April / 2012


2012 Best in Kentucky
by: Debra Gibson

“Our family really enjoyed Rough River State Resort Park when they (the children) were in grade school, middle school, and high school,” writes Teresa Pike of Payneville. “We had a Mark Twain boat and two Jet Skis. We would all load up and start our summer over Memorial Day weekend at Rough River. Our youngest son’s birthday is June 1, and we always celebrated it at Rough River.

“Our kids still talk about all the memories we all made while vacationing at Rough River State Resort Park. We sold our water toys when the kids got out of college and no one had time to use them. We have gone back a couple of times just to take our two young granddaughters to start making memories at Rough River. Granddad says when our granddaughters get a little older we may get a pontoon boat and start making some different memories at Rough River State Resort Park.”

Memories are the priceless souvenir of time spent with family and friends, and memories are what this issue of Kentucky Living is all about. It’s our annual Best in Kentucky issue, and it’s packed with ideas from you, our readers.

This year we have 25 first-place winners in 23 categories (there were two ties). For each of those winners we’ve listed three good reasons for their top ranking. We’ve also listed 65 second- and third-place winners. And we’ve created the Best In Kentucky Hall of Fame for four attractions that have been voted Best in Kentucky three years in a row.

That adds up to 94 ways to make memories out of the Best in Kentucky.

There are also new categories such as community theater and farmers' markets that reflect interests you told us about. And this year you will notice several categories that begin with “nonfranchise.” This is our way of ensuring that we recognize Kentucky-based people and places, always important to your local electric cooperative, which sends out more than 500,000 copies of Kentucky Living each month to its members—more than 1.2 million readers.

We hope you read about the people, places, and events that make Kentucky special, then create your own Kentucky experience and memories.

Outdoor Recreation Spot

WINNER
Lake Cumberland State
Resort Park–Jamestown
www.parks.ky.gov
(270) 343-3111 or (800) 325-1709

1. The breathtaking view from the dining room (water as far as you can see).
2. Seventy-six rooms and 30 cottages—all near the lake.
3. A conference center that accommodates 280.

SECOND PLACE
Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area–Golden Pond

THIRD PLACE-tie
Mammoth Cave National Park–Mammoth Cave
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park–Corbin

Boating Lake or River

WINNER
Cave Run Lake–Morehead
www.caverunstoryfest.org
www.moreheadtourism.com
(800) 654-1944

1. Fishing: Cave Run Lake is the muskie fishing capital of the South.
2. Hike the Sheltowee Trail through 269 miles of trails with winding rivers and streams.
3. Enjoy the Storytelling Festival, September 28-29 at Twin Knobs Beach.

SECOND PLACE
Barren River Lake–Lucas

THIRD PLACE
Green River Lake–Campbellsville

Golf Course

WINNERS-tie
Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park Golf Course–Burkesville
www.parks.ky.gov
(270) 433-7888 or (866) 903-7888

1. The grass: zoysia (warm-season grass) fairways allow the ball to sit up nicely. Plus, well-maintained bent grass tees and greens.
2. Moderate to severe elevation changes provide plenty of challenge.
3. Rock outcroppings, small caves, springs, gorges, two ponds, and mountain views offer spectacular sights along the way.

General Burnside Island Golf Course–Burnside
www.parks.ky.gov
(606) 561-4104

1. The course was redone in 2008. On an island surrounded by Lake Cumberland, it sits on 420 acres with no homes—just wildlife and scenic views, the perfect place to get away from everything.
2. There is lots of challenge. The par-5 hole 6 borders Lake Cumberland. Hole 15 is tree lined on both sides so accuracy is a must.
3. The facility includes a full driving range, campgrounds, and boat ramp. Go boating in the morning, then enjoy a golf special every afternoon.

SECOND PLACE
Valhalla Golf Club–Louisville

THIRD PLACE-tie
Old Silo Golf Course–Mt. Sterling
Battlefield Golf Course–Richmond
CrossWinds Golf Course–Bowling Green
General Butler State Resort Park Golf Course–Carrollton

Weekend Getaway

WINNER
Mammoth Cave National Park–Mammoth Cave
www.nps.gov/maca/index.htm
(270) 758-2180

1. The longest known cave system of its kind in the world, Mammoth Cave has more than 390 miles of underground passageways.
2. Mammoth Cave was a significant supplier of saltpeter to make gunpowder for munitions during the War of 1812.
3. Today, 200 years later, the original wooden pipes and vats from the saltpeter mining are viewed daily by visitors to this national park.

