By Kathy Witt
Meet the characters from author and horse farm owner Ellie Troutman’s children’s book, The Tails of Windy Meadows, and see the working Windy Meadows Horse Farm through the eyes of its horses.
Learn about craft distilling and the use of locally grown grains on an interactive tour of Oldham County’s own Kentucky Artisan Distillery, home of Jefferson’s Reserve and Whiskey Row bourbons.
At Aurora Acres Horse Farm, get to know one of the least understood horses in history – the famous Gypsy Vanners, known for their lavish leg feathering and long, flowing manes.
Want to see buffalo within grazing distance of the city? See these hairy and hearty beasts and learn their part in sustainability at Woodland Buffalo Farm.
Farm Tour Capital of Kentucky
These are just a few of the 17 farm tour experiences that await in Oldham County, “The Farm Tour Capital of Kentucky.” Located just 20 minutes from downtown Louisville, Oldham County feels like a world removed, with its rich rural history and beautiful rolling farmland graced by horses, buffalo, alpacas, sheep, dairy and grass-fed beef cows – and stunning botanical gardens.
Or see Oldham County as it was meant to be seen – on horseback! Little Big Horse Trails offers guided trail rides for adults and children 6 years of age and older. Plan your group outing or birthday party for an unforgettable beginning to your weekend getaway in the country.
Feed goats, pot-bellied pigs, Arabian horses and miniature donkeys at Acorn Lane Farm at