Those traveling the Kentucky Bourbon Trail® can immerse themselves in the heart of bourbon country with a stay at the Bourbon Trail River House and Cabins located on the property of the former Strohmeier Fish Camp. 

Situated at the mouth of Elkhorn Creek on the Kentucky River at the end of Strohmeier Road, is an old farmhouse built sometime between 1905-1910 and four cabins — two of the cabins are new and two date back to the 1920s when the property was known as Lonnie Quire Fish Camp.

The current owners of the property are Donald and Jackie Perry who operate the farmhouse and two new cabins as short-term rentals. The other older two cabins are for their private use. 

Old photos of the farmhouse and former fish camp hang on the wall of the farmhouse. (Photo by Hannah Brown)

When the property operated as a fish camp in the 1920s, Lonnie and Americus Quire — who bought it in 1919 and built the May Flower Hotel in 1923 — owned it.

“Commercial boats came down from Cincinnati (on the Kentucky River) and pulled up to the boat ramp,” Donald said. “Fishing camp customers would come up the stairs to the May Flower Hotel and fish cabins.”

There is an old silo that still stands on the property that was converted to a men’s and women’s bathroom and shower house. The front of the silo has sinks where they used to clean fish. 

Kim Strohmeier, who the Perrys bought the farmhouse from, said his grandfather, Edward Strohmeier Sr., started staying at the fish camp in the late 1920s while traveling from Louisville.

“He fell in love with the place,” Kim said. “He and my grandmother, Esther Strohmeier, bought it in January 1938, as the Quires decided to sell it after the 1937 flood.”

Kim’s grandparents operated it — changing the name to Strohmeier Fish Camp — through the early part of the WWII years, but closed it due to gas and sugar rationing, and did not reopen it. They rented a couple of apartments by the year until the late 1970s, he said. The hotel was razed in 1987.

“My grandmother started phasing it out after my grandfather died in 1969,” Kim said. “She kept the cabins rented until the late 1970s. I think they were never rented again after the 1978 flood. She died in 1981, and after that, my dad, Dave Strohmeier, put a marina in on the creek, and started the campground in the mid-1980s.”

Kim and his wife eventually acquired the farmhouse. They sold the adjacent property, where the fish cabins were located, to another couple. They did a major cosmetic remodel in 2005-2007 — updating the kitchen and bathroom.

In May 2020, Donald, a real estate agent and appraiser, was asked to conduct an appraisal for a borrower on the old fish cabins and property. 

“I came out to see it and I decided to buy it,” Donald said. 

Donald and his family have lived in a house on Capital Avenue since 1999. He bought the cabins to use as a weekend getaway.

A scenic view of the Kentucky River fills a picture window in the living room in the farmhouse. (Photo by Hannah Brown)

“To me, I felt like I was in another state,” he said. “It’s a family getaway. I can be back in my bed in 15 minutes if I wanted to or stay out here if I wanted to.”

He said the previous owners had the property for 12 years. They did some work on one of the cabins, making it liveable. The other original fish cabin is used for storage. 

He and Jackie and their daughter, Harper, 8, like to spend weekends at the cabin. They also have adult children, Zac, Sarah and Jordan, who also enjoy spending time at the cabins. Their daughter, Sarah, hosted her baby gender reveal party on the property.

“We make hotdogs and s’mores over the fire pit, and watch movies on a projector screen on the side of the cabin,” Donald said.

The idea to build the cabins came a couple of years later when Donald and his friend, Logan Hanes, of Basement Rickhouse, were drinking bourbon and smoking cigars around the fire pit by the old cabin.

There are three fire pits located on the property. (Photo by Hannah Brown)

“We said we needed to build a couple of these,” Donald said. 

Logan, being a former builder, said he would be willing to help, so they got the plans rolling. At that point, Donald and Jackie had already been operating the farmhouse as a short-term rental since February 2022. They bought the house from Kim and his wife, Francine, in November 2021 after they decided to move to Fredericksburg, Virginia, to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

The farmhouse has three bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms and can sleep up to eight guests. 

The two cabins that Donald and Logan built are 400 square feet with one bedroom, one bath, a living room and full kitchen, and sleep two guests comfortably. The cabins have all modern-day conveniences. 

One cabin is called the “bottle cabin,” and the other is the “barrel cabin.” They have identical floor plans. You can distinguish between the two because the handrail mounts leading up the stairs to the cabin are custom designed — one is a barrel design while the other railing has a bottle design. The cabins are built 5 feet, 4 inches off the ground, well above the floodplain.

Bourbon décor is throughout the cabins, complete with a stave accent wall. The farmhouse is also filled with bourbon décor, along with old pictures of the property when it was operated as the fish camp.

There are three fire pits on the property. One of the pits is custom-made with a bottle and barrel design. 

Donald said the cabins and farmhouse stay about 40-45% occupancy rate year around. He said 90% of his guests are Kentucky Bourbon Trail® travelers. The other 10% are visiting Kentucky for other reasons, and some are coming back to Frankfort to visit family. 

He said some guests have come as far as from California and Texas. 

The Bourbon Cabins have full kitchens. (Photo by Hannah Brown)

“We are the Napa Valley for bourbon,” Donald said. “Buffalo Trace is one of the most famous distilleries in the world.”

What do Kim and Francine think about the current use of their former property?

“As far as the cabins, I think it’s cool that the property is continuing on in the same type of business that was started in the early 1920s — right at 100 years,” Kim said. “Donald and Jackie have turned the home into a (short-term rental), which gave us the satisfaction of knowing that we were still sharing our place with others. 

“In two years, they’ve gotten nearly 100 reviews that indicate a lot of people have enjoyed our home. While we miss it, we are where we need to be, and we are gratified with the nearly perfect reviews. A lot of people are enjoying our fire pit, our landscaping, our two years worth of remodeling, our river and our place.”

Natural light fills the living room in the farmhouse. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
Bourbon decor and photos of Frankfort decorate the farmhouse. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
One of the guest rooms in the farmhouse. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
The kitchen in the farmhouse. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
Bourbon decor decorates the kitchen in the farmhouse. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
The upstairs library in the farmhouse. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
The old silo that used to serve as a men and women’s bathroom and shower house when the property served as a fish camp still stands. A fish cleaning station was in the front of the silo. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
A weather vane with the date 1923 engraved on it, which is the year the May Flower Hotel was built, still sits atop the old silo on the former Strohmeier Fish Camp property. The other side of the vane has 1987 engraved on it, which is the year the hotel was razed. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
A bottle handrail mount was placed on the side of the Bottle Cabin. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
Natural light fills one of the Bourbon Cabins. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
Each of the Bourbon Cabins have stave accent walls. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
The bedrooms in the 400-square-foot Bourbon Cabins are small but cozy. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
There are two Bourbon Cabins on the property. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
One of the pits is custom-made with a bottle and barrel design. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
A barrel handrail mount was placed on the side of the Barrel Cabin. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
The Bourbon Cabins have full kitchens. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
Two of the original fish camp cabins remain on the property. The cabin the foreground is for personal use, while the one in the background is used for storage. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
One of Donald Perry’s favorite spots on the property is this deck overlooking the Kentucky River. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
Donald Perry carved his daughter, Harper Perry’s, initials into a tree on the property. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
There are two Bourbon Cabins on the property. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
There are two Bourbon Cabins on the property. (Photo by Hannah Brown)
There are three fire pits located on the property. This one over looks the Kentucky River. (Photo submitted)
The Perry family: Cid, with daughter Olive, Jordan, Jackie, Donald, Harper, Zac, Sarah, Charles with baby Clay. (Photo submitted)
A postcard image of the old May Flower Hotel and Lonnie Quire Fishing Camps. (Image provided)