Steve and I took a little 4-day, 3-night trip that was fun, relaxing, and easy. We left home on Thursday afternoon for a leisurely drive 110 miles from Newport to Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill near Harrodsburg, Kentucky. We loved all the beautiful horse farms we passed. It took about two hours, so we had time to peruse the gift shop, check in, and unpack for the night. We each took a small roller bag and one backpack for books and supplies.
The rooms in the West Family Dwelling were in true Shaker style with some updating. Hardwood floors with braided rugs, furniture with simple lines, and rocker and chair with woven seats. They did a very good job of updating for today’s visitors—king-sized bed with many pillows and fluffy comforter, electric lights, coffee pot with coffee, a television hidden in a wooden cabinet, and a well-equipped bathroom.
We had made reservations for dinner and breakfast and that worked out well. Very few visitors were to be seen, but a few of us were out and about each time we went to the Trustee’s Office building to eat. The limited menu, due to both winter and Covid-19, was still ample. I especially loved the pear and cranberry crumble for dessert!
We had plenty of time Friday morning to tour the buildings, but we’ve done that before and decided to go on to Lexington. I did stop by the gift shop to get some postcards for the grandchildren and to buy a t-shirt that I admired.
Though Lexington is just about 25 miles, the curving road requires around 40 minutes to drive it. We enjoyed visiting Joseph-Beth Bookstore there and some other shops as well.
The drive to Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park was just about an hour through more beautiful horse farm land. We knew that their facilities were limited for the winter; they are only open on weekends. When we checked in, I asked, “When does the dining room open for dinner?”
The clerk answered, “Oh, it’s open now till 7 o’clock.” Simple answer. I guess she thought we’d already looked at the website for information.
I also asked if I could mail the postcards I’d written in Shakertown. She said, “No, not here. But there’s a mailbox at the entrance to the park out to the left. You can mail them there.” True.
So we went exploring. We found the site of the Blue Licks Battlefield and a memorial to those who had fought and/or died there on August 19, 1782, including Daniel Boone’s son, Israel. We had not realized it was the “last battle of the Revolution.” It was all very touching.
Driving to the exit, we found the mailbox. Oh, how I wish I’d taken a picture! It was just a regular rural mailbox with “Blue Licks Park” on the side. I put my cards in and raised the flag to signal the mail within. It will be interesting to see when—or if—they arrive.
The park is on the banks of the Licking River, and we could see that it would be a place for family fun from spring till fall.
When we went to the dining room, we discovered that it was carry-out only! So we ordered some sandwiches and took them back to the room to eat. Our room had a nice table with two chairs, so it was fine.
We really didn’t want breakfast that way, however, so I checked my Foursquare app and found that Biancke’s Restaurant in Cynthiana was only about 30 minutes away. Steve has often eaten at Biancke’s Restaurant there and knew they have good food, so we had a plan. I called and found out they opened at 7, which was about the time we left our room.
The back roads that led to Cynthiana were populated with many old cars, decrepit mobile homes, and yards littered with metal of various sorts. It was depressing, to say the least. The nice houses and farms sprinkled along the way certainly stood out.
Biancke’s, established in 1894, did a good job of following protocols—distancing, masks, etc. There was a table of good ol’ boys and a few others, but it wasn’t crowded. Our breakfasts were very good.
The drive back to Newport took about an hour and a half—lovely farmland and houses, plus some poorer sections similar to the area south of Cynthiana. Once we got near Alexandria, the way was familiar. We’d been seeing gas for $2.39/gallon, and in Alexandria two Speedways were charging $2.04! Then in Cold Spring, just a few miles north, Speedway was again up –to $2.69! Crazy times.
We did some shopping and explored some parts of Cincinnati we don’t often go to, then got to our last stop on the trip—Mariemont Inn, a restored English Tudor Inn. We’d stayed there before and knew how elegant it is. It was a great way to end our trip in the lap of luxury. The pictures do not so it justice. We took a rambling walk through Mariemont and enjoyed the sunshine and crisp air as well as all the English Tudor homes.
We ate dinner at the National Exemplar in the same building. Delicious! We both had salads and pasta and then Steve ordered carrot cake for dessert. (I never order it in a restaurant because I never think it’s as good as the ones I make.) But it was fabulous! One layer with a lot of cream cheese frosting, and warm. Yum!
We went back to our room to get coats, then walked across the street to the Mariemont Theatre where we saw “News of the World,” our first big screen movie in a year! Some seats were taped off, so the number allowed was limited, and everyone was masked, but it was still a fun experience.
The next morning, after an outstanding breakfast at the National Exemplar (even their oatmeal is amazing!), we drove across Cincinnati to the west side where we got to worship in our church building in person for the first time since November. How wonderful! Even though we kept our distance from each other, still we could feel the warmth of being able to worship together—not on Zoom, but in person, even with masks and spacing.
For those four days, we had a variety of locations and experiences. It was a cozy little loop through Kentucky and a bit of Ohio, and we loved it. We recommend each of those places. Perhaps this short tour will help you decide if you’d like to visit any of those points of interest.