SECOND PLACE
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park–Corbin

THIRD PLACE-tie
Renfro Valley Entertainment Center–Mt. Vernon
Natural Bridge State Resort Park–Slade

Vacation Getaway

WINNER
Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area–Golden Pond
www.lbl.org
(270) 924-2000 or (800) 525-7077

1. “Come outside and play,” urge the folks at Land Between The Lakes, who say LBL is a great place to connect with nature, with campgrounds, and much more.
2. Enjoy family-friendly attractions and programs, including a nature center, planetarium, living-history farm, and an elk and bison prairie that visitors can drive through and see wildlife.
3. Within 100 miles of most Kentuckians.

SECOND PLACE
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park–Corbin

THIRD PLACE
Lake Cumberland–Somerset

Historical Landmark/Museum

WINNER
National Corvette Museum–Bowling Green
www.corvettemuseum.org
(800) 53VETTE or (270) 781-7973

1. Bowling Green is the only place in the world where Corvettes are made.
2. The museum has ever-changing exhibits. This year’s exhibits feature science, 9/11, and country music cars and stars.
3. Have fun on interactive activities such as driving simulators.

SECOND PLACE
Pioneer Museum at Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park–Carlisle

THIRD PLACE
My Old Kentucky Home State Park–Bardstown

Antiquing

WINNER
Glendale
www.historicglendale.com
(270) 369-6188

1. Everything from primitives to Victorian to retro, gardening, cottage.
2. Quaintness of the town. Smallness of community and historic buildings clustered together. Feels like you’ve gone back to a small town where you grew up.
3. Good food.

SECOND PLACE-tie
Berea
Smiths Grove

THIRD PLACE
Bardstown

Farmers’ Market

WINNER
Lexington Farmers Market—Lexington
www.lexingtonfarmersmarket.com
(859) 608-2655

1. The opportunity to directly interact with the farmers and food producers.
2. Strong economic and environmental impact. The Lexington Farmers Market helps farmers stay on the farm and keeps money in the community instead of sending it to other countries.
3. Like going to a destination or mini vacation, with tasty samples and delicious food.

SECOND PLACE
Bowling Green Farmers Market–Bowling Green

THIRD PLACE-tie
Somerset Farmers Market–Somerset
SKY (South Kentucky Regional) Farmers Market–Bowling Green
Blue Licks Farmers Market–Carlisle
*Coming in close behind: Bardstown Farmers Market; Community Farmers Market—Bowling Green

Annual Festival

WINNERS-tie
Casey County Apple Festival–Liberty
www.caseycountyapplefestival.org
(606) 787-5355

1. The 10-foot apple pie that is baked and served free with ice cream.
2. Free live music.
3. More than 400 vendors, contests, 5K run, youth events, pageants, parade, and a carnival. The annual festival is held the fourth weekend of September (20-22 this year).

Kentucky Wool Festival of Pendleton County–Falmouth
(859) 654-3378 or (859) 654-4111

1. The Kentucky Tourism Council selected it as one of the Commonwealth’s Top 10 events for several years. The festival is held the first full weekend in October (5-7 this year).
2. See an array of demonstrations, including wheel spinning, carding, sheep shearing, working dogs, and weaving on a triangle loom.
3. Free music, vendors, fun food, sorghum making, blacksmithing, and a large petting zoo.

SECOND PLACE
World Chicken Festival–London

THIRD PLACE-tie
Duncan Hines Festival–Bowling Green
October Court Days–Mt. Sterling

Family Outing

WINNER
Somernites Cruise–Somerset
www.somernitescruise.com
(606) 872-2277

1. Somerset is the official car cruise capital of Kentucky.
2. See hundreds of classic cars and street rods every fourth weekend April through October.
3. Don’t miss the block party downtown on Friday night with free music. On Saturday, cruise downtown for vendors, music, and fun. Then wave to people up and down the highway as you cruise down Highway 27.

SECOND PLACE-tie
Louisville Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Mammoth Cave National Park

THIRD PLACE
Beech Bend Park and Splash Lagoon–Bowling Green

Walking/Running/Bicycling Trail

WINNER
Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park Trail–Carlisle
www.parks.ky.gov
(859) 289-5507 or (800) 443-7008

1. Take a walk down a section of the Buffalo Trace trail (.6 miles) in the Nature Preserve and see one of the few living colonies of Short’s goldenrod left in the world.
2. Take a hike on the Heritage trail (3 miles) and visit the Tanner’s Station replica trade fort.
3. Walk alongside the Licking River on the Indian Run trail (1.3 miles) and visit the bluebird houses and warblers in the wild grasses as they weave their nests for young. The park is home to several species of native wildlife.

