Of all the quaint inns I’ve visited, few compare to Snug Hollow Bed and Breakfast, a tranquil, eco-friendly place nestled into the hills and woods of the eastern Kentucky Appalachians.

Snug Hollow’s cheery living room ©Laurel Kallenbach

Located in the rural countryside near Irvine and Berea, Kentucky, Snug Hollow is indeed snugly situated in a valley-like area between two hills with a stream trickling through it, called a “hollow” (and pronounced “holler” in this neck of the woods).

This organic farm boasts 300 acres of babbling creeks, glorious wildflowers, wooded mountainsides, and the simplicity of country life.

Hillary, a Jack Russell terrier, rules Snug Hollow from a comfy chair. ©Laurel Kallenbach

Snug Hollow’s owner and innkeeper, Barbara Napier, focuses on all things local, whether it’s food from her organic garden, books by Kentucky authors on the sunroom bookshelves, or crafts from regional artisans. Barbara has decorated with a charming mix of antiques and Appalachian crafts with a homey feeling.

Appalachian instruments, Snug Hollow ©Laurel Kallenbach

And indeed, sinking into the downy bed of the Pearl Room, I feel like I’m back in my old Kentucky home, where I spent my childhood. There are fresh-cut forsythia and cherry blossoms in vases on the antique dressers (I visited in April), and the night-time hoots of a barred owl and frogs croaking in the brook. Outside, the sky is a firmament of stars invisible in the city.

Music of Nature

In the dewy morning, I cozy into my terry robe, grab some coffee and sit in a rocker on my private balcony, which is just at tree level—perfect for bird-watching. I spot a red cardinal, Kentucky’s state bird, and get nostalgic. Cardinals don’t migrate to Colorado, so it’s been a blue moon since I’ve seen one of these beauties.

Early in the morning, the birdsongs are a literal symphony. Goldfinches flit at eye level in the treetops. An olive-and-grey Eastern phoebe catches an insect from it perch.

With the help of a bird book and the binoculars in my bedroom, I identify a tufted titmouse, Eastern bluebirds, chickadees and a kingbird. In the field below, a tom turkey gobbles and displays his full tail feathers to the disinterested hens.

A guest cabin at Snug Hollow ©Laurel Kallenbach

“I fall in love with this place all over again every day,” says Barbara of the natural and homemade beauty of her farm and B&B.

And I can see why. I’ve fallen in love with Snug Hollow B&B too during my all-too-brief stay. And though I’m a little sad when it’s time to leave, I take comfort knowing I’ll be back someday. This is one place too special not to revisit.

Barbara Napier on the porch of the historic guest cabin ©Laurel Kallenbach

What makes Snug Hollow environmentally sound:

  • Recycling
  • Food is local and/or organic; most comes from the on-site garden
  • Passive solar heating and wood fire (wood from the property)
  • Farmhouse built from salvaged materials
  • Restoration of historic cabin (now a guest house)
  • Polite signs in bathrooms reminding guests to conserve water by taking short showers and flushing the toilet only when necessary

Laurel Kallenbach, writer and editor

You can cook organic farm-fresh cuisine like that served at Snug Hollow. Barbara Napier has published a cookbook, Hot Food and Warm Memories: A Cookbook from Snug Hollow Farm Bed & Breakfast.

Originally published February 2009

The scarecrow guards the organic vegetable garden. ©Laurel Kallenbach



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