Last month, I announced that I plan to make a guide to each county in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. From Paducah to Hazard, the Tennessee border to the Ohio River – I’m doing them all.
I am very proud to bring the first installment of that series to you today!
Recently, I had the privilege of spending two days with the team at Visit ShelbyKY – the tourism entity for Shelby County, Kentucky. Let me tell you: this Kentucky town is out to impress!
Did you know?
Shelby County, Kentucky was founded in 1792; Isaac Shelby, its namesake, was the first Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It is also the American Saddlebred Capital of the World!
I started off my first morning with a country ham social – it doesn’t get much more Kentucky than that! The ingredients were local: ham from Finchville Farm (salty and delicious) and biscuits from the Claudia Sanders Dinner House. It was hosted by Charles Kramer, a local that has a plethora of knowledge and is also quite the southern gentleman!
The social was held in a formal dining room inside the house on the Undulata Farm estate. When I say estate, I mean it to the full extent of the word – historic and first-rate, to say the very least. The farm is a Saddlebred operation and has made a large impact in the industry; to name just one, Undulata’s Nutcracker is a record-breaking stallion, while also being a #1 World Champion Sire (source). Charles gave us (both my grandmother and myself) the tour and I loved every second of it!
Going inside the home is a true treat – especially if you are an antique-lover like myself! Each room is chock-full of fine furnishings and quaint touches, such as this vintage Bible.
This bottle, like much of the estate, is undeniably vintage. Not sure I’d want a swig out of it – but, it certainly could tell a story or two!
Lunch was hosted at JT’s Pizza in Simpsonville. This is a small, locally owned joint – and the pizza was solid! It’s close to the outlet mall and is a great spot for a quick sit-down with family and friends!
We then spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Downtown/Main St. Shelbyville. Here, you will find a few eateries, a couple of coffee shops, historic buildings, and some great antique stores. There’s something special about small town Kentucky — it’s hard to put into words, you just feel it — and you’ll experience that on this street.
A fun antique find:
A coffee stop at Bourbon Kitchen at 524:
A second coffee stop to fuel up for dinner: Sixth and Main Coffeehouse.
After relaxing at the hotel, we joined friends for dinner at the Red Lion – a small, intimate, Tudor-style pub. Here, you can choose your choice of libation from a full-service bar and select from a small, changing menu, which features pub-favorites like fish and chips. I ended up ordering a chicken sandwich on ciabatta that had both bleu cheese and tomato jam. Full disclosure — I’m still thinking about that tomato jam…
How charming is this entrance?
For other entertainment, be sure to check out Talon Winery and Jeptha Creed Distillery!
Talon Winery (there’s also a location in Lexington!) offers tastings 7 days a week. They also a lot of events/music, so be sure to keep up with the events calendar on their website!
I recently wrote a blog post about Jeptha Creed Distillery. I highly recommend that all visit here – it’s gorgeous, they have a devotion to sustainability, and there’s a great variety of alcohol to choose from. Their Friday night concerts are also so much fun!
The next day started bright and early at Gallrein Farm. Gallrein is a family-owned operation that specializes in sweet corn. They also offer a fully-stocked market that enables you to shop their produce and other KY Proud products; additionally, there is a full-service cafe located in the market that serves lunch from 11-2, Monday-Saturday.
Furthermore, I was very impressed by the greenhouse and I loved meeting Jax, the owner’s Aussiepoo!
I’ll be posting more about my time at Gallrein – stay tuned.
After spending time with the owner of the farm, doing some cooking (coming soon), and shopping my heart out in the market — it was time to go antiquing again; however, this experience was next-level.
If you are in the area, you must visit Wakefield-Scearce!
One cannot discuss Wakefield-Scearce without first discussing the history of Science Hill – a groundbreaking school during its time:
“Records indicate that Julia Ann Hieronymus, a brilliant young educator, married John Tevis, a young Methodist minister, in their home state of Virginia. After their marriage, John was called to pastor at Louisville’s Methodist Church at the Falls of the Ohio. While traversing the trail from Virginia to Louisville, the young couple discovered Shelbyville as so many before them had.
In Shelbyville, Julia vowed to continue her teaching career by tutoring young girls who made their homes in the Kentucky wilderness. But she planned to teach her charges more than the traditional “gentlelady’s education” of reading, writing, and the social graces; she also endeavored to teach her students the sciences, something unheard of in those times.” (source)
Wakefield-Scearce now inhabits this historic property.
Housed in the esteemed brick building is a gallery that boasts one of the largest collections/inventories of silver and fine, antique English furniture in the United States. Most of the items that you find in the shop are of European descent; to say the least, they are the créme de la créme.
Another fascinating part of this business is their julep cup – a true embodiment of Kentucky culture. Their cups have been featured in Southern Living, Kentucky Homes and Gardens, and the Keeneland Magazine. They are heavy, handmade, and are either sterling or pewter. They emboss cups with the names of each President of the United States upon taking office, ultimately sending one to the White House, along with doing the same for the Governors of Kentucky.
No trip to Wakefield-Scearce is complete without a meal in the Georgian Room of the Science Hill Inn. The dining room takes you back to an elegant, more proper time in the South. White tablecloths, iced tea, and delicious, mouthwatering Southern food — need I say more?
To start the meal, guests enjoy cornbread fritters and delicious biscuits.
I then moved to this pickled beet and goat cheese salad; the highlight, pictured on the left side of the plate, was the sunflower seed brittle. Yes, you read that correctly. Divine.
Shrimp and grits are served, of course!
Is there such a thing as too much country ham on one trip? I think not.
I cannot thank Visit ShelbyKY enough for a fabulous two days. Trust me when I say that a day trip or a weekend trip to Shelby County, Kentucky should be on your radar. From horse culture, to hospitality, to antiquing, to shopping, to that good ol’ southern food — what’s not to love?
As always, Happy Eating, Happy Traveling, Happy Living!
Y’all come back now, ya hear?
FTC: This is a commissioned post; all opinions, however, are my own.