SECOND PLACE
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest–Clermont

THIRD PLACE
Land Between The Lakes—Golden Pond

State Park

WINNER
Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park–Carlisle
www.parks.ky.gov
(859) 289-5507 or (800) 443-7008

1. Tour the pioneer museum covering history from the prehistoric era through the settlement of the Kentucky frontier. See artifacts such as an original Butler’s Ranger button, uniforms, and a salt boiler used there by Daniel Boone in the late 1700s.
2. Play a round of mini golf, cool off in the Jr. Olympic pool, or spend a night under the stars in the campground.
3. Visit the Worthington Lodge, enjoy some home cooking at Hidden Waters Restaurant (features a seafood dinner every month on the first Friday), and spend the night in one of 32 lodge rooms.

SECOND PLACE-tie
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park–Corbin
Natural Bridge State Resort Park—Slade

THIRD PLACE
Lake Cumberland State Resort Park–Jamestown

Community/Local Theater

WINNER
Stephen Foster Productions at My Old Kentucky Home State Park–Bardstown
www.stephenfoster.com
(502) 348-5971 or (800) 626-1563

1. Fun for all ages from the very young to the mature.
2. The music of Stephen Foster is timeless and popular all over the world.
3. It is a true Kentucky tradition.

SECOND PLACE
The Star Theater–Russell Springs

THIRD PLACE
Shelby County Community Theatre–Shelbyville

Kentucky Author

WINNER
Jan Taylor Watson–Lexington
www.janwatson.net

1. Jan’s books contain Kentucky history, especially that of eastern Kentucky.
2. Her books are inspiring and faith-based. Her first book, Troublesome Creek, found its origin in a true story Jan’s grandmother told her.
3. Her sixth book, Skip Rock Shallows, will be released this June.

SECOND PLACE
Jesse Stuart-Greenup County

THIRD PLACE
Janice Holt Giles-Adair County

Kentucky Product

WINNER
Ale-8-One-Winchester
www.ale-8-one.com
(859) 744-3484

1. Tastes good. It’s a fruit and ginger blended soft drink.
2. It’s unlike anything else.
3. Because we’re Kentucky proud.

SECOND PLACE
Maker’s Mark-distillery, Loretto

THIRD PLACE
Corvette–assembly plant, Bowling
Green

Nonfranchise Restaurant

WINNER
Patti’s 1880’s Settlement & Restaurant-Grand Rivers
www.pattis-settlement.com
(888) 736-2515 or (270) 362-8844

1. The holiday décor. Patti’s is constantly decorating for the seasons and holidays, beginning with the Festival of Lights in mid-November that has 500,000 lights. Patti’s has a full-time décor department.
2. Favorite food includes 2-inch pork chops, mile-high meringue pies, and flower-pot bread.
3. Many gift shops filled with collectibles to home décor and ladies’ fashions, and four wedding venues.

SECOND PLACE-tie
Paula’s Hot Biscuit–Hodgenville
Opal’s–Richmond (Now has a new owner, new name—Jackson’s—but same location, same cook, and same employees)
Boone Tavern–Berea
Mordecai’s–Springfield
Mt. Olivet Diner

THIRD PLACE-tie
Cadiz Family Restaurant
Bread of Life Café–Liberty
Ramsey’s–Lexington

Barbecue

WINNER
Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q-Richmond and Somerset
www.sonnysbbq.com
(859) 624-4499 Richmond
(606) 678-0198 Somerset

1. Great food—sweet and smoky ribs and sliced beef brisket.
2. Jumbo-sized Southern sweet tea.
3. Serving Kentuckians for 25 years.

SECOND PLACE
Bootleg Bar-B-Q and Catering Co.–Louisville

THIRD PLACE
Smokey Pig Bar-B-Q–Bowling Green

Winery

WINNER
Acres of Land Winery–Richmond
www.acresoflandwinery.com
(859) 328-3000

1. Acres of Land grows their own grapes and crafts their own wines.
2. The full-service restaurant. Favorites include the hot brown as well as the prime rib dinner on Friday and Saturday nights; also several new organic and vegetarian selections.
3. The wine, of course. Acres of Land has a new wine maker who has won 350 national and international awards.

SECOND PLACE
Elk Creek–Owenton

THIRD PLACE-tie
Sinking Valley Vineyard and Winery–Somerset
Smith-Berry Winery—New Castle

Bluegrass Band

WINNER
Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
www.rickyskaggs.com
www.skaggsfamilyrecords.com

1. Ricky Skaggs is a born and bred eastern Kentuckian who grew up surrounded by the creators of the genre, Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley.
2. Skaggs has won 14 Grammy awards and eight Country Music Association awards.
3. He owns his own bluegrass label—Skaggs Family Records—and helps other up-and-coming bluegrass artists.

SECOND PLACE
Bill Monroe and The Bluegrass Boys

THIRD PLACE
JD Crowe & The New South

Artist/Craftsperson

WINNER
Morgan Denise Guiley–Richmond
www.morgandenise.com
(859) 623-4391

1. Her work is refreshingly simple, beautiful, and unique. With a paintbrush she takes everyday things and portrays them in a way that shows how beautiful they really are.
2. Her art will speak to your heart without using words.
3. Why not? Artists see things differently than other people. Says Morgan: “I hope that through my work you will realize that what you previously thought simple is actually incredible. May you be amazed at the Master Artist who created all things.”

