HerKentucky Happenings

We're pleased to present HerKentucky Happenings, a roundup of things we love from across the Commonwealth.

  • My hometown's favorite band, Sundy Best, will be returning to the Grand Ole Opry tomorrow night. Really makes me wish I were in the Music City this weekend to see my high school football coach's son (whom I'll always think of as a gorgeous toddler... Sorry, Nick!) rocking the Home of Country Music
  • Saturday in Louisville is Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Market's Resolutions Solutions Fair. It's a great time to quit smoking, work on your fitness goals, or focus on cleaner eating. Rainbow Blossom has experts to help!
  • Also in Louisville is Craft(s) Gallery's exhibition by Shawn Garrison, entitled "The Fruits of Rashness." I just adore the whimsical colors and use of motion of this piece, "Let's Go Shopping", and I can't wait to stop by Craft(s) to see the rest of the show!
Image via Craft(s) Gallery
  • Another exhibition I can't wait to see is the Eye of Napoleon at the Frazier Museum. This Saturday night, they're offering a special "Date Night in Paris" event that includes the exhibit as well as a cash bar, entertainment, and more!
  • The Kentucky Governor's Mansion turns 100 later this month. Celebrate at Frankfort's Grand Theater next Wednesday and Thursday with special showings of a documentary of the historic home, or schedule a trip to see the Mansion. I'll bet you haven't been there since a class trip in grade school!
    The Governor's Mansion
  • Louisville's Fleet Feet Sports recently met the challenge of logging miles for charity. A running team representing the store earned a $2,500 donation for Girls on the Run Louisville, a nonprofit which inspires elementary school girls to be healthy, joyful, and confident while engaging in fun and age-appropriate lessons on topics such as healthy living, self esteem, and how to handle bullying.
What's happening in your nook of the Commonwealth?

If your organization has an event you'd like to see featured on HerKentucky, please email details to heather@herkentucky.com.

Sumptuous Southern Supper for Franklin County Women's Shelter

If you find yourself in the Commonwealth's capital city next Monday evening, please consider stopping by the First United Methodist Church at 211 Washington Street for the Sumptuous Southern Supper, benefiting the Franklin County Women's Shelter. 
Hosted by a group called the Brainy Bodacious Women, the dinner will feature pulled pork and chicken from Staxx's BBQ, rolls from O'Charley's, green beans from Melanie's Cafe, and dessert from Red Head Custom Cakes.  Each meal includes tea, lemonade or water. The $20 meal is sit-down or carry-out, and benefits the programs and services provided by the Shelter.

In 2012, the Franklin County Women's Shelter completed 503 Intakes, representing 967 adults and children. 59 women and children lived at the Shelter in the TLC program, while 50 women and children lived at the Shelter  in the Emergency Shelter Program. That's a lot of assistance for an area as small as Franklin.County, y'all. Warmth and safety are basic rights we often take for granted, but there are so many women right here in the Commonwealth who desperately seek them for themselves and their kids. 
If you'll be in Frankfort next week, please have some great barbecue for a great cause. If not, please consider donating your time and resources to your local women's shelter. Your morning latte budget or the shampoos you took home from your last hotel stay could help someone have a far better day. 
To make reservations or to learn more about the Sumptuous Southern Supper, call 502-352-2843 or email fcwsvolunteer@gmail.com. 

Our Night to Remember

They say that June is wedding month. I'm not sure I've ever been to a wedding in June, though! After yesterday's near 100 degree temperatures swept across the Commonwealth, I think I know why.

Almost four years ago, we scheduled an October wedding. My husband and I are fall and winter people. I love Central Kentucky in the fall - the sharp chilliness of the mornings that blossom into beautiful blue skied afternoons full of a backdrop of brilliant leaves.

Our outdoor wedding was billed as a backyard barbecue party that just so happened to have a wedding thrown in. My husband had already done the wedding thing once before, so he gave me a few of his "must-haves" for our wedding/party and left me to go crazy. Funny enough, I was never a girl who spent her adolescence planning her nuptials. I had no idea what I wanted, but I knew I wanted something that felt authentic to us - fun and casual with touches of sentimentality that reflected our individuality.

