Friday, February 25, 2022

Boone Tavern Hotel and More…Berea Kentucky

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Finally…Shopping in Berea Kentucky

…continuing with our road trip to Kentucky this past October.  We’d explored several attractions in and around Lexington and now Laurie and I headed back to Berea to do a bit of shopping.  Unfortunately, Bonnie and Bill had to get back to St. Louis earlier than we thought, so they missed this second try at shopping.

Our first stop was in the Artisan Village area of Berea.  The first 2 photos provide a feel for the small shops that line Broadway Street, occupy Artisan Circle…and in at least one case…is located just off Broadway on a side street.

If you follow my blog site, you may recall the second photo.  This is the former Louisville and Nashville Railway depot that was built in 1917.  It is located on Artisan Circle and it’s a good place to start you exploration…and shopping.  Of course, this is where our little group originally learned that Artisan Village is almost completely closed on Sundays.

My previous post about this area included a number of artistic “hands” that had decorated the town a few years earlier… Many are still on exhibit and I think that they’re fun objects.  As for the flowers, I’ve included that photo because at this time of the year they represent hope and our upcoming spring season.

These photos were taken in ‘Honeysuckle Vine’, a shop at 2 Artist Circle that’s adjacent to the old depot/visitor’s center.  This shop had a bit of something for everyone.  Greeting cards created by local artists, corn-shuck items, coal art, wooden utensils and salad bowls, a variety of Kentucky food products and plenty of country style home décor items.  Also, handmade Christmas decorations are available year round. 

It was a Monday…and unfortunately not all of the shops were open for business.  We would recommend shopping on Tuesdays through Saturday in order to maximize your selection of arts and crafts items. 

There were still enough shops open to occupy Laurie and myself… One stop was at the Weston Glass Studio.  Not only is there an interesting and creative display of items available for purchase, but we were also able to watch a glass blower at work!  The pliable glass is drawn from the 2,050 F oven and then shaped into unique creations.

These photos offer examples of the creativity and variety available for visitors to the Weston Glass Studio.  Love the glass ornament and that glass sea shell is fabulous!  Of course, the Christmas tree is also mostly glass... 

The shop offers ornaments, vases, starfish, pumpkins and many more items at affordable prices.  Weston Glass Studio is located at 217 Adams Street, just off Broadway.  Call ahead if you want to time your visit for when they are actually glass blowing.  Phone: 859-985-0150.  They are on Facebook at or you can learn more about this studio/shop on their website at  

This store offered a wide array of hand crafted items and we thought that the quality was outstanding.  Top Drawer Gallery offers hand crafted items in jewelry, glass, ceramics, textiles, wood and metal.  Art, furniture and décor items fill the store.  We particularly liked the wooden craft items, the furniture and pottery.

Top Drawer Gallery is located Berea Kentucky’s Artisan Village at 202 North Broadway Street.  To learn more about this gallery or to shop on-line, just go to  

For general information about Berea’s Artisan Village and its many shops, go to

That’s enough shopping for now!  Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, February 18, 2022

A Folk Hero, a Bit of History…and Lunch

…continuing with our exploration of the area around Lexington Kentucky this past October.  Laurie’s sister Bonnie and Bonnie’s husband Bill had driven over to Lexington from the St. Louis Missouri environs to join us…

After our tour of Kentucky’s state capitol building in Frankfort, our next stop was a historic cemetery.  This scenic cemetery was first established in February of 1845.  The Frankfort Cemetery was only the second Memorial Park to be incorporated in the USA.  It is still in use today. 

The Daughters of the American Revolution established a plot in this cemetery in 1916.  Beginning with the reinternment of 3 Revolutionary War patriots, that hallowed ground now honors 14 persons that have been reinterred or who have memorial headstones in place. 

Three former Governors of Kentucky are also buried in the Frankfort Cemetery…

This is the gravesite of perhaps the best known and most revered Kentuckian.  In 1845, frontiersman, explorer and politician Daniel Boone and his wife Rebecca Boone were the first persons to be laid to rest in this cemetery.  Actually they had died in Missouri where Daniel had moved due to financial problems.  When he and Rebecca died, (1820 and 1813 respectively), they were buried near Marthasville Missouri.  Their remains were moved back to Kentucky.  Missourians were none too happy about this event and there is some evidence and much speculation that the wrong remains were disinterred and moved.  In any case, Daniel and Rebecca’s ‘alleged’ remains were moved to Frankfort and they were reinterred with great fanfare in September of 1845. 

There is one other famous person buried in the Frankfort Cemetery that is worthy of note.  Richard Mentor Johnson, the ninth Vice President of the United States.  He served in that position under President Martin Van Buren from 1837 until 1841.  Johnson is the only Vice President elected by the United States Senate under the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment.  This Amendment held that the Senate would hold a contingent election for Vice President if no candidate won a majority of the Vice Presidential electoral votes.

