Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Lap Around The Lake (Barren River Lake, KY)

Bike:  KTM Super Duke R
Route:  Google Maps

After a couple months of brutal heat and humidity that kept me off the bikes, the weather has been quite pleasant lately and I've been looking forward to a good ride.  Today was the perfect day for it as one of my all-time favorite eateries was re-opening and I planned to stop in no matter the weather.  It happened to be a beautiful day and I was able to break free for a few hours to do a 100-mile loop around Barren River Lake while visiting two places -- an old favorite and a new favorite.  I also threw in a few detours to some favorite lake spots I haven't seen in awhile.

The Country Bakery was a family fav long before I started this blog -- it's hard to beat great donuts and great pizzas in a great setting.  On these pages, my first visit was last July.  A month later their pizza saved what looked to be a busted day when my trip to Dovie's went awry.  And the following month I took the Jeep back for my free Birthday Pizza (yeah, they do that!) and some take-out.  That's when I learned they were closing the Austin location to open The Country Bakery & Restaurant in a bigger building closer to Glasgow.  I always intended to visit them there, but never did.  Last month an email arrived stating that the Austin location would re-open today, so I smiled and marked the calendar and told everybody I know on facebook.

A new favorite is The Bon-Ayr Store & Deli that I visited for the first time just last week.  It might seem a little soon to return, but I plan on stopping by anytime I'm in the area.  One of the fun things about this place is that the lunch specials change every day (except Friday when you can always get fish & frog legs).  Since my last visit I learned that they sometimes serve smoked pulled pork with their own BBQ sauce, and one of these days I'll luck out and visit on that day.  I knew today was not a BBQ day, but I still looked forward to riding 255 and grabbing a snack.


I normally show the route map at the end of the post, but this is one is neat and it shows the plan.  252 is a curvy hilly road that wraps nicely around the northern and western sides of the lake and connects with boring 31-E in two places, so a good lap is most easily made by using 31-E to connect those two intersections.  Coming from the west (I), it makes sense to start and finish near the dam where 1533 & 252 meet (H).  The detours to Baileys Point (C), Barren River Lake State Park (D), and The Narrows (F) are inside the perimeter, while The Country Bakery (D) and Bon-Ayr Store (G) are outside excursions.

There are a lot of pictures on this one.  Probably the most ever...

The obligatory New Cut Road photo.
Five miles in and the GoPro already caught a bug.  Boo.

Normally it sucks to get stuck behind a minivan on the twisty roads.

But sometimes this happens and it's not so bad!

The Landing at Port Oliver sits right at the start of our lap.

I don't normally cruise The Landing's parking lot, but I was looking for air.
Tire pressures need adjustment after taking two months off!

The lap starts here where we pick up 252 from 1533.
Take a right to make a counter-clockwise lap.

Double D Tackle & Dine.
I've never been there, but the sign says they have fine country cooking.

Bailey's Point detour.

Bailey's Point.

Bailey's Point boat ramp.

Bailey's Point campground.


Back on 252.

252 & 31-E.

Paradise Point on 31-E.
If it was open today, I'd be eating at three places.

The Lake.

31-E & 87.
Turn left to enter Barren River Lake State Resort Park.
Turn right to visit The Country Bakery and Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese.

Barren River Lake State Resort Park detour.


The boat ramp with the marina in the backround.

Barren River State Park Marina.

Barren River Lake Golf Course.

Over to the left is where the Glasgow Highland Games are held every year.
The Highland Games are fun.

Headin' straight on 87 to see if The Country Bakery really opened today.


Self portrait at the Austin, KY Post Office.

The Country Bakery is open!

So, they really did re-open today... excellent!  I didn't take any pictures inside because the place was completely packed -- every table was occupied.  I did notice some big improvements, though.  Where there used to be a bar with a few chairs, they now have several tables that provide more seating than before.  They also have a bigger display to showcase the pastries and baked goods.  I'm not sure if they served pizza by the slice last year, but I was happy to see it today because I did not want to order a whole pie.  I will be back next month for my free birthday pizza, though!

[EDIT:  More pictures at the bottom in the 9/29/12 update.]

My favorite picnic table.

I don't think they had these tables inside the screened-in porch last year.
I like it!

But I like the picnic table better.
Breakfast on the left, lunch on the right.

The Country Bakery.

Back to 31-E.



The Narrows detour.

The Narrows Recreation Area.
Cliffs on the right, parking on the left.

The Narrows parking lot.

Back across the street, I'm pretty sure this sign never stopped anybody...

...from jumping off this cliff.

Breakin' the law... Breakin' the law...

The Narrows Marina.

Narrow Way B&B.

Back on 31-E.

The Lake.

The Country Bakery & Restaurant occupied this building for the past ten months or so.
I feel bad for not dropping in while they were there.

Bully's Catfish House.
I've never been there.

Haywood Country Store is at the corner of 31-E & 252.
I've never been there either, but now we're back on 252.

The Lake.

252 & 255.

Love that sign.

Love that one, too.


255 & 68-80.
The Bon-Ayr Store & Deli.

