Estill County: Explore a Special Place at a Leisurely Pace
Tucked in the foothills of east-central Kentucky, where mountains meet the bluegrass, you’ll find Estill County. A place to renew and escape in peaceful surroundings at a leisurely pace. Here you can settle into a comfy chair and sip your coffee while soaking up the breathtaking views and enjoying the calm. Estill County is the perfect place if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway.
Peaceful Places to Relax
The first step in planning the ultimate escape is booking the perfect accommodations. Irvine’s Snug Hollow Farm sets you in Central Kentucky’s scenic Red Lick Valley. Sitting on 300 acres, this hideaway invites you to experience simple country living in Appalachia. With four cabins and cottages, this bed and breakfast is just right for a couple’s getaway, girls’ trip or solo nature escape. Owner Barbara Napier is whipping up vegetarian meals onsite. Breakfast is included with your stay and dinner if offered by reservation. Bring your hiking boots! You’ll surely want to explore the farm’s gardens, natural areas and surrounding hiking trails.
Red Haven Farm is another Irvine favorite. This working farm offers guests multiple lodging options. The farmhouse sleeps eight — a great option if you’re traveling with friends or family. There are also two cabins onsite. The rustic Red Cabin can accommodate up to four guests, while the more modern Drifter Cabin sleeps six. You can also go for a unique glamping adventure by staying in one of the farm’s covered horse wagons. Around this 550-acre working farm, you’ll likely see the owners tending to their horses and farm animals. You might even meet a friendly pup or two. Venture around the property to discover miles of mountain trails, creeks, wooded areas and pastures.
For more Estill County lodging options, visit www.exploreestill.com/stay.html.
Hundreds of Years of History
Sister towns of Irvine and Ravenna are overflowing with history. When you explore these two towns and the surrounding county, you’ll discover a rich heritage built around coal companies and railroads. In fact, L&N Railroad founded Ravenna.
Step back in time as you explore Ravenna’s Fitchburg Furnace, the world’s largest charcoal iron furnace. At the time of its construction in 1869, the Fitchburg Furnace was considered an engineering marvel and used innovative, state-of-the-art technology that influenced modern furnaces.
Follow the Estill County Quilt Trail. Along the county’s scenic back roads, you’ll find nearly 50 colorful quilts adorning the walls of local barns and businesses. Part of the multi-state Quilt Trail, these sites pay homage to the rich cultural heritage of Appalachia and the surrounding region.
Soon, you can find even more local history and entertainment at The Yard. The former Ravenna Rail Yard is being revitalized as a multi-use attraction featuring the Rail Heritage Center Museum, Hardy Music Pavilion, a food truck court, a farmers market, a gift shop, a brewery and restaurant and train rides.
Certified Kentucky Trail Town
Consider yourself an outdoor enthusiast? You’re in luck! Irvine and Ravenna combine to make up the Estill Twin Cities Designated Kentucky Trail Town. Just a stone’s throw away from in-town amenities, you’ll find all kinds of outdoor recreation here.
Launch a kayak or canoe and paddle along the Kentucky River. Explore more than 500 acres at Lily Mountain Nature Preserve. Go hiking to soak up gorgeous views of Red Lick Valley, Estill Springs, and Sweet Lick Knob. Play a round at Ravenna’s nine-hole Estill County Golf Club. The kids will love a day at Veteran’s Memorial Park. Play your way at this family-favorite park equipped with walking trails, basketball courts, pavilions, picnic tables and multiple playgrounds.
For bigger outdoor adventures, take a short drive over to the nearby Red River Gorge. Here, you’ll find Red River paddling, miles of hiking trails and some of the best rock climbing in the world.
Food, Drink & Fun
You can’t plan a vacation without scoping out the food first! Backstreet Grub in Irvine is the place for burgers and … donuts? Yep, you read that right. This local spot is serving up a variety of juicy burgers and everyone’s favorite sweet fried treat. Kick it old school and grab a burger and shake from Irvine’s Burger Barn Drive-In. Craving Pizza? Steam Engine Pizza Pub in Irvine offers more than a dozen handmade pies, as well as pasta, sandwiches and local craft brews. And, of course, you’ll find plenty of down-home country cooking in Estill County. While you’re here, stop by the Kentucky Moon Saloon to sample locally made moonshine from Kentucky Mountain Moonshine.
Consider planning your trip around an upcoming event. Celebrate Appalachian culture at the Mountain Mushroom Festival. For over 30 years, folks have flocked to Irvine each April for this free festival full of arts and crafts, live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, various contests and the Kentucky Agate Hunt.
Ravenna celebrates its railroad heritage each September with the Ravenna Railroad Festival. Watch the children’s mini parade, shop from dozens of local vendors, take a train ride powered by a 90-year-old steam locomotive and enjoy a full lineup of live music.
Plan Your Trip
Ready to plan your next great escape? Visit www.ExploreEstill.com and let the R&R begin!