If you follow along on Instagram, you may have noticed a few weekends ago that we abandoned our Boston haunting grounds for warmer, greener Bluegrass country – Kentucky! A mini-family reunion/Rolex 3-day Event spectating/couples getaway, a few days away were just what the doctor ordered. Having grown up around horses, Kentucky for me is a bit like visiting home – just with slightly unhealthier food and prettier countryside ?
There are some absolute restaurant classics you have to hit when visiting Kentucky. My family always visits Windy Corner Market, which also has a great selection of local food products. Yes, you will wait in a horrendous line. Just consider it part of its charm. If you’re driving around bluegrass country (which you should!), Wallace Station also serves up enormously satisfying sandwiches.
Downtown Lexington itself is incredibly charming and has a burgeoning foodie scene as well. My must-visit was The Village Idiot once I saw the buttermilk fried duck leg confit & waffles. I have a tendency to order only the oddest sounding menu items, so obviously we couldn’t leave Lex without trying this. We also had some excellent pizza and brews at Pies & Pints. Scheduling difficulties meant no Middle Fork Kitchen + Bar… but definitely on the list for next time.
I probably don’t have to say that there was a loooot of whiskey to try. As non-bourbon drinkers, we’d probably be considered fairly conservative, only having tastings from, oh, 3 distilleries in 4 days. And let’s not forget the breweries! (Seriously, we are much better at drinking beer.) My favorite? Drinking your bourbon with your beer, a la Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale.
For the beer lovers:
West 6th Brewing and Alltech Lexington Brewing Company are both excellent. We took the tour at Alltech (which is the only way to taste their beer/spirits on site), which was so interesting, even to those of us who have been on many many brewery tours. They’ve been going through a huge expansion trying to keep up with the success of Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale and their barrel-aged seasonal experimental brews all sound BOMB. Supposedly, we can get them up here in Massachusetts, so we’ll have to be on the hunt come fall.
In between all of our, ahem, drinking, there was still plenty to do. We visited a few active stud farms and got a behind the scenes look into the breeding industry, which I highly recommend. The farms are well-oiled, massive operations. And with some seriously luxury barns – these stallions definitely live in cushier digs than I do. They also make significantly more money than I do, so I guess that makes sense. ?
Pick up a copy of the Lexington Walk and Bluegrass Country Driving Tour almost anywhere in town and meander through. Thoroughbred Park provides some great photo ops – just don’t forget that the horses are made of metal and bang your head your head on them. That may or may not have happened…
We finished off with Old Friends, a non-profit rescuing and caring for aging racehorses. Horse racing has an incredibly fast turnover rate (like, did you know the Kentucky Derby is only run by 3 year-olds and most horses are done racing by 4?), so even big winners aren’t remembered for long. Visiting the farm is a bit like the horse version of – “Celebrities! They’re just like us!” We even met one of the horses that played Seabiscuit in the 2003 film! Pony love = the best love.