More of the Hitching Post on Genuine Kentucky:
More of the Hitching Post on Genuine Kentucky:
You already know that I LOVE the Hitching Post Old Country Store in Aurora, Kentucky. The owner and workers couldn’t be any friendlier, the store’s a complete delight to look around, I always return home with great finds – such as jewelry, candles (there’s a Hershey’s chocolate candle that’ll drop you to your knees), t-shirts, hats, toys, cookbooks, figurines, and so on and on.
I’ve also told you how much I love the jams, jellies, and sauces they sell in their store. Deliciousness just looking for a mouth to happen in. Now, get this: They’ve stepped up their already yummy game and they’re nothing short of irresistible now.
My husband, our youngest daughter, and her boyfriend spent Saturday in the Land Between the Lakes region and…. OF COURSE… paid a visit to the Hitching Post Old Country Store. The kids had even more fun looking around that we did. Okay, well almost. Things looked better than ever. The porch is so pretty and decorated so charmingly that you almost hate to leave it. However, you know full well that spectacular shopping awaits you inside, so through the doors you go!
They’ve added quite a bit to the store, so the whole experience was even sweeter than before. Speaking of sweet – they now have homemade fudge available (pictured below). That fact, alone, had me smiling ear to ear all day – with a mouthful of happy sweet teeth. The fudge is remarkable, and I consider myself something of an expert.
We had the Tiger Butter Fudge this particular trip, but I have a date with the Peanut Butter fudge on my next trip. Peanut Butter Fudge has always been my favorite, but the Tiger Butter fudge is putting up an admirable battle for that top spot.
I’m thrilled that we can now enjoy homemade fudge in Aurora. Both ends of the Land Between the Lakes are now deliciously covered with fudge (The Fudge Factory in Grand Rivers is the other, of course.).
As you can see from the picture above, as well as the ones below, there are countless goodies for kids of all ages. Every single member of your family will have a ball and a half and the ridiculously warm and friendly owner and workers will treat you like a member of the family. Kentucky style.
I fell head over head in love with some Red Pepper Jelly they gave out as samples. Loved it so much, I bought a jar to bring home with us. It’s from Spring Valley Farms in Holland, Kentucky – and they know their stuff. Their sample had the Red Pepper Jelly mixed in with cream cheese. Oh. My. Gentle. God. Delicious! We promptly bought a jar of the Red Pepper Jelly and stopped by Kroger on the way home for some Cream Cheese and crackers.
It was so delicious I don’t even want to talk about it.
There are plans for the historically delightful general store next to The Hitching Post’s Country Store. Apparently they’ll soon feature work from local artists. I can’t wait to see the art and crafts that’ll be included. Can you even imagine how fantastic it’ll all be?!
As I mentioned in the last post, fudge is a topic (along with coffee and chocolate) that I rate myself as an expert. There’s another culinary delight that I also know inside and out: Hot Dogs! I’ve always had a special place in my heart (or maybe I should say my stomach?) for hot dogs. When my husband grills hot dogs and hamburgers, I generally take them off of the grill quicker than he can cook them.
When you wheel into the Hitching Post’s parking lot in Aurora, Kentucky – you’ll notice an adorable hot dog stand set up near the Hitching Post sign. The hot dog stand is run by a couple who have moved to the Land Between the Lakes area from Chicago. As you might guess, they make and sell delicious Chicago Style Hot Dogs. What you might not guess is that they are some of the best hot dogs that you’ll ever enjoy! They are all-beef hot dogs on a steamed poppy seed bun and you can top them off with any wonderful combination of condiments you choose. My husband goes all out, with ketchup, mustard, pickles, tomatoes, and onions. Although it earned me a “Boooo!” from one of the owners and the rest of my family – I just topped mine off with mustard and onions.
It. Was. Heavenly. The fact that the hot dog is all beef makes a huge difference, and the bread was utterly delicious. On the way home, we were all wishing we’d bought a baker’s dozen to nosh on all night!
The next time you’re down around the lakes, stop in the Hitching Post and have the best hot dog you’ll ever eat. You can get yummy cold bottled drinks inside the Hitching Post.