Johnson was much criticized for his relationship with Julia Chinn, a mixed-race slave who was classified as an octoroon…7/8ths white.  Unlike other upper-class planters and leaders who had African American mistresses but never acknowledged them, Johnson treated Chinn as his common-law wife.  He acknowledged their 2 daughters as his children, ensuring their education as well as giving them his surname.  It was this relationship that caused his ‘election’ as Vice President.  Julia had died in 1833.  However, due to Johnson’s open relationship with her and his acceptance of their daughters, the State of Virginia refused to award Johnson with their electoral votes for Vice President in 1837.  This led to the Senate vote that made Johnson the Vice President… 

Another highlight of our visit to the Frankfort Cemetery was our views of city of Frankfort, the Capitol building and the Kentucky River. 

Frankfort is likely to have been named after an event that took place there in the 1780s.  Native Americans attacked a group of early European colonists from Bryan Station.  They were making salt as a ford in the Kentucky River.  Pioneer Stephen Frank was killed and the settlers began calling the crossing “Frank’s Ford”…later changing it to Frankfort.

During the American Civil War the Union Army built fortifications on what is now called Fort Hill, which overlooks the city.  In 1862 the Confederate Army occupied the town for a short time, the only time that rebel forces took control of a Union capitol. 

With a population of only 28,602, Frankfort is the 4th smallest state capitol in the USA.  Only Montpelier Vermont, Pierre South Dakota and Augusta Maine have fewer residents.  Juneau Alaska is slightly larger than Frankfort...

FYI, the Kentucky River is a 260 mile long tributary of the Ohio River.  It is navigable as far upriver as Lock 4 at Frankfort.  Other former locks to the east have been permanently closed…

After our exploration of Kentucky’s State Capitol and our visit to the Frankfort Cemetery, it was time for lunch.  I’d done a little research and I was intrigued by the name and description of the Cliffside Diner.  I can tell you that our SUV’s GPS system had a heck of a time finding it though!  “Cliffside” is definitely a great description of this diner’s location…

The interior was a little ‘off putting’ but there was no doubt that Cliffside is an established old time diner.  Not only were they coping with the State’s Covid-19 requirements but as an added attraction, we were nearing Halloween and they had decorated appropriately.  I left out the photo showing stacks of disinfectant and sanitizer supported with a lot of paper towels…

I took this nice photo of Bill and Bonnie at our booth in the diner.  Bill is almost smiling! 

To prevent the spread of Covid-19, Cliffside had hung sheets of plastic between the booths.  The ‘look’ wasn’t good even if the intention was admirable.  I’m sure that the goal for the owners was to stay in business despite the ‘plague’ that was still impacting so many small businesses.

Cliffside’s menu is classic diner…with breakfast items, soups and salads, a broad variety of sandwiches, combos, specials, platters and desserts.  Bill chose a fried bologna sandwich sided with French fries for his luncheon repast… He really liked it!

Both Bonnie and Laurie decided to order bacon cheeseburgers…Laurie with cottage cheese as her side and Bonnie opting for a vegetable medley.  Both reported that the burgers were juicy and quite tasty…

I had to be different…so I ordered an open faced roast beef sandwich and mashed potatoes with gravy.  In addition to the sliced tomatoes, as my bread accompaniment, I ordered cornbread.  I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be Johnnycake…a fried cornmeal version of a pancake.  I enjoyed my luncheon comfort food!

FYI…Johnnycakes were also called journey cakes because they could be carried on long trips in saddlebags and then baked along the way.  Some historians believe that they were originally called Shawnee cakes and that colonists slurred the words.  Another possibility was that the American Indian word “janiken”, which meant ‘corn cake’, could possibly be the origin. 

The Cliffside Diner is located at 235 Old Lawrenceburg Road in Frankfort Kentucky.  They are open Monday – Friday from 11 AM until 7 PM, Saturday from 8:30 AM until 7 PM and Sunday from 8:30 AM until 3 PM.  Phone: 859-234-7946.  Cliffside Diner is on Facebook at

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Monday, February 14, 2022


Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!  This special day isn’t just for lovers but it’s also for family members and those special friends that we cherish and love spending time with.

After spending 43 Valentine Days together, our special day will be very low key.  We won’t be going out for dinner and fighting the crowds… Instead, we’ll just spend the time together, perhaps with a Hallmark movie and a bit of wine along with our hugs and kisses…

Valentine’s Day here in East Tennessee can be a bit different than you might expect.  We do enjoy those differences even when the thought process is well beyond our imagination.

