Everything about Kentucky’s Land Between the Lakes is amazing – from the quiet, peaceful drive along the trace to the always enjoyable and exciting Homeplace… and everything in between. Over the next month, I’m going to focus a lot of posts (and pictures) on one of the most beautiful places in the world, The LBL. As you’ll see, there in an unlimited number of things to do and see in the Land Between the Lakes.
Today I want to shine a big bright spotlight on one of the coolest places in the Land Between the Lakes region, The Homeplace. The Homeplace is a “living history farm” depicting life in the mid 19th century. While there are a lot of things I love about The Homeplace – below are my top 10.
My Top 10 Favorite Things About The Homeplace:
- Uncommonly friendly people. How friendly, warm, and welcoming are they? Well – you just read the proof. The Homeplace is a gorgeous and adventuresome place and the first thought in my mind when I sat down to do the top 10 was the friendliness of the staff. They’re genuinely delighted to see you walk through those doors and thrilled to share their special place with you and your family.
- The animals. As an animal lover extraordinaire, I can never get enough of the time spent looking at, photographing, and even talking to the wonderful farm animals at The Homeplace. The people who work with these animals treat them as beloved pets and I don’t just respect that fact, I’m in love with it.
- The Homeplace. The 1850’s Homeplace, itself, is a real marvel. It’s fascinating (and humbling) to see how men and women lived and had to go about their chores in the 1850’s. You return home with a resolve to never complain about doing laundry or vacuuming ever again. Well, at least not for a couple of months. As you walk along the farm, you’ll also find gorgeous flowers, plants, and vegetables. I once spent about 15 minutes admiring butterflies on zinnias. The world will never create anything to rival the beauty God creates. Not even close.
- Special Events. There is always… always.. something going on down on the farm. May 25 (2014), for example, is Frolic on the Farm – a favorite with kids! They get to run amok and play games children enjoyed long before they were even thought about! Other special events and days include Children’s Day on the Farm, Taste of the Homeplace (a personal favorite), Making Charcoal at Home, How Does Your Garden Grow, Make Your Own Corn Shuck Doll (I need this one – Seriously, how cool would it be to give people their own Corn Shuck doll you’d made at Christmas?), Mysteries at the Homeplace Museum, Independence Day Celebration, Red, White, and Blue Dying, History Mystery, Ice Cream Social (!!!), Spring Cleaning, and so on and on. As I said, there is always something going on. Another personal favorite is the Pickin’ Party Old-Time Music Festival – the 2014 Pickin’ Party will be June 14 and June 15. Mark your calendars! Events often featured historians and special guests who share fascinating information and stories – they’re so knowledgeable that you’d swear they must be time travelers. Keep an eye on Genuine Kentucky and on the LBL Homeplace Events Page for up to the minute event listings. Whether you plan your next trip to the Land Between the Lakes around a special Homeplace Event or you’re checking to see what’s going on during your next visit, you won’t be disappointed.
- Gift Shop. My husband’s probably thinking, “Leave it to her to work shopping into a top 10 list…” but how can I not? The gift shop at The Homeplace is like an adventure itself. I actually check it twice – once when we get there (before entering the farm) and once as we’re leaving. A girl can never be too sure – I mean, what if they added something while I was “down on the farm?!” It’s always best to check. There are wonderful Kentucky Food products, games, toys, figurines, stuffed animals. mugs, mementos, and more. A lot more. It’s a lot of fun to see what they’ve come up with next.
- History comes alive! As a history buff, I enjoy reading about history as much as the next buff, but there’s a lot to be said for actually stepping into history for yourself. Not only does the Homeplace farm take you back in time, the “residents” (dressed in period clothing) go about their chores and even interact with you. They’re stepping back in time with you as guides and it’s an experience unlike any other.
- Educational Center. Some people enjoy walking through the Educational Center before the farm and others prefer doing so after their visit to the farm. Either way, it’s a great way to further your educational experience. On hot summer days, I find myself heading in to the wonderful crisp air conditioning to “brush up on my history.” It’s all about timing. And, yes, I check out the gift shop again as well.
- South Bison Range. While I love all animals, bison are a big (literally) favorite. In addition to the LBL’s Elk & Bison Prairie, the South Bison Range allows bison the privilege to roam free on two adjacent 100-acre pastures and allows us to watch them do so. The South Bison Range is located in the southern end of LBL alongside The Trace, just up the road from The Homeplace. You’ll want to bring your camera and your binoculars for the best experience. I took the picture below on our last trip to the South Bison Range. The bison were putting on such a great show rolling in the dust, my husband had a hard time getting me to budge. Fortunately for him, I eventually got hungry, so we headed off to eat catfish at The Willow Pond!
- Two Words: Kids Unplugged. As I sat down to write about my favorite things about The Homeplace, I closed my eyes and imagined myself there. I thought about the experiences that never fail to make me smile, inside and outside. Some of the most precious pictures that kept running through my head were of children running and playing – pointing things out to one another and to their parents. Staring in awe at the huge pigs in the playpen, asking questions about the oxen, and trying to take everything in at once the way kids do. Once a little girl asked her dad if he’d ever ridden an ox. I could tell he desperately wanted to tell her that he had, but, alas, he had to admit that he hadn’t. He DID, however, have a great backup plan. He told her he’d ridden lots of horses, and that impressed her enough. I have a confession to make, the sight of kids in restaurants and other public places always looking down at their cellphones or iPads kind of makes me sad. Many of these kids are plugged into something almost all day – tvs, computers, phones, etc. To see kids (of all ages) unplugged and enjoying the beautiful outdoors is something that will always take my breath away.
- Adults Reminiscing and Reflecting. One of the things I love most about my visits to The Homeplace is the fact that, without fail, you always see and hear adults reminiscing and re-visiting their childhood. You’ll hear older men and women talking about washing clothes by hand, gardening, and doing other farm-related chores. An older lady (who wasn’t even part of the staff) once told me how she and her sisters would always help their mom churn butter and that it was some of her sweetest memories. The expression on her face let me know that she was, at that moment, back on her own farm with her mom and it was nothing short of beautiful. I’ve also heard a lot of men talking about their experiences growing up on farms. Even adults who are in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s are taken back to a simpler time. We remember playing outdoors when our imaginations provided all the entertainment we needed. The sounds of nature and the beautiful surroundings take you back – so much so that when you leave the farm and step back into the Gift Shop/Welcoming Center, it’s almost like you’re stepping back into the present.
Granted, no one wants to actually live in the past, but, man, is it ever an extra special place to visit.
South Bison Range (Land Between the Lakes) – Across from the entrance to The Homeplace.
See A lot more pictures of The Homeplace in our Photo Album.
Reminder: Visit LBL Homeplace Events Page for a list of their wonderful events. Let it be written, let it be said… There is always, always, always something going on.