Adventure in Your Own Backyard: A Native Kentuckian’s Hart County Getaway

This year has served up a lot of surprises, and even disappointments… But it also has given us a unique opportunity to find joy in the little things. For me, this meant spending more time exploring the place I’ve called home for my entire life.

When a much-anticipated trip to Peru was rescheduled, I quickly began planning a safe and socially-distant weekend getaway for my friends and I to look forward to. Ever since a quick work trip to Hart County a few years back, it’s been on our short list of road trips to take… and we finally had the perfect excuse!

While visiting for work, I’d gotten a pretty good feel for the things I wanted to do, see and eat… Oh my gosh, the food, y’all!!! The only thing I wasn’t sure about was where we could stay. After a bit of research, I found these awesome Conestoga Wagons in Horse Cave Kentucky that served as the perfect happy medium between camping and a cozy hotel. We chose a weekend and booked our trip!

King bed with blanket and breakfast tray at Horse Cave KOA, Conestoga wagon Camping at its best.

Our first night in Hart County, we opted to grab takeout from Turtlelini’s and have a quiet night in the wagons (which have heat and air, if you were wondering!). The menu had a variety of pizzas, pastas, salads, subs and more, but we settled on the Chicken Carbonara, Hot Wings and Garlic Butter & Parmesan Breadsticks… It was more than enough food for the two of us and oh so delicious!

The next morning, we made a stop at Farmwald Dutch Bakery, where we indulged in mini donuts, a breakfast sandwich and “the three most popular menu items,” which all happen to be biscuits and gravy! But hey, we weren’t complaining… Food is our love language!

Breakfast spread from Farmwald’s Dutch Deli and Bakery.

After breakfast settled, we took a nice drive over to Mammoth Cave National Park and booked our tour for the following day (you definitely want to schedule ahead when you go!). Since there weren’t any tours for that afternoon, we took some time exploring the property, hearing from Ranger Steven and getting a quick snack at Spelunkers Café & Ice Cream Parlor. The ice cream, even on a cold day, is fantastic… and it’s made right here in Western Kentucky at Chaney’s Dairy Barn!

We enjoyed an afternoon full of outdoor adventure on the best Kentucky hiking trails, then paid a visit to one of my local favorites, 5 Broke Girls to refuel. Their menu is full of homestyle cooking, with a texas twist… and it is fantastic! We ordered a couple appetizers to share (the Broke Girls Fries are a must, y’all!), the Chicken Fried Steak and the Broke Buster Burger. Was it way too much food? Yes. Will we order just as much, if not more, next time? Also yes!

Needing to recover from a day full of food and adventure, we opted for a cozy night by the fire pit before we head back to the caves in the morning. Each of the wagons came complete with a stone patio, fire pit and chairs, and even a gas grill. We’re already making plans to come back in the summer to take full advantage of the setup!

We had a relaxing (and warm) evening by the fire and were rested and ready to go on Sunday morning. Ranger Steven’s free talk on Saturday had us excited to explore inside the world’s longest known cave system, Mammoth Cave.

I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the history of the cave is fascinating! We opted to take the Passage Tour, which is only $8 for adults, and lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes. Our guide walked us into the cave and told us all about how it was discovered, what kind of life inside the cave there is, and how Mammoth Cave compares to other caves around the world. Next time, I think we’ll plan to take the Broadway Tour, which lasts a little longer and goes a bit deeper into the cave.

For our next trip, we’re planning to check out Hidden River Cave, Kentucky Down Under and Pa-Daddy’s Backyard BBQ. What else should we add to the list?!

Michelle was born and raised in Richmond, KY. She currently lives in Lexington, but is always looking for her next adventure!