Annie’s Frugal Finery, Whitesburg KY |The Bourbon Soaked Mom

I have discovered the holy grail of consignment shops, nestled right here in Eastern Kentucky. Yes! I said, EASTERN KENTUCKY! Our region houses one of the finest upscale consignment stores that (in my opinion) rivals any I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to many. Annie’s has been in business since 2009, with the big pink building being their 3rd location. A member of NARTS (national association of retail thrift stores), they have over 2500 cosigners, including myself! Not only is their business thriving, but their beliefs and vision includes giving back to their community while promoting the growth of their small town and surrounding rural counties.

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Located across from the Pine Mountain Grill in the pink brick building, Annie’s is both unique and quirky. The store has a boutique feel, and houses brands including, but not limited to Lilly Pulitzer, Mud Pie, designers like Hermes, Coach, Kate Spade, and Louis Vuitton. Depending on how long things last, usually items sale out without minutes! (Honestly, if you haven’t followed them on Instagram and gotten their notifications, I suggest it!)  Annie’s has not only women and men’s clothing, but purses, wallets, jewelry, shoes and household items such as glassware, furniture and wall decor. Not to mention, Annie’s is also fully stocked in baby and kid’s clothing, toys and accessories! I recently purchased a large bulk of Greyson’s school clothes, name brand items like Gymboree, Ralph Lauren, Children’s Place and Under Armor. I also like to buy some of my husband’s golf clothing there because it is so expensive if you purchase it from somewhere like Dick’s or Taylor Made. Each item accepted at Annie’s is hand inspected and looks basically brand new for a fraction of what it would cost me to buy it out right. The last items I purchased for myself were a couple of shirts from J. Crew and Loft and one still had tags on it!

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Annie’s is locally and family owned, with the real life Annie (the name sake, and daughter of owner Debbie Campbell) working full times as the store’s sale manager. Debbie Reyn Campbell, the owner was both gracious enough to allow me to come and photograph her store, but she and Annie were also there to take my consignment and meet me formally. I’ve been going places and doing blogs on local EKY business for almost two years and this was best reception I believe i’ve ever had. After some warm conversation, it became evident that she and I both share the same love for our area, and truly believe in the shop local, buy local movement, Campbell added:

“We put money back into our community everyday. Half of every purchase goes back into the hands of a consignor. We make a difference in peoples lives by helping them to create supplemental income and by offering a place to purchase nice quality items at an affordable price. I love the fact that we not only provide jobs for our area (we’ve had as many as 4 employees even though we only have two right now). I don’t count myself. I love that we re-purpose and recycle items that otherwise might be wasted. And I love that we are a vital part of our area.”

 

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If you’re interested in becoming a consignor at Annie’s there are several guidelines to follow. Annie’s accepts consignments on Wednesday and Friday. You receive half of whatever the item sells for when it sells. They keep it on the floor for 60-90 days. Annie’s only accepts in-season items and are currently accepting summer. Any items that do not sell are donated at the end of the selling period unless they are priced $50 or more in our store. In which case, we call you and you have 5 days to pick them up. We accept brand name only. We do not take formals, maternity, or scrubs.

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I suggest making a trip to Annie’s and making a day of it. Go check it out and enjoy Letcher country. There are several places to eat, and Annie’s is close to down town. It’s easy to spend a few hours in there just browsing and chatting. I enjoy it every single time I stop in. I believe it’s such a great idea to help people feel beautiful, and dress nice at a fraction of the cost, while also helping put money back into the pockets and businesses of the people of Eastern Kentucky. I would 10-1 rather give my business and money to a place where I know they are going to turn around and funnel their profits back into their small town instead of sending it out of state. Campbell insists her favorite part of running Annie’s is helping others and meeting new people.

“The main thing I love about our store is that we get to meet lots of people that we wouldn’t otherwise have known. And so many of those people have made our lives nicer and better. We love our store and we love the people of Eastern Kentucky. Its just a blessing to get to do what we do.”

