Monday, July 24, 2017

A day trip to Perryville Battlefield

 photo 20170626_134622_zpshzx3kdua.jpg photo IMG_8948_zpsbwqfm5ne.jpgI recently took my sons, 10 and 6, to the Perryville Battlefield. According to the website, the battlefield is one of the most untouched Civil War sites and still looks very much like it did when the Union and Confederate armies met there in October 1862.

 photo IMG_8944_zpsa5ttncs1.jpgWhen we arrived, we headed straight for the small museum to get some information. Admission to the museum is very reasonable – adults $4, children 7-12 $3, and free admission for children under age 6. There are special rates for groups, military and seniors.

Part of the museum admission includes a 28 minute film about that fateful day in 1862. While I was really interested in the movie and learning about the area, it was a little long for my boys who had just spent 2 hours in our van. However, since the movie was in the same room, they were able to walk around the museum and look at all the artifacts. For such a small space, there are so many pieces of history! Old uniforms and weapons in cases as well as pictures of and quotes from soldiers capture the feeling of what it was like in Perryville over 150 years ago.

 photo 20170626_132116_zps94up7iww.jpgAfter we went through the museum at our leisure, we got a map of the grounds from the staff. The gentleman in the shop was very helpful and very glad to answer questions about the park. He showed us two different routes through the park – a walking trail that was just under a mile and a half along with a route we could take in our van on a gravel road.

 photo IMG_8984_zpsqauxno15.jpgWe set out first on the walking trail and we were all amazed at the absolute unspoiled beauty of fields of black eyed susans and white daisies. The trails are very well defined, and there are interpretive markers littered through the fields explaining a part of the battle and pointing out significant areas. The boys thought the cannons on our hike were awesome and even they couldn’t stop talking about how pretty everything was. The driving tour down a gravel road was equally beautiful and informative.

 photo IMG_8945_zpsblr9ne1b.jpg photo IMG_89541_zpsr5d25npl.jpgTip: My only regret was not having a map of Kentucky with me and relying solely on Google maps. I couldn’t reestablish a signal when we were ready to head for home, so we got somewhat misplaced and ended up going about half an hour out of our way! Next time we visit, I will also pack a lunch as there aren’t any close places that have food.

Onsite are restrooms, a pavilion, and picnic tables. Everything is very clean and very well maintained. In October, the park puts on a reenactment of the battle with historic lectures and battlefield tours. There are military demonstrations for two days. Also, downtown Perryville has a street with historic buildings that are mostly unchanged since before the Civil War.

I just can’t say enough about how strikingly beautiful the landscape is. A visit to the battlefield is a day well spent!


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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hats Off Day at the Kentucky Horse Park

Free day of family fun Event is July 29 at 
the Kentucky Horse Park

Enjoy free, family-friendly events designed to celebrate the horse on Saturday, July 29, from 4 to 10 p.m. at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The 2017  Hats Off Day theme is “Memories of Man O' War” celebrating what would be his 100th birthday!

Hats Off Day is the only day of the year that admission to 
the Horse Park is free. 

Free admission to the Horse Park is offered all day, with Hats Off Day festivities (all free) starting at 4 p.m. Activities include:
  • Horse rides for adults and pony rides for children
  • Face painting
  • Inflatables
  • Educational booths
  • Interactive equine stations including mechanical race horses
There's even a chance to receive free horse farm hats, provided by area horse farms and businesses, if you are among the first attendees!

The featured entertainment of the event is the $50,000 Rood & Riddle Grand Prix show jumping competition at 7:30 p.m.

Hats Off Day is also a fundraiser for the Kentucky Equine Humane Center and the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation, so it's a great way to support these causes and have fun at the same time!

Visit for a full schedule of events!
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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A day trip to Fort Knox

We were hosted for the purposed of review.

