Trip Advisor’s Kentucky ‘Hidden Gems’

Although gas prices are skyrocketing, I’d still bet you’ll want to plan some sort of getaway when spring rolls around. It’s times like these that give rise to the return of concepts like “staycation.”

Maybe you have already handled this. Maybe you’ve already made plans with the family and are ready to take off. But you may also not know what to do and wait for the light bulb above your head to turn on.

Well, here I am with the light bulb courtesy of Trip Advisor, the trusted online tool for all of us who venture away from home and need the best advice on where to eat, where to play , etc

But what about vague (but no less important) categories that might not come to mind? The folks at Trip Advisor have you covered as well.

They took the ratings of what they classify as “hidden gems” in Kentucky and found the top ten. I’m a little excited about this because I like to “discover” hidden gems.


The Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea is “where everything is made in Kentucky”. Who am I to argue? Seriously, this place is so cool and so good for the Commonwealth and its vast array of artists. You see, the Artisan Center buys the works of Kentucky artists to resell. Good for Kentucky business; good for tourists.


After a visit to the Kentucky Artisan Center, you might want to stretch your legs and do some therapeutic exercise. Head to the Pinnacles of Berea for an invigorating hike through some of Kentucky’s most beautiful terrain.


At the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, you can book tours and tastings; you can enjoy the outdoor bar (weather permitting); you can buy something from the gift shop for those who were unlucky enough to miss the trip, and I heard you can discover a mighty flavorful bourbon.


What? Are you SURPRISED that distilleries appear on this list? My only question is why they are classified as hidden. Either way, Barton 1792 Distillery is conveniently located in Bardstown and is the oldest fully functioning distillery in Kentucky. It’s quite a facility, with over 51 buildings on site, all with the goal of bringing potent fine bourbon to the world.


I’m a kid in a candy store surrounded by luxurious classic cars like the beauties you’ll find at Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear museum. Vintage cars, in mint condition, from the early 1900s through the 1960s is what you’ll find when you visit Swope’s. I have a particular fondness for the blue 1969 Camaro hardtop with the black racing stripe.


I went to Cumberland Falls State Park. That’s wonderful. You bring your own RV or stay in on-site cabins, even ones that float. But I bet you will spend a lot of time watching the waterfall.


For a very long time, I thought you had to go to California to have an exceptional wine experience. Well, I was wrong. I actually did a WINE TOUR in Western New York in 2013, and I’m not much of a wine drinker. But you don’t have to be to enjoy a visit, and Kentucky has plenty to choose from, like Purple Toad, for example. Located in Paducah, Purple Toad has been around since 1998. And while tours aren’t currently offered due to COVID – according to the winery’s website – I don’t imagine it will last very long. It will make a great afternoon.


To be honest, I’ve never heard of the Willett Distillery in Bardstown. But they see a lot of traffic during tour times and distill twelve different brands of whiskey or bourbon.


One of my oldest friends in the world lived at St. James Court in Louisville. Each house on the street is incredibly beautiful but so huge that it has been divided into individual apartments. Not the Conrad-Caldwell house, though. It’s a museum and a haunted one, at that.


Top of the list is all warm and cozy AND another Paducah entry. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the National Quilt Museum billboards, but it always seems to be when the place is closed. I will have to make a more concentrated effort. The quilts you see on the site are beautiful. And there are always special exhibitions. But please resist the urge to take a nap.

I have always kept Trip Advisor handy on my travels. I mean I could Google “things to do in (insert city/state here)” all day, but why?

Bon voyage, everyone.

How many of these Kentucky attractions have you visited?

Let’s see how far you’ve traveled the Bluegrass State. Scroll through the list and see which attractions you’ve visited and which ones you still have on a “to do” list. I need to take care too.

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