Horse Cave, KY

Horse Cave's Historic District, Local Holiday Shopping

JC Phelps

Hey, y’all! Looking for your next Kentucky road trip? Look no further than a day of shopping in Horse Cave, Kentucky! Its the perfect small town adventure: right off of Main Street, you’ll find restaurants, boutiques, antique stores, and Hidden Rive Cave, the centerpiece of the District that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Just 10 miles from Mammoth Cave National Park, Downtown Horse Cave – and all of Hart County – is full of adventure!

Horse Cave's Historic District, Local Holiday Shopping

Planning your adventure in Horse Cave? Horse Cave/Hart County Tourist Commission produced this wonderful map to guide your day! I know it will serve you well, just as it did me.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=2pKJ3I_0dE3okkG00
Hart Co. Tourism

The Feeder

103 South Dixie St; 270.786.8686

Looking for food on your shopping excursion in Horse Cave? Visit the Feeder, which is just around the corner from all of the stores. This locally-owned, casual restaurant features delicious homemade pizza, pasta, sandwiches, a salad bar, and more. It is located in the former Turtlelini’s Pizza + Pasta building.

C&J Cafe

101 North Dixie St; 270.786.2654

C&J Cafe serves up country cookin’ — look for their daily specials, such as meatloaf, catfish, and burgers.

The Hanger Boutique

107 Water St; 270.261.1201

This women’s apparel store offers affordable clothing, trending styles, and designer brands. Their merchandise is new, overstock, and heavily discounted. If you’re looking for a deal, this is the place for you!

A Walk Through Time

103 Water St; 270.361.1233

Love antiques? At A Walk Through Time, you’ll find antiques and collectibles of all kinds: glassware,
advertising memorabilia, vintage toys, tools, and more.

Savannah K’s Cottage Cafe

108 East Main St; 270.401.9910

A delicious menu awaits you at Savannah K’s: coffees, daily specials, specialty cakes, pies, muffins, cookies, and more. I love their chicken salad!

GeeGa’s Home Decor

110 East Main St; 270.361.8291

At GeeGa’s, you’ll find a large variety of home decor, vintage household goods, along with boutique selections.

Sims Studios & Arts Shop

112 East Main St; 270.218.1067

Sims Studios & Arts Shop is the working art studio of Jesse Ray Sims and Jennifer Bruton Sims. At the studio, they create art, offer painting parties and well as individual lessons, sell art supplies, and provide framing services.

Caveland Antiques

114 East Main St; 270.786.3200

One of my favorite antique stores in the region – I’ve found some gorgeous blue willow + chinoiserie pieces in their booths. Be prepared to spend time in Caveland Antiques, as it is chock-full of treasures!

All Things By Mel

120A East Main St; 270.361.9246

This boutique carries merchandise from Simply Southern, Natural Life, Puravida, along with specialty foods and gourmet truffles from the Sweet Shop.

Hidden River Cave/American Cave Museum

110 East Main St; 270.786.1466

After visiting Hidden River Cave (learn more below), be sure to visit the American Cave Museum gift shop for a souvenir!

Cave Country Shoes

121 East Main St; 270.786.5052

At Cave Country Shoes, you’ll find brand-name shoes such as: Carhartt, Wolverine, Totes, Dryshod Air, Merrill, and more.

About Hidden River Cave

Hidden River Cave is the centerpiece of the beautiful National Register of Historic Places Commercial District in tiny downtown Horse Cave, Kentucky, just about 10 miles from Mammoth Cave National Park. The impressive entrance is the largest natural entrance in Kentucky’s cave area. It lies directly adjacent to Main Street, and the cave runs beneath the town’s streets and sidewalks.

Famed naturalist John Muir described Hidden River Cave on his 1867 A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf. “The entrance seems like a noble gateway to the birthplace of springs and fountains and the dark treasuries of the mineral kingdom. This cave is in a village … which it supplies with an abundance of cold water, and cold air that issues from its fern-clad lips. In hot weather crowds of people sit about it in the shade of the trees that guard it. This magnificent fan is capable of cooling everybody in the town at once.”

History

The cave was the source of water for Native Americans and early settlers. Later the energy of the rushing river was harnessed, making the tiny town the first in the state outside of Louisville to have electricity. In 1916, a half mile-long section of Horse Cave was opened to the public for tours. As part of a promotion, owner Dr. H.B. Thomas ran a local contest to rename the cave, and the name “Hidden River Cave” was chosen for tourist use. Pollution closed the cave to visitors in the early 1940s for about four decades, but what has been called one of the greatest cave recoveries in history has transformed Hidden River Cave from one of the most polluted to one of the most biologically diverse cave ecosystems in the world.

Present-Day

The cave reopened to visitors in 1993 and today visitors can learn about the cave’s history and recovery at the adjacent American Cave Museum, and they can take a tour across the world’s longest underground cave suspension bridge to view the huge Sunset Dome. The more adventurous can opt for an off-trail Wild Cave Tour, a zip line across the mouth of the cave, and a rappel down the cave’s limestone face. There’s even an award-winning Horse Cave Stories cell phone tour that traces the pathway of cave beneath your feet past the cute shops in the historic district. The cave is open year-round. Tickets and hours of operation information are available here. Regular tour tickets are also available at the door. Reservations are required for the Wild Cave Tour; call ahead (270.786.1466) for zip and rappel availability.

About Hart County

Hart County, located in South Central Kentucky, lies predominately within the central portion of the Pennyroyal region of the state. Nolin River forms the western boundary of the county and the Green River winds through the center. Hart County contains five of Kentucky’s ten largest springs, including Gorin Mill Spring, the largest in the state. Further, they are home to world-famous Hidden River Cave, part of Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky Down Under, and an award-winning trail system.

Comments / 1

Published by

JC Phelps is a Kentucky-based food + southern lifestyle writer.

Louisville, KY
1982 followers

More from JC Phelps

Comments / 0