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Add Annie’s Frugal Finery on Facebook and follow them on Instagram.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anniesfrugalfinery/?fref=ts

Instagram: @anniesfrugalfinery

From now until the end of August, if you go in to Annie’s and either mention this TBSM article, or show them on your phone you can receive 20 percent off your purchase! Happy Shopping!

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Blue Moon Boutique. Kentucky and Southern Proud Gifts. |The Bourbon Soaked Mom|

I’ve been following this amazing store on Instagram for quite some time. Everything they post, whether it be jewelry or clothing, I want it.

Blue Moon Boutique specializes in “uniquely Southern jewelry and gifts”. They aim to showcase a variety of items made by local artists and artisans and love bringing some of these mom and pop type operations to a larger scale. The ladies at Blue Moon will grab trendy things that Southern girls have an eye for as well. Blue Moon’s customers include women from all over Kentucky, as well as the nation, and one of the main goals is to showcase local Kentucky talent in front of their ever expanding customer base. In July, they will celebrate their one year anniversary.

One of the reasons that I chose to reach out to Lindsay, the owner of Blue Moon, was not only because I love their merchandise. Of course, I’m going to love a store that sells amazing, quality Kentucky themed gifts. There’s more to it. Lindsay is also someone who shares the same love and kinship that I feel in my heart for our home state, and our region. She tells me this while casually chatting about the store, and I think it’s such a wonderful thing for a young business owner to say:

“A lot of people, in my generation especially, have nothing for Kentucky, they can’t wait to get out of here and I just sit back in awe of how beautiful it is and the heritage that comes from this area. I travel and get picked for my accent but I hope it never changes because I am so very proud of where I’m from.”

 

Pictured here I am wearing their Kentucky tee, which isn’t available anymore, but there are so many others that are completely amazing. My favorite thing, however, was the ‘Kentuckian’ cuff, pictured below, that I honestly have not taken off since I received it in the mail. I like to pair it with other arm candy, or just wear it plain, and even though the writing is small, SO many people recognize what it says and have asked me where they can purchase one. It would be the perfect gift for the Kentucky girl in your life, or even for yourself.

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Be sure to go online, visit Instagram and check out this amazing shop.

Shop Local, Buy Local, Kentucky Proud.

Website: www.bluemoonofky.com

Instagram: @bluemoonofkyboutique https://instagram.com/bluemoonboutiqueky/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blue-Moon-Boutique/1505274953017601?fref=ts

10 Things You Must Do If You Ever Come to Hazard Ky.

Anyone that reads my blog knows that I love my hometown. Despite all the negativity that seems to always cloud the good parts, Hazard really is pretty special. When I was at EKU, I would bring in my friends from other areas, and they couldn’t believe this place. Most of them loved it, and would talk about it years after their visits. I guess to really appreciate it, you have to experience it for yourself. For anyone that reads this, that isn’t from our area, here is a list of 10 things you MUST do if you ever visit Hazard.

1: Go see the Mother Goose. My poor roommate Jaimee was from the Cincinnati area, and had never really been to Eastern Kentucky. Apart from being completely baffled by the copious amounts of kud zu we have, she couldn’t believe we had a building in town that was in the shape of a green, over sized goose. To me, it is just something that I have grown up with, and am used to, but honestly, if you have never saw anything like it, I guess it would startle the crap out of you.

2: Drive up to the La Citadel. Now, I may be biased, because I live close to here, on Sun Valley, but that mountain is absolutely beautiful. La Citadel, in it’s hay day was a swinging place. I have heard many party stories about the glory days. The old hotel overlooks the entire city, and miles of beautiful mountains. It is sad to see all the history, and the place run down, but just trust me, it is worth the drive, although you may get a little car sick. It’s very windy and very high up!

3: Go on Saturday and get chicken and dumplings with okra and macaroni and tomato from Circle T. No explanation needed here. You will thank me. That diner is the epitome of small town sweetness. Friendly people, family owned, everyone you know in there, playing Keno and drinking coffee. I love it.

4: Go across the road to France’s Diner and get a peanut butter milkshake. Heaven in a cup. Your brain might cave in because it is so thick, but it is SO delicious. They used to deliver them to us when I was a Perry Central. Perfection.