Holding the paint brush steady, Mikki gently touches the canvas adding her final stroke and smearing orange paint through vibrant green. Mikki has been painting more than 15 years and has painted more than 200 works of art. She is no ordinary artist, though. Mikki is a 9,000-pound female African elephant who uses her trunk like a hand to hold a paint brush to create her masterpieces.
Visitors to the Louisville Zoo can now get their very own Mikki masterpiece at the Zoo’s new Nature’s Gift Shoppe located inside the African Outpost restaurant. This store features works of art by some of the Zoo’s most popular animals (elephant Mikki, gorilla Jelani and orangutan Segundo).
Keepers at the Louisville Zoo strive each and every day to enrich the lives of the animals for which they care. In order to do so, they add interesting activities like painting to the animals’ daily routines. Enrichment activities are fun for everyone – animals, visitors and keepers. With our animal art enrichment, animals are given nontoxic, environmentally-safe materials and the option to paint if they choose to do so (and positive reinforcement for a job well done!).
The new store also features fair-trade products from around the world from South America to Asia including hand knit animal finger puppets from the Andes Mountains in Peru, handmade baskets from Bangladesh and tree-free paper journals from artists in India.
There are also sheep wool toys, purses, booties and baby hats that are made in Mongolia with proceeds going toward the Snow Leopard Trust and improving the livelihood of the impoverished families who live in the region. The new store also carries elephant-friendly ivory products (which look like ivory but come from the tagua nut that grows from a type of South American palm tree). Other available items include Himalayan jewelry, natural seed jewelry from artists in Antigua, hand woven pillows and purses from India and much more.
The sale of these fair-trade products helps people in developing countries move toward economic self-sufficiency and stability.
Prices for the one-of-a-kind animal artwork range from $25 for a 5-inch-by-7-inch painted canvas to $250 for a 20-inch-by-30-inch painted canvas, and fair-trade products start as low as $1.
Proceeds of animal art purchases benefit the Zoo’s animal enrichment programs and conservation efforts. Nature’s Gift Shoppe is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Female African elephant Mikki was born in 1985 and arrived at the Louisville Zoo on July 28, 1987, from the wild.
She became a mom in 2007 to Scotty, the Zoo’s first elephant born in the Zoo’s 40 year history.
Her favorite activity besides painting is eating!
Mikki has been painting more than 15 years and has painted more than 200 works of art. She uses her trunk like a hand and holds a paint brush to paint her masterpieces, which are always a rainbow of colors.
Jelani, a blackback gorilla born at Lincoln Park Zoo in 1997, arrived at Louisville Zoo in 2002. Jelani currently resides with three other blackbacks – Bengati, Kicho and Cecil. He is a laid-back individual, but enjoys rough play and daring antics at times. He enjoys the company of all of the blackbacks of the group, and he can often be seen playfully chest beating with one hand when interacting with other group members.
Jelani has been finger painting for more than four years. His keepers say it is an outlet of his artistic expression and that it is enjoyable enrichment for Jelani.
Segundo is a 21-year-old male Sumatran orangutan who was born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas. He has been at the Louisville Zoo for about 12 years.
You can tell Segundo apart from our other male orangutan at the Louisville Zoo because Segundo doesn’t have a throat sac. It was removed when he was about 15 years old due to air sacculitis, an infection within an orangutan’s air sac. Segundo was only the fifth orangutan in North America to undergo a throat sac removal.
Segundo is quiet and shy and likes to hang out and spend time with his keepers. His favorite foods are ripe pears and believe it or not, lima beans!
Segundo really enjoys painting, but once he begins, watch out – he likes to not only paint the canvas, but the walls and everything near him.
Click on each of the thumbnails to see the larger versions. I would love to fill our entire home with these beautiful pieces – I’d have an animal’s painting in each room. The Louisville Zoo is beyond amazing the things they have to enrich their animals’ lives never ceases to amaze me.
The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). For more information, visit www.louisvillezoo.org.
The information and pictures are courtesy of the Louisville Zoo and I’d love to thank them for sharing.