While my wedding may have taken place before Pinterest, it did not take place before Martha Stewart Weddings, Rock n Roll Bride, or Weddingbee. I may not have had pinboards galore, but I had Google docs full of links, pictures and lists of ideas! Since we wanted to keep our wedding small and personal, I decided to do quite a bit of DIY. I also had lots of help from my wonderful family and friends. These are just a few of the personal touches that I feel made our wedding special for us.

The bridesmaids found dresses off the rack within the color scheme (green and brown) and rocked their favorite boots while groomsmen wore button-down shirts and their most comfortable jeans (as did the groom). I made my own wedding dress - wonky hem and all, I loved it.

photo by Clay Jackson 

I made our bouquets - sheaves of wheat with brown ribbon - from supplies in the bargain bins at the craft store.
wedding powell 0132 101809
photo by Clay Jackson

The wedding took place in the backyard of my parents' home. We decorated with handmade votive lanterns along the fencerow - my family and friends saved all their salsa, peanut butter and spaghetti jars for months!
wedding powell 0275 101809
photo by Clay Jackson
 
Luckily, we had a tent with walls that kept out the chilliest October day in recent memory (boo!). Also luckily, my parents had a supply of firewood for a late-in-the-reception bonfire. Of course, that bonfire was the site of quite a few rounds of bourbon passed around the circle - something of a family tradition. I, eventually, donned a pair of blue jeans underneath my dress because I got so chilly.

wedding powell 1031 101809
photo by Clay Jackson

Inside, the tent was filled with lanterns, votives and table decorations that were simply squares of fabric topped with centerpieces that featured photos from our travels and favorite quotes.

photo by Clay Jackson 

With the help of the internet, our officiant (who also happened to be my cousin) and my own flair for the dramatic, I wrote the marriage ceremony and our vows. In true Jason-and-Lydia inappropriateness, we first sealed our marriage pronouncement with a high-five (we got to the more traditional kiss later).

wedding powell 0815 101809
photo by Clay Jackson; I also made the banner in the background here

Food was handmade by my awesome aunts, uncles and friends of the family. We had some authentic, kick-ass, best-in-the-whole-world Western Kentucky barbecue (St. Augustine Catholic Church recipe) made by my uncles paired with potato salad, pasta salad and appetizers made by my aunts and served buffet-style. No one needs fancy flatware with that menu, so I made easy-to-carry and cute flatware packets.

wedding powell 0458 101809
photo by Clay Jackson

My handy dad crafted a dance floor for the reception. On the backs of our RSVP cards, I asked our guests to write three songs that they'd request from a wedding DJ. I used those, plus our own favorites and family traditional wedding songs (we do an awesome number to Shout! but aren't big on The Chicken Dance) to construct a 3+ hour dance-til-you-drop playlist.

Wedding Dance
photo by Clay Jackson

Our wedding was a labor of love for me. I relished choosing and crafting all the little details. During one of our dances together, my not-always-enthusiastic-about-the-details husband whispered, "This is perfect. I'll never doubt any of your crazy ideas, again! Thank you."

In the end, of course, it was one day - one awesome day - but only one day of so many that make up a marriage. For us, it was the perfect way to publicly commemorate our commitment to one another and to share the love with our families and friends.

If you're planning a wedding, you don't have to DIY everything or have the biggest and best of everything for your day to be special. Look for ways to make sure that you and your relationship shine through. Make it meaningful, make it real and you won't go wrong.

The Governor's Downtown Derby Celebration

The Official Derby Celebration Poster
My favorite Derby Day tradition happens during the morning of the first Saturday in May. For many years, the event was dubbed the "Derby Breakfast." It was held at the grounds of the Capitol and breakfast was provided by the Commonwealth to all who wanted to attend, free of charge.

Times have changed, but I think for the better! Due to budget cuts, breakfast is no longer provided. Instead, the Celebration was moved to the Old Capitol and downtown business district of Frankfort - giving local restaurants, food trucks and merchants a chance to shine!

Coordinated in large part by Downtown Frankfort, Inc., the day's activities vary widely. Bands will take the stage in front of the Old Capitol to provide entertainment. Children can participate in stick horse races and the Derby Dash race down Broadway hosted by the Frankfort YMCA. The highlight is a fun bicycle race called the Pedal for the Posies. Local business and civic leaders don ridiculous costumes and race on children's bikes to claim the trophy.

Come enjoy this free event! Bring a little cash to sample traditional breakfast fare from one of the local restaurants or foodtrucks (my favorite is the country ham biscuit from the KY Pork Producers' truck!). Stop by one of the local watering holes for a Bloody Mary or Mimosa.

Start your Derby Day off right!

Springtime Photo Ops

Is there anyplace more beautiful than Kentucky in Spring?

One of my favorite ways to see the Bluegrass State is by foot - hiking at Red River Gorge always provides some excellent photo opportunities:


The Underside of Sky Bridge 
The underside of Sky Bridge

Visiting small towns and exploring on foot is another great way to find beauty in Kentucky's spring. I'm a little partial, but our Capital City is beautiful this time of year.

Spring Tulips
Tulips at the Capitol
Another great way to explore Kentucky's outdoors is by water. Spring rains bring up the water table and make for perfect conditions to see the extensive waterways of Kentucky.
We just kayaked that.
Elkhorn Creek in Early Spring (kayaks rented from Canoe Kentucky)
Central Kentucky offers any number of scenic driving tours, as well. Follow the blue and white signs for the Bluegrass Driving Tour, or download a map of the Dreamer driving tour from the Visitors Bureau.
Midway
Near Midway and Weisenberger Mill

Top Ten Kentucky Geocaches

HerKentucky welcomes our good friend Jessica Lotz for a special guest post about geocaching Kentucky. Jess lives just outside St. Louis, MO with her husband, toddler son, and 5-year old dog, Cooper. After a successful 13 year career in health care administration, Jessica quit her job in November 2011 to answer life's next calling as a stay-at-home mom. Jesssica likes football on Sundays and cruises to just about anywhere. Although she's lived throughout the U.S. courtesy of the Air Force, Kentucky really is her second home. -- HCW

One of the many things I enjoy about HerKentucky is its ability to introduce readers to places, historic or trendy, that we may not have experienced otherwise. Whether through HerKentucky’s 60 Things Project or because of the passion of its contributors, it's not unusual for me to add new places to visit, businesses to support, and adventures to experience to my Kentucky Bucket List on a nearly weekly basis. As an adopted Kentuckian, I appreciate learning about it all.

In that respect, HerKentucky is much like geocaching. Geocaching, an outdoor recreational activity in which participants use GPS enabled devices to find hidden containers or caches, began in 2000 and since then has attracted hundreds of thousands of loyal cachers who have hidden over 1.6 million caches throughout the world. Caches range in size from nano (the size of a screw) to large (ammo box), and can be traditional caches (a physical treasure), virtual (no actual cache, but rather a site you’re visiting, usually for historical purposes), or Earth caches (think Mammoth Cave). Some caches can be located rather quickly (within minutes of arriving at the coordinates) while others can take hours (particularly if hiking/repelling/kayaking is involved).

My Geocaching hobby actually began in Kentucky. While visiting the in-laws over Christmas one year, I stumbled across something regarding geocaching. I started researching it online and within 30 minutes, I had my entire family outside looking for a cache in the park behind my husband’s childhood home. Using my sister-in-law’s iPhone, we quickly found the cache and immediately wanted to see where the next closest one was located. That’s how easy it is to get started.

Since then, geocaching has become a lifestyle for us. We love it because it gets us outside (year round), it's an activity our 2.5 year old son enjoys with us and we usually take care of Mother Earth while we’re at it (a practice known as CITO, or Cache In, Trash Out).

