Park Here for Lunch, With a Side of History

fort boonesborough state park lexington ky

Fort Boonesborough State Park, Lexington KY

Calling all nature lovers and historians. No visit to Lexington is complete without a walk in the park – Fort Boonesborough State Park, that is.

The park’s amenities include …

  • campgrounds
  • boat ramp
  • miniature golf
  • recreation center with outdoor pool and slide
  • walking trails
  • small convenience grocery store

At the center of the park is Fort Boonesborough. Now home to living history at its finest, the fort was founded in 1775 by Daniel Boone, known for his role in exploring and settling the Kentucky frontier, and perhaps best for his choice in headwear – the coonskin cap.

Today’s fort is a replica of the original, constructed in 1974 and open year-round for tours. It’s also bustling with specials events, so check the website when planning your visit.

Popular annual events include Fireside Chats with Daniel Boone, Gatherings of the Descendants, the Siege of Fort Boonesborough and an 18th Century Christmas. You’ll feel as if you blazed the Wilderness Trail yourself, among the log huts and impassioned re-enactors.

If you haven’t had your fill, get a second helping of history at local restaurant Hall’s on the River, dating back to 1776 with an origin story whose cast of characters includes Daniel Boone’s daughter, Jemima. It was on this river that a young Jemima and friends were captured by a band of Shawnee Indians.

Holder’s Tavern was established at the site – a watering hold favored by pioneers and governors alike. The modern day restaurant, Hall’s on the River, has at times been Hall’s in the River. The water mark line in the entry way shows just how high the river rose back in 1978 … all the way to the lobby ceiling!

The large dining room is lined with gorgeous windows, with river views in the main hall. Its fish camp decor features dark wooden tables and slat seat chairs, with local art hanging on Hall’s walls. (Or yours. Many of the works are available for purchase.)

An extensive menu boasts regional favorites like the Hot Brown Sandwich and river-caught catfish. Locals love the Shiitake Clouds, which are ale-battered mushrooms served with Hall’s thai chili and ‘smack-yo-mama’ sauces. The presentation of smoked chicken wings was almost too lovely to eat. But we did. And, boy, were they good.

Thanks to Hall’s proximity to walking trails, it’s easy to burn off the calories after a hearty lunch.

Better yet, grab a coonskin cap and join the siege.

Fort Boonesborough State Park is located at 4375 Boonesboro Road in Richmond KY. For event information, visit the Fort Boonesborough Living History website.

Hall’s on the River is located at 1225 Athens Boonesboro Road in Winchester KY. Visit the restaurant website or call (859) 527-6620 to learn more.