Now that the kiddos are out of school for the summer, I'm sure lots of Bitesters are looking for summer road-trip ideas. Since I am sans enfants myself, some of my recommendations tend to trend toward adult destinations, but I'll try to keep you breeders in mind as I make a few Monday Road Trip suggestions over the next couple of months.
My first recommended destination is a town which many Nashvillians have probably only driven through on the way to the closest casino, Paducah, Ky. But let me tell you you're missing out if you barrel through that burg on the way to Harrah's in Metropolis, Il. Like Stacey's mom, Paducah's got it goin' on.
The town of about 25,000 residents has a thriving arts scene, with painters and sculptors working and displaying their wares in galleries all over the Lower Town Arts District. The city is especially known for quilting and fabric arts and hosts an annual festival celebrating these crafts. It has even been named a member of the Unesco Creative Cities list, quite a feat for such a small town.
On the food and drink front, Paducah has plenty to offer, including a noted farm-to-table restaurant named Freight House. Being that it is a Kentucky restaurant, the bar at Freight House also features more than 150 bourbons. There are also spirits being distilled in Paducah in the form of corn likker from The Moonshine Company. As far as flavored moonshines go, this one has one a few awards, so if that's your thing, go for it.
On the beer front, there are two to visit, both within (slightly long) walkable distance of downtown. Dry Ground Brewing Co. is on the west side of town, and they produce a dozen craft beers ranging from the light Preacher Pils to a black IPA they call Lonesome, Ornery & Mean. Their taproom also features many more beers from other breweries as well.
Across town on the east side, Paducah Beer Werks opened in 2015 in the old Greyhound bus station, and has been brewing award-winning beers since then. The grain-to-glass brewery features four flagship recipes, a Pale Ale, IPA, Robust Porter and an Irish Red, plus some rotating seasonal beers. They also serve a pretty decent crop of bar food options and feature live music on weekend nights.
If you're looking for a place to stay in Paducah, a new boutique hotel has recently opened, the 1857 Hotel, with 10 rooms and a striking decor combining modern design with the former industrial vibe of the historic space. It's located right downtown near the riverfront and just a block away from historic Market House Theatre and the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Performing Arts Center.
A great excuse to make the short trip up to Paducah is coming up on June 18 when the PaBREWcah beer festival brings 25 craft breweries to town to sample their beers along with food and entertainment to keep patrons sustained between beers. Tickets are just $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event, and proceeds benefit the Paducah Symphony Orchestra.