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The Fort Knox MWR staff invited us for a visit to showcase all that Fort Knox has to offer to the public. It's really like it's own city but unique in its rich history and active military base status.  There's a lot of hustle and bustle around the base so it makes for an interesting visit because not only can you eat there and find entertainment, but you also witness the work that's taking place on the base.  Let me tell you a little more about our visit and highlight some tips for you.

 photo IMG_7991_zpsoldknbut.jpgWe were able to access Fort Knox with no problem.  When we arrived at the Chaffee Gate, you simply pull into the Visitor's Center building that's on the left before the main gates.  This will allow you to get a pass to go in and out of the gates. You can get a day pass or an annual pass. The passes are free.  We gave our drivers licenses to check in and there was no line.  Anyone 16 years old or older has to check in with a proper ID.  Younger children check in with the adults.  Once we had our passes, we drove to the gate and showed the passes to enter. And, with the passes, we can now enter through any gate, not just the Chaffee Gate.

Tip: Get an annual pass. You never know when the moment hits that you want to go for a special event or to swim and if you already have the annual pass, it makes entry even that much easier.

 photo IMG_3942_zpsy6bpunll.jpgThere are playgrounds all around Fort Knox. Our favorite was by the Starbucks because they had a covered seating area that's great for enjoying a latte while the kids play.  They also have a fantastic playground near the amphitheater that sits atop a hill for great views and it's near a bathroom.  This playground is also near the aquatics center so when that reopens soon, combine the playground and picnic with some swimming. All of the playgrounds are open to the public, they were clean and take a tour around Fort Knox for playground fun.

Tip: The playground by the amphitheater has a wonderful covered picnic area.  Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy!

Special Events
I was amazed to learn that there is such extensive programming on Fort Knox that is open to the public. I made the assumption that it is all just for military families but that is not the case.  They have a wide array of community events from outdoor movies to large festivals.  Just take a look at their community events page to keep tabs on events and on some of the program pages, they list the special events taking place at those locations like at the water park.

Tip: Follow their Facebook page because they will keep everyone updates about special events via social media.

Summer Fun
 photo IMG_3995_zpsbu892bvr.jpgSummer is definitely the time when most families are on the move to find fun. The Fort Knox water park is great for families with kids of all ages.  It is very affordable at just $8 per person (civilian rate) and you can purchase a combo card for access to the water park and mini golf to save some money if you plan to do both (they are very close to each other).  The water park features areas for changing and showering, lockers, a snack bar, a playground, a zero-entry area with a spraying water feature, a standard pool, two slides (one tube, one open), a floating obstacle course and a covered (yes, covered!!) and gated child's pool for little ones. There were amble chairs around and even some in the shade.  My children said that they enjoyed the obstacle course the best and I loved the zero-entry area for getting just a little wet to stay cool myself......without the full commitment of jumping in! Also, it is big enough to not feel crowded but at the same time, I could sit anywhere and see my kids all over the park - that's nice and more relaxed than huge water parks.

 photo IMG_3997_zpszb8rgtnr.jpgFalls Landing Mini-golf is just across the street from the water park and if you area going to spend the day, I do recommend it because it's so close. By the way, the all day golf and swim package is $8 so it's a no-brainer since it's basically free with the water park. Just be sure to mention that when you check in. The mini-golf was not an over-the-top experience like you would see at a beach destination, it was a simple course that allowed for a fun experience and you can't beat the deal.

Aquatics Center
The Anderson Aquatics Center is currently under renovation but let me tell you, when it opens, you have to go. It has a GIGANTIC indoor pool......seriously, it's HUGE. There's also an indoor splashpad.  During the summer months, there is an outdoor sprayground and snack shack as well.  It will likely all reopen in October 2017 and day passes are less than $5, you can even rent the place out for large groups for just $225 for 2 hours.

If you have family members that like to golf.............real golf..........the Lindsey Golf Course on Fort Knox is open to the public.  It's a full 18-hole course with a grill, golf shop and driving range. It's open seven days a week and the most expensive it gets for a round of golf is $25. I don't know much about golf beyond the fact that golf carts are mighty fun but I think $25 is quite reasonable. So, even if you aren't very good, at least you had a fun day riding around in the cart and you can say you golfed near the gold.

