By Kathy Witt
You’re standing in Brandenburg’s Riverfront Park, drinking in one of the most spectacular views of the Ohio River. 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 has a population of about 30,000 and 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; and 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 is a paradise for fishing, hiking, birding, hunting, horseback riding, mountain biking, archery and camping.
Fast becoming THE spot for fly fishing in central Kentucky, with trophy trout stocked twice during winter catch-and-release season, Otter Creek is located just 10 minutes from the U.S. Army’s Fort Knox Military Reservation. 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 local area 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’s Riverfront Park. Easy walking trails combine for about 5 miles of new hiking trails, offering photographers a springtime carpet of Kentucky wildflowers. The nearby Red Rock Trail offers more to explore near the Meade County Fairgrounds and the Meade Activity Center.
And just west of Brandenburg, the Big Bend Trail (Hwy 228) is great for scenic views, fiery fall color and those twists and turns that motorcyclists love.
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 tractor-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.
Other notable, agricultural exploits include farmer Frank Mudd’s Giant Watermelons, which he exhibits at regional competitions, including the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville. Stop by in September for the “weigh in,” where growers from all around compete for cash prizes for their giant pumpkins and watermelons!
During the last full week in July, one of the county’s most beloved and best-attended traditions gets under way with the fantastic Meade County Fair, which has received the “All Kentucky County Fair Award” and has been honored as one of the fastest-growing and most progressive fairs in the state.
Events on tap include a big opening day parade, western horse show, demolition derby, truck and tractor pulls, carnival rides, livestock and agricultural exhibits, food and homemaking contests, 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.”
Does it make you hungry? Head to Andyville for Stull’s Country Store and their homemade barbecue, craft beers and hearty soups in the fall and winter. If you miss that local specialty, try 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 there, take the Jailhouse Prisoner’s Pardon Pizza Challenge: Two diners, 12 pounds of pizza and 60 minutes of yum!
Rest and Relaxation
Check into the Southern Grace Bed and Breakfast, stroll peaceful farm grounds to unwind, and then snuggle into a luxurious night’s sleep. A small lake and event hall also make this a perfect site for weddings and family getaways.
Another exceptional choice is the Brandenburg Inn’s Olin Guest House or the Baskett House, featuring captivating quiet, comfort overlooking the Ohio River near downtown Brandenburg.
Looking for something different? Try Abe’s Country Village, family run for more than 30 years, with motel rooms and cabins, and that warm feeling of yesteryear.
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 for more information.
If You Go
Meade County, 270-422-3626, website
Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area, 502-942-9171, 502-942-5052 (Trail Status Hotline), website
Roberts Family Farm, 270-422-2361, website
Meade County Fair, 270-422-2000, website
Stull’s Country Store, 270-496-4169, website
Jail House Pizza, 270-422-4660, website
Southern Grace Bed & Breakfast, 270-422-7974, website
Brandenburg Inn, 270-422-8009, website
Abe's Country Village, 270-422-4400, website
some pictures compliments of Meade County Messenger, 270-422-2155, website