Yes, there are flowers involved!  An appointment with my endodontist always results in a cluster of flowers given in appreciation by the happiest and most cheerful receptionist/office manager imaginable! 

FYI, these flowers are Alstroemerias…also known as Peruvian Lilies or Lilies of the Incas.  They are native flowers in South America.

Even area law enforcement is in the mood for love and hugs!  At the first of the month, the following ‘message of love and caring’ accompanied the photo shown above was posted on Facebook.

“Tomorrow kicks off the month for celebrating the love in your life.  And we don’t want you to forget those ex’s that did you wrong either!

Do you have an ex-Valentine and know that they have outstanding warrants?  Do you have information that they are driving with drugs in their car?  Give us a call with their location and we’ll take care of the rest.

This Valentine’s Day Month-Long Special starts off with a set of limited-edition platinum bracelets, free transportation with a chauffeur, a one-night minimum stay in luxurious accommodations and professional glamor shots that will be posted on-line for all to enjoy.  This special is capped off with a special Valentine’s dinner.

We know this special is so incredible that you may be tempted to provide additional referrals.  We don’t blame you, this special is too sweet to pass up.  Operators are standing by!”

They went on to say, “Laugh all you want, but someone reading this is about to call and give someone up!”  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Then there is this…a Red State Valentine Special for sure!

Nothing says love better than gifting your sweetheart with a sleek new shooting iron!  Just make sure that she 1) really loves you, and 2) she doesn’t have a bad temper…

FYI…These advertising stickers were pasted on the front page of our local weekly newspaper for the two weeks prior to Valentine’s Day.  Even more exciting was that if you brought either of these ads into the store, you would receive a 10% discount on the purchase of your sweetheart’s new firearm!

Forty-three (almost 44) years after we first met, we have changed just a tad… Two facts remain though!  We are each other’s best friend and we still truly love each other…


·       Our first encounter was a ‘blind date’.  She’d booked the date on a Thursday because she had to go to work early the next day and that would give her an excuse to bail out early.  However, despite the fact that I was a blind date and ‘an old guy’, Laurie was ‘won over’ when I rubbed her feet that evening… 

·       I did risk our future though as I didn’t call her back until 12 days after our first date.  I didn’t want her to think that I was ‘pushy’ or too aggressive… BTW, she did forgive my serious gaffe!

Laurie had a Burmese cat whose name was Max.  The fact that he liked me immediately was a major plus!  Just think, the rest of my life was determined by a cat’s affection… 

·       Eons ago when CB Radios were the rage, our ‘handle’ was “Beauty and the Beast”.  She’d talk to the truckers and then, at an appropriate time she’d mention that she was riding with “the Beast”. 

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!

Thanks for stopping by for a visit…

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave and Laurie

Friday, February 11, 2022

Kentucky’s Capitol Building…A Tour (2)

…continuing with our tour of Kentucky’s Capitol Building in Frankfort Kentucky.  Laurie and I were visiting the areas around Lexington with her sister Bonnie and Bonnie’s husband Bill.

I was just mind-blown as I viewed the complex and striking architecture at one end of the capitol building.  It is spectacular! 

The second photo is a close up of the decorative lunette above the entrance to the chambers of Kentucky’s House of Representatives.  This mural is an oil painting by T. Gilbert White and it depicts Daniel Boone and his party catching their first glimpse of the Bluegrass Region from as seen from Pilot Knob in 1769.

FYI, a lunette is the term used for a half-moon shaped architectural space.  These spaces can be void, filled with sculpture, painted, glazed or contain recessed masonry.

Pilot Knob is a 730 foot high outcrop that is now part of the 1,258 acre Pilot Knob State Nature Preserve.  From this vantage point, you can view the Knobs and Bluegrass regions as well as the Cumberland Plateau.

This photo shows the chamber for Kentucky House of Representatives.  There are spectator galleries overlooking the Representative’s desks.  With 100 members, the House has features that the Kentucky Senate doesn’t have.  Votes are recorded electronically and they’re displayed on either side of the Speaker’s desk.  All members in this chamber have desktop computers.

This second lunette, located above the entrance to the Kentucky Senate, is home to another oil painting by T. Gilbert White.  In this case, the mural depicts negotiations for the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals.  This treaty led to the purchase of Cherokee land that became a large part of Kentucky and part of Tennessee.

Richard Henderson, who was an American jurist, land speculator and politician was friends with Daniel Boone.  Boone told him that the Cherokee were interested in selling part of their land along the Appalachian frontier.  Henderson, Boone and others met with several Cherokee leaders.  The treaty was signed on March 17, 1775.  The legality of the ‘treaty’ has been disputed but this agreement took place before the creation of the United States itself...