SECOND PLACE
Jeff Foley–Russell Springs

THIRD PLACE
Mitchell Tolle–Berea

Nonfranchise Breakfast Restaurant

WINNER
Paula’s Hot Biscuit- Hodgenville
(270) 358-2237

1. It’s a friendly place. “It’s like being at home,” says manager
Billie McIntyre.
2. The specials, particularly Paula’s Favorite (2 eggs prepared your way, bacon or sausage, hash browns or grits, a small biscuit and gravy
or toast).
3. Visit with. Gathering place. Friends gather here.

SECOND PLACE
Red’s Coach and Table Restaurant–Bowling Green

THIRD PLACE
Lynn’s Paradise Café–Louisville

Scenic View

WINNER
Natural Bridge State Resort Park—Slade
www.parks.ky.gov
(800) 325-1710 or (606) 663-2214

1. Nature. Nature. Nature. The park is a great place to see wildflowers, with more than 100 different species. It’s also a great place for fall leaf peeping.
2. The park is located in Kentucky’s “land of the arches.” Within 10 miles of the park, there are more than 100 arches. There is also a skylift to the main arch, Natural Bridge.
3. It’s not too far away but feels very secluded. Visitors can hike anywhere from 40 minutes to six or seven hours a day on trails.

SECOND PLACE
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park–Corbin

THIRD PLACE-tie
Cumberland Gap National Historical Park–Middlesboro
Red River Gorge–Stanton

Nonfranchise Pizza

WINNER
Lost River Pizza Co.–Bowling Green
On Facebook search Lost River Pizza Co.
(270) 746-0255

1. Fresh ingredients.
2. The only Chicago-style pizza in the area.
3. Any Lost River pizza is available gluten-free in 10" size.

SECOND PLACE
Pizza N More–Mt. Olivet

THIRD PLACE
Giovanni’s Pizza–Jamestown




READER WINNERS

Congratulations to these five readers whose names were drawn at random from those who voted in the Kentucky Living 2012 Best in Kentucky contest. Each winner receives $100.

Sue Simpson, Richmond, member of Blue Grass Energy Cooperative

Gwendolyn Williams, Morehead, member of Grayson RECC

Mary Ann Carrico-Mitchell, Campbellsburg, member of Shelby Energy Cooperative

Jim Harris, Somerset, member of South Kentucky RECC

Susan Hook, Bowling Green, member of Warren RECC




HALL OF FAME WINNERS

Best in Kentucky Hall of Fame—for those special places that readers have voted number one for three years in a row:

Boating Lake or River Hall of Fame
Lake Cumberland–Somerset and surrounding area
Swimming, fishing, tubing, Jet Skiing, hiking, birding, relaxing, boating, camping, water skiing. With 63,000 surface acres and 1,255 miles of wooded shoreline to enjoy all this and more, it’s no surprise that Lake Cumberland is a consistent reader favorite. And don’t forget that there’s much more fun on land at the five golf courses, a 20-acre splash park, and a skateboard park.
(800) 642-6287 or (606) 679-6394
www.lakecumberlandtourism.com
www.lakecumberland.com

Historical Landmark/Museum Hall of Fame
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park–Hodgenville
Abraham Lincoln is known for rising to greatness from humble beginnings. Just how humble his start was can be seen at the monument and National Historical Park honoring him. You can also learn more about why Lincoln remains one of the most respected men in American history, and how his early childhood in Kentucky helped shape him into a leader.
www.nps.gov/abli
(270) 358-3137 or (270) 358-3138

Nonfranchise Restaurant Hall of Fame
The Whistle Stop Restaurant
What’s the best recipe at this restaurant known for its traditional Southern cuisine? According to co-owner Mike Cummins, it’s what you get when you blend freshly prepared food (fried chicken, meat loaf, and meringue pies are customer favorites) with true Southern hospitality and a comfortable, homey atmosphere.
www.whistlestoprestaurant.net
(270) 369-8586 or (270) 369-7969

Barbecue Hall of Fame
Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn
Nothing much has changed since last year at Moonlite Bar-B-Q, and that is exactly the way the family owners want it. “We still cook like Grandma did,” says Patrick Bosley, a grandson of the founders. Daily specials include pork ribs at lunch on Tuesdays, fried chicken all day Sunday, fried livers and gizzards for lunch on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and a seafood buffet on Friday evenings. Oh yes, they also serve some of the best barbecue around, according to Kentucky Living readers.
www.moonlite.com
(270) 684-8143 or (800) 322-8989