I knew the store was closing early today and I knew they had pork tendorloin for lunch because their facebook page doses out such information on a daily basis.  Very helpful!  I arrived just ten minutes before they closed and I didn't really expect to get any food, but I figured I could grab a drink and chill on the front porch for a few minutes.  I got more than I expected.

Pork tenderloin (the last one) & Red Bull.
Great snack!  Thanks, Gabe...

That microphone on the table can only mean one thing... Wes Berry is here. 

BACKGROUND:  I first spoke with Wes Berry a couple months ago when I was finishing up my SoKY BBQ Guide.  I had visited 18 of the 19 semi-local BBQ joints on my list and thought I was finishing the project when somebody told me about a WKU professor who had just written a book about BBQ across the whole state of Kentucky!  I had to send him an email.  Super friendly dude.  He told me a little bit about his upcoming book, and he also recommended a local BBQ spot I had never visited -- it was #20 of 20 and it ended up being my favorite one of all.  Shows what I know!  I'm sure Wes has visited more Kentucky BBQ joints than anyone else, and I'm sure he knows more about BBQ than anybody I know, and I can't wait to get his book next spring.  [In the meantime, you can learn more about his barbecue adventures on this Facebook page.]

Last week he told me they'd be shooting an episode of his new TV show at Home Cafe's Burger Night.  I didn't even know he had a TV show!  This was a special Burger Night featuring burger ideas from customers, so they picked a great time to show up.  It was nice to actually meet Wes and watch his crew turn Home Cafe into a TV studio for awhile.  It looked like they were having a lot of fun, and they weren't even eating the burgers yet.

Go Local is a TV show out of Lexington hosted by Amy Hess.  Wes is hosting the new local segments for WBKO that will form a portion of the show when it starts airing here in September.  Apparently they're featuring some of my favorite local business such as Home Cafe, Rian's Fatted Calf, and Need More Acres.  They've also been up around the Mammoth Cave area and to Monroe County (hopefully for BBQ?!?).  They covered the Green River Catfish Festival and businesses I know nothing about like Moore's Country Sausage.  This sounds like my kind of show, for sure.

Fast forward to last night when I see the Esters at the Farmers Market.  I mentioned I might stop by Bon-Ayr today and they told me that Wes was coming out around 11:00 AM with the TV crew to shoot another Go Local segment.  Cool!  I did not expect to cross paths with them because I didn't even hit the road until almost noon, but when I arrived at Bon-Ayr just before 2:00 PM they were still there.  It was neat to hang out with the crew for a few minutes and see how they do what they do.  Nice folks, obviously enjoying their work.  I very much look forward to watching the show next month, and I really hope it turns into something big!  There's a lot to like about this part of the state, and a show like this will help spread the word.  High five to that...

Wes Berry, BBQ Expert.
Also a professor, author, and TV host.

Go Local interview.
TV is not my thing.  I leave that to my brother.
I hope if I did too bad it won't make the cut -- that would be fine with me!

Bon-Ayr Store & Deli.

Ciao, Bon-Ayr... be back soon!
I'll definitely be back the next time they do BBQ.


255 & 1247.


Back to 255 & 252.
Take a right to finish the lap.

House on a hill.

Crossing the dam means we're almost done.

Barren River Lake Dam.

The Landing at Port Oliver.

The end of the lap @ 252 & 1533.


234 & 961.

Headin' home...
[This pic is almost a mirror image of the first one, but this bug is in the wrong spot.]

UPDATE (9/24/12):  Here's the Go Local segment about Bon-Ayr.  Man, it looks like a lot of work to bake so much bread!  This show has been excellent so far.  Check their YouTube page for more episodes.

UPDATE II (9/29/12):  Back to The Country Bakery for my free birthday pizza, but this time in the minivan with some family and some friends.  Good times...

The Country Bakery.

No bike for me today, but some friends did enjoy a late September ride through the countryside.


Pizza by the slice on the left.
Donuts, pasties, and baked goods on the far left.

"Look Ma, Coca Cola in real glass bottles!" 

Second Annual Free Birthday Pizza!
Meat & Veggie Supreme.

FLASHBACK:  First Annual Free Birthday Pizza.

My wife likes a little pizza with her crushed red pepper.

You gotta admit that's pretty funny.

Coconut Creme Pie (to go).
It happens to be my Mother-in-law's birthday weekend, also.  She gets pie.

UPDATE (4/27/13):  Sad to report that The Country Bakery has closed. We did enjoy one last visit on their final day, though.  Thanks for the memories, the donuts, and the pizzas!

Bye bye.



  1. This is so cool. I hope you get on TV, let me know. Love the breakin the law, breakin the law photo- that one cracked me up. Also the donut and pizza pic, breakfast and lunch all in one!

  2. Thanks, Robin Sue! This was a fun day. I'm getting to know some pretty cool people by doing these trips and taking these pics. I hadn't been to The Country Bakery since last September, but they remembered me and they wouldn't even let me pay for my pizza and donut. Awesome. I gotta go back and buy something before I show up for the next free birthday pizza. Eh eh.