September 29th, 2022
As we were traveling down I-75 to our campsite at Renfro Valley KOA, we passed a sign that pointed us to Berea, an artist community. Of course that was our destination during our first full day in the area.
We were attracted by the arts community and we were just as impressed by Berea College.
Berea College was the first integrated and coeducational college in the south and incredibly has not charged students tuition since 1892. Every student at Berea College works 10-15 hours a week to help pay for room and board and other essentials.
The students at Berea come primarily from households with less than $30,000 annual income and the college is proud to offer a quality education for these students to get their undergraduate degree with no student debt.
How does Berea College do this? They have a 1.6 Billion dollar endowment that funds about 74% of their operating budget and student education. Another 17% of their budget comes from federal and state funding. 9% comes from donations through their Berea Fund.
Berea College is a gorgeous, walkable college that features restaurants and shops where you can purchase student and resident art.
In addition to walking around the campus, we stopped in the artisan village area as well.
You can stay at the in the historic Boon Tavern Hotel that has been hosting guests since 1909.
Make sure to stop in the Log House Craft Gallery. It is the largest continuously run craft shop in the state. They have gorgeous work made by artists throughout Appalachia. If we didn’t have such limited space, I would have bought so many things. I did buy a pair of handmade woolen socks that will come in handy on cool camping nights!