Back in the Bluegrass, or My Old Kentucky Home…..
October 19, 2010
While I now live 60 miles or so from where I grew up in Illinois, I spent a significant portion of my life living in Kentucky. As I often told folks, I went to college at UK, and forgot to leave. After college I began my professional life in Lexington, a promotion sent me to Western Kentucky where I stayed for nearly a decade, then another promotion brought me to Louisville. Finally, it was a work related move that took us away from the Commonwealth in 2001. As fond as my memories are of the time in Kentucky, as much as I miss Derby festival and Keeneland, I haven’t been back since we moved. Until this past weekend…..
In addition to horses, the Bluegrass State is known for Bourbon. All the major bourbon distilleries are located in central Kentucky – the area from Lexington to Louisville – now known as the Kentucky Bourbon trail. One of the oldest distilleries, which also happens to make my favorite bourbon, Woodford Reserve, is the Labrot and Graham distillery. I love the drive to visit Woodford Reserve – first passing famous sights like Calumet Farm and Keeneland, then traveling down a typical bluegrass horse farm lane to this picturesque distillery. On site you’ll find the visitor’s center containing exhibits on bourbon, a small deli and a nice gift shop. Woodford also has a meeting/catering center, and hosts special brunches on Saturdays during Keeneland
Keeneland is a horse racing track like no other. Located on Hwy 60 just west of Lexington, it is only open for races in April and October. It just drips with southern charm and Lexington’s strong thoroughbred tradition (speaking of which, not sure I like the announcer calling races, preferred the silence of the past). We were fortunate to be seated in the Keeneland box just behind the winners circle. Delighted to discover that, yes, the Blue Moon Barbecue on the 3rd floor terrace serves my beloved Blue Moon beer. Enjoyed trying to teach the couple of guys in our group who’d never been to the track how to read the form, place bets. Reminded once again that a horse race handicapper I am not. Cashed tickets in the majority of races, but didn’t even break even. Smiled when handed a white parasol by the box attendant to block the sun.