Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our night at the tavern

I am having my breakfast this morning at Boone Tavern in Berea, Ky. A tavern doesn't sound like a place that would be associated in any official way with a college, yet Berea College owns and operates Boone Tavern, named for Daniel Boone, and many of its employees are students. The young man operating the gift shop last night is working toward a degree in marketing.

Despite its name, there are no alcoholic beverages on the premises, as far as I know. Certainly there were none on last night's dinner menu. The back of the menu explains, "The 'Tavern' portion of the name derives from the historic definition that refers to a public inn for travelers rather than the modern definition related to the sale of alcohol." Of course, historically, I imagine many, if not most taverns that put up travelers for the night also served alcoholic beverages. Somehow it was the alcohol, not the beds, that stuck to the word as time passed.

Berea lies along our path between Florida and Ohio, and for the past two years we have managed to time it right to spend a night at the Tavern on the way home and enjoy a portion of their famous spoonbread at dinner. I hope that, like Berea College, we can keep the tradition going.

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