day trip: Cave Run Lake

Enjoy the fresh fall air by taking a hike in beautiful Morehead, Kentucky.

Whether you’re driving the length of the Zilpo Scenic Byway, or hiking a trail in this section of the Daniel Boone National Forest, Morehead is a great daytrip for taking in scenic vistas.

Above:  View from the top of the Cave Run Dam on the Licking River



Clockwise from the top: Tree canopy on the Fire Tower Trail;  Lake view from the top of the mountain on the Zilpo Scenic Byway;  Picnic lunch included sopressata, manchego cheese, olives, dolma, and apples.


Happy hiking!

daytrip: shakertown

Undoubtedly one of my favorite bluegrass spots, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill or Shakertown, has been the site of many of family memories and special occasion dinners.  Shaker Village is the perfect place for a family staycation or a romantic trip for two.

This is me waiting to board the riverboat last summer.  I would highly recommend a ride on the Dixie Belle. The captain, who narrates your one-hour cruise, is incredibly knowledgable and points out the native species and geological landmarks, as you coast down the Kentucky River palisades.


Above:  View of High Bridge from the deck of the Dixie Belle; photo by dthoskins

Don’t miss out on a delightful breakfast, lunch or dinner at the Trustees Office Dining Room, home to the gorgeous shaker staircase.  My last visit was for dinner on my fifth anniversary and it was absolutely wonderful!  (On a side note, they are great about accommodating gluten allergies.)



Above:  Staircase in the Trustees’ Office; photo by dthoskins

Another must place to stop is the craft store.  Everything is so gorgeous, you’ll have to pick something up!  I’ve always wanted to stay on the property, but have only gone for day visits.  I hear that their rooms are great!

Summer vacation is here in the bluegrass, consider Shaker Village for your next day trip.  Check out the special events calendar for more information on featured events on property.

Have you been to Shakertown?  Do you have a favorite thing to do there?  Do share!

katherine Greene

leaf peep: Natural Bridge State Park

Clockwise from the top:  The Skylift at Natural Bridge; Shadows of my hubby and I on top of the Natural Bridge in the Red River Gorge;  Underneath the bridge–the sky was so blue!

My fall day-trip pick this year is Natural Bridge State Park.  This is a favorite spot for my husband and I for hiking and taking in great views of the Red River Gorge.

It looks like the leaves will definitely be peaking this weekend, which makes the easy drive (about an hour southeast of Lexington) even more pleasant.  When you arrive, you can either drive up to Hemlock Lodge and hike, or if you are looking for something less strenuous, you can follow the signs to the Skylift which carries you straight up to beautiful views of and from the bridge.

Even if you decide to take the Skylift up, you can still get in a good hike from the top with several trails of varying lengths to choose from.

There were two huge rocks that looked as though there were faces carved into them in two separate areas of the park.  Left: Facerock on the Hood’s Branch Trail; Right: Facerock on the Skylift ascension (Sidenote: Skylift Ascension would be an awesome Styx tribute band name).

If you go down on the Skylift, check out the fudge in the gift shop.  Tip: Hash out your fudge plans during your hike instead of on the Skylift.  It’s hard to resist fudgey thoughts as you descend toward the inviting little cabin that is the gift shop.  My husband and I spent half of our Skylift time discussing impending fudge–rookie mistake–the Skylift ain’t cheap, so enjoy every minute.

Above: A DIY Instagrammed (is this a verb yet?)  photo of the bridge from Lookout point, which is easily accesible from the Skylift

Trail maps are available at both Hemlock Lodge and Skylift gift shop.

If you go:

Natural Bridge State Park
2135 Natural Bridge Rd
Slade, KY 40376

Follow signs to either Hemlock Lodge or The Skylift.

The Skylift is open daily at 10am and runs through the last Sunday in October.  Adults $10, Children 12 and under $7 (children 3 and under free), Seniors $8, Military $9.  Call Hemlock Lodge for more info at (800) 325-1710.

All images by dthoskins

morning hike: Raven Run Nature Sanctuary

An early morning hike on these hot days is a great way to enjoy nature and get a great cardiovascular workout.

Raven Run Nature Sanctuary has a number of well marked trails in a range of distances for hikers of all abilities.  Head out for some scenic vistas and a range of flora and fauna–the meadow portion has some great birding!

Click HERE to visit the Raven Run page on

fall leaves

It’s not too late to get a great view and walk off some of those holiday eats.  My pick for a post-Thanksgiving day trip is to the Pinnacles in Berea, Kentucky.  The trail head begins at the Indian Fort Theatre which is also the location of the Berea Craft Festival.  A 6.6 mile loop (which can be broken down into smaller hikes) takes you to several scenic vistas including the East and West Pinnacle, the Buzzard’s Roost, Devil’s Kitchen, Indian Fort Lookout, and the Eagle’s nest.  Click HERE for a trail map.


A view from the Buzzard’s Roost

After your hike, check out the local arts and crafts in downtown Berea and grab a bite at the historic Boone Tavern Hotel.

If you go:

From I-75 south, take Berea exit 76, Hwy 21, go left (east) into Berea. After passing
the small business district and Berea College, come to the intersection where
Hwy 25 splits off left (see Boone Tavern Hotel on left). Continue on Hwy 21 to
the right. From this point drive 3 miles; look for unmarked driveway(s) on the
left side of the road, turn into rather large parking lot. At the head of the
lot, note sign reading ‘Indian Fort Theater.’