Folk Art in Berea

Daniel Boone and Berea College

Around the time of the Revolutionary War, a group of brave and wild men, led by Daniel Boone, blazed a trail from the east and over the mountains into Kentucky. Awed by the beauty, Boone settled in the area. In 1855 Berea College was founded.

Thirty minutes south of Lexington, KY, Berea is just off Interstate-75. Berea is “the folk arts & crafts capitol of Kentucky.” If you like hand-made, local products, bring your charge cards, the shopping is grand.

Two miles from the expressway is The Boone Tavern Hotel. Built in 1909 to accommodate the many visitors to the college, the hotel and adjoining restaurant is college owned and run by students. Berea College offers every student a four-year tuition scholarship and all 1,550 students must work 10-15 hours a week in one of the 140 department programs. Admission is strict; you must have good grades and prove you cannot afford tuition elsewhere. Six applicants are turned away for every one admitted.

Eat, Sleep, and Shop

Classified has a Historic Hotel, Boone Tavern is a landmark in the heart of the campus. It has large guest rooms and the restaurant is known for its Spoonbread. Around the hotel are the College Square shops, a café, a coffee shop and a pizzeria. For more shopping, go to the Old Town Artisans Village; while there, go in the Berea Welcome Center, housed in a restored 1917 railroad depot.

Besides all the student artists and their products, many artists have made this area their home. You will find weavers, metal smiths, wood carvers, glass blowers, dulcimer makers, potters and many other crafters. Visit Churchill Weavers to see the factory in action. Watching the weavers operate the giant looms with their hands and feet may remind you of someone playing an organ. And instead of music, they are producing beautiful blankets and throws. It was truly amazing to watch them work.

If you would like something a little different, maybe romantic or inspiring, stay a night or two at Snug Hollow B&B. About 20 minutes from Berea and run by a woman named Barbara. Her eye-opening story will leave you feeling blessed about your own life and remind you how strong the human spirit is. Comfortable lodging and fantastic food awaits every guest.

For a fun quick stop off I-75 or for an exciting weekend getaway, Berea is definitely worth the visit, just over six hours from Oakland County.

If You Go …

Berea Welcome Center


Southeast Kentucky Travel Information


Snug Hollow B&B

Michael Dwyer is a freelance writer and travel columnist. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at

About Michael Dwyer

Michael Dwyer is a freelance content provider. Michael writes about happenings in the Rochester area, travels across Michigan and destinations around the world. Contact him at

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