Berea, Kentucky deserves a hand for supporting local crafters and public art. This quaint little town has a cool vibe with its artists studios and small (1,500-2,000 students) liberal arts college.
As we explored the studios that were open (many were closed on Sundays), one lady who was planting flowers outside of her studio asked us if we wanted her to open her shop for us. We didn’t want her to go to the trouble, but she insisted, and we ended up hearing some interesting stories from Mary about the town, her studio, and the hand she painted for the public art project.
A tornado had ripped through Berea and destroyed her hand, but she spent the money to have it painstakingly pieced back together. It was a wonderful story told by this weaver who had many more interesting and entertaining stories to tell. If we had stayed longer, I’m sure she would have shared even more.
After buying a small weaving, we explored the historic town center and Berea College campus before heading to the Kentucky Artisan Center.
Their state-run Welcome Center and gallery/ gift shop is a fantastic place to see the works of beautifully displayed local handicrafts. If I had more room in our home to display things (and wanted to spend the $), I could have spent hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on the many beautiful wood pieces I admired.
After enjoying the morning and early afternoon in Berea, we returned to Lexington for a shopping trip (and sample tasting- yum!) of chocolates at Old Kentucky Chocolates and a visit downtown. At least chocolate is a much more affordable splurge!
The day ended at another one of Gail’s fabulous recommendations, Smithtown Seafoods and West Sixth Brewing. Order your food at Smithtown, and they bring it next door to your table at the brewery. Both are located in the “Bread Box,” an old bread bakery. YUM.