Historic downtown Berea, the Folk Arts & Craft Capital of Kentucky, is at exit
77 from Interstate-75, just 2.5 miles from the Kentucky Artisan Center at
Berea. Recognized by American Style magazine as one of the
"Top 25 Cities for Art," and selcted by Southern Living
as one of this publication’s "favorite small towns in America," Berea is a
graceful blend of southern hospitality and Appalachian tradition.
This community’s tradition in crafts began in 1890 when Berea College’s
President Frost brought a crafts production program to Berea College to assist
students with paying for their college education. This fine liberal arts
college continues its tradition of enabling students to "pay" for their
education through "labor" in crafts production and other activities on campus.
Visitors can see students weaving, making wood products, making brooms, and
other crafts on campus, and purchase items made in the college’s Log House
Over the years Berea has become a center for working artisans and those who
sell artisan works. Visitors to Berea will find a wealth of crafts experiences,
including a working artisans studio tour. Studio Tour maps are available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
As you tour the city, you can visit with one of its 40 craftspersons or gallery
owners in the friendly atmosphere of their studios and learn what is required
to produce a beautiful "Birds Eye Maple" rocking chair or an original piece of
jewelry. As you explore the shops and studios in College Square, Old Town,
Chestnut St. and other areas of downtown Berea, you’ll have opportunities to
enjoy the music of the dulcimer, or the sound of the weaver's shuttle.
Berea also features antique shops and
antique malls full of "yesterday's treasures," ready
for you to decorate your home or office, and a variety
of places to dine, from traditional Appalachian cuisine
to soup and a sandwich or an old-fashioned milkshake.
For help planning your Berea visit, stop by the city’s
newly renovated visitor center at the historic former L&N railroad station in Old Town Berea (201 North Broadway) or call 800-598-5263.
Visitors following the "Artisan Loop" from the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
can easily return to I-75 at the southern end of Berea (Interstate-75, exit
76), having enjoyed the many shops and working studios in the College Square
area, in Old Town, and along Chestnut Street.