After our visit to Berea’s Artisan Village, we decided to drive to the center of town, check out the Boone Tavern Hotel and other possible shopping opportunities.
Berea is best known as the home of Berea College but it is also known for its art festivals, historic restaurants and buildings. Berea is one of the fastest growing towns in Kentucky. With an estimated population of 16,026 in 2019, the population has grown by 6,175 residents since the 2000 US census. In addition to the college, employers include 5 plants that make auto parts as well as another that builds forklifts.
The town is apparently named for a province in Asia Minor that was mentioned in the King James Bible. (Acts 17:11) That province’s Jewish citizens were more receptive to the message of the Apostles…
Historic Boone Tavern Hotel was built in 1909 and is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Historic Hotels of America. The hotel was built at the suggestion of Nellie Frost, the wife of Berea College’s President, William O. Frost. The reputation of the college drew many visitors and Nellie saw the need for appropriate accommodations. The building was made of bricks from the College’s brickyard and it was constructed by the College’s Woodwork Department. Named after Daniel Boone, the appellation of “Tavern” is derived from the historic definition that refers to a public inn for travelers…rather than today’s definition as a place that sells alcohol.
Boone Tavern Hotel is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Guests have included Henry Ford, the Dalai Lama, President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge, Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou and Robert Frost.
The two photos shown above show the Boone Tavern Hotel’s lobby lounge area and its dining room. In the first photo at the right you can see a cutout figure of Nellie Frost, the person behind the building of this hotel.
John G. Fee started a one-room school here in 1855 that eventually became Berea College. Fee believed in a school that would advocate equality and excellence in education for men and women of all races. Fee’s faith and courage in preaching against slavery attracted the attention of Cassius M. Clay, a wealthy landowner and a leader in the movement for gradual emancipation. In 1853, Clay offered Fee a homestead on the edge of the mountains if Fee would take up permanent residence there. Fee accepted and established an anti-slavery church that they named Berea...
It should be noted that Boone Tavern is owned by the college. Part of Berea College’s requirements is that students must work at least 10 hours per week at any one of the college’s 140+ departments and work areas across the campus. The Hotel/Tavern is one of those work areas.
For more information about the Boone Tavern Hotel, including the restaurant and booking one of the updated suites, just go to Hotel in Berea, KY | Historic Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant.
Once again, I thought that I’d toss in a couple photos of flowers…this time lending their color to the outside of the entrance and the sidewalk in front of Boone Tavern.
Shopping… There are more opportunities for shopping in and around Boone Tavern. These include: Student Crafts on the Square Gallery; R.C. Thompson Gallery 103; Warren A. May – Woodworker; Papa Leno’s; Berea Fudge Shop and the Berea Coffee and Tea Company.
We did stop in at one other shop where we had an opportunity to interact with a number of Berea College students who work here. This was the Berea College Bookstore and Visitor’s Center…and it offered books, craft items and Berea College related items.
As I mentioned above. Every student holds a ‘job’ or position on campus. Working between 10 and 15 hours a week, termed ‘experiential learning’, every student attending the college receives a 4-year tuition scholarship. This college is one of only 8 ‘labor colleges’ in the USA.
I noted this very large and very old building located diagonally across the street from Boone Tavern. Fairchild Hall is the oldest building on Berea College’s campus. It was erected in 1872, (150 years ago!), and it was the first brick building in the area. Today it serves as a residence hall for upper-class women and it accommodates the offices of labor, (I’m guessing student labor), on the ground floor. Seventy-two students live here in single or double occupancy rooms. One plus for students is that both floors housing students have their own kitchen…
To learn more about Berea College, just go to Berea College.
In our rush to visit Berea’s Artisan Village and the Boone Tavern Hotel, I almost missed a key shopping location! This is the Kentucky Artisan Center. It supports hundreds of Kentucky artists, craftsmen and women as well as businesses by directly purchasing works from these talented and creative folks and then reselling their products.
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is located at Exit 77, just off of Interstate Highway 75. It is about 40 miles south of Lexington and just 2 and a half miles from downtown Berea. There is a cafeteria as well and visiting this center is free.
Laurie and I were particularly ‘taken’ by this large beaded pot or vase. The turned wooden vessel was made by Jack Fifield and the hand-stitched glass beads were applied by Linda Fifield. They live in McKee Kentucky. This creation is titled “Hills of Home”. No, we didn’t buy it as at $1,800 it was a bit over our spending limit...
However, the prices of items for sale at the Artisan Center fit all budgets and Kentucky food items are also available. The Center features the work of over 800 Kentucky artisans that cover every category of both modern and traditional crafts… To learn more and to see some photos too, just go Kentucky Artisan Center | Where Everything is Made in KY.
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave