Captain’s Cabin Bed & Breakfast

by | Jul 9, 2021 | Entire Home, Room-By-Room

Whether it’s for business or pleasure, one of the greatest delights a traveler can encounter is a better-than-expected lodging experience. Such was the case for my husband and me while we were making our way through the Southeast for work.

Located just 15 miles, but seemingly eons, from Louisville, Kentucky, is Captain’s Cabin Bed & Breakfast. The 1800s Appalachian-style log cabin is situated a stone’s throw from welcoming proprietors Tammy and Jan Paul Donelson’s main house. The cabin was located on property the Donelsons purchased when Tammy’s job brought them from St. Louis, Missouri, to Louisville in 2010.

“We fell in love with it immediately,” says Jan Paul. “While it needed a lot of work we were up to the task and dove right in. After tearing down the ivy that was virtually engulfing the entire structure, we added a kitchen, new bathroom, new roof, updated the electrical, plumbing, and heating systems, and did a whole lot of scrubbing, patching, and painting.” Jan Paul is an architect who specializes in log and timber frame home designs, as well as log cabin restoration, which is evident in the authenticity of Captain’s Cabin.

Tammy has a passion for antiques and reproductions, with which she primarily furnished the cabin. The couple also enjoys the outdoors, hiking, and camping, all of which are available year-round in the Louisville area. “Tammy and I made it our mission to find out all there is to know about Louisville since we moved here in 2010,” says Jan Paul. “We have lots of restaurant and museum recommendations for our guests, as well as the numerous recreational opportunities nearby.”

The 17×26-foot cabin, named after Tammy and Jan Paul’s personable Newfoundland dog Captain, belies its small outward appearance. Stepping inside from a covered front porch that overlooks a small lake, guests enter a cozy living room area with a wood-burning natural stone fireplace. Around the corner is the fully equipped kitchen and dining area. A second covered porch and woodland views are out the back door. The second story, with exposed timbers and whitewashed tongue-and-groove ceilings, houses a queen-size bed fitted with luxurious cotton linens and a full bathroom with a clawfoot tub, original to the cabin. Plush robes hang in a natural cedar closet. Additionally, there is wi-fi internet access, and a hot gourmet breakfast is delivered to the cabin’s front door each morning. What more could a guest ask for?

“I love to cook healthy meals; vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free are no problem,” says Tammy. “I just finished a cookbook, Captain’s Cabin Favorite Recipes, which includes the breakfast items I prepare for guests. A typical morning spread, for example, would be Wild Mushroom Frittata, Triple Crown Brand Muffins, Cranberry Apple Compote, with fruit juices and an assortment of gourmet teas and coffees.”

Beyond the eight acres of wooded property surrounding the cabin and main house is Charlie Vettiner Park with an 18-hole golf course, championship disc golf course, a dog park, and miles of hiking trails. Guests can also participate in the innkeepers’ pursuits of rail splitting, maple syrup tapping, and beekeeping. Further afield, about a 35-minute drive, is Kentucky bourbon country, where 95 percent of the world’s bourbon is distilled, aged, and bottled; a multitude of tours, tastings and educational seminars are available. Another popular Kentucky attraction is Red River Gorge, approximately two hours from Captain’s Cabin, where rock climbing and river rafting adventures abound.

Our stay at Captain’s Cabin lasted a mere night—it was a quick layover between points A and B on our road trip but offered us a peaceful and refreshing respite from the grind of business travel. Far from the typical lodging of a hotel chain, for 24 hours we felt as if we were transported to a different time and place. It amazed us that I-64, the interstate we would return to, was just 15 minutes away. We were content to relax on the front porch in rocking chairs through a magical evening twilight before retiring to the living room warmed by a fire in the fireplace.

For breakfast, Tammy and Jan Paul invited us to join them on their main house front porch. It was a brisk morning with sunshine streaming onto the porch, warming the four of us as we enjoyed a sumptuous meal created by Tammy and lively conversation about travels and other personal experiences. Not long into the dialogue we realized we had a common acquaintance, one of our longtime Montana friends was related to Jan Paul, by way of having been married to Jan Paul’s cousin! Stories along that vein ensued, with much laughter.

When Tammy published her cookbook about a year ago, I received two copies of it in the mail, one for me and one for our mutual friend, who I had the pleasure of delivering it to during the New Year’s Eve party we hosted at our Montana home. Thinking about it, that is also one of the most satisfying experiences a traveler can have, engaging with the people you meet along the way, enthusiastically enough to find commonality, which is always there if you allow it to be discovered.