Kentucky 8 (also known as Mary Ingles Highway) consists of more than 114 miles of winding country road along the Ohio River with Melbourne, KY falling into what is considered the western segment. You can’t start a scenic country drive on an empty stomach, so your first stop should be for lunch and ice cream at Silver Grove Dari Bar (5178 Mary Ingles Highway, Silver Grove, KY 41085; 859-781-2221) in the railroad town of Silver Grove. Choose from burgers, coneys, sandwiches, chicken fries, and more to enjoy at one of the picnic tables. Top things off with a hot fudge sundae or peanut butter shake before hitting the dusty trails for more sights.
Now that your bellies are full, travel farther east along Kentucky 8 to the small town of Melbourne, Ky., home to St. Anne Retreat Center of the Diocese of Covington (formerly known as St. Anne Convent; 5275 Saint Anne Drive, Melbourne, KY 41059; 859-441-2003). Cinephiles may recognize the venue from the 1988 Oscar-winning film, Rain Man, in which the convent stood in for Wallbrook mental institution. Walk the same picturesque grounds as Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman did back in the 1980s, on 17 acres of land that includes the iconic oak-tree lined path the actors walk along in the film. The venue now serves as a retreat and welcomes everyone – but please let them know in advance that you will be visiting!
(Want another brush with fame? Make time for a plate of pasta at Pompilio’s in Newport, Ky.. The Italian restaurant also stood in as a location for the movie.)
After a meditative stroll at St. Ann’s, continue east to the charming family-owned and operated StoneBrook Winery (6570 Vineyard Lane, Melbourne, KY 41059; 859-635-0111) and pick up a bottle of your new favorite wine. The tasting room is open Friday through Sunday in a renovated 1890 farmhouse, and the winery is part of the Northern Kentucky Back Roads Wine Trail. Pick up a VIP passport at any of the participating wineries, and collect your prize once you’ve traveled the scenic back roads of Kentucky and visited them all!
More weekend road trips in your future? Here are a few more places to take a #DriveVacation.