By Kathy Witt
A fishing pole, big colorful float, and beeline directions to a Harrodsburg hideaway on Herrington Lake are the key ingredients to an old-fashioned summer family vacation in Kentucky.
A 3,600-acre playground with boating, fishing and other water and recreational fun, Herrington Lake was created in the 1920s when a dam was constructed across the Dix River three miles upstream from its confluence with the Kentucky River. Ever since, it has lured those seeking lazy blue-sky, sunscreen-scented summer days on the water.
Five marinas provide boat rentals (fishing, row, pontoon boats) and ramps, including Cane Run Fishing Camp & Marina, Chimney Rock Marina, Pandora Marina, Royalty’s Fishing Camp and Marina and Wavies Mid-Lake Marina. Assorted amenities include open and covered slips, boat launches, electric and water hook-ups, snack bars and store/bait shops.
Enjoy lakeside dining at Chimney Rock Marina Restaurant, where the menu opens with hearty rise and shine breakfasts, offers burger and chili dog lunches and concludes with steak, seafood and chicken dinners. Fridays feature all you can eat fried catfish plates and Saturday rolls out a prime rib special. Indoor and outdoor patio seating, flat screen TVs and $5 kids’ meals up the appeal for families.
Choose from a variety of lakeside accommodations, from 1- and 2-bedroom cottages with screened-in porches overlooking the lake at Royalty’s to the new Chimney Rock Studio with lake access at the front door and adjoining restaurant and marina, not to mention spectacular views of the lake, to an entire lakeside home that sleeps 12, has gorgeous views, private boat ramp, boat slip and dock, plus three fireplaces, screened-in porch, hot tub and a fully equipped eat-in kitchen at Blue Heron Point.
Sunshine Cottage is a 1940s bungalow in a quiet neighborhood overlooking Herrington Lake and ideal for fishing. The 5-bedroom Haddix Point Hideaway offers lake access by private launch ramp, plus its own dock/swim deck with swim ladder. The waterfront Paradise Cottage sleeps 10 and features a private dock with two slips, two levels of decking and a screened-in back porch with hammock for whiling away the afternoon.
Prefer communing with nature? Harrodsburg is home to three campgrounds: Cane Run Fishing Camp & Marina with RV sites for year-round camping; the 75-site Chimney Rock RV Park, located in a gated community and offering restrooms and showers, pool, basketball, ping pong, corn hole games, Wi-Fi and tent camping; and Cummins Ferry Resort, Campground & Marina with gated entry to RV and tent sites, including ones with a riverfront view, plus pool, bathhouse, walking/hiking trails, playgrounds, store, laundry, Wi-Fi and a pavilion with outdoor barbeque.
Beat a path to Burgin
After days of water play and the yen to head into town hits, drive into tiny Burgin – population: 965 – one of the area’s best-kept secrets. Treat the kids to an outing to the Burgin Dairy Barn (be prepared: there will be a line) for milk shakes, turtle sundaes, banana splits and other sweet treats, not to mention burgers, BLTs and local fave, fried bologna sandwiches.
Join the locals at The Burgin Depot for a casual dinner of breaded oysters, Friday night rib-eye and strip steak dinners and Saturday all you can eat catfish and steak plates. This diner/deli combo also offers a small grocery store for stocking up the pantry at your lakeside cottage with those must-have late-night nibbles.
If you’re in town on a Friday evening, find your way to the Burgin Barn for some foot-stomping live country music entertainment. Featuring house band Larry Sanders and Borderline and a lineup of special guest musicians, Burgin Barn is known for excellence in family entertaining.
By Kathy Witt
Family-owned and operated, Pandora Marina is a full-service marina and restaurant on beautiful Herrington Lake.
Photo: Pandora Marina
Rent a 20- or 24-foot pontoon at Chimney Rock Marina and enjoy a lazy afternoon on Herrington Lake.
Recently renovated, Blue Heron Point is a 3,200-square-foot lakefront home featuring four bedrooms and three baths.
Photo: Blue Heron Point
Enjoy a sweet treat at the Burgin Dairy Barn in Mercer County, KY.
Photo: Burgin Dairy Barn
Family entertainment awaits at the Burgin Barn with headliners Larry Sanders and Borderline.
Photo: Harrodsburg/Mercer County Tourist Commission.