Indoor Fun
 photo IMG_3979_zpsvozmlix2.jpgThe Houston Bowling Center on Fort Knox is a clean, retro-style bowling alley that's really affordable.  It is a large center so availability is plentyful.  They also have a cafe that is very popular. It was under renovation there but everyone we spoke to raved about this cafe. That's a hidden gem you need to remember when you visit and you are looking to eat!

Tip: If you pick up one of the Fort Knox MWR magazines around Fort Knox, there will be a coupon in there for bowling.

They have a movie theater on base and they host a free movie once a month on a Sunday. Keep tabs on the calendar of events to coordinate your visit and catch one of these movies.  Otherwise, most of the time, this theatre is not open to the public.

We ate at two different locations during our day trip.  First, the golf course cafe - the Lindsey Grill.  This cafe is quick service and has everything you would want from a grill menu and I thought the prices were quite reasonable. The portions were generous!  At the golf course cafe, there's a covered patio for dining outside in the shade, which we really enjoyed. Or, for more action, you can take a seat right at the grill counter - kids always love that.

 photo IMG_8040_zpsgwfgq3ww.jpgFor dinner, we ate at Sam Adams Brewhouse. This restaurant is a family-friendly bar and grill that features an all-American style menu, a spacious dining area, a full bar and lots of TVs. Most of us had sandwich baskets that were filling and delicious but one of our hosts had the wings and he said that everyone goes there for the wings!  I was very surprised at the prices since the venue seemed higher-end at first glance but the sandwich baskets were all priced under $8 and the kids meals under $3. I definitely recommend a visit to this restaurant when you are on Fort Knox.

Also, there's a grill at the bowling alley that gets rave reviews. I noticed that there were some chain fast-food restaurants around the base for convenience and remember, there are great picnic areas near the playgrounds so you are welcome to bring your own food in to enjoy.  You can find other restaurants here.

Fort Knox does have a hotel on the base - a Holiday Inn - so if you are looking for a getaway, you can stay there because there's plenty to do over the course of a few days!
Fort Knox is not far from Radcliff, Elizabethtown or Brandenburg so you can also consider staying in hotels in these areas if you are planning a day trip or longer to visit Fort Knox. Then, you can also enjoy what these other areas have to offer. Check out Comfort Suites, it's usually where we stay for great space and breakfast included.

Here are more photos:

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Rusty Wallace Racing Experience at Kentucky Motor Speedway

 photo 20170617_115131-1_zpsi9dmfyks.jpgMy husband got me a Rusty Wallace Racing Experience ticket for my birthday! We loaded up the kids and headed out to the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky. Thrill-seeking parents - this review is for you.

The email we received the day before the racing experience said to wear comfortable clothes (to be worn on under a fire suit), closed toed shoes, and arrive half hour before the start time to register.

We parked and got to the registration desk at 9:30am, waited on line, filled out our forms, and made it across the parking lot to the classroom 5 minutes before my 10am class was to start. If you miss too much of the class, you have to wait for the next one. Be there early.

 photo 20170617_115336_zpsvzfe2aqj.jpgYou have 3 options: ride along while a professional drives, drive the race car for however many laps you pay for, or ride along and then drive the car. They (and I) recommend riding along and then driving. When you ride along, you get to see the rules in action that were explained to you in the 45 minute class (if you are just riding along, there is no class needed). On the ride along, you also realize how fast the car can really go. (I'm not 100% positive, but I think it is cheaper if you buy the ride along with your previously purchased drive experience on-site. They were really trying to talk all of the drivers into riding first, and the additional ride along was cheaper than I saw advertised online).

