Kentucky’s Year of Food: Jamming on Jam Cake


Savannah Osbourn
Published March 01, 2018

Eastern Kentucky’s Appalachian region features a wealth of history and cultural landmarks, from the infamous Hatfield and McCoy feud that took place on either side of the Tug Fork River to the music legends commemorated along the U.S. 23 Country Music Highway. Groups can explore this wooded and hilly landscape at popular retreats such as Cave Run Lake, Breaks Interstate Park and Jenny Wiley State Resort Park. There are also many charming downtown areas to visit in communities such as Morehead, Pikeville and Mount Sterling.

Signature Flavors: Salmon croquettes provide a quick and tasty Southern entree, made by molding canned salmon into patties, dipping them in an egg wash with crushed saltine crackers or bread crumbs, and then frying them on the stove. Another traditional Southern delicacy from this region is blackberry jam cake with caramel icing, a great fall or winter treat made with seedless blackberry jam, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg and whiskey-soaked raisins.

Great Group Restaurants: Based in downtown Pikeville, the Blue Raven specializes in traditional Appalachian meat dishes such as chili-rubbed pork, beef brisket and lamb chops. Pig in a Poke is a popular family-owned barbecue restaurant with a spacious patio that overlooks the river.

Must-See Attractions: Designated a National Scenic Byway, the U.S. 23 Country Music Highway takes groups through the hometowns of some of Kentucky’s greatest country-music legends, such as Loretta Lynn, Wynonna and Naomi Judd, Billy Ray Cyrus and Patty Loveless. Fans can also stop by the U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum in Paintsville to browse special exhibits and memorabilia. Travelers might also enjoy a visit to the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center in Ashland, which features interactive exhibits that highlight regional history and culture.