A stay at Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park near Mount Olivet, Kentucky is a nature meets history and hospitality combo. This resort hits the high marks for a perfect stay. The wealth of history in this spot of Kentucky was an unexpected bonus.
Hiking and Home-Style Comfort Food
As a fan of Kentucky’s state resort parks, I’ve made repeat visits to three. Natural Bridge, Jenny Wiley and Buckhorn are my go-tos for an affordable getaway. All have unique offerings. Whether one stays overnight or heads out for a day of hiking, take time to dine at a Kentucky resort’s restaurant for home-style comfort food. Soup beans and cornbread are a given.
A History Crossroads includes Blue Licks Battlefield
Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park marks Kentucky as a history crossroads. The name of the resort combines the Blue Licks salt springs that attracted animals to the area dating back to prehistoric times and Kentucky’s last battle in the American Revolutionary War. On August 19, 1782, British rangers and members of the Delaware, Shawnee and Huron tribes attacked Kentucky militia men. Daniel Boone was among the militia. He was able to flee. His son was not.
When I asked about where to find the battleground, the lodge’s gift shop employee pointed me towards a wooded area up the hill from the parking lot. Today this is a peaceful place where I crunched through leaves on a sunny fall day. A historic marker tells about the battle. Nearby, down a short trail, is the site of the burial ground of those who died in the battle. A stone monument lists their names including Boone’s son and nephew. The Native Americans who fought here are also honored. Unless one knows about this time in history, one might miss the significance of this quiet place.
The Pioneer Museum
Unfortunately, I missed out on the resort’s Pioneer Museum. Hours are seasonal, and I missed it by a day. The museum’s exhibits include a wide range of items and artifacts including prehistoric fossils, belongings of 18th century pioneers and displays about the Native Americans who also called this area home.
Although, I wasn’t able to go into the museum, I found the Buffalo Trace Trail that starts near the museum parking lot. This short trail originally created by bison and animals that traveled through as they headed from one spot to another. The trail passes through a field of Short’s Golden Rod, a rare plant species found only in a few counties of Kentucky. I missed the time when this plant blooms. Head here in late summer early fall to see it in its yellow glory.
There are four other trails in the park. I walked along the Licking River on the Indian Run Trail, another quiet place of solitude. Along with hiking trails, this resort has an outdoor swimming pool, a miniature golf course, outdoor grills, picnic areas and a playground.
Like the other Kentucky state park lodges, Blue Licks Battlefield State Park Resort’s lodge has a similar design. Guest rooms are on two levels branching out from the lodge’s main building. Each room opens to a covered walkway on the outside. I was able to park near the walkway leading to my two double bed room. Lodge guest rooms are quite roomy and include a table and chairs along with a long dresser and nightstand. The vibe here is cheerful and comfortable. Light wood furniture, cream walls and prints of Kentucky scenery give a homey feel.
Rooms are equipped with a small refrigerator, coffee maker, iron, ironing board, hair dryer and flat screen TV. There’s ample space for storing luggage tucked away from the main room. The vanity bathroom sink is separate from the shower and toilet which makes staying with others easier for privacy and getting ready for the day.
Although I noticed the drapes have seen better days, everything was clean and the bedding fresh. My room was a perfect location for staying with kids. I didn’t have kids with me, but each room either opens to a balcony or a patio. I had a patio with furniture for two and a grass lawn perfect for kids to play outside under the watchful eye of parents. During the summer, this would be a lovely place to hang out with a picnic lunch and a book.
The Main Lodge, Gift Shop and Restaurant at Blue Licks Battlefield Resort State Park
The lodge’s main building has the restaurant, gift shop and meeting rooms. During my stay, a quilting group was having a retreat. Like other Kentucky state park gift shop, this one delivers. There’s a bounty of artsy gift items and Kentucky made products. I picked up Ruth Hunt candy to give as gifts. The chocolate with bourbon is splendid. Really.
As with the other lodges, the staff here is super friendly and helpful. Because most are from the area, they are eager to share information about what makes their part of the world special. This is a place to visit again.
If you do eat at the lodge during off season like I did, I recommend eating something light in your room for breakfast and having the buffet lunch. I did not do that but had the buffet breakfast due to timing. The breakfast was fine, particularly since it included biscuits, gravy and fried apples, but the lunch is more robust and only costs a few dollars more. The dining room is a spacious place with sweeping views of outside. If you sit near a window, you’ll be able to bird watch as you dine.
And, don’t miss the gift shop. Along with what was mentioned before, there is a robust selection of Kentucky history books as well.
For dinner, I headed about 30 miles to Paris, Kentucky to meet an aunt and cousins for dinner at Trackside Restaurant and Bourbon Bar. This repurposed building restaurant used to be an 1882 train depot and is well worth the drive. The menu includes Kentucky favorites like Hot Brown and fried green tomatoes. There’s also an extensive drink menu.
To Book a Room
To book a room at Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park, head to the Kentucky State Parks website. There is senior, AAA, military and Kentucky resident discounts. Options of the 34 guest rooms include one king bed and one queen bed rooms. The resort also has two fully equipped cottages. If you have campers in your group, there are campsites also. This is a pet friendly establishment. Service dogs are free, but there is a fee for others. Also check with Expedia or Booking.com for deals. Room rates start at $107 without a discount.
Post and photos by Jamie Rhein, member of Midwest Travel Journalists Association