By Kathy Witt
You’re standing in Brandenburg Riverfront Park, drinking in one of the most spectacular views the Ohio River shoreline has to offer. Feel that stress from the workaday world slipping away? That’s the magic of Meade County.
Established in 1823 and located 46 miles southwest of Louisville, Meade County takes its name from Captain James Meade, a war hero killed in action at the Battle of River Raisin during the War of 1812. Some 50 years later, during another war, Confederate General John Hunt Morgan would charge through the county with 2,500 soldiers on his Civil War raid into Indiana and Ohio.
But today, Meade County is filled with peaceful farmland, a rolling rural oasis in a hustle-bustle world. It’s a place to pick all the blackberries you can carry; taste fresh, sweet honey; marvel at miles of sky and old-growth forests; take in the splendor of the river, its breathtaking vistas unfurling like scenes in a movie.
Spread over nearly 225 square miles from the Ohio River to Fort Knox, Meade County inspires “oohs and aahs” with its 56 miles of riverfront – the longest of any county in Kentucky – along with plenty of natural beauty and outdoor adventure. Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area alone includes 2,200 acres offering a paradise for fishing, hiking, birding, hunting, horseback riding, mountain biking, archery and camping.
Fast becoming THE spot for fly fishing in central Kentucky, Otter Creek is located just 10 minutes from Fort Knox. Bring the camping gear, mountain bike, fishing rod – even your own dog or horse – to explore miles of trails over 2,200 acres. (This is also a bird-watcher’s paradise, so don’t forget the binoculars!) In the afternoon, follow the Buttermilk Falls Trail along the ridge of Brandenburg toward Riverfront Park.
More al fresco fun awaits at Roberts Family Farm. July and August is prime time for berry picking, but things really kick into high gear during fall weeknights and weekends. Enjoy horse-drawn wagon rides and hay rides to the pumpkin patch, a pumpkin train with hand-crafted cars, a kid-friendly corn maze, grain bin slide and shopping the country store for homemade apple butter, gourds and woodcrafts.
During the last full week in July, one of the county’s most beloved and best-attended traditions gets underway with the fantastic Meade County Fair, which has received the “All Kentucky County Fair Award” 17 years and has been honored as one of the fastest-growing and most progressive fairs in the state.
Events on tap include a Western Horse Show, parade, truck and tractor pulls, carnival rides, livestock and agricultural exhibits, food and homemaking contents, concerts, even a back-seat driving contest!
And the secret to the fair’s success?
“It’s the volunteers,” says Carole Logsdon, Executive Director of the Meade County Chamber of Commerce. “They love the fair and plan their whole year around it. More than 600 volunteers are involved, from cleaning the arenas to selling you a locally produced pork burger.”
If you miss that local specialty just head to Jail House Pizza, tucked inside the original 1906 jail, replete with bars on the windows and a vintage police cruiser out front. While you’re here, take the Jailhouse Prisoner’s Pardon Pizza Challenge: Two diners, 12 pounds of pizza and 60 minutes of yum!
And don’t leave Meade County without sampling the decadent caramel bread pudding with bourbon ice cream at LickSkillet Café, located inside the Shoppes at Otter Creek. A “Kentucky Crafted” retailer, these shops pay homage to Kentucky artisans and their artworks: pottery, jewelry, fiber art, wood art – even hand-crafted kitchen utensils.
Feel rested and relaxed already?
Meade County has cast its spell on you. Start planning your great getaway today by calling 270-422-3626 or visiting www.VisitMeadeCounty.org.
If You Go
Meade County Tourism, 270-422-3626, website
Jail House Pizza, 270-422-4660, website
LickSkillet Café, 270-941-0400, website
Meade County Fair, 270-422-2000, website
Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area, 502-942-9171, 502-942-5052 (Trail Status Hotline), website
Roberts Family Farm, 270-422-2361, website
Shoppes at Otter Creek, 270-941-0400, website