5: Have a beer at the Broken Spoke. It has been on main street forever. The lounge has a fabled history of bar brawls, and Bo and Luke Duke-esque antics, but they have live music and karaoke and it’s a good time. Plus, it seems like everyone’s rowdy friends have settled down. So,Why not? Plus, Mr. Haley is a really sweet man, (the owner) and it’s nice to sit down and have a conversation with him and his wife.

6: Grab lunch at the Tree house Cafe. Such a cute little place on main street, and their turkey, bacon ranch club is to die for! They usually have live bands and poetry readings on some evenings. Really neat.

7: Browse Bobby Davis Park and Museum. This place is beautiful. I have had all of my family pictures done there, in fact the ones on my blog are taken in this location. Old stone stairways, rows of ivy, shade trees. It’s just lovely. Check it out, and the museum has some great artifacts and tid bits about our heritage.

8: Go fishing on the dock behind City Hall. My two year old loves this. It is beautiful back there, and so peaceful.

9:If you are a music person, stop in Taulbee’s on high street. It is like stepping back in time. He sells instruments, strings, sheet music, but the best part is that every time you go in, there is always someone there having a jam session. He even has an old school, pull-lever cash register. I love that.

10: Sit on the steps by the court house and people watch. You want to talk about diversity. You can see a millionaire drive by in an expensive car and speak to someone who is struggling and doesn’t have anything. Hazard has them all. Always interesting, and guaranteed to give you a laugh, or make you appreciate what you do have. Either way, I bet you will make at least one friend.

                       If you ever pass through, remember us, and the unique-ness that is Hazard.

 For more information Contact Hazard-Perry County Tourism:

http://www.hazardperrytourism.com/

Photo Credits On This Blog:

www.wsgs.com

http://www.smoothphoto.com/ (Photos By Robert K. Hall)

Edit: After going about my day, I remembered another pivotal place in Hazard that everyone knows, loves and goes to, and I honestly cannot believe I forgot about it. The Pantry Shelf in Hazard. It is a MUST to stop by and grab a dozen doughnuts. They are the absolute best around. My friend, Jarron, who is also a part of Hazard’s rotary club was kind enough to tell me about a program going on right now where The Pantry Shelf will donate a dollar to The Rotary Club’s fund for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, per every dozen doughnuts sold, (whether you buy one of a dozen it all adds up) which benefits children in our community. If you sign your children up, they get a free book a month until they are five. Every child in the home gets a book. This runs through October, and every dollar made will be matched by Run For The Hills. This has been going on since August. There are pamphlets available in the store for more information. They are trying to get enough funding to do this county wide, not just in the city. This is so great, I know and understand how vital reading to your children is to cultivate an early love of learning. Susan Brotherton, the owner, has already advised me to sign my children up, because it is such a great program! Great to see local business owners giving back! Now, go buy some doughnuts!!

My Fall (Kentucky) Bucket List.

Kentucky in the fall is a breath taking place. I may be a little bit biased, but I absolutely adore my home state. I have been many places in the USA and there is no place like Kentucky. Brilliant colors, crisp clean air, pristine lakes, foggy mountains. Kentucky is hard to top. Every Autumn I like to do fall activities with my children, and think of news ways to give them a grand appreciation of their home. I started the idea of a bucket list last year with Greyson, and will continue this year with both of my baby boys. After much thought and consideration, here is what my fall bucket list looks like.

1: The Pumpkin Patch: Holliday Farms

I love this place. I was raised a few miles away from here, in Ary (Rowdy) Kentucky. I took Greyson here last year and he adored it. The farm is family owned and operated and is truly beautiful. It has a old time country fell to it, which really adds to the experience. They have a really neat corn maze, that kids love. I even loved it. You can go out and pick your own pumpkin, and then they have tables set up where the kids can paint them. They have snacks, concessions, and offer hay rides and a petting zoo. You can also purchase a variety of pumpkins, mums, and other seasonal goodies. All in all, this is a must if you have small children. They will love it, and it is fun for the entire family.

                                               Here is a link to the official website for Holliday Farms.
                                               http://www.hollidayfarmandgarden.com/

Check them out, and give them a visit.

