My Kentucky Home

Friday, January 27, 2006

Coming Soon!

Do you love "Antiquing"? Does your pulse quicken when exploring those bastions of yesteryear...the "Antique Shops"? Then stay tuned, because I'm working on highlighting some of Kentucky's best shops, starting right here in my very own hometown of Midway.

Living History

If you're somewhat of a history buff, as I am, then come visit the Bluegrass State this fall. On October 7th & 8th, the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site will host the 2006 National Civi War Re-enactment. Perryville's population of 763 souls will swell to include an estimated 5,200 re-enactors and 25,000 spectators to celebrate the 144th anniversary of the Battle of Perryville.

Kentucky was important to both the North and the South during the Civil War. A slave state, the Commonwealth of Kentucky declared itself neutral and never seceded from the Union. More than 30,000 Kentuckians fought for the Confederacy, but twice as many fought for the Union; the conflict often spliting family loyalties.

Perryville is an easy drive southwest of Lexington in Boyle County at the junction of US 150 and Highway 68. To learn more, visit:

Friday, January 20, 2006

Berea - Kentucky Arts and Crafts at their Best!

UPDATE: 3/8/06

I went down to Berea the other day to buy a quilt, thinking that they would have lots to choose from. I was in for a surprise. The few they had started at $800! They were totally beautiful pieces of hand sewn art, but WAY beyond my pocketbook. So I decided to have lunch and then go out to Churchill Weavers, a delightful shop with a weavers studio and a "Baby's Cottage" out back.

I had a lovely lunch at the Main Street Cafe on College Square. My young server was excellent; and the sandwich was so big, I ended up taking half of it home for lunch the next day.

The Churchill Baby Cottage caught my imagination immediately with whimsical baby quilts and accessories for the little ones. I was looking for a knitted baby blanket which they didn't have, since they specialize in weaving. But I did find a very nice, softly woven blanket in Churchill Weaver's clearance area for $14.00.

All in all, I had another great day of shopping in delightful Berea.

Berea, Ky is a fascinating, "must see" stop on your visit to the greater Lexington area. It is home to Berea College, listed in US News as one of America's top 100 colleges. One of the things that make Bearea College so unique is it's outreach to Appalachia and it's emphases on work and community service. "Berea graduates have received many prestigious awards such as Fulbright, Truman, Compton and Watson fellowships and scholarships. Recently Berea alumnus John Fenn received a Nobel Prize in Chemistry", according to their web page.

You can start your visit at the Kentucky Artisan Center just off Interstate 75 at exit 77, just 40 miles south of Lexington. The Center is a showcase for Kentucky arts, crafts and food. You'll find wonderful gifts and mementos to take home such as wooden hats, hand made brooms, unique jewelry, ceramics, beautiful hand made quilts, even musical instruments such as the dulcimer.

Then continue just 2.5 miles further down the road to Berea itself. The little shops and studios are wonderful. You can often see Berea College students making baskets and brooms as they work in the shops. For lunch, my favorite spot is the Boone Tavern Hotel Dining Room. "Owned by Berea College and operated with student workers, the facility is nearing its centennial year. Boone Tavern features 58 elegantly designed guest rooms furnished with reproduction Early American furniture made by Berea College woodcarver. In 2003, Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant was presented with the Duncan Hines Excellence in Hospitality Award by the Kentucky Tourism Council. The award is named for America's earliest restaurant critic and Kentucky native, the late Duncan Hines, whose name is still associated with excellence in fine dining", states the site.

Blessing of the Hounds

Kentucky isn't only about horse racing. An exciting and colorful event to go see if you visit in November is the Iroquois Hunt Club's annual Blessing of the Hounds at Grimes Mill in Fayette County, Kentucky.

The Hunt Club web page describes the event:

"The traditional ceremony is one of the most colorful and touching events of the fall season in Lexington. The Right Reverend Robert Estill will perform the centuries-old service to honor St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunting.
About 100 riders dressed in bright, formal hunting attire and their horses form a semi-circle on the front lawn of the old mill house. The Iroquois hounds are then brought into the circle and the Bishop begins the Blessing, which lasts about 15 minutes. After a short prayer and sermon, the horses and hounds are blessed.

Next, the riders come forward individually, kneel in front of the Bishop and receive their blessing, along with a St. Hubert medal the Bishop places around their neck. The riders then mount up and follow the pack of hounds up Grimes Mill Road to begin an exciting day of hunting." You can learn more at:

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Smarty Jones is a Papa!

The Lexington Herald-Leader broke the front page story on Wednesday, January 11th. Smarty Jones' first foal was born at 12:10 am. It's a little filly with a white star, stripe and snip and 4 white socks. She was born at Stone Farm in Paris, KY (Daddy lives just down the road from me at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway). Momma, Shoppingwithbetty, went thru a "textbook" birth according to the article and by 9:00 am she and her baby were outside, where the baby "bounced around". The baby is "very well-made, very strong, very alert, very independent. She has tons of substance; she's beautiful", the article noted.

