Monday, August 1, 2011


Berea was one of my favorite towns in Kentucky. Known for its liberal arts college, the town has been a hotbed of progressive attitudes and arts from its inception. Berea College has long been known for its work-study programs that allow Appalachian students to attend free of charge. It was the first de-segregated college in the South and has always championed diversity and racial reconciliation. Its efforts in peace-building, environmental responsibility, the arts, service to the marginalized, and high academic standards are widely known. Berea's long history with indigenous arts and crafts made it the natural location for the Kentucky Artisan Center. Boone Tavern is a popular hotel and restaurant (famous, too, for its corn-based Spoon Bread) and Warren May's famous dulcimer and handcrafted furniture shop is right around the corner. The town is alive with the arts, ranking in the top 25 U.S. arts destinations; music fills its town square weekly, community theater abounds, and a thriving community of artists make their homes there. Painted hands sprinkle the landscape (like the painted ponies of the desert southwest), welcoming visitors and symbolizing the 'work together' attitude of the community.

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