2: Red River Gorge/Miguels Pizza

Located in Wolf County, this little gem is one of my favorite places. I love the gorge. But the gorge in the fall is amazing. Even if you just pass through it, it is worth the gas money. I like to drive through and stop at the visiting center, and the old log cabin that is along the road. There are also several short walking trails and look out points that you can go and get a breath taking view. If you are a more avid hiker/adventurist, they offer kayaking and camp grounds, as well as rock climbing and cabin rentals.

                                                       http://www.redrivergorge.com/

Miguels pizza is also located in the gorge. It is the most adorable little restraunt, and is always PACKED. The food is delicious!

                                                        http://www.miguelspizza.com/ 

3: Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate.

                                                               http://henryclay.org/

Located at the corner of Sycamore, and Richmond Roads in Lexington, Ky, Henry Clay’s 18 room mansion will leave you speechless. For those of you who may not know, Henry Clay is one of the great figures of Kentucky History. Clay was a stateman for the Union, and also known as “The Great Compromiser”. Henry Clay changed the role of Speaker of the House and made it the powerful position it is today.  Henry Clay held that office longer than anyone in the history of the House of Representatives  other than Sam Rayburn. It is fun to go view the grounds of the estate, and learn about such an influential figure in not only Kentucky’s history, but also the history of our great nation. They offer tours of the mansion, and also the museum, located on the grounds.

4: White Hall in Richmond, Ky.

Can we just talk about how much I die for this house? Oh my goodness. When I was in school at Eastern, I went here several times to try and go on a tour and I never did get to. White Hall was the Kentucky home of Cassius Marcellus Clay. He was an anti-slavery newspaper publisher, politician, soldier and Minister to Russia through the Lincoln, Johnson and Grant administrations. He published True American for nearly 25 years. His daughter, Laura Clay, was the first woman nominated for President by the Democratic Party. So much history in this home. I would love to see it. Obviously I am a history buff.
This restored 44-room Italianate mansion was built in 1798-1799 and remodeled in the 1860s. This house was restored in 1971 under the leadership of Kentucky’s First Lady Beula C. Nunn, with assistance of the Kentucky Mansions Preservation Foundation.[1] In addition to the heirloom and period furnishings, White Hall has many unique features for its day, including indoor plumbing and central heating.
White Hall is located at 500 White Hall Shrine Road in Richmond, Kentucky. It is a state historic site and is open for tours Wednesday – Sunday, April 1 – October 31.

 5: Ride the RJ Corman Old Kentucky Dinner Train.

                                                    http://www.kydinnertrain.com/
I have never been on any kind of train, other than the subway in DC. I think this would be amazing. Greyson would absolutely love it. My Mom and Aunts went last year and they had rave reviews. he train travels roundtrip from R.J. Corman’s Lexington Station through beautiful horse farms; pass Keeneland Race Course, the village of Pisgah and into the town of Versailles.
The train ride is approximately 2 hours for lunch and 2 ½ hours for dinner excursions. Special children’s excursions, for ages 3 through 12, and breakfast excursions are approximately 1 ½ hours in length. In the winter during christmas, they also offer a Polar Express ride for children. I am most definitly doing that this year!

Hopefully, I will get to do all of these with my boys this fall. What is your fall bucket list, and do you enjoy Autumn as much as I do? I hope so. Time to go out and make fall magical!

Fall is HERE! Black Gold, Festival Food, and Crafts!

I absolutely love fall. When I was young, I remember it being such a magical time for myself and for my cousins. My Grandpa would help us rake mounds and mounds of leaves, and laugh, as we would roll down hills, and end up with caterpillars in our hair and chiggers all over us. My Mom’s house always smelled like pumpkin and gingerbread, and as the days got shorter and cooler, and school wound back into routine, I loved the crispness of the air and easiness of sweaters, and boots. The anticipation of Halloween, and picking out which costume to wear, and where to go trick or treating was always one of my favorite things. My Aunt and Uncle would throw huge Halloween parties at their home, complete with a terrifying (haunted) obstacle course, centered around their own home-made legend of a ghoul who lived out back named JR. (yes, we all believed it.) Now, I am a Mother and I hope to make Fall as magical for my children as my family once made it for me. Fall to me still means many things. For as long as I can remember, there has always been one thing, to me, that has symbolized the beginning of Autumn, and that would be the Black Gold Festival, here in good ole Hazard.