And, just like HerKentucky, it takes us to places we would not have otherwise visited or seen. Honestly, that’s my favorite part about geocaching. While I enjoy the fresh air and spending time with my little family, ultimately what gets me off the couch is knowing that we’re about to visit somewhere beautiful, unique or historically significant. 
Falls of the Ohio in Southern Indiana
Not surprisingly, many fabulous geocaches call Kentucky home. I recently spent some time researching them and compiled a list of 10 which I feel are worth a look:

1)    “Tom Sawyer” Traditional cache. Placed back in 2001, it ranks as Kentucky’s oldest and second most favored cache by those who have found it. Located in E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park in Louisville.  Just as I was about to walk across the stage at my college graduation, someone placed this cache in a park mere minutes from where my future husband lived. Nearly 12 years later, almost 900 people have found this cache! How am I not one of them? This cache is top on my to-do list during my next trip to KY.


2)    “76 Falls” Traditional cache. Placed 10/17/2004. Located about 2.5 hours south of Lexington, on the south side of Lake Cumberland. Requires a hike, but pictures posted by other cachers are absolutely beautiful. Nature at its finest.
The view from 76 Falls geocache location
3)    “Kentucky Floral Clock” Virtual cache. Placed 1/3/2003. Located in Frankfort, KY. From the description: “There are other flower clocks in the world-one in Canada at Niagara Falls, some in Europe, and smaller ones in the United States. Kentucky's is unique because it keeps time over a pool of water instead of resting on a bank of earth. The face of the giant clock is 34 feet across. The planter that holds it weighs 100 tons. Dedicated in 1961, the floral clock was a project of the Commonwealth and the Garden Club of Kentucky. It takes more than 10,000 plants to fill the clock. All are grown in the Commonwealth's own greenhouses near the Capitol. Coins from the pool are used to benefit young people in Kentucky.” Best viewed in the spring and summer.

4)    “Reflections” Virtual cache. Placed 9/19/2002. Located in downtown Louisville. Ranked as the #1 geocache in the state. A very cleverly designed cache which takes you on a brief walking tour of downtown. Using the glass buildings, the cacher must look for reflections to get clues of how to proceed to the next point in the cache. Comments from those who have done this cache: “It was fun identifying the different buildings and making our way to them. We spent a lot of extra time just admiring the architecture and seeing different things in the downtown area” and “What an awesome cache. Had some time before catching our plane back home to Colorado and this was at the top of our list to do. We certainly were NOT disappointed. Fun, fun, fun. Got a nice walking tour of the town and even spotted a place to have lunch. Thanks so much.”

5)    “Gatti Land(ing)” Traditional cache. Placed 12/31/2006. Located in Pikeville, KY. It’s highly rated for its creativity (meaning the cache container or location is pretty cool). Historically, the site of the cache is now a popular pizza joint, but was once home to Valley Airport. Comments by those who have found this cache rave about how creatively designed this cache is....another on the top of my to-do list.
A very creatively hidden (inside a wooden log) geocache found in Florida.

6)    “Cache Across America- Kentucky.” Traditional cache. Placed 8/24/2006 as part of the Cache Across America Series. Located at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY. Any geocachers trying to complete the Cache Across America challenge must find this specific cache in order to qualify. This cache has likely been found by more out-of-staters than Kentuckians due to the nature of the cache.


7)    “Holy Overlook”. Traditional cache. Placed 11/21/2005. Located in Wickcliffe, KY (about 30 miles West of Paducah), this site is apparently very beautiful with an incredible view of the Mississippi River. Another highly rated cache. 

8)    “DOWN Town.” Traditional cache. Placed 5/27/2003. Located in Horse Cave, KY (about 80 miles South of Louisville, East of Mommoth Cave). From the description: “The town, which formed around the cave in the mid 1800's, once sustained a thriving tourist trade. Visitors arrived by the train load to see the natural wonder, once billed as the "World's Largest Cave Entrance". By the 1940's, pollution had cut off not only the drinking water but also the streams of tourists the cave attracted. The cave's restoration in 1993 was one of the most remarkable environmental success stories in America and a breath of fresh air for Horse Cave. Today, Horse Cave, Kentucky is a constant reminder of the delicate balance between caves and the sunlit world above.”

