Kentucky Inspires Me

A few weeks ago, I was reading a fun fashion blog -- Glitter and Gingham -- that's run by a Lexington expat. She'd built an outfit around a fun Kentucky t-shirt, and she started the post out by saying "I have a theory that every Kentuckian is obsessed with Kentucky." Now, Shelby's outfit was adorable, but her idea is what really stuck with me.
Gratz Park, Lexington
Most Kentuckians I know are really into being from Kentucky. We spend a lot of time quoting little factoids about the Commonwealth. And why shouldn't we? We're only home to the prettiest land, the best college basketball teams, the greatest horse race, and bourbon. Any one of these are enough to make us cocky. No wonder most of us are, to borrow the phrase, obsessed
Rupp Arena
Here at HerKentucky, we've been focusing on inspiration lately. The people and places and sights and sounds that inspire us. As we each have posted essays and photos about our sources of inspiration, I've realized how much Kentucky inspires me every day -- from its rich traditions and history to its unique and beautiful scenery.
Downtown Louisville
Whether my love for The Bluegrass State stems from obsession or inspiration, I find that my Kentucky experience colors my writing, my political viewpoint, my approach to cooking and hospitality, and so many other aspects of my daily life. In so many ways, Kentucky inspires me every day.
Haupt Humanities Building, Transylvania
How does Kentucky inspire you?
The Belle of Louisville
{all photos are my own.}

Kentucky Places: The Bodley-Bullock House

It just isn't summer in Lexington until you've attended a wedding at the Bodley-Bullock House.
Photo via Junior League of Lexington
The 1814 mansion, with its Federal and Greek Revival details, is located in the heart of Lexington's Gratz Park Neighborhood and is a perennial favorite event space for Lexington brides. 
Gratz Park houses, next door to the Bodley-Bullock.
The Bodley-Bullock House was built for Lexington mayor Thomas Pindell, and was most notably owned by General Thomas Bodley, a War of 1812 hero, and Dr. Waller Bullock, a prominent Lexington physician.   Upon the passing of Dr. Bullock and his wife Minnie, the home was left in trust to Transylvania University and was renovated by the Junior League of Lexington in 1984.  It is used as both the Junior League Headquarters and a rentable event space. The house is similar in architecture and decor to many other Gratz Park-area houses, including the Hunt-Morgan House.
View from the window of Minnie Bullock's bedroom
This weekend, I attended a family wedding at the Bodley-Bullock House.  The dramatic staircase and old-fashioned touches provided an absolutely stunning backdrop.
My gorgeous cousin Amy

I've attended dozens of weddings at the venue. I've put in my share of Junior League meetings and picnics there as well.  It's always been one of those comfortable, friendly houses that just embodies Old Lexington, and it's always been rumored to be just a little bit haunted.  The best houses always are.

Looks like the bride and I inadvertantly disregarded Miss Minnie's wishes. 
I recently ran across an interesting anecdote about the Bodley-Bullock House.  It seems that the late Mrs. Minnie Bullock was not only a community leader, but also a vehement teetotaler.  Apparently, the original terms of her will provided that alcohol could not be consumed in her home, even after her passing.  It seems that this provision was later changed, to Miss Minnie's dismay -- it's said that her ghost has been known to flicker lights and crack tables when she doesn't like the happenings in her home.  Now,  I've had more than my share of celebratory toasts in this venue, so I hope Miss Minnie can forgive me.  Rumor has it that Dr. Bullock wasn't above kidding Miss Minnie about her temperance beliefs; he hung a portrait of the "town drunk", William "King" Solomon, in their home, where it still remains.

The Bodley-Bullock House is a charming example of Lexington's old Downtown.  I so enjoyed Miss Minnie's hospitality this weekend, and I do hope she can look past my bubbly endulgence!

Heather's 20 Things

1. Kentucky basketball. Not just the storied Wildcat program-- the sheer love for the game that transcends race, gender, geography, and socioeconomic lines across every little corner of the Commonwealth. From the way everyone congregates at the Hyatt before UK games to the way every high school ball game is a sellout.
3. Dwight Yoakam. He's from Floyd County, and so am I. Even if you don't enjoy his glam-country rockabilly sound (a position I can't personally imagine, but whatevs), you have to love his brilliant acting turns as the husband attending divorce mediation in Wedding Crashers or the abusive drunk in Slingblade.
4. These two houses in Gratz Park. My favorite houses anywhere in the world.
6. The recently departed Gatewood Galbraith -- a true gentleman whose unique voice will be sorely missed in the state political arena.
8. George Clooney. He's a beautiful man.
9. Jenny Wiley Theatre. (We're not going to discuss the whole "moving to Pikeville" thing. I can't talk rationally about it.)
12. The New Year's Day Pajama Party at Lynn's Paradise Cafe.
14. Discovering Kentucky with my dogs. From Cherokee Park to Ashland's Central Park. From snowy days in the Eastern Kentucky mountains to sunny Saturdays on Molly Malone's patio.
Baby Max in Cherokee Park, 2007.
16. The Kentucky Governor's Scholars Program. Where I met my future husband, though it would take me more than a decade to figure it out.  Where so many friendships, partnerships, and relationships were sealed.  Where at least one friend's husband learned to crochet.
18. Kentucky politics. Hilarious. Fascinating. Infuriating.
19. Cheapside.
20. Derby Glasses.

In Photos: Winter in Gratz Park

Tranylvania University/ Gratz Park, Downtown Lexington, Winter 2010.