The Black Gold Festival was held last weekend, and of course I had to lug my two babies downtown to get some delicious (and fattening) festival food. I know that most people here in town (and sometimes myself included) talk about how much they dislike the Black Gold, but it does bring in revenue to Hazard, so I can’t talk too negatively about it. It is hard dealing with the traffic (especially because I live in town) but I do feel very nostalgic about the festivities. I used to love going to the carnival, getting a wrist band and riding the scrambler and tilt-o-whirl all day, until I lost my lunch. Trying your best to win a goldfish or a bunny rabbit at the Carnival games, or playing darts with balloons to win some cheesy pop culture poster. I have fond memories of the Black Gold in it’s glory days.

I always enjoying going downtown and seeing people that I know. You can always count on seeing almost everyone that you went to school with, and half of the people that you know, which isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes, it’s nice to catch up. I ended up running into my dear friend, Ms. Alison Wells, who is not only a great attorney, but a great person as well. She is running for Circuit Judge in November, and was doing a fantastic job, handing out free waters and lemonade at her booth. I just think the world of her, she has been so kind to me over the years, and she will make a fantastic Judge.

I couldn’t leave without browsing through the craft booths, which are always filled with local vendors. I like to shop local, because if everyone did, we could really boost our economy. I was really impressed with the diversity of goods they offered this year. From home made quilts, to custom cut belts, down to refurbished furniture and local gemstones. It was truly interesting to just go and look and take everything in.

Of course, I also had to get a funnel cake, and a blooming onion. Festival food staples, I am ashamed to say we demolished every bit!

Fall is truly a time of those last few cookouts, festivals, pumpkin patches and playgrounds. The Black Gold, for me, has always symbolized the beginning. I am always just a little excited for it, (yes, I am a kid at heart) and always a tiny bit sad to see it go. My babies enjoyed it, and therefor, I enjoyed it. (My Husband, not so much.) But here’s to the beginning of fall! May you all have lots of Apple Cider, bountiful Halloween Candy, pumpkin spice everything, and lots of love and laughter.

PJ’s Attic is Hazard’s Local Treasure Trove.

 Located conveniently on East Main, in Hazard Ky, PJ’s Attic, is Hazard’s resident treasure trove. Owned and operated by Ms. Paula Goodlette, this unique little shop has captured many hearts in the area. I love walking into a place and never knowing what I am going to find. People have asked me several times, where I like to go in our area to shop around for unique antiques or things that are hard to find, and I always have to gush to them about how completely amazing PJ’s is. Because honestly, I have never really been to another place like it. From glittering hat pins, glam 1950’s brooches, vintage baby layette sets, delicate depression glass bone dishes, to beautiful hand carved antique beds, worn books, vintage TIME magazines and kooky handmade aprons, this store is something
everyone should go and take in.

I was lucky enough to have had some one on one time with Ms. Goodlette and she showed me around her store yesterday, and spoke to me about the history regarding it’s location. The shop is located in the old Hazard A&P building, which was built by Goodlette’s grandfather in he 1950’s. I have heard many people speak of the old A&P, and share fond memories. My Grandmother used to shop there and my mom can remember being little and going with her.

Goodlette also had an indoor vendors mall in the location for 23 years, which I told her that I can remember going to with my Grandparents and Aunts when I was young. Later, this became PJ’s Attic when people started coming to her for answers on where to find antique used furniture. The idea just kind of took off. PJ’s also offers consignment services. If you have things that you want her to come box up and take back to her store to sell, she will do it for a commission, and you can also take things to her to be sold. She deals a lot with estate sales and liquidations also. The shop is rich in history, and even if you aren’t going in to buy anything, just going in to browse and soak up times gone by, will leave you with on a smile on your face. Even my two year old loves going in and looking at all the trinkets and toys.

 I loved the necklace and earring set on the left. If only I had somewhere fancy enough to wear it to!

PJ’s has a wide selection of antique jewelry, right down to furniture, glassware, pictures, nick knacks
, books, vinyls and basically anything you can imagine! I love going in to browse to see what she has brought in. When Kyle and I were first married, he bought me a silver antique cigarette case there that I absolutely ADORE. I have also purchased a seriously unique marble office ash tray there, and a beautiful Orvis briefcase for Kyle. She has great deals, is willing to negotiate and offers half off sales, and other seasonal options. She also in the process of expanding her space, and has opened up several more rooms in addition to her already sprawling inventory. There really is something for every one there!

So if you are ever in the area, this is one of those stores that you will want to go and tell you friends about. I love getting a glimpse back into simpler days gone by, and buying pieces to have in my home that reflect those by gone eras.

https://www.facebook.com/paula.pjsattic?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

Above is the face book link to PJ’s Attic! If you have any questions, Paula is always more than helpful and always posts pictures of her new merchandise and is more than accommodating when it comes to her customers.

Happy Pickin everyone!

My Love Affair with Hazard.

Hazard Kentucky. A small town, nestled in the foothills of South Eastern Kentucky. Part of Appalachia, the area has a rich history. Elijah Combs traveled here in 1795 and built the first “temporary” house on the North Fork of the Kentucky River. He was the founder of Perry County, which was the 68th county founded in Kentucky, in 1821. Even in early court records, the town was always called Hazard. Hazard grew slowly, and by the time the civil war broke out, there were about a dozen families settled here. The Civil War was a time of misery for the mountain people, and the town was subject to guerrilla raids and looting from a band of wild outlaws. The expansion of the railroad, and the boom of lumber and the  coal industry in the 1920’s transformed the town into a major mining industry, which still somewhat continues today.

Even though now, we are mostly known for our addiction problems, and coal lay offs. I still have a love affair with my home town. It started for me when I was young, and a trip to Hazard was a big treat. We lived in Lost Creek, which is out in the county and is a lengthy drive into town. I can remember going to an old fashioned styled drug store, on Main street,  and watching as they would make lemonade by hand, while I sat a top a swiveling bar stool. I can’t be sure, but I always assumed that it was Rexall’s. I used to love to stop in Bybee jewelry (now the Hall’s Mall’s) and look at all the trinkets, pottery and pretties they had displayed. My mom always told me not to touch. Christmas downtown, when I was little, was magical. There were trees lining the side walks and they would drape Christmas lights across the street. It almost looked like a glittered canopy. Every store window was painted and decorated. People took a lot of pride in it. I loved that.  There was Huff Drug, located in Hazard clinic, that had a never ending display of gifts, especially teddy bears, that made my doctors visits a little more cheery. They sold licorice in the single slices, not the Twizzlers kind. I remember always getting a pack before going upstairs. On Sundays, my dad would take me to Circle T for chicken and dumplins, and then to France’s for peanut butter milkshakes. He used to know, and like both owners and so, he didn’t want to pick a side. Small town life. Little things.

School Rivalries. Namely, M.C. Napier (back in the day) and Hazard, and now Perry Central and Hazard. You want to talk about getting someone riled up, just mention it. My mom and my step dad were high school sweethearts. Mom cheered for Napier, Keith played ball for Hazard. It is STILL an issue in our house when they play each other. My mom is so awful, she can’t even go to games.  I am a Commodore through and through, ( I cheered for Perry) and I live on a street with the Principal of Hazard High school, a prospective Mayor candidate, the Magistrate of Hazard and numerous die hard bulldog fans. I am outnumbered and outranked. (But I am still looking for a PCC flag to fly on my front porch) Nowhere else can you hate someone blatantly during a ballgame, and then after it is over, go out with them and be best friends. Small town life. 