After the class, you go back across the parking lot to the race track. One line is for ride-alongs, the other line is for drivers. They are first come, first served, not specific drive times, so you may be waiting for a while. Bring water and snacks (and something to occupy the kids) for while you are waiting.

 photo 20170617_111604_zpsi51sdhxo.jpgOnce it's your turn, you swing your legs in the car and they take your picture. You put on your helmet and neck-brace, slide into the car, they strap you into your 5 point harness, you put in the steering wheel, and you're ready.

 photo 20170617_092230_zpsnszyhh4x.jpgYou drive by yourself, alone in the car, but your spotter talks through your earphones. You get the car up to 4th gear before you leave the pit lane for the race track, and you never shift the car again (so not to blow up the engine). The spotter directs you through getting on and off the track, passing or being passed, or any other information you need as you accelerate and decelerate around the track. There are race lane markers for your path and markers where you can floor it or need to lift off the gas. The first couple laps you get used to the course. After that your just trying to get around the track faster and faster.

It was a great experience. The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable, and I felt safe and well prepared. I would definitely do it again, and would highly recommend looking for discount online tickets for your experience. They offer mounted pictures, video, and insurance for extra fees. My husband and kids were able to come right next to the track with me to take lots of good pictures and video of half the track. There's not a lot to do other than watch the cars, but my kids did well through the 45 minute class and wait for the drive.

After the race track, we went a half hour up north to Bone Lick State Park for the kids since it was relatively close and we could do that in the same day.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Review of Kentucky Dam Village/Kentucky Lake

 photo SavedImage_20170528_190437_02-1_zpscspodpvy.jpgThe extended family (all 7 of us) were lucky enough to secure an executive cottage for a short family vacation to a Kentucky Dam Village.  Be sure to book well-in advance for a holiday weekend because we were only able to get our cottage because of a cancellation....that's how we were lucky!  The cottages, while still adorned in vintage aesthetics, had Wi-Fi & cable, and were clean, spacious and very nice overall. Also nice is the towel service that comes around every morning to see if you need clean towels.

 photo IMG_1375_zpswz5bq7ko.jpgWe loved that each cottage had a camp-style outdoor grill, and ours had a seating area just outside of the kitchen door. Just down the executive cottage street was a small, but functional playground for the kids (my children are ages 7 & 10). We brought the kids’ bikes and our oldest actually wrapped up his learning of how to ride a bike and figured out how to ride on his own just by riding around the cottage drive.

 photo 20170528_113615_HDR_zps54cqax97.jpgSaturday morning, the boys went fishing on the lake while the girls visited the Arts and Crafts Show on the property. On Sunday, the boys went fishing while the girls went to a local antique mall (Twin Lakes Antique Mall) which was very nice. The boys caught enough fish for a fish fry that evening and it was wonderful to have us all around a big round table for conversation and connection!

 photo 20170527_090033_zpsgocisalj.jpg photo 20170528_182953_zps37lcdhqp.jpgWe were able to get some pool time in as well. I was able to take my morning runs while folks were still asleep and found the perfect loop (even though it was hillier than I am used to – ouch). The weekend had lots of rain too, so I planned ahead and took a bag full of crafts and activities for the kids, including painting rocks for the new hide and seek painted rock trend.

My brother- and sister-in-law had a little more time to explore and visited a local bakery (Liteside Bakery & Garden Café) and shared a few yummy muffins. They visited the Village gift shop and commented how welcoming the people were, and on the variety of merchandise. They also took a 5 mile hike and really enjoyed that experience as well! Like everywhere though, make sure you are protected from ticks, and watch for itchy plants.

We didn’t get to the beach (yes, there’s a beach!) or eat out anywhere, but just down the road is the famous Patti’s 1880’s Settlement restaurant. The only costs for the weekend were the cottage rental, food costs for eating in, and what we spent shopping and on gas and bait for fishing.

We had a great time and would definitely go back!

