Avowing that firearms and alcohol don’t mix is somewhat akin to stating that one should refrain from combining bleach and ammonia in an unventilated room. Either through subject familiarity or mere deductive reasoning, the obviousness of the polarizing comparisons evoke near universal acceptance without great question. On occasion, however, the results of daring to challenge life’s axioms can prove quite prolific.
Park City’s Park Mammoth Resort, a 2,000 acre property opened in 1964 in the heart of Kentucky’s Cave Valley region, has historically held precedence for its scenic wilderness, 18 hole golf course, 100 room rustic lodge and Lookout Restaurant complete with panoramic views spanning 26 miles over the Mammoth Cave sink hole basin. Most recently, however, Park Mammoth is garnering attention for its world renown Rockcastle Shooting Center- billed as one of the top shooting destinations in the United States.
Nick Noble noticed the potential the property offered at first sight and, in partnership with his brother, purchased Park Mammoth Resort in 2009. They have worked tirelessly to revitalize the aging complex after years of steady decline and explained that the success of the shooting center represented a slight shift in clientele. Though Noble is adamant about maintaining the traditional charm that has continually lured customers for the better part of five decades, he is taking measures to ensure the resort also caters to a more international crowd.
It was the intention of creating an international destination that bore the idea of forming Cave Valley Winery. Noble envisioned transforming a portion of the property to include lush trellised vines complete with unique landscape architecture to accommodate outdoor weddings set amidst the vineyard. He wanted to create a wine bar featuring not only Cave Valley’s wines, but also various award winning wines from around the Commonwealth in a unique Kentucky Proud tasting room. Noble has even discussed transforming a disused cave on the resort grounds into a functionally desirable wine cellar in which special events and tastings could be held amongst aging barrels. Noble’s vision, however, contained one glaring obstacle- Park Mammoth Resort is in Edmonson County, a county that had never allowed the legal sale of any alcoholic beverage.
Noble hit the ground running- quite literally. Through educating the surrounding community of Park Mammoth’s intentions and potential economic impact as well as systematic and extensive local canvasing, a local option election allowing the sale of beer and wine at the resort passed on March 29, 2011. In a ceremony on June 1, 2011, the first legal alcoholic beverage in Edmonson County was sold.
Progress has remained constant at Park Mammoth’s Cave Valley Winery. The wine bar has since opened, currently serving a myriad of wines from around the Commonwealth, including: Purple Toad, Sinking Valley, Reid’s Livery and Wight-Meyer. Cave Valley Winery will produce their first bottles this year and have recently planted the first stage of their vineyard with Chambourcin and Diamond varieties. A building that once served as the resort’s indoor pool will soon be filled with tanks, presses and pumps as it transforms into Cave Valley’s winery.
In addition to Cave Valley Winery, Rockcastle Shooting Center and Cave Valley Golf Club, the 100 room Lodge is receiving a complete facelift to include all modern amenities and an improved aesthetic charm while still maintaining a rustic motif. The Lookout restaurant is undergoing changes as well; updating the menu with modernized gastronomic fare whilst conserving Kentucky classics such as Hot Browns and Deep Fried Mammoth Catfish. The Kentucky wine list will be expanding as well to include appropriate wine pairings for every dish.
Park Mammoth is well on its way to becoming one of the preeminent resort destinations of the Commonwealth and certainly worth a weekend visit. Play 18 holes, shoot some sporting clays, take a hike and enjoy a lovely meal with a glass of Kentucky wine while watching the sun set across the Commonwealth.