9)    “Vampire U- Fact or Fiction” Traditional cache. Placed 9/28/2011. Located in Lexington, KY. For all of the Transylvania Alumni! From the description: “Old Morrison, the only campus building at the time, was completed in 1833, under the supervision of Henry Clay, who both taught law and was a member of Transylvania's Board.”

10)     “Dead Men Don’t Cache” Virtual Cache. Placed 8/12/2012. Located in Lexington, KY. For all of the UK basketball fans. From the description: “The location of this virtual cache is nationally recognized as one of "America's most beautiful arboretums.” If you haven’t visited this grave, can you really call yourself a C-A-T-S fan?

Geocaching can be reduced to a mere hobby where folks use expensive GPS equipment to locate tupperware containers hidden in the woods. While that may be true, the other reality is that it also encourages participants to explore nature, delve into local history, and spurs commerce as people will sometimes drive 2-3 hours off course during a road trip just to snag a specific cache.

Three things are certain in my life: death, taxes and if there’s good weather on the weekend, you’ll find my little family, including our 5 year old dog, Cooper, outside geocaching.
A fellow and his dogs find King Kong's Log cache just south of Louisville. Coop would love this one!

The HerKentucky 60 Things Project: Frankfort

In Sunday's Herald-Leader,  Cheryl Truman, with the help of many readers, listed 50 things that define Lexington.  We thought it would be fun to make a similar HerKentucky list, with 10 things that define our respective hometowns.  Where better to start than Kentucky's capital city? Here's Lydia's list of things that define Frankfort.

via Kentucky Tourism Apps.
1. The Grey Lady of Liberty Hall. Nothing like scaring the wits out of yourself by walking past on Halloween and timidly looking up to see if she's watching you from a second floor window.

2. Gene Burch Photography. While his dental skills and practice are top-notch, every Frankfort resident recognizes Dr. Burch's photography of our capital city, especially his iconic three spires photograph. His photo calendar always hung on my mom's kitchen wall.

3. The Capitol Buildings (Old and New). Admittedly, this is a bit self-indulgent, but if you were a teenager at Frankfort High School between 1994 and up through the current year, it's likely that you hung out at one of the Capitol buildings.  Frankfort isn't exactly known for its Things To Do If You're A Teen, and hanging out at the Capitol bench or the Old Capitol stone wall is our version of "cruising."

4. The Black Cat Chase. The 5K race, held at night, near Halloween is an annual fundraiser for the Frankfort YMCA. It seems that all of Frankfort participates in this race - whether you're a hardcore runner or a grandma in jeans and a t-shirt. It's a fun time and lots of folks wear costumes.

5. The Smell of Sour Mash. On crisp mornings, you can often start your day with a whiff of sour mash cooking at the Buffalo Trace Distillery. It's pervasive all over town. Some people hate it. Personally, I love it.

6. The Frankfort Cemetery. It's just plain beautiful and features Daniel Boone's grave in a prime location that overlooks downtown Frankfort.

7. The Grand Theatre. Recently restored, this entertainment venue was once a vaudeville theater and now features arts performances ranging from opera to children's theater.

via Kentucky Tourism
8. The Switzer Covered Bridge. On the edge of Franklin County is the small community of Switzer, best known for its covered bridge. The bridge washed downstream in the Flood of 1997 but has been restored. It's a perfect place to visit for a fall picnic.

9. Elkhorn Creek. Flowing throughout central Kentucky, the Elkhorn meanders through Franklin County and empties into the Kentucky River here. Local fisherman, canoeists and kayakers enjoy the waterway.

10. Rebecca Ruth Candies, because who doesn't love a bourbon ball?