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KSR County Spotlight: Carter County


Greetings friends. Still hungover from the Bahamas? Yeah, me too. Grab yourself a Bloody Mary and let’s caving … in Carter County!


Carter County

Carter County


Carter County became our 88th county when it was founded in 1838 from parts of Greenup and Lawrence counties. Carter County is named for William Grayson Carter, a sitting senator at the time of its creation.  With the county seat being Grayson, you may have thought what I thought, Willy G had the county named for his last name with a city for his middle name. And like me, you’d be wrong. The city of Grayson is actually named for his uncle, Robert Grayson.  And that’s all I have to say about that.


This is the only picture I could find of William G. Carter, from his Twitter profile.

This is the only picture I could find of William G. Carter, from his Twitter profile.


With having two great small towns like Grayson and Olive Hill just minutes apart, Carter County residents and visitors have the double the opportunity to enjoy events in both.  We can hit the Memory Days on Memorial Day weekend in Grayson for some food, fun and reflection then head over the fair grounds for Carter County Thunder on 4th of July weekend.  When the cold weather starts creeping in, we can enjoy some warm apple cider and hot chili at Funtober Fest while carving us up our UK pumpkin.  We can end the year caroling and sipping hot chocolate at Hometown Holidays.  Most importantly though, don’t forget, the Corn Maze opens September 21st!  And as with all of our small Kentucky towns, there are some good eats to be had in Carter County.  Over in Olive Hill you can check out Pure Pit BBQ or Walker’s Family Restaurant before grabbing dessert at Beyond Sweets. In Grayson we have reservations at Estep’s Family Restaurant on West Main before losing our self respect by eating every delicious morsel inside Mama Hazel’s Bakery.  Red velvet cake for everyone.


Every corn maze reminds me of The Shining. Which is why I stay away. But you enjoy.

Every corn maze reminds me of The Shining. Which is why I stay away. But you enjoy.


When talking Carter County, most folks will recognize the name due to one of the state’s prettiest parks, Carter Caves State Resort Park.  The park is formed by the Carter Cave system as well as the Cascade Cave system. The park itself offers a large lodge/hotel as well as cottages that are available for rent. There is also a large campground for those of you that like to ‘rough’ it in your RVs that are bigger and nicer than my apartment. Once the wheels are down, there are enough activities to fill your entire week. If you’re looking to do a little hiking, there are short trails like the Natural Bridge Trail (0.5 mi.) and Raven Bridge Trail (0.7 mi.) for starters as well as longer trails like 4Cs Carter Caves Cross Country Trail (8.3 mi) and the beast Kiser Hollow Trail (9 mi.) for those of you looking to see the whole park. Not into all that walking? Have a horse do it for you. Guided horseback tours take you down trails around the park so you can enjoy the nature without the sweat. There’s biking, fishing, canoeing, golf and even an 18 hole mini golf course. But you’re not there to do that stuff.  You want to get your spelunking on. There are multiple cave tours available for all walks/crawls of life. For those of you not so down with small spaces, you can take the walking tours through the X-Cave and see its Great Chandelier, Cascade Cave’s waterfalls and pools or Saltpetre Cave’s War of 1812 importance. As for those of you not as claustrophobic as me, there are also crawling tours through Bat Cave (not that Bat Cave) as well as Saltpetre.  No thank you.


Cascade Cave

Cascade Cave


There we are.  Send the kids over to putt putt and let them know we’re starting the grill at 6. Ya’ll have a good weekend and we’ll be back next week as we head back up north and check out Kenton County!


Remember, if you want your county’s favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant, or cool town event featured, hit me up at [email protected] and we’ll get it on here!

Article written by Corey James

12 Comments for KSR County Spotlight: Carter County

  1. Hinkle
    8:10 pm August 25, 2014 Permalink

    Smokey Valley Truck Stop

  2. BNClay
    9:05 pm August 25, 2014 Permalink

    Bat Cave was closed as of just a free months ago when I was there. Some kinda rare bat disease is going around. So only a couple of caves are open.

  3. Carter Countian
    9:10 pm August 25, 2014 Permalink

    Ya’ll forgot to mention Rudy Fest, the biggest and most popular bluegrass festival in Kentucky! It pulls in thousands of people who love pickin’ and a grinnin’! Third week of June.
    Smokey Valley Truck Stop wast on the Food Network Channel!

  4. kes
    9:24 pm August 25, 2014 Permalink

    another hick county full of uneducated, toothless hicks. at least next stop is kenton county, where there is some civilization

    • Grammar Chief
      9:52 pm August 25, 2014 Permalink

      You double-hicked!

    • Eky
      10:02 pm August 25, 2014 Permalink

      You are welcome to go blow a goat.

  5. Elvis
    9:29 pm August 25, 2014 Permalink

    Kenton- some civilization mad their fair amount of Yankees.

  6. spookykim
    10:57 pm August 25, 2014 Permalink

    Love these County Spotlights, Corey. Keep up the good work!

  7. Jim G.
    11:22 pm August 25, 2014 Permalink

    William G. Carter looks just like Oscar Combs

  8. bosshogg24
    11:41 pm August 25, 2014 Permalink

    You failed to mention that Tom T. Hall is from Olive Hill or are you too young to know?

  9. ausbeer62
    6:39 am August 26, 2014 Permalink

    Failing to mention Tom T. Hall is an inexcusable error. It makes a sham of the entire exercise.

  10. ClaytonDelany
    7:09 am August 26, 2014 Permalink

    What about me !!!