When I say ,”My Old Kentucky Home”, I mean it. I’ve lived in the Bluegrass state my entire life. Born and raised in Winchester, the town known for Ale 8 and beer cheese. We moved three times during my childhood with every house being within a mile of the other. Deciding on where to go to college wasn’t hard. I was one of those typical teenage girls who wanted to “get out and stay out”, yet not entirely brave enough to step outside state lines. So, I did the next best thing and attended the furthest in-state school I could. I later realized that Western Kentucky University is not the furthest school from Winchester, but to my 17 year old self, it was far enough away to make my point.
After college, I moved back to Winchester… with my mom. Again, I was one of those typical girls who moves back in with their mom when life gets rough (because life after college is ROUGH) and I’m not ashamed one bit (because clean laundry and no bills and home cooked meals). Fast forward a year – I got married and moved again to the great city of Wilmore, just a few miles down the road from Lexington. Sometimes I imagine if I were on a gameshow about geography and maps of Kentucky I would win.
“Kentucky Parkways for 300, Alex.”
Why all this background on my living situations? Because I need to admit the horrible Kentuckian that I am. Over 23 years of living in Kentucky, I’ve hardly dabbled in the goodness this state has to offer. Have I been to the Kentucky Derby? Nope. How about the distilleries? Nope again. Mammoth Cave? Maybe in middle school. And I’m not just talking about the big attractions in Kentucky. I swear, Kentucky has the coolest festivals and concerts and outdoor events that I see all over Instagram and Facebook, yet hardly think twice about going. I’m the horrible Kentuckian who looks outside of Kentucky for things to do like a road trip down the east coast or hiking in Wyoming.
My whole life I’ve lived within the boarders of the Ohio River and Appalachian Mountains and I’m finally realizing the beauty that is within. Every day, I drive one of the most beautiful roads to and from work. I pass farm after farm, horse after horse, and see some of the most breathtaking sunsets over the vast countryside. I decided recently, that instead of just noticing the beauty of my drive home, I want to embrace the beauty of my home state. And what better way to start an intentional, genuine relationship with the Bluegrass than with… FOOD.
For our date nights from now on we are venturing out of our sleepy Wilmore and typical chain restaurants (Longhorn, we will always love you), and heading into the big city (never thought I’d call Lexington big, but hey, all relationships begin with flattery am I right?) for dinner. This week we hit up a restaurant I’ve been wanting to try for a year now, County Club. Here’s all you need to know about this Kentucky gem: SMOKED MEATS.Spencer took one bite of his pulled pork sandwich and said, “Best. Pork. Ever.” And I think those were his only words until his plate was clean. We absolutely loved it. The atmosphere is laid back yet you still feel special sitting at their table. The place was packed from the moment we sat down until the moment we left, as a very eager couple kept close to our table while we finished licking our plates. The service was decent due to the lack of walking space around the restaurant. The kitchen flowed into the dining area and we spent an embarrassing amount of time deciding what to order as every plate handed from chef to waiter changed my mind. Y’all. You’ve got to go.
Now, you know how awful my attempts are at following through with blog series (as seen here), so don’t count on anything when it comes to my budding relationship with Kentucky. A new thing I’m doing is taking my camera everywhere, so I’m hoping to capture our date nights and share the goodness that makes up Lexington (AKA: #sharethelex), but if you never see another Kentucky relationship post again, I apologize in advance.Far too often, we look every which way for adventure, when really the best adventure is right in front of us.