As I got older, I started to see more and more businesses close down.Schools were consolidated, the coal industry was changing. Downtown Hazard now, is only a shell of what it used to be. There are loiters that dirty up the streets, hookers that make the town a running punch line among visitors. It makes me sad to see what was once a booming, beautiful little town, turn desolate. But still, I have a love affair with Hazard that has never went away. I moved away briefly (to Richmond)  after graduating high school, spent much of that year so homesick that I couldn’t think straight. I came right back home. Something about these mountains, and this town, gets in your blood and never lets you go. I see people leave all the time, and then come right back. Hazard is just a part of who I am, I will more than likely never leave it.

The people, the traditions, the heritage. Families that have known each other from generation to generation. You have the same teachers your parents had. You eat at the same restaurants your grandparents used to. Everyone is so intertwined. Our cast of characters in town is more like something from a slapstick comedy. Everyone knows Larry Love, the sweet newspaper guy that can put a smile on anyone’s face, down to HB, the longtime liquor distributor known as Brewers. Life is slow and small here, but at the same time, done on a big scale. So contrasting and different in every way.

I look forward to raising my children here, whatever anyone else says. They will go to school with the children of my classmates, and probably hear tales about me in my younger days. They will more than likely join the ranks of Hazard town folk, when they are older, and maybe even inherit my love for this place. They will go on dates at Wal Mart (god forbid) and probably scramble through a road block late one night at “Coastal”. They will become Commodores, maybe even Bulldogs (hope not) who knows? They will learn not to speed by the college, not be caught after dark at the Park, and which police officers will let them off, because they know me or their dad. (You all know it happens.)
All the folk lore and legend of this town will become second tongue to them, and they will enjoy it, and retell it to their children, whenever that time comes. Time always marches on.

 I can’t tell you all the reasons I love it, but there are many. Maybe, more sentimental than anything. There is a memory around every corner, a connection behind every door. I am Hazard from the top of my head, to the tips of my toes. The unique little place captured my imagination 20 some odd years ago, and just never let me go. I will always be “that girl from Hazard”. I am still proud of the queen city, and hope that in the future, it’s inhabitants can restore her back to her former beauty and make her lovely again. I still believe in it.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/583192035081693/

Above is the link to Invision Hazard.  InVision Hazard is an ad hoc citizens’ action group dedicated to revitalizing downtown Hazard to make it a fun, vibrant place to work and play! This group is facilitated by the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, the local community foundation. If you have questions about the project or would like to get involved, please contact the Foundation at 606-439-1357 or email the group’s facilitator, Allison Tse, at allison@appalachianky.org. 

Additional credits for information on this blog go to:

www.wsgs.com

www.hazardkentucky.com

www.cityofhazard.com

Note: I am in no way a part of or affiliated with InVision, however, I think what they are doing is fantastic, and I just wanted to share in case anyone who reads this would like to be a part of it, or contact them with ideas.

My Anniversary Weekend: Bourbon, Chocolate, Kentucky History and staying on a Budget.

My husband and I celebrated two wonderful years of marriage this weekend. We have survived three years, (two of them married) three moves, two kids, and we still have managed to feel like we just met. This weekend, we headed out to the flat lands to do a little rest and relaxation. (A full night of uninterrupted sleep is seriously like a vacation to us.) We had toyed with the idea of a cruise, (which my brother and sister in law are on right now) going to the beach, or maybe renting a cabin in the Smoky Mountains. However, when the time came around, I just can’t stand to be far away from my babies. I have to be close enough to be able to get to them quickly, if something were to happen and they needed me. Just the way I am, my worst fear is something going wrong, and me not being able to get to them. That is why we decided to keep it low key, go to Lexington, and enjoy what Kentucky has to offer.

 We toured the beautiful grounds of the fabled Buffalo Trace bourbon distillery, in Frankfort, Ky. After that, we headed back to Lexington, where we sipped whiskey sours by the pitcher at Charlie Browns, and listened to a live band play John Prine and The Band at the Chevy Chase Inn. I got to sift through dusty old books, and pilfer through stacks upon stacks of Vinyls at places like Goodwill, and Peddlers Malls. We enjoyed thick cut steaks, with fried shrimp and Kentucky ale on tap at a local favorite like Columbia’s, and got to taste test decadent bourbon balls with almonds, topped with milk chocolate pecan clusters and melt away peanut butter bars at Old Kentucky Chocolates on Southland. Wow. Lexington can be seriously amazing.

