Spring staycations: Five Kentucky destinations to explore this season

By Nicole Childress, Building Kentucky

While the pandemic has made long-distance travel difficult, Kentuckians are lucky to have great choices for destinations close to home worth exploring.

Rediscover Kentucky’s beauty, history and culture by becoming a local tourist this spring!

Camp Bespoke, Williamstown

Camping got a serious upgrade last fall when Camp Bespoke opened.

The majority Black female-owned resort features luxury cabins, cottages, and tipis that make camping feel glamourous (also known as “glamping”).

Your getaway at Camp Bespoke will be truly a Kentucky experience. In addition to its stylish accommodations, it offers local experience packages including distillery tours, horseback riding, and culinary and art experiences. The camp sources 90-95% of its products and services from Kentucky vendors and supports organizations including Kentucky Native American Heritage Museum, Fund for the Arts and Black Soil.

You can book a stay at Camp Bespoke here.

Greyline Station, Lexington

New life has been breathed into Greyline Station.

Built in 1928, the structure has been a bus maintenance hub, Lextran facility and vacant building — but is now a bustling market. You can spend an entire afternoon exploring Greyline’s restaurants, retail stores, and entertainment including live music and yoga classes. Grab a donut at North Lime or cocktail from Old North Bar and enjoy while you stroll through a piece of Kentucky history.

Greyline is open seven days a week and you can find more information here.

Heaven Hill Distillery, Bardstown

Take a sip of Kentucky culture in the heart of Bourbon Country at Heaven Hill Distillery.

Heaven Hill’s Bourbon Heritage Center has recently undergone a $17.5 million renovation and is expected to open a new restaurant and three new tasting rooms this spring. Whether you are a Bourbon Trail® newbie or a whiskey connoisseur, your next visit is sure to be a new experience.

Heaven Hill’s Bourbon Heritage Center in Bardstown is currently offering tastings that can be booked here. Heaven Hill also offers the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in Louisville and you can book tours and tastings here.

Kentucky Civil Rights Trail, Statewide

Learn about the rich history of the African Americans who shaped the Commonwealth on the Kentucky Civil Rights Trail.

In Louisville, go on a self-guided tour of the Downtown Louisville Civil Rights Markers Trail. As you make your way around the 11 markers, you will stand in spots that transformed the city’s history and learn about events that led to civil rights legislation and desegregation. You can find a map of the markers trail here.

In Russellville, explore six restored historic buildings at the SEEK Museum which tell the stories of slavery, emancipation, and Kentuckian Alice Dunnigan, the first black female US House Representative and US Senator. Tours of the SEEK Museum are available upon request by emailing seekmuseum@gmail.com.

In Simpsonville, learn more about one of America’s greatest civil rights leaders, Whitney M. Young, Jr., at his birthplace. The wooden two-story home is a National Historic Landmark and contains photographs, articles and other memorabilia of Young’s life. Tours are available on a limited basis due to COVID-19, but you can book a tour by calling 502-585-4733.

The last two spots on the trail, the Muhammed Ali Center and Lincoln Hall at Berea College, are currently closed for tours due to COVID-19.

Purple Toad Winery, Paducah

Enjoy the warmer temperatures and a glass of wine at Paducah’s first and only winery, Purple Toad. While the winery is currently not giving tours, you can participate in a free wine tasting and enjoy the views of Western Kentucky.

You do not need to book a tasting in advance. For more information and winery hours visit Purple Toad’s website.

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