Thomas Gilbert White (1877 – 1939) was an American painter who is best known for his murals.  His works are on display in two other state capitols, Oklahoma and Utah.  In addition to several prominent county courthouses, another of his murals is on display in the Pan American Union Building in Washington D.C. 

This is Kentucky’s Senate chamber.  It seems much more elegant than the General Assembly’s chamber.  Certainly the raised galleries allow a better view of the Senate’s deliberations.  There are desks for 38 Senators and they also have individual offices in the nearby Capitol Annex.

Both the Legislative/General Assembly and Senate Chambers continue with the classical motifs of the building itself.  This includes the use of scagliola for their decorative architectural features.  Scagliola is a type of fine plaster that can be used to produce columns, sculptures and other architectural elements the resemble inlays in marble.  This technique came into fashion in Italy during the 1600s as an effective substitute for costly marble inlays

The Kentucky State Capitol has a display of miniature dolls that represent each first lady of Kentucky with a fashionable dress from the historical period.  Usually the doll of a new Kentucky first lady is placed in public display along with the others within a few months after taking office. Each doll is adorned in fabric matching the first lady’s Inaugural Ball gown. Four large, background-lighted, glass-enclosed cabinets just east of the Rotunda on the first floor of the Capitol house the dolls that thousands of tourists view each year.  Some visitors think that this display is a little spooky…

This display shows a series of different ‘patches’, one representing each of the State’s 120 counties.  This was just one of several ongoing displays that we saw during our tour.

There are 4 display cases near the Capitol Rotunda on the west side of the building.  These cases are offered to museums, artists, educational, governmental and other types of non-profit organizations.  The goal of these displays is primarily to promote tourism as well as the arts and culture of Kentucky.

We were happy to see this Medal of Honor Plaque near the front door of the capitol and next to the rotunda.  It honors the 59 men and 1 woman from Kentucky who have received the U.S. Medal of Honor for bravery on the battlefield.  Most of them made the ultimate sacrifice.  The plaque was installed in 2012 with 3 Kentucky Medal of Honor recipients in attendance.

The POW/MIA flag flies permanently at the Capitol.  In addition, this “Chair of Honor” is on display on the first floor.  Prisoner of War/Missing in Action chairs are found all across the United States.  They may be found in sports arenas, stadiums, courthouses and town halls.  The chairs represent those service members who are unable to fill them due to their personal sacrifices.  They are also a reminder of the men and women who continue to serve the country every day.

This is the State Reception Room in the Capitol building.  It was designed to impress and is used as a place for ceremonial events.  The walls are decorated with pilasters finished in scagliola and murals, all hand painted to resemble tapestries from Paris’s Gobelin Tapestry Guild.  The original hand carved Circassian walnut furniture was crafted to resemble French Baroque pieces from the 1600s. 

FYI, Circassian walnut comes directly from the Circassian mountains in Russia.  This variety of walnut often has wild color variations.

This striking room or chamber serves as the seat of the judicial branch of state government…Kentucky’s Supreme Court.  The space is noted for its solid Honduras mahogany paneling and the elegant coffered ceiling.  The ceiling is covered in Old Dutch Metal leafing, hammered to imitate old bronze.

I was puzzled… What is “Old Dutch Metal”?  It is actually a form of brass with a mix of about 85% cooper with zinc as the remainder.  It is very malleable and ductile and can be beaten into very thin sheets.  These sheets are sold to be used as metal leaf or imitation gold leaf.

I’ve included another look at Kentucky’s Capitol building.  It is very large, measuring about 403 feet long and 180 feet across.  The exterior base is made with Vermont granite but most of the exterior is Bedford limestone.  A total of 70 columns surround the building.  The dome is covered with terra cotta and the top of the lantern is 215 feet above the terrace.  I'll never forget all of those stairs...

The grounds of Kentucky’s State Capitol are almost as impressive as the building itself.  Famed landscape architect John Olmstead of the Olmstead firm developed the plan in 1905.  The company was founded by Fredrick Law Olmstead, John’s father.  Unfortunately, due to mounting costs, much of the plan for the promenade were never fully completed.   

Even with that financial limitation, the promenade, with its view, the area it encompasses, as well as the gardens and plantings, is still very impressive.  The area provides space for demonstrations and public events, to include the inaugural ceremonies for Kentucky’s governors.

One final note… Why is Kentucky referred to as a “Commonwealth”?  In the USA, ‘commonwealth’ is just another word for ‘state’.  The term implies a commitment to the common good of the people.  Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia also refer to themselves as commonwealths.  Since Kentucky was actually formed from Virginia, the state’s founders decided to use the same term…

To learn more about Kentucky’s State Capitol and tours of the building, go to  

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave