Since its founding nearly two centuries ago in 1819, Centre College has been a central part of Kentucky’s history. Now, your family is joining the Centre story as your student considers or enrolls in this historic hub of liberal arts education, graduate accomplishment, and dedication to the community.
If you’re here in Danville on a visit to Centre, your first stop will be the college’s lovely campus. The Old Centre administration building, built the same year the college was founded, is a Greek Revival structure that has inspired the stately look of the campus. Today, contemporary buildings such as the Jones Visual Arts Center, hub of the college’s vibrant arts community, illustrate how Centre’s history and its modern mission combine to create a very special college experience.
If your student is just visiting, plan to spend at least a half-day on campus chatting with the admissions staff and receiving a guided tour. If your student is already enrolled, he or she will want to show you around personally! In addition to admiring the architecture and gently rolling hills of the campus, you may want to stop at the college bookstore for a souvenir or two, then drop in at The Hub, a favorite hangout for faculty, staff, and students. Local art (it’s all for sale!) hangs on the walls of this cozy coffeehouse, creating a unique ambience you won’t find anywhere else. Settle in and enjoy fresh-ground coffee and house-made snacks and pastries as you look out the large front windows at the bustling neighborhood surrounding the college.
Centre’s long history includes the Civil War era, during which the Old Centre building was occupied at various times by both Union and Confederate troops. And the Civil War history of the area is just as fascinating and varied. Take a trip to Perryville Battlefield to learn more about that famous battle or just hike the lovely, wooded hills, unspoiled from what soldiers would have seen on that crisp October day in 1862. Or make a side trip to the tiny community of Forkland to see the museum that honors Abraham Lincoln, whose maternal grandmother, Lucey Shipley Hanks, lived in the area.
You can also visit nearby Shaker Village, which from 1805 to 1910 was a thriving Shaker community, one of the nation’s largest. The buildings and grounds are beautifully maintained and convey the peaceful existence of this religious community even through some of the most turbulent times in American history.
As dusk falls, perhaps your student will return to campus; even if he or she is not yet enrolled, prospective students are invited to spend the night in a dormitory to get a feel for Centre’s residential and social life.
This is your opportunity to turn your visit into a relaxing solo retreat or romantic getaway!
For dinner, swing by Bluegrass Pizza & Pub for a piping hot, brick-oven pizza and a cold, crisp bottle of local beer. Owners Colin and Melissa Masters make their dough fresh daily and top it with locally-sourced produce whenever possible, often from their own Thorny Meadow Farm. The walls, covered with Melissa’s fabulous photography and with rock, blues and bluegrass memorabilia, create a fun and relaxing atmosphere.
Then drop in on one of Danville’s bars or taverns for a nightcap. Try Beer Engine, Danville’s oldest brewery, with the most craft taps in town. The folks at Beer Engine love to come up with unique beers that challenge the most experienced palate and expand every customer’s understanding of beer. Or stop at Jane Barleycorn’s for a broad array of local Bourbons, craft beers, wines and specialty cocktails, along with artisan breads, cheeses, charcuterie and chocolate to feed those late-night snack cravings in style.
For an overnight stay, downtown Danville offers accommodations for singles, couples and families. View Main Street night life from the Palladian front windows of the lovely townhome at Stay Over Danville, then ascend the spiral staircase to the two bedrooms above. Or stay at the cozy, Craftsman-style Bowman Bungalow, where three bedrooms, a private backyard and shaded porch provide plenty of comfortable space for the whole family.
In the morning, stay downtown for breakfast. You can pick up one of Burke Bakery’s famous doughnuts or go for an organic smoothie bowl at Plank on Main, a wellness studio, café and boutique.
Then, either on your own or with the whole family, enjoy exploring more of the area. Danville’s Wilderness Trail Distillery is an essential stop on the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The fascinating history and science of distilling come to life at Wilderness Trail, which produces both classic, small-batch Kentucky Bourbons and unusual, locally-inspired spirits such as a delicious rum made from locally-sourced sorghum.
Or spend your day touring local historical sites. Self-guided walking tours of downtown Danville and Perryville are available, or drive the Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway. Or take the Forgotten Landmarks Driving Tour, which highlights the lives and contributions of the local African American community.
Whatever you see and do during your family’s visit to Danville, we know you’ll leave knowing that Centre College and Danville are a winning combination for students in search of an excellent education and a fun, vibrant experience for them and their families alike. Welcome!