Three Picture-Perfect Ways to Explore Berea

Berea is well-known as the “Folk Arts & Crafts Capital of Kentucky,” a special place where you can admire dazzling art, or even make your own.

Berea artisan Tim Wade at the Cabin of Old Town Artisan Gallery in Kentucky

But there’s more than meets the creative eye in this charming south-central Kentucky town. You can also immerse yourself in rich history, savor local flavors, and soak up the sights and sounds of nature.

Looking for a great place to get away? Here are three fun ways to spend three perfect days in Berea!

Explore Your Creative Side

The arts and crafts aren’t just pretty objects you admire here. You can also get a behind-the-scenes look at artisans at work – or even learn how to make them yourself!

Start your visit with observing working artists at studios around town as part of the city’s Artists at Work program. You can pop in to not only learn some of their techniques, but also hear fascinating stories about how generations of local history and culture are layered into their work.

Working artist Bob Berger at Painters Palette Studio and Gallery in Berea, Kentucky

Speaking of learning, you can “Arrive a Visitor, Emerge an Artist” at Berea’s LearnShops, a series of hands-on courses where talented professionals teach classes on a wide range of art, Appalachian crafts, glass-blowing, pottery, painting, weaving, woodworking, music and more for beginners and experts alike. The yearlong program culminates in The Berea Festival of LearnShops each summer, while popular “Make It, Take It, Give It” courses around the holidays will help you cross lucky friends and family off your shopping list.

Next up is the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, a dynamic showcase of local art and craft through retail galleries, artisan demonstrations, special exhibitions, a gift shop – even a café serving Kentucky cuisine. You’ll find everything from candy and clothing to home décor and furniture, not to mention the cleanest restrooms around. (Seriously, interstate travelers plan their bathroom breaks here!) Find more dazzling handiwork at local shops, galleries and unique boutiques throughout Berea’s Artisan Village, in College Square or along Chestnut Street.

Explore a Charming Town

Take a walk about town to marvel at nearly two dozen examples of public art, including colorful murals, stained glass, bubbling fountains, sculptures of mythical beasts and more. Sip craft coffee from a local café, grab a fresh bakery treat, indulge in a smoothie on the square and dig into savory barbecue before joining a weekly jam session.

Historic Boone Tavern in Berea, Kentucky

And no trip to Berea is complete without a visit to the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant, now in its second century offering unmatched hospitality and charm, enchanting architecture and décor, well-appointed rooms and award-winning cuisine in the Bowling Dining Room. (Once you taste their legendary cornbread soufflé – knowns as spoonbread around these parts – you may never want to leave!)

When you’re ready to call it a night, check into a room here or settle into one of the area’s other quaint cottages, cozy B&Bs, full-service hotels or maybe even pitch a tent to sleep under the stars.

Explore the Great Outdoors

Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Berea is also a popular place to play. Just how popular?

Hiking in Berea, Kentucky

Outside Magazine has named The Pinnacles in Berea College Forest the top hike in Kentucky thanks to its stunning views, dramatic overlooks, proximity to Daniel Boone National Forest and easy access to local attractions. More great hiking trails and biking routes wind through the area, or you can tee up for 9 scenic holes at The Berea Golf Club.

And with motorboats and swimming both off-limits, 150-acre Owsley Fork Reservoir is a peaceful place to kayak and birdwatch in gorgeous surroundings.

Plan Your Trip

Although we’ve teased lots of fun experiences that await in Berea, there is so much more to explore. Plan your getaway today at VisitBerea.com.