July-August 1998 Newsletter
The Best Country Storesby Jim Moyer
Recently, on the Louisville Bicycle Club electronic mailing list, we had a discussion concerning the burning question, what is the best country store in Kentucky to visit on two wheels? A large number of people posted answers. I asked a similar question on the local BMW motorcycle mailing list, and got an equal number of spirited answers. Here are sample recommendations, not scientific, not validated by Price Waterhouse. Caveat emptor....
The store with the most recommendations was the Rabbit Hash country store in (where else?) Rabbit Hash, south of Cincinnati. Some representative comments:
“The Black Knight and I visited the Rabbit Hash Country Store a year ago and it was as one would have expected. It also had a great view of the Ohio River and Rising Sun, Indiana.”
“Throwing in a late vote for Rabbit Hash.... If you haven’t been there and want a riding buddy, call me.... This is a wondrous town on the Ohio, but it is directly across from Rising Sun, so the tackiness of the gambling boat could pollute.... The country store is a treasure with soft drinks rarely found on this planet....”
“The best country store in Kentucky is the Rabbit Hash General Store. It’s easy to find: just go to Rabbit Hash. It’s the only building in town. (It’s on the Ohio River past Big Bone Lick State Park up near Cincinnati.) You can sum up the Rabbit Hash General Store by saying that it’s a time machine back to about 1910.”
Many other stores got mentioned, and here are a few sample remarks:
“Don’t forget the Burgin Burger at the Family restaurant in Burgin. Best burger in the world, in my opinion. Meal for two. Double decker with two cheeses and a big slab of everything from the garden. AND Ore/Ida Golden Crinkle fries!”
“The country store in Medora, Indiana, is truly an authentic relic. In fact the whole town is like something out of the rural forties or fifties. They make great sandwiches at the counter too. This is a favorite stop on the bike trip to Bloomington. Some great hills and country side too, particularly along the White River valley. (That’s the river that the covered bridge spans I believe.)”
“Last July 4th weekend, Herr Cooke, Manfred and I discovered the general store in Columbus, Ind., and were delighted to discover that a sandwich, drink and candy/chips still costs a only few dollars. Friendly kid (owners’ grandkid) served us while we lounged on a deacon’s bench, strolled the original wood floors and contemplated dessert in the ‘old fashioned’ ice cream chest.”
“Since I am from one of the smallest little hick towns in Kentucky, I know a lot of little country stores. Here is a small list of some of them to see if anyone has heard of. Black Knat general store, Rooster Run, Greasy Spoon, Doomis Walkers, Cricket Crossing, Sams Doghouse, Squirrels Den, and Crossroads. That is just a small number of what I can remember since I had left Campbellsville.”
“Halfway, KY, in Allen County. Pool table, old, old books and magazines lying around, good sandwiches. One of the last structures with a tin roof that says ‘See Rock City.’ ”
Also, the store in Rosebud, Indiana got more than one comment:
“Most of the food-stuffs were Amish-made, of course. And the children were dressed up in their lederhosen and the women in their bonnets — just like a scene from the movie ‘Witness!’ They looked at us like we were aliens, but treated us great. I bought some home made beef jerky and began ‘jerking’ it before I realized it was covered with mold. Washed it down with some very excellent Amish-smuggled Gatorade.”
“The Rosebud store! It’s not too far from Pumpkin Corner. Dave Runge has an excellent ride up that way that goes by Livonia and Saltillo and Beck’s Mill. Great ride!”
“But my personal favorite is the Railton store on KY 1297 in Barren County, roughly midway between Glasgow and Bowling Green. It’s on the route of the annual WACKY/TACKY cross-state rides we've been doing the last few years. It’s the prototypical country store where you can get everything from dry goods to groceries. They also make a pretty mean sandwich.”
“The Goshen store would be on anyone’s list. It has just the right amount of antique-quaintness plus some modern amenities necessary for any cyclist like a cooler full of Yoo-Hoos and Jolt Colas. It has a sloping wooden floor, a pot-bellied stove and a checker board perched on an old barrel.”
Also receiving praise were the country stores in Laconia, Indiana; Southville, Kentucky; the B&N in Bagdad (sandwiches with “salve” and conversation with Rusty the butcher); and Todd’s Point. Finally, there’s the unbeatable Kirsch store, on KY 433 west of Willisburg, worth a special stop on the Old Kentucky Home century route.
If you’re interested in other great bicycling information, you can check it out on the kycyclist mailing list, an electronic discussion group. All you really need is e-mail access.
Copyright ©1998 Louisville Wheelmen. All rights reserved.
Web posted: 20 June 1998
last updated: 20 June 1998
by Duc M. Do