Oh, and did I mention the cookies, pound cakes, and other various pastries? I’ve never met a carbohydrate that I didn’t adore, y’all.

Brick + Mortar Coffeehouse in Simpsonville, Shelby County, KY

Each table was graced with a vase of fresh flowers, a fabulous touch by my standards. Additionally, the atmosphere of the shop was very conducive to working: it was bright, airy, and comfortable.

While there, I spent a couple of hours catching up on email, working on blog posts, and reading over contracts. After glancing at the clock, I realized that time had passed faster than I could’ve imagined; that, to me, was a sign that I was working in the right space.

Last but not least, Brick + Mortar has an attached boutique! Don’t miss out on their inventory, y’all — there were so many things that needed to come home with me!

Eat, work, shop — that’s the trifecta in my world.

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Adventure awaits in Shelby County, KY — and I know that you’ll be delighted by all there is to see, do, eat, and drink in this community.

As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post; however, as always, all opinions are my own.

 

The Perfect Itinerary For A Visit To Hart County, KY

Hey, y’all!

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!

JC Phelps (JCP Eats) in Hart County (Horse Cave), KY

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!

Hidden River Cave in Horse Cave, Hart County, KY

Oh, and it’s a fantastic photo opportunity!

Shop Locally

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.

Horse Cave, Hart County, KY

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!).

Shopping in Horse Cave, Hart County, KY

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?

Food at 5 Broke Girls in Horse Cave, Hart County, KY

Food at 5 Broke Girls in Horse Cave, Hart County, KY

Food at 5 Broke Girls in Horse Cave, Hart County, KY

Oh, and don’t forget about dessert!

Food at 5 Broke Girls in Horse Cave, Hart County, KY

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.

WigWam General Store, Horse Cave, Hart County, KY

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?

JC Phelps (JCP Eats) in Hart County (Horse Cave), KY

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.

JC Phelps (JCP Eats) in Hart County (Horse Cave), KY

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!

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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

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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.

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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.

Turtlelini’s in Horse Cave, Hart County, KY

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…

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As I always say, adventure awaits in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Even more true is that adventure awaits in beautiful Hart County!

Horse Cave, Hart County, KY

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?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post; however, as always, all opinions expressed are my own.

 

 

 

Dennison’s Roadside Market in Horse Cave, KY

Dennison’s Roadside Market in Horse Cave, Kentucky

Hey, y’all!

I recently had the privilege of spending a couple of days with my friends at Hart County Tourism. Located in south-central Kentucky, Hart County embodies everything that I love about the Commonwealth: natural beauty, good food, fine folks, and hometown pride. Just by merely pulling off of the interstate, it is possible to locate oneself in a Kentucky oasis.

As a foodie, it would be criminal to not mention to y’all that it is strawberry season. This season, in effect, is the kickoff to my favorite time of year: garden, fresh food, and farmer’s market season! There’s something about the taste of food grown in our rich, bountiful Kentucky soil — though I might be biased, I think it tastes just a little bit richer, a little sweeter, and a lot heartier.

Dennison’s Roadside Market in Horse Cave, KY

Y’all, what I am about to say… I do not say it lightly: I think I have found the best strawberries in the Commonwealth. Located in beautiful Horse Cave, Dennison’s Roadside Market is – in and of itself – a destination.

Dennison’s Roadside Market in Horse Cave, KY

Upon pulling in, you’ll find a greenhouse chock-full of seasonal flowers and plants. I assure you that you will find the perfect creation for your flower boxes, front porches, back decks, and around your pool. As a plant lover, it was a dream to see all of their creations — I just wish I could have brought them all home with me.

Inside the store, you’ll find an abundance of produce, jams, country ham, cheeses, Kentucky Proud products, crafts, products of artisans, and more! Oh, and you’ll be able to purchase the mouthwatering, sweet strawberries.

Behind the retail location is the farm that the strawberries (and some of the other items) are produced. I even picked a few myself, alongside the farmers and employees that make Dennison’s possible.

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Around the farm, I got to see a plethora of animals, livestock, and beautiful creatures. I took one look around and mentally said, with pride, “This is Kentucky.”

The locality, devotion to tradition, and family pride in this business is palpable – which I respect deeply, especially reigning from a Kentucky farming family myself.

I returned to Louisville with cartons of strawberries in tow — perfect for a strawberry pie, strawberry shortcake, freezer jam, cakes… you name it. Would y’all be interested in some strawberry-centric recipes this season?

Dennison’s Roadside Market in Horse Cave, KY

Visit Dennison’s Roadside Market: 

5824 South Jackson Highway (US 31E)
Horse Cave, KY 42749

In all sincerity: go visit Hart County, my friends — you’ll thank me later and plan to return as soon as is possible. And if you visit Dennison’s, make sure you come with plenty of room in your vehicle to bring home some delicious food and beautiful items!

As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a commissioned post; however, as always, all opinions are my own.

Elizabethtown, KY

How To Spend A Day In Elizabethtown, KY

Hey, y’all!

If you’ve been on the blog lately, you are well-aware of the fact that I recently fell in love with the city of Elizabethtown, Kentucky; in fact, my latest post regarding the town was a Culinary Exploration!

Elizabethtown, KY

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Conveniently tucked off of I65 just outside of Louisville, Elizabethtown is a true Kentucky gem. From a downtown brimmin’ and bustlin’ with business, to fantastic food, to boutiques that will keep even the most avid shoppers appeased, to state of the art public parks and facilities — Elizabethtown is chock-full of possibilities!

