Berea is a small city in Kentucky's Bluegrass Region in southern Madison County about 15 miles (24 km) south of Richmond and 45 miles (72 km) south of Lexington. The community, has experienced major population growth: 38% from 2000 to 2010, and 16% to 2018. It is known for its active arts and crafts scene and as the home of Berea College, a liberal arts school with a unique mission of serving students in the Appalachia region.
You'll almost certainly get to Berea by car. Berea is accessible from exits 76 and 77 off of I-75.
When you come in, grab a travel planner pamphlet from either the Traveler's Center just off I-75 exit 77 (see below in Buy) or from the Welcome Center in town.
Berea also has a greyhound bus station near Oldtown.
There are two areas that make up the major centers of Berea: Old Town Artisan Village, and College Square. Each is easily traversable by foot.
To get from one end of town to the other, you could walk; it would take about 15 minutes. Parking is easy to come by, though, so you might as well drive.
There are a number of festivals throughout the year, some of which are juried.
- 1 Berea College Forest. Dawn-dusk. An 8000-acre forest managed by Berea College. Several miles of trails are maintained by the college's Department of Forestry and are open to the public during daylight hours. The trails lead to several cliff side overlooks with spectacular views. A forestry center includes educational displays, bathrooms, and an information desk.
- Spotlight Playhouse. 214 Richmond Road. 859-756-0011. Acting school and community theater offering shows every weekend, with children's plays at 6:30 Fridays and Saturdays and plays put on by teens and adults at 8 PM, sometimes both in the same weekend. Sunday matinees are at 2 and/or 3:30PN, though shows running for two weeks may only have a matinee on the first weekend. The fare ranges from Disney musicals to Shakespeare and Brecht. The dinner shows, several of which are offered each year, are particularly popular.
If you want to see Berea and its artists up close and personal, go downtown and just walk the streets. Many artisans have workshops there, and are open to the public (typically 9AM-5PM).
- 1 Kentucky Artisan Center (Traveler's Center), 200 Artisan Way (I-75 exit 77), ☏ . Spring-Fall daily 8AM-8PM; café 8:30AM-5PM. Winter (roughly Jan 4-Mar 10) 8:30AM-6:30PM; café 9AM-4PM. If you're looking for a one-stop shopping location, this is the place to go.
Berea has a rather lackluster food reputation, with the exception of the justly famous (but pricey) Boone Tavern. But it also boasts a fine local pizzeria (PapaLenos), an Asian noodle shop (Noodle Nirvana), and a bagel shop (Native Bagels), which have further enriched the town's culinary landscape.
- 1 Boone Tavern Dining Room, 100 Main St., ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ email@example.com. Fine dining featuring locally grown ingredients from the Berea College Farm. Dress attire is tastefully casual and reservations are recommended for evening meals. Alcohol now available by the drink.
- PapaLenos, 108 Center Street, 859-986-4497. This popular and unpretentious Italian restaurant, focusing on pizza, has been open since 1984 and sits just around the corner from Boone Tavern on College Square.
- Noodle Nirvana, 315 Chestnut Street, 859-756-6447. Asian noodle dishes, including soups. Customers can build their own dish by choosing a noodle, a sauce or broth, and a protein, or pick from seven set options. Familiar dishes such as pad thai, pho, drunken noodles, and Thai curry share the menu with lesser known options such as a Thai vegetable soup including potatoes and tomatoes, a spicy lime soup, and a sweet peanut sauce. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are offered, including Thai iced tea and a range of Mexican jarritos. The staff is paid a higher wage than in most restaurants and all tips go to charity.
Berea used to be a "dry" community, but since 2015 restaurants have been able to serve alcohol. Bars and the sale of packaged alcohol are still prohibited. The nearest community where alcohol is widely available is Richmond; most of that city is completely "wet" (with package alcohol sales in addition to restaurant sales). If traveling to the south on I-75, the next town that allows alcohol by the drink in restaurants is London, slightly more than a half-hour's drive away, and the next town that allows package sales is Corbin, about 15 minutes further south.
- 1 Berea Coffee & Tea Co., 124 Main St., ☏ . A local coffee shop featuring sustainable and free trade products. A wide variety of drinks, bakery items, and sandwiches are available.
Bed & Breakfasts
- 1 The Doctor's Inn of Berea, 617 Chestnut St., ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A bed and breakfast in a Greek Revival style home.
- 2 The Greathouse Inn, 317 Jackson St., ☏ . A house constructed in 1917 featuring 3 bedrooms and within walking distance of Berea College.
Campgrounds & cottages
- 3 HomeGrown HideAways, 500 Floyd Branch Rd, ☏ . A privately owned campground located on working farm. RV and tent sites with electric and water hookups are available. The campground has a bathhouse with flush toilets and showers are available April through October. No pets are allowed and cell phone service is unreliable.
- 4 Oh! Kentucky Campground, 562 Paint Lick Rd., ☏ . A privately owned campground featuring 70 campsites ranging from primitive to full hookups. The campground features a store, pool, laundry facilities, and shower houses.
- 5 Walnut Meadow Campground & RV Park, 711 Paint Lick Rd., ☏ . A privately owned campground featuring 103 campsites ranging from primitive to full hook up. The campground features a store, shower houses, Wi-Fi, and laundry facilities
- 6 Americas Best Value Inn, 196 Prince Royal Dr., ☏ .
- 7 Boone Tavern Hotel, 100 Main St., ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ email@example.com. Constructed in 1909, this hotel is operated by Berea College. The rooms feature handcrafted wooden furniture. A restaurant is attached to the hotel.
- 8 Comfort Inn & Suites, 219 Paint Lick Rd., ☏ .
- 9 Country Inn & Suites.
- 10 Econo Lodge, 254 Paint Lick Rd., ☏ .
- 11 Fairfield Inn & Suites, 227 Paint Lick Rd., ☏ .
- 12 [dead link] Knights Inn, 715 Chestnut St., ☏ .
|Routes through Berea|
|Lexington ← Richmond ←||N S||→ London → Knoxville|