Smarty now awaits the births of 91 more foals this year. With a stud fee of $100,000 each, you do the math! His second breeding season starts in February. At the recent Keeneland sale, a mare bred to Smarty sold for $950,000!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Spindletop - UK's Alumni Club

One of my favorite places for Sunday brunch is the University of Kentucky's Alumni Club. While I'm not an Alumn (I graduated from Spring Arbor University in Michigan), my best friend is. Spindletop, I'm told, was built by a Texan woman. The way the story was related to me, when the awesome mansion was finished, she planned a huge party and all the "A" list, Kentucky socilietes were invited. But being the warm, southern gentility that they one came. The Texan was crushed. So rather than sell the magnificent estate on the open market, she sold it to the U of K for a very small sum. Now the house has a fancy dining room on the main floor and and a more casual restaurant downstairs, multi swimming pools, tennis courts, etc. It has been the site for many a romantic wedding and numerous private parties.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Midway College

Before my cancer diagnosis, I worked at Midway College. According to it's homepage:

"Midway College, formerly the Kentucky Female Orphan School was the brainchild of Dr. Lewis Letig Pinkerton, a young physician and minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Together with James Ware Parrish, the church elder who raised the funds necessary to open the school, they joined with other progressive thinkers to launch a revolutionary educational experiment.
In antebellum Kentucky, the few girls who received formal education were taught to read only because it was considered necessary for their role as mothers. When they reached adulthood, they would read the Bible to their children. Female orphans were rarely offered even this meager amount of schooling. Without education or parental support and concern, the most many could hope for was a lifetime of drudgery as a maid or laborer. The liberal arts curriculum and career preparation proposed by Dr. Pinkerton was a comprehensive solution to this tragic situation, and the benefits reached far beyond the individual girls who attended the school. Dr. Pinkerton’s dream became a reality as Midway-educated teachers went forth to share their learning with youngsters throughout the state and region."

The school has now grown so that it includes the women's college and a non-traditional program (the School for Career Develoopment) geared for working adults (both men and women) who want to complete a BA/BS degree. I acted as an Academic Advisor in the SCD program. I really miss my students. I met some really motivated, interesting people from all over the state from all walks of life. The school recently started an on-line college so that people from all over the United States can now complete a Bachelor's degree on-line without ever coming on campus. You can check out the school at:

Me after 6 months of chemo = fat cheeks from styroids! Posted by Picasa

Me before I was diagnosed with MM Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 06, 2006


Keeneland is both a world-class thoroughbred race course and a sales facility; and is listed as a National Historic Landmark. It has two meets - fall and spring. It also has numerous sales that are fasinating to attend, but sit on your hands or you may be asked to sign a "chit" for a $9 million broodmare!!

I've only been able to go once so far, but it was for a race that was one of the highlights of the "social season", so ladies were dressed to the hilt including hats, and gentlemen were in suits/ties. Not only was it good horse racing, but the "people watching" was terrific.

At the sale, you can wander the barn area and watch prospects being shown to buyers from all over the world, or go to the paddock area and watch the horses circle as they wait their turn in the sales ring. As I moved around the paddock, I picked up on French, Arabic and a definite Irish lilt as buyers studied their programs and critiqued the horses. Once in the sales arena, it's first class all the way. A "cheap" hip number will go for $100,000 or less. I talked to one farm manager that was thinking of buying a certain broodmare that wasn't very well built, but had good bloodlines, if he could get her for around $25,000. He bowed out when she brought $80,000!!

Keeneland also has restaurants, a gift shop, and a track kitchen where the jockeys, trainers, etc., eat during training and meets.

Keeneland would defintely be someplace that we would all have to visit while here in Kentucky. Churchill Downs, of course, is the other. But that's for another post!.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sunny Kentucky

While I'm not a "homebred", I have fallen in love with Kentucky. Especially the Lexington area. There is so much to do here and the people care about each other. Here in Midway, I can't even walk my dog without someone knowing about it! Of course, small town America can have it's good points and bad. For me, living alone and fighting cancer, it's a blessing. There's always going to be someone who will check on me daily.

Of course, my favorite spot in Lexington is the Kentucky Horse Park. It is the "only park of its kind in the world...(it) is a working horse farm, educational theme park and equine competition facility dedicated to man's relationship with the horse", says the tourism brochure. In 2010, the park will host the World Equestrian Games. This will be the first time in the history of the event that the competition has been held outside of Europe.

The Horse Park also is home to numerous horse associations like the United States Equestrian Federation, the United States Dressage Federation, and the United States Pony Club among others.

You can visit the Horse Park via their web at: Enjoy!