02 July 2013

The Homer Simpson Tour

Last November, I read this article in the NY Times and immediately forwarded it to Jenica who loves doughnuts.  I'm not sure who suggested it but it evolved into an idea for a road trip.  We invited Debbie and I booked the hotel rooms months ago.  I was really excited to explore Kentucky and to do it by eating doughnuts. 

I wasn't sure if we were going because I was ill for the two weeks previous with a bad chest cold.  I forgot how miserable those things can be.  I wrote the girls and warned them that they would be dealing with a lot of coughing but they were up for it.  They picked me up Wednesday afternoon from work and we headed off on the 10 hour car ride to Lexington.

I'll write more about some of our stops in later posts but I decided to keep our doughnut findings in one post.  It's obvious that all doughnuts are not equal because the best were amazing and then there were some that were not worthy to even finish.

I didn't realize how beautiful the scenery would be during the entire trip.  Even stopping in West VA for dinner on Wednesday night we had this view.

We arrived in Lexington very late that night and fell into bed.  We were all very excited to have been upgraded to a suite so each of us had our own bed.

We stopped at Whole Foods on Thursday morning to buy juices before the sugar and fat festival.  Our first stop was 90 minutes outside of Lexington in Berea at Stella Jane's Bakery and it was closed.  There was actual one Closed sign and another Open sign on the same door so we took our chances.  The bakery had closed an hour earlier but the owner was still there and he told us to go behind the counter and take whatever we wanted.  We were caught off guard by such kindness but he also asked me to work the drive thru window because a car had just pulled around.  The driver ordered three doughnuts, paid $3 and didn't think anything was unusual.  We grabbed three doughnuts and then chatted with the owner who is a full time contractor.  He decided he wanted to do something with this property so he taught himself how to make doughnuts.  The secret he told us was to have friends who were willing to cut you with their opinions.  We all realized that this was an amazing beginning to the trip.

We piled into the car and ate the donuts in the parking lot.  We had decided to always get a glazed one for comparison but we ended up ordering a maple and a chocolate doughnut in almost every bakery.  We voted that these doughnuts were all very delicious and it's my personal 3rd out of the 5 we visited.

We then drove for another 90 minutes trying to find Susan's Country Bakery.  We found Amish country in KY but not the bakery.  Debbie called and we found out that the bakery closed which was really sad as it received a great write up in the article.

I made Jenica stop driving to take a photo of the countryside.  KY is the greenest state I have ever visited and it was just gorgeous (at least the eastern part of the state was).

Our second stop was in Danville at Burke's Bakery and Delicatessen.  The donuts looked really good but we all thought Stella Jane's were fresher and tastier.

The rest of the doughnut stops happened on Friday after we stayed the night in Louisville.

Nord's was amazing and the 1st place winner in my mind.  This girl was adorable and talked us through which doughnuts to order.  The look on her face when I tried to pronounce Louisville was priceless.  This was after she asked if she had an accent which she didn't but I have no idea how they pronounce their city.

These doughnuts were so good that Jenica had no problem licking the bag.  I wanted more at this place but it's all about pacing in these types of journeys.  My favorite overall was here though - it's the maple chocolate on the far left.

We visited the most disappointing later that day in Versailles.  The write up in the Times had us expecting something incredible and that wasn't the case at all.

This stop almost made us miss the last bakery which is Magee's in Lexington.  We were not able to make it to Spalding's Bakery because it closed at noon and we were enjoying the sites in Louisville. The very last doughnuts walked right by us as they had been donated to an art charity because it was the end of the day.  They did have cinnamon buns remaining which is made out of the same dough as the doughnuts.  We ate these and they redeemed doughnuts after our last stop.

This was a pretty incredible journey and I think one of the best ways to explore a new area.


  1. Unfortunately you missed the now closed Donut Kastle. And you should have stopped at State Donuts for an apple fritter. Maybe on round 2?

    1. Maybe on round 2. I would actually like to return to KY someday.