By guest contributor
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Monday, July 3, 2017

Big Bone Lick Discovery Day

 photo 20170617_133722_zpsq1zd4udh.jpg photo 20170617_140815_zpsyi1ikvzn.jpgMy kids and I went to Big Bone Lick State Park for their Discovery Day in June, and the next (and last) Discovery Day is July 15th. The free event is from 11am to 3pm. We arrived around 1pm, and there was still a lot going on, and no one was out of supplies. Many of the state park sites have events throughout the year and so many are also free. Be sure to explore the events page for Kentucky State Parks so you don't miss out.

 photo 20170617_134533_zpssqjzob9j.jpgThere were a few tents set up with volunteers discussing historical times and activities. This state park is an historic site so it's always great to combine learning with family fun. My kids made necklaces, threw an atlatl (spear-thrower), and even made fire with flint.

 photo 20170617_133218-1_zps5dmfpujm.jpgThere were a couple of tables inside the museum with activities that cost a few dollars, but my kids were easily turned away with more interesting things to look at so we did not do those activities. And, as Dana mentioned in her review of the park, the gift shop is very reasonable, and sells ice cream so be sure to check that out!
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After going through all of the activities and events of the day, we went by to look at the bison herd, played at the playground, and headed home. The gift shop is open until 4pm, and the playground is open later than that if you want to make a longer day of it. There are many spots to picnic, so pack a lunch to keep the day free except for gas to get there!

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Five things to know about taking a trip to Newport Aquarium

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Many families have taken trips to the Newport Aquarium but tell us it's been a while. I thought we would take a visit and see what's new, see if we could find fun things to point out about a trip there that aren't as obvious or might be new since your last visit.  And, you'll want to take a trip back again.

  • During the summer, they do have a special admission deal you should know about. During the summer months, they have a one-kid-free deal per adult ticket after 4pm Sunday-Friday.  You have to get this deal online, not at the window. So, that's an adult and a child for $24.99.  You are thinking......I don't want to go there so late in the day.  Don't worry! There are plenty of other things to do in that area, you can go for lunch at Newport on the Levee, walk over to Ohio (see below) and be back by 4pm for the aquarium.
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  • Seahorse scavenger hunt.  When you are in the aquarium, there's one large room dedicated to seahorses.  My kids tend to wander around and yes, they are engaged but they move through it rather quickly and I find myself saying "come back, look at this!" to get them to read more or learn about the creature.  In a packed room, we were the only ones that noticed laminated cards in slots against the wall around the room.  The cards were a scavenger hunt for the kids to go through the room and identify seahorses.  This was super fun and they paid much closer attention to what they were seeing!
  • Relatively new, the shark bridge brings a little excitement to the visit. It is VERY secure so if you are less imaginative about these kinds of things like I am, it's not that scary. But, for my kids, it was a great way to exit the facility.  If you didn't know, the aquarium pretty much forces a flow in order and the shark bridge is the last attraction.  My kids liked looking down at the tank from above, definitely a different view. And, I liked that even though it was packed, the line moved quickly. There's also a shark interaction area before the bridge that we really liked.....look for the shark eggs. If you don't know what they look like, ask!
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  • The new Stingray Hideaway attraction is definitely the best part of the aquarium. It is highly interactive and just a really attractive, open area of the facility.  The tank is large and so many people can fit around it so that even if it's busy, there's plenty of room.  The tunnel that takes you into the tank to stand up and look out is small but fun for crawling all together.  My kids expressed clearly that this was their favorite part of the entire place.  They could have stayed in that area itself for at least an hour touching the rays.  There was a small shark to touch as well, an education station for looking at things like shark eggs and a hand washing area.
  • Did you know that there is a walking bridge over to Ohio directly on the east side of Newport on the Levee? It's so close to the aquarium and makes for a lovely walk over the river to Sawyer Point Park. This is a very interesting park, whether you go left or right after crossing the bridge.  There are playgrounds, a sprayground, walking and biking paths, green space, great spots for photo opportunities and more.  If you don't want to spend money on food during your visit, pack a picnic and start your visit at the park. I don't think I would ever go back to the aquarium without building in time to cross the river and enjoy this park.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Where to see fireworks on the 4th of July in Kentucky!

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We decided to compile a list of places where you can find an Independence Day celebration near you!

Ky State Parks has a listing of all of the events at their locations around the state - click here.

Also, Kentucky Tourism has a great website for events where you can filer by topic. Click here and in the keyword area, search "fireworks" BAM!  So many options!

LexFun4Kids will hook you up with all of the events in Central KY - click here has all of the options for the Louisville area - click here.

