Splash Magazines

By Amy Munice

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Eleanor Roosevelt, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Henry Ford, Thornton Wilder, Alex Haley…


These are just some of the notables who have found a restful night in the historic Boone Tavern Hotel of Berea, Kentucky. 


Owned and operated by Berea College, Boone Tavern is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  It’s been in operation since 1909 when, the story goes, an earlier college president’s wife said that the 300 guests in her home that year were getting to be a bit much and a tavern for travelers to the school was needed. 


Renovated in 2009, it now also boasts of being the first LEED certified hotel in Kentucky with LEED Gold status to this day.  You’ll see these green touches throughout, such as the master switch that turns off electric appliances in your room when you leave. 


First and foremost you should know that this is a very comfortable spot.  You’ll find overstuffed chairs in the lobby, plush carpets and flowers.  There is a lovely oil portrait of Daniel Boone and also one of Lincoln that was said to be a gift from Lincoln himself to the abolitionist founder of the school.   It has that college inn quaintness and touch of luxury, yet at highly competitive prices, especially if you have AAA or AARP membership.


There are many welcoming touches in each room from students’ hands such as decorative mirrors and woven waste baskets.   (You’ll also find many other student craft items in the lobby gift store—some of which you’ll also find in places like the Williams-Sonoma catalog.)  


It may be your bellhop or it may be the staffer at the front desk, but at one or more points you’ll also get to chat up students who are working at the hotel--- all wonderful ambassadors for their tuition-free merit based world class education that is a potential model for all. 


Top Tip:  Whatever you do, plan your stay so that it will include a lunch or dinner meal at the Boone Tavern restaurant and a hearty breakfast too. (Note:  breakfast service starts after 7 AM).   Earlier travelers may have been confused by the name “tavern” as this was a dry spot like its host town until last fall.  Now it has wine pairings—and of course Kentucky bourbon too—to accompany cuisine that favorably compares to many top-end restaurants in cities and places that are better known as tourist magnets. 




Photos:  Courtesy of Boone Tavern, unless otherwise indicated

Published on Feb 10, 2015

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