A few days ago I told you about one of our infamous one day excursions through Kentucky. We took a beautiful trip to gorgeous Pine Mountain State Resort Park last Saturday and I still haven’t recovered from all the beauty.
We made sure to pass through Columbia so we could have lunch at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. Even though I had two large mouth ulcers at the time (one the size of Danny DeVito), I wasn’t about to miss out on Dickey’s. I brought one of their huge pickles home with me to enjoy when my mouth healed. I actually had it last night. (Unfortunately, since I wrote this post, Dickey’s in Columbia has closed. Depressing!)
The drive to Pine Mountain was stunning. Kentucky is always gorgeous, but she really pulls out the stops in Autumn. Pulling into Pineville, Kentucky is honestly like something out of a movie. One of the first thoughts in my head was, “This place must look like the front of a Christmas card in winter!” I absolutely cannot wait to go back and test that theory.
Unfortunately, we were battling against sunset when it came to looking around and taking pictures. There are a lot of trails, cabins, cottages, and sights we didn’t have an opportunity to see, let alone photograph. I’m not complaining, though, what we did see was far more beauty than any person has a right to see. Starting with a beautiful white cat who greeted us on the lodge’s patio and ending in the lodge after a delicious meal in the lodge’s Mountain View Restaurant – Pine Mountain State Resort Park absolutely blew me away.
Pine Mountain State Resort Park is actually Kentucky’s first state park. It’s lodge (the Herndon J. Evans Lodge) was built in the 1930’s and is absolutely perfect for a mountain lodge. Everything is just as it should be.
Speaking of “just as it should be,” we did what we almost always do when we’re in the vicinity of a State Resort Park: We ate in the lodge’s restaurant. I’m not saying ALL of the Kentucky State Resort Park restaurants are excellent – unfortunately they aren’t. However, Pine Mountain appears to have an excellent restaurant.
Why? Glad you asked!
- The restaurant’s view is stunning. You’re treated to a mountain view that makes it hard to look at your food. It’s just stunning.
- The restaurant, itself, is beautiful.
- The hostess was one of the friendliest hostesses we’ve encountered at Kentucky State Park restaurants. Very friendly.
- Not only was the young woman who was our server super sweet, a young man who wasn’t even our server asked if we needed refills and spoke to us several times. Each wore happy, beautiful smiles and couldn’t have been friendlier or more attentive.
- It was a Saturday evening and there appeared to be some sort of a wedding rehearsal dinner going on at the time we were there. This means the kitchen was uncommonly busy. My husband got his meal almost immediately, but our server said mine would be a little longer, because of the chaos in the kitchen. Then she said I was free to enjoy some soup off the buffet if I wanted to in the meantime. I’ve never had a server offer that before and I just thought it was very thoughtful.
- I took the server up on the soup suggestion and helped myself to a bowl of potato soup, a favorite. It wasn’t just creamy, hot, and delicious – it was the best potato soup I have ever had. If I’d known it was that delicious beforehand, I would have simply pulled my chair and spoon up to the bar and eaten the entire thing. The servers and hostess were all so uncommonly friendly, they’d have simply asked if I wanted any bread with it.
- Speaking of bread, my husband was talking to our server when he noticed a gentleman at a nearby table with fried cornbread (it was off the buffet, we had ordered off the menu). Our server smiled and said, “I’ll get you some!” She brought him two pieces…. zero extra charge.
- I ordered a Kentucky Hot Brown and it was one of the two best I’ve ever had – tying with Lake Barkley State Resort Park (home to another excellent restaurant). The cheese gravy (what my husband called the creamy delicious cheese covering the entire production) was delectable – even covering a juicy tomato. Beautiful presentation and delicious? AND on a very busy night? Wow.
- We were served rolls with out meal, something some Kentucky State Park restaurants don’t do. The rolls were super soft and smelled almost as good as they tasted. Hard rolls make me sad – maybe even sadder than no rolls – but the only thing that was hard about these soft rolls was the fact they were hard to stop eating!
- Finally, the clincher. It occurred to me that the hostess and servers we encountered treated us like we were extra special guests. They had no way of knowing that we’d traveled hours to get there. Heck, they had no idea I wrote restaurant reviews or that we were the humans behind a Kentucky website. Yet they made us feel like they were delighted for us to be there and went out of their way to make everything perfect. While that shouldn’t be uncommon, we all know it is. I’ve encountered enough surly servers and bored hostesses to know special people when I see them. Congratulations to Pine Mountain State Resort Park, from what I’ve seen your entire restaurant staff (chef, servers, hostess..) ranks as one of the best in the state.
My husband and I are, without a doubt, two of the biggest ambassadors for Kentucky Tourism. We spread the love for our beautiful state like it’s our job! I find myself always telling people about places they MUST see and things they MUST do in Kentucky. When someone says they’re planning a “vacation” or “weekend getaway,” I automatically launch into a “Well, there’s Rough River… Lake Cumberland… Lake Barkley…” Like these (and others), Pine Mountain State Resort Park makes it easy for us to convince people we know to enjoy vacations within our state. In fact, when I recently tweeted (and Instagramed) a picture of Pine Mountain, each person who told me how beautiful it was got this in reply, “So, when are YOU going?!”
I just wrote an article (complete with a lot of beautiful pictures) about Pine Mountain State Resort Park on Genuine Kentucky. I hope you’ll check that out and see why I STRONGLY urge you to plan a trip to Pine Mountain soon… as in today.
So? When are YOU going?!