What about Shelby and Oldham counties?  There are celebrations for you too!
Click here for Shelby and here for Oldham.

Fort Knox has a big celebration on 4th of July.....great place to celebrate our country's independence. 

Have an amazing day with your family & friends!
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Monday, June 19, 2017

Ten great field trips for Kentucky kids and families

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In Kentucky we have a lot of history to explore- some good, some bad, but all a part of our past. If you are looking for places to suggest to your child’s school or places to take your family on your own here are the ten best places to start with. Many of these places offer special group rates for school field trips, so be sure to call ahead when you are planning your next educational trip!

 photo IMG_6116_zpsmnd3ekpu.jpg1. My Old Kentucky Home State Park – Aside from the fact this is the inspiration for Stephen Foster’s My Old Kentucky Home, it’s also a great way to peek into a history and way of life that is completely foreign to many of us. They also offer special programming like The Stephen Foster Story and summer fireworks.

2. Fort Boonesboro – There are plenty of places in Kentucky where you can visit Daniel Boone’s history, but Fort Boonesboro really drives home the reality of frontier life in the early days of Kentucky. It’s hard to imagine that just a little over 200 years ago Kentucky was the original western frontier!

3. The Jack Jouett House – You’ve probably never heard of Jack Jouett, but he was known as the “Paul Revere” of the South. He rode his horse through the night to warn the Continental Congress that the British were coming, sustaining lifelong disfigurement in the process. He eventually settled in Kentucky, and many of his descendants still live in the area.

4. The National Underground Railroad Museum – Kentucky was a “border state” during the Civil War, so many slaves passed through here on their way to freedom. It’s important to learn about this history, as ugly as it was, so we don’t lose sight of what freedom really means.

5. The Trail Of Tears Commemorative Park and Heritage Center – Much of this history went undocumented, but this is one of the few places we know there was an encampment of Cherokee people who were being forcibly moved to “Indian Territory.” Four thousand people died making the journey.

6. Shaker Village – Once the home of a strict religious sect called the Shakers, this place features numerous beautiful buildings that were built by hand by these industrious people. Here you can learn about the frontier way of life and what it took to build a functioning city in the middle of nowhere.

7. Steamboats – To get the full picture of what river life was like before mass produced automobiles and paved highways, you have to look to the river. It was, after all, the Interstate Highway system of its time. You can visit The Howard Steamboat Museum and The Portland Museum (LFF Review Here) in the same day to get an idea of what life and trade was like before the internal combustion engine.

 photo IMG_4232_zpsjhsf32zo.jpg8. Falls of the Ohio – We slightly cheated here;this is not in Kentucky. However, its proximity to Kentucky makes it very accessible and it's one-of-a-kind in the world.  Cross the Ohio River for this one. It is, hands down, the best place to see a wide variety of fossils that were left behind 400 million years ago during the Devonian period. If your child has any interest in geology or paleontology this is a great resource.

 photo IMG_2405_zps8mkzm1b0.jpg9. The Louisville WaterWorks Museum – Did you know that Louisville was once known as “The Graveyard of the West”? As people moved west and society expanded, sanitation wasn’t always the first thing on their minds. This led to epidemics of diseases like typhus, and eventually The Louisville Water Company developed one of the earliest and most sophisticated water treatment facilities in the world. It’s no small achievement considering there are still plenty of places in the United States that lack safe drinking water.

 photo IMG_0417_zpsinpxcsg7.jpg10. Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park – Kentucky proclaims a long list of historical figures, and Abraham Lincoln is probably the most notable of all of them. Lincoln was born in a tiny one-room log cabin in Hodgenville, Kentucky and would rise to become the 16th President of the United States. At this site there is a replica of the log cabin, and visitors can also check out the natural spring that provided his family with clean drinking water.  See more information about taking a day trip to Hodgenville and photos here.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Blueberry picking at Blues End Farm in Shelbyville

 photo 20170609_105735_zpsuwpebrlx.jpgMy family loves picking local fruits, so every summer we try to get in some time for strawberry and blueberry picking. On recommendation by a friend, we tried a new blueberry place this year called Blues End Farm. The farm is in Shelbyville, just about 30 minutes from Louisville just a few miles from I-64. For more family fun in that area, visit

