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Kentucky’s Year of Food: More Chow-Chow, Please

Daniel Boone National Forest is the epicenter of the state’s natural attractions, spanning 708,000 acres of magnificent, mountainous terrain in north-central Kentucky that draws people from all over the nation to hike, camp, rock-climb and fish. Some of the state’s most distinct geological features can be found in this rugged region, including landmarks like Natural Bridge, Cumberland Falls and Red River Gorge, widely considered one of the top mountain-climbing destinations in the country. The forest also contains a significant portion of the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail, a nationally acclaimed trail system that begins in Kentucky and extends 290 miles south into Tennessee.

Signature Flavors: Also known as piccalilli, chow-chow is a tangy Southern relish prepared by chopping up cabbage, green tomatoes, bell peppers and other vegetables, and then pickling the ingredients with a vinegar-based sauce. Many Kentucky restaurants serve chow-chow with Appalachian soup beans, cornbread and fried potatoes. Another regional staple is the apple stack-cake. During 19th-century Appalachian weddings, attending families each brought a layer of sweet dough to place over the crushed apple spread.

Great Group Restaurants: Many state parks throughout this area have restaurants that welcome groups and offer breathtaking views, among them Sky Bridge Station, the Sandstone Arches Restaurant and the Riverview Restaurant. Miguel’s Pizza in Red River Gorge is an iconic hangout for mountain climbers and hikers that specializes in handmade crusts, sauces and locally sourced toppings.

Must-See Attractions: Though Red River Gorge holds more than 100 natural sandstone arches, there is none more majestic than the 65-foot-high Natural Bridge in Natural Bridge State Resort Park. Visitors can ride the Sky Lift to the summit or follow a one-mile path. Adventure seekers will appreciate attractions like the Red River Gorge Zip-Line Tours, the Torrent Falls Climbing Adventure and Treetop Adventure at Levi Jackson State Park. At Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, guests will hear the thunderous roar of Cumberland Falls, also known as the Niagara of the South, as soon as they pull into the parking lot.

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