Buffalo Trace was my favorite stop. I have been talking about going there forever, and Kyle surprised me by taking me. I love Kentucky history, and this place is about as steeped in history as you can get. Literally, when you drive up to park, you can smell bourbon. The first thing you see is the main warehouse, which was built in the mid 1800s. Every window, you can see barrels upon barrel of bourbon. Amazing.

The tour itself is actually free, with a complimentary taste test at the very end. It lasts about an hour, you get to see the main warehouse, where they bottle and label some of their finest single barrel bourbon, named “Blanton”. You also get to see a video and learn a lot about  the grounds, and some really cool facts about prohibition. There are still bars over the windows of the warehouses, so that people couldn’t steal the barrels. The distillery was one of four in the nation that could legally distribute alcohol for medicinal purposes.

On the right is a picture of me in the bottom floor of the above warehouse. I am claustrophobic, and I won’t lie, this was a little tough for me. Bourbon barrels are in every single place you look, stacked on top of each other. Really cool, but the smell could knock you down!

Below to the left is a picture of Kyle and myself at the worlds smallest warehouse. It houses the 6 millionth barrel of bourbon distilled since the end of prohibition. It was put in in 2008, I am not sure how long they are going to let it age, but once it is bottled, they are going to auction the proceeds off the charity. Note: That one barrel is the only barrel housed there.

              They also have beautiful grounds that you can walk. The presidents mansion overlooks the entire distillery and you can walk the botanical gardens and the trails there. The below picture is me sitting on the front steps of his stone mansion. It was gorgeous.

The complimentary tasting at the end is fun too. You get to try two bourbons, one single barrel and then a new bourbon cream that pairs well with root beer or coffee. Needless to say, I came home with a bottle of it. To get more information on additional tours and history about the distillery, below is the official bourbon trace link.
We stayed at the Griffin Gate in Lexington, and can I tell you how absolutely beautiful it was. Really accommodating staff and beautiful place all together. They have a spa, a golf course, numerous shops and restaurants with a bar. We really enjoyed it. Below is a picture of the Mansion Restaurant, this was right outside our window. It is reminiscent of an antebellum plantation in the deep south. Any Gone With The Wind fan, can surely appreciate it.  I had a friend get married here last summer, and her pictures were beautiful. This picture does it no justice, trust me. 

 

 One of our last, and possibly one of my favorite places in Lexington, would have to be The Old Kentucky Chocolate Factory. I absolutely love it. It is only a hop, skip and a jump away from Wilcutts guitar store, (Kyle’s favorite place) and we discovered it one day, while we were waiting for them to open. They offer tours, (which I have never went on, yet) and the place is ran by the two most adorable little ladies. They are so sweet, and every time I go in, they always stuff chocolates in my hand and beg me to try their newest thing. It is a lot like going to grandma’s house. You don’t have any choice but to eat. 
Above is a picture of Kyle, taste testing a pecan bourbon ball.
 Needless to say, we bought 22 dollars worth of nothing but pure chocolate goodness. Candy bars, pecan clusters, raspberry white chocolate truffles, and one very large milk chocolate Mickey Mouse for Greyson.  They offer a lot of gifts, as well. They have everything Lexington, UK, and horses. They also offer some fundraising opportunities for sports teams, or whatever else you need to raise money for. Their regular candy bars are my favorite, and they are only a buck. Below is the official link, check them out if you are ever in that area, but be prepared to come out, stuffed to the gills with chocolate. 
Our weekend may not seem like much to some people, but to us it felt like we had been away for weeks. We had  great time, just being with each other, discovering new places, and learning things about each other, without the babies. But of course, we missed them, and the second night I locked myself in the bathroom and cried after speaking to my oldest on the phone. All in all, we loved our mini vacation and took great pleasure in enjoying little things, and not getting wrapped up in all the vacay hype. We are proof that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a lot of fun, and that simple things in life really are worth slowing down for, enjoying and appreciating. 
Love you baby. Happy two year anniversary to us.