After looking at the farm's website, we noticed that they ask that you call ahead. I called on a Thursday and asked if they had blueberries available and they said yes! We planned to head out the next day and they welcomed us. We followed the directions on their website and did get a little confused – just ignore the sentence about going into someone’s field and you’ll be good! When you arrive at the farm, there is a house to the left where they have a few buckets (although it might be a good idea to bring some of your own like empty milk cartons) and then the blueberries are to the right. You can drive out to the bushes, but there are only a couple good parking spots out there and it is just a few hundred yards away.

 photo 20170609_103434_zps3ay70bdp.jpgWhen we got to the blueberries, the husband of the family was there to let us into the nets. The fields are covered in nets to keep birds from getting to all the blueberries! He also did a great demonstration with us, showing us the perfect blueberries to pick and how to tell when they are really ripe! He stayed out in the field working and talking to us on and off while we picked. We asked questions about the farm and their other offerings, including maple syrup and their Bed and Breakfast. While we were there, there were two other groups of people there, so it was very quiet.

 photo 20170609_101136_zpslzinf43a.jpgAfter we had gotten our blueberries, we headed back to the house where the wife was to weigh and pay for our blueberries. They are $2.80 per pound, which we thought was very reasonable, especially for organic blueberries. They were all out of maple syrup because of a rough winter, which was sad, but we will definitely look into that for next year.

I think we have found a new blueberry place for us! We liked the quiet, quaint atmosphere and the personal experience we had there. It was also great getting to support a local couple who just love to grow and eat blueberries. They said that they grow varieties of blueberries that are generally ripe through mid July, so make sure you head out there before then, and of course, call ahead of time to make sure they’re available!

By guest contributor:
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Monday, June 5, 2017

Review of Barren River Lake State Resort Park

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LouFamFun's Barren River Lake album on Photobucket

As it's likely clear from our website, we are really interested in promoting all of the wonderful places without Kentucky for families to explore and visit.  We know that plenty of folks will venture far and wide to find family fun on vacation but we hope to show that there's also an immense amount of interesting places and true natural beauty here in Kentucky that make for outstanding destinations.  And, without the cost of airfare and really long drives, it's instantly more affordable.

Recently, we took to I65 to check out Barren River Lake Resort Park.  Here are some details we think you'll want to know and will help you plan your visit.  This map helps show you the layout. You can test a place out and know if it's a great trip when you think.....would I go back?  YES!  We want to go back.  We were there for two full days and one night. I think you need at least two nights to enjoy it and not feel rushed.

Please go through the slideshow above to see more photos. We have included just a few below.

At the resort park, there are four options for lodging and each of them have different benefits and price points.  The camping, the lodge rooms, cottages and villas - ranked from least to greatest in terms of cost.  We did not tour or experience the camping - so here's a link to more details and reservation info....and a map of the campsites.

 photo IMG_3855_zps7mdpysla.jpgLodge rooms - The distinct benefits of the lodge rooms are there proximity to the pool and lodge and the views of the sunset.  The sunset views are best seen if you have a room in the second building, especially the elevated floors.  Also, the lodge rooms are just enough for what you need if you plan to be outdoors most of the day.  The rooms are clean, have nice balconies and plenty of bathroom space.

 photo IMG_7425_zpsjixeqpaz.jpgCottages - If you plan to stay a while and want to save on dining, the cottages provide the proximity to the lodge, pool and marina along with a full kitchen, dining and living areas. Also, they have a green space in the middle area that's great for kids and families. These cottages are very much a "home away from home"if you want to spend a week at the lake as there are linens, cookware and space to spread out.

