April is made for springtime gifts and getaways and Danville has an abundance of both. Its historic downtown district is the perfect place for shop hopping for gifts for Easter, Mother’s Day, grads, the garden. April in Kentucky also means Keeneland, located a 45-minute country drive away in Lexington. Afterward, keep that country vibe alive with an overnight at one of Danville’s lodgings.
Books for spring break and for the basket
Can love “feel” tart as lemonade, or sweet as sugar cookies? A perfect book to tuck into a child’s Easter basket or in the backseat for a road trip read is New York Times bestselling author Andrea Beaty’s I Love You Like Yellow ($18.99). It is among the favorite new titles recommended by Kate Snyder, owner of independent bookstore Plaid Elephant Books.
Kate opened her shop less than a year ago and loves her location.
“Danville’s downtown is the heart and soul of the community,” she said. “I never even considered locating anywhere else.”
A mosaic artist in addition to bookseller, Kate set up her studio, Willaray Art, at the back of the shop. Here she teaches beginner workshops for children and adults and has mosaic art kits customers can buy, take and make at home.
“I love the historic buildings downtown, the mix of retail and restaurants, the green spaces that bookend Main Street, the foot traffic – all of it!” she said.
Kate describes the Plaid Elephant as “a dream brought lovingly to life,” with books, toys, games, puzzles and art supplies – all things that help nurture creative play and discovery in children. The bookstore is among a variety of shops and restaurants within strolling distance to Constitution Square Historic Site, Danville’s original public square.
“Our downtown is one of Danville’s greatest assets,” said Kate. “I am delighted to be part of it.”
A little of this, a lot of that
Also happy to be downtown is Connie Beale, owner of CAMP, a shop she describes as a “bit of granny chic and a lot of edgy fun.”
“I love the location and seeing familiar faces,” said Connie, who opened her shop in August of 2021.
Connie felt the area was missing a place to find unusual items and artwork and created CAMP to fill the void. The shop focuses on home goods, garden and entertaining, features a mix of gallery, home furnishing, vintage and other items and puts Connie’s extensive resources from her years as an interior designer and store owner in Connecticut into action.
Stepping into the shop is like going on a treasure hunt: jewelry, linen, pottery, home décor accessories, charcuterie boards, vases to show off spring flowers, hobbyist gifts like paint-by-number kits, themed pillows and more. Additionally, Connie custom orders pieces like furniture, mirrors and more.
Whether shopping for Easter baskets or gift occasions for home or garden, CAMP has a beautiful selection of thoughtful and affordable items: decoupaged shell trinket dishes ($28/each); stuffed bunny ($12); golden bunny-eared dog ($10); baby bunny in egg ($6); decoupaged eggs ($6/bag of 12); white bunny and egg candy dish ($12); classic rabbit cache pot ($380).
Marking four years in business in downtown Danville is the family-owned and operated Anderson’s Lifestyle Boutique, a shop brimming with apparel including Judy Blue jeans, branded tees and tie-dyed tops; earrings, necklaces and bracelets – even jewelry pieces perfect for accessorizing Kentucky Derby outfits; canvas totes (including one that carries wine) that can be monogrammed; home décor pieces and more. Additionally, the shop offers interior design services.
For the three sisters that own and operate Anderson’s Lifestyle Boutique, locating it in Danville was a no-brainer.
“One of the best decisions we made was moving to the historic Proctor-Bosley House on South Fourth Street,” said Kristy Anderson.
“It amazes me to see how the community comes together and supports all of the local businesses. We are very thankful to be part of this beautiful, historic small town.”
The sisters offer this tip to freshen up the home for spring: Bring in colorful pops of color. It can be as simple as changing the pillows on the sofa or adding colorful accessories or new window treatments.
“We have so many great fabric samples and accessories to choose from,” said Kristy.
And for spring gift giving, the shop is chockful of items: beautiful coral jars ($155 and $225); Chubby Bunnies ($18); candlesticks ($46/set); small gold frames ($12/each); blue vase ($90); gold candle holders ($65/large, $55/small); white vase ($32); monkey jars ($18); aqua canister set ($60); and pillows ($35-65/each).
The canvas totes range in price from $14.99 for the small pouches to $68 for the weekender. All totes can be monogrammed. Fabric is $35 per yard and up and wallpaper is $90 and up per roll.
Springtime in Kentucky means Keeneland
The spring meets are underway at Keeneland through April 29. A National Historic Landmark famous for its beautifully landscaped grounds, Keeneland is open to the public daily. Several racing ticket options are available, including general admission and reserved grandstand. Note: There is no racing on Mondays or Tuesdays or Easter Sunday.
Additionally, there are numerous tour options, including behind-the-scenes racing tours and owner’s experience tours. Besides coming to Keeneland for racing and touring, visitors have access to morning workouts, the Keeneland Shop, Keeneland Library and other attractions on the grounds.
Getaway to here
Danville has a selection of brand name hotels and a dozen bed and breakfast inns and short-term rentals, perfect for a spring getaway, including the Countryside House, offering a springtime view of five counties from its location on the Knob lands of Danville.
The two bedroom/two bath brick ranch has a fully equipped kitchen, fireplace and deck with outdoor dining table and gazebo to take full advantage of the view. It is located within a short drive of Constitution Square Historic Site, Pioneer Playhouse Outdoor Theater, McDowell House Museum and Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site as well as breweries, distilleries and a winery.
Countryside House averages about $171 per night and may be booked here: www.evolve.com/vacation-rentals/us/ky/danville/441968.