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The Perfect Day In Elizabethtown:

Start your day by grabbing a drink at Vibe Coffee; afterwards, head over and visit my friends at the Swanky Shoppe. Located downtown, this is the boutique for any southern belle (and a few gifts for the gents in your life, as well!).

From iconic Draper James, to Vineyard Vines, to Julie Brown, to Sail to Sable, to a variety of purses, accessories, and jewelry — you won’t leave the Swanky Shoppe empty-handed.

I left with a needlepoint key fob from Smathers & Branson + a pair of croakies from Fripp & Folly. Needless to say, the ladies at the Swanky Shoppe took good care of this southern boy!

Visit the Swanky Shoppe:

112 Plum Alley, Elizabethtown, KY 42701

The Historic State Theater Complex is an institution in Downtown Elizabethtown. From movies, to concerts, to local events, there are a plethora of ways to catch a show in the historic theater. Having originally opened its doors in 1942, the history perpetuates into the lives of modern day Elizabethtown residents.

JC Phelps (JCP Eats) in Elizabethtown, KY

Elizabethtown, KY

Visit the Historic State Theater Complex:

209 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701

My favorite store that I visited, hands down, was Denizen. Granted, I might be a little biased — my home is filled to the brim with house plants.

Upon walking in, you’ll notice the shop’s hip, urban feel; however, it’s located in cozy Elizabethtown, giving shoppers the best of both worlds.

Denizen is owned and operated by two sisters, Olivia and Catherine, who are passionate about filling homes and communities with beauty.

You’ll leave this shop inspired to fill your home with life — and it should go without saying that I left with a bag or two!

Visit Denizen:

331 E Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701

Another favorite boutique of mine was Rainent + Boon. The space is light, airy, and very easy to navigate. I would define this as the true boutique experience — a great selection, yet limited quantities on the racks. It’s the perfect place to find an outfit that no one else will have, which fits well with their trendy, eclectic aesthetic. Don’t miss this gorgeous boutique — they carry both straight and plus sizes!

Visit Raiment + Boon:

109 E Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY

The athletic type? Don’t skip over the facilities at the Elizabethtown Sports Park. I would argue that this is the nicest sports park facility that I have seen in Kentucky.

In the park, you’ll find 12 soccer/lacrosse/field hockey natural turf fields, 3 quads for baseball/softball/fast pitch, 2 champtionship fields with synthetic turf, 3 expansive pavilions, meeting rooms, stadium lawn seating, and so much more!

Elizabethtown, KY

All communities would greatly benefit from having a facility of this caliber — Elizabethtown is certainly better because of it.

Visit Elizabethtown Sports Park:

1401 West Park Rd., Elizabethtown, KY 42701

Are you looking for a photo opportunity to commemorate your trip? There are so many in Downtown Elizabethtown. Around each corner, you’ll find a new place to strike a pose – and when you do, don’t forget to tag the photo with #TourEtown!

JC Phelps (JCP Eats) in Elizabethtown, KY

JC Phelps (JCP Eats) in Elizabethtown, KY

JC Phelps (JCP Eats) in Elizabethtown, KY

JC Phelps (JCP Eats) in Elizabethtown, KY

Love history? Look no further than the Brown-Pusey House, which was built in 1825 by John Y. Hill. This stately property was – for many years – the Hill House, a boarding house operated by “Aunt Beck” Hill. Among the guests at the Hill House were General George Armstrong Custer and his wife, Elizabeth.

Elizabethtown, KY

The Brown-Pusey House now serves the community in many ways, just as it was envisioned by its grantors. The Georgian mansion houses the Pusey Room Museum, a genealogical library, and meeting rooms for private and public functions. There is also a beautifully maintained garden in the back that is not to be overlooked!

JC Phelps (JCP Eats) in Elizabethtown, KY

Visit The Brown-Pusey House:

128 N. Main St., Elizabethtown, KY 42701

Also in town is beautiful Freeman Lake Park, which is a lakeside park with many activities! The perfect place to walk, it’s also a delight for outdoor sports lovers — you can rent kayaks, rowboats, and peddle boats for $5/hour. I’ve even seen an Alan Jackson concert on the property!

It’s a serene asset for the city — and one that I immensely enjoy visiting!

JC Phelps (JCP Eats) in Elizabethtown, KY

Visit Freeman Lake Park:

Blue Heron Way, Elizabethtown, KY 42701.

Can’t make it to Washington DC, yet have the desire to pay your respects at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial? There is an 80 percent scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall located in Elizabethtown!

On par with the experience of visiting the original, it is very serene and emotional; that said, it is very important to pay respects to those that fought – and lost their lives – for our freedoms.

Elizabethtown, KY

Visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall:

1900 Ring Rd. East, Elizabethtown, KY 42701

I’m sure you’ll work up an appetite while spending a packed day in Elizabethtown. Fill up at one of the restaurants listed in my Culinary Exploration blog post, or if you want to take a step back into time, visit my friends at Reuben’s Deli.

From the checkerboard floors, to the vintage memorabilia, this is not your average deli. You’ll find regional favorites like Ski, delicious sandwiches, and speciality items, such as their crunchy, seasoned pork rinds.

The pasta salad is also delicious!

Elizabethtown, KY

Visit Reuben’s Deli:

311 Cardinal Dr., Elizabethtown, KY 42701

Are you in your car en route to visit Elizabethtown, KY? If you aren’t, what’s holdin’ you back, my friend?

Elizabethtown, KY

There’s so much to do, see, and eat in town — you’ll leave with precious memories, a full stomach, and the desire to come back as soon as possible… I promise you that!

As always: Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,

JC

FTC: This is a sponsored post; all expressed opinions, however, are my own.

 

 

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