 photo IMG_7349_zpsfzyedw3r.jpgVillas - The villas are the largest space with high ceilings and quite views of the lush greenery all over the lake.  They have two porches and a very open living, dining and kitchen area.  The bedrooms and bathrooms are split between two sides of the villa so I can totally see two families sharing the cost and spending the week at the lake together. Like the cottages, the villas provide what you need for the week. However, these are not as close to the lodge as the cottages and do not have the green space and playground right out the front door but they do have a really nice private feel to them. And, I noticed a small path that leads from the villas down to the beach area through the woods. 

 photo IMG_3858_zpsf5vc58yq.jpgYou can definitely make this an active trip. There is an excellent paved 2.5 mile walking/biking path.  Do bring bikes!  They also have multiple playgrounds for free play and a small indoor gym for weights and cardiovascular workouts.  There are basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts as well as shuffleboard and you can check out the supplies at the lodge.  And, there's a full 18-hole golf course. There's also seasonal horseback riding ($18 per person for 45 minutes) during the summer months. Of course, there is an outdoor pool near the lodge.
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There are two hiking trails. We hiked the one through the woods and it was a really nice moderately rigorous hike.  We did spot poison ivy (like we do on hikes pretty much anywhere) so be prepared with long pants for hiking!  If you want to try out orienteering, they have that too - we didn't have time on our visit to try it.

 photo IMG_3803_zpspuf6hask.jpgFishing
Remember, you do need a KY fishing license to fish so get one before you go.  They do have equipment to loan out at the lodge. We brought our own and found a cove left of the beach. It was a quaint, quiet spot.

The beach is open in the summer months and provides a shallow walk in area for swimming in the lake.  It is roped off and there are bathrooms nearby as well. And, if you just want to pop in for a visit, there's no cost to enjoy a day at the beach.  The view from this area is lovely and there's quite a bit of parking.

While we were there, we did not utilize the marina. However, we did notice that it was really close by for convenience and looked it up online.  You can rent boats for the day or even just a few hours.

 photo IMG_7400_zpsfhqv1635.jpg photo IMG_7389_zps2msijgsr.jpgWe dined twice at the Driftwood Restaurant and the food was really good both times.  For dinner, we ordered off of the menu though they did have a buffet that tons of people were taking advantage of because it was prime rib (I think).  We didn't want such a huge meal that day.  My husband had catfish, I shared some chicken with my daughter and my son had a burger and fries. Our meal was fresh and just the right amount of food.  The view was lovely as well since the restaurant has windows on most sides and looks out over the state park greenery.  The restaurant offered a kids eat free deal so that made it very affordable, the same deal applied at breakfast (when ordering off the menu).  But, at breakfast, we opted for the buffet.  The breakfast was really worth it. We ate so much.....we just skipped right over lunch that day.  They had everything you would want for breakfast and kept close eye on the buffet to refresh items.  Definitely ask the server about specials like kids eat free as those deals might change! 

If you want to venture off of the state park property and explore town, it's really manageable.  There's one main road that goes in and out of the state park back to the highway so you would have a hard time getting lost!
Things we noticed:
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  • It will take you about 15 minutes to get into town.
  • There's an IGA grocery store on the way to the state park so if you need to stop to load up on groceries, it's very convenient.
  • Ask the lodge personnel for a list of local restaurants - we noticed a few on our way in and out that looked really good!
  • There was a shaved ice place on the way in so if you are visiting in the summer months, that would be a fun stop.
  • We are at Freddy's on our way in and it was a delicious, quick stop that we don't have near home. The frozen custard was wonderful and we loved their super skinny cut fries and special sauce.
  • There's an indoor fun place called Ralphie's Fun Center. If you have a rainy day during your visit, this would be a good place to check out.  I noticed they have daily specials that are pretty good deals. 
  • They host the Glasgow Highland Games the first weekend in June so if you want to be there during a time of lots of happenings and people around, that's the time to go.  And, if you want to avoid that's good to know when it is!
  • Cave City attractions are not far away. If you are planning an extended stay, it may be worth a day out and about for a cave tour or zip-lining. 
I hope that you will explore the website and check availability for Barren River Lake State Resort Park.  It was very easy to find, offered an array of outdoor activities that all families can enjoy and is more affordable than a jaunt on an airplane looking for water!

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