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.
Near Midway and Weisenberger Mill

The HerKentucky Guide to Keeneland's Dress Code

The search terms that most often lead new readers to HerKentucky involve the Keeneland dress code. We get a whole lot of folks who wonder what they should wear to the Paddock, the Clubhouse, and all spaces in-between. Tomorrow is Opening Day -- one of Lexington's biggest spring holidays -- so we thought we'd revisit the HerKentucky Guide to Keeneland's Dress Code, which we originally posted last year, to get you ready.  

Of course, if you're still in doubt, you can always visit our favorite Lexington boutiques -- AJ's Casuals, Bella Rose, Monkee's and The Peppermint Palm -- and get some ideas! Most of all, I hope you look nice, win big, and enjoy the races!! -- HCW

Every year, in springtime and autumn, it seems that tons of new visitors arrive at HerKentucky  with variants of the same search: "What should I wear to Keeneland?"  I always want to reach out through Google, find all of y'all in Jacksonville, Ontario, and everywhere in-between, give you a hug and say "look nice and be yourself."

Now, the dress codes for Keeneland vary pretty wildly according to your location.  That really is my favorite thing about this racetrack.  There's a way to have fun at any budget, and at any level of dress.  But, as we've said before here at HerKentucky, visitors to Keeneland just try a little harder.

If you're going to stay near the Paddock -- General AdmissionGrandstand, or Equestrian Room -- there's no need to dress up very much.  Guys are fine in khakis and polo shirts, and girls can wear slacks.  In fact, you may even see folks wearing (gasp!) jeans.  These are the areas nearest the track itself, and people are truly there to watch (and bet on) the horses. With that said, don't be surprised to see a lot of dresses and sport coats in the lower-levels.  In recent years, a culture of dressy tailgating (think Steeplechase) has popped up among college students and twenty-somethings, and the second floor (General Admission) Sports Bar often resembles a campus bar or fraternity semi-formal.  While the dress code says "casual", there's plenty of Vineyard Vines and Lilly Pulitzer to be seen.

If you'll be dining in the upper-level, enclosed dining rooms-- The Lexington, Kentucky, or Phoenix Rooms-- then expect to dress for a business event.  The Lexington and Kentucky rooms -- dining rooms often reserved for business and social gatherings-- have a "business formal" dress code; these areas require men to don a coat and tie, and skirts/dresses/dressy slacks for ladies.  The Phoenix Room-- another reserved dining room-- is "business casual", requiring collared shirts and slacks for men and dresses/pantsuits for ladies.  During the week, many professionals take long business lunches in these areas, as is reflected in their dress code. 
The members-only Clubhouse similarly requires coat and tie for men and dressy pants/skirts for ladies.  I find that a skirt suit or a dress paired with a pretty cardigan or wrap is always appropriate for the upper levels.  In general, if you'd wear it to church or a business meeting, you're golden.  Most of all, remember to look nice because you'll see plenty of people!

What do y'all wear to Keeneland?

{all images via Keeneland.}

Hoops and Horses

Spring in the Bluegrass seems to have brought some interesting things this year.

  1. Lack of UK Men's basketball in the NCAA Tournament
  2. UK Hoops (Women) making it to the NCAA Tourney Sweet 16
  3. Snow
I will leave the basketball commentary to our more sports-inclined writers. And luckily for you, I won't spend the next few hundred words writing about how awful snow in late March is. Instead, I'll share something that IS consistent with spring: Keeneland.

Next Friday is opening day of the 2013 Spring Meet at Keeneland, and it comes at a time where we're ready to bust out of our houses in springy dresses and sunglasses. We look forward to betting on gorgeous thoroughbreds and sipping on bourbon in the sunshine. 

If you're like me, you've been shopping with Keeneland in mind. Thankfully florals are a huge trend right now, as is the Pantone color the year, Emerald. This means a plethora of options for the month of April and days spent in the sun.

If the sun and temperatures don't cooperate with our outfits, remember to just layer some tights, keep your boots out, and add a cardigan and wool coat over your flowered frock. Keeneland is one spring tradition that should never be broken. 

3 Floral Dresses You Need Right Now

One of my favorite things about spring is the chance to bust out the light and breezy floral dresses.  

Here are three floral dresses that you need right now! 

1. Madewell Sungarden Dress- this is the perfect little dress for throwing on with flats and a cardigan or jean jacket. 

2. Alice + Olivia Maxi Dress- this dress can be taken from day to night by adding heels and some statement jewelry. 

3. Dorothy Perkins Dress- this would be a perfect Easter dress, no?  Wear this ladylike dress with nude heels and a scarf for the perfect dressy floral dress.  

Things I'm Loving About Kentucky Right NOW

We only have a few days of February left. Valentine's Day is behind us but there is still a little bit of time to think about love. Last year, I focused on the romantic aspect of the month and rounded up spots in Kentucky to be with the one you love. This year I'm taking a broader view. Kentucky can be romantic but there are a lot of things I'm loving about our state this very moment that has nothing to do with romance.

So, here you go. My latest Kentucky interests, fascinations, and obsessions.

* A Kentucky Oscars!

* All the Ashley Judd Senate race speculation.  No surprise here. I'm liberal and I love Ashley Judd. However, beyond that I just love a good old fashion horse race (I am a Kentuckian after all!) and I love the idea of someone giving Good Ole Mitch a run for his money.

* Erin Smallwood Wathan (you may also know her as my grand-big sister!) joining the ranks of herKentucky!

* The Kentucky for Kentucky guys keep kicking ass.

* Spring is my favorite time of year in Kentucky and it is SO SO CLOSE.

* The insane popularity of bourbon...even if it has caused some growing pains.

What are you loving about Kentucky right now?

~ Sarah Stewart Holland

Southland in the Springtime

And there's something 'bout the Southland in the springtimeWhere the waters flow with confidence and reasonThough I miss her when I'm gone it won't ever be too longTill I'm home again to spend my favorite seasonWhen God made me born a yankee he was teasin'There's no place like home and none more pleasin'Than the Southland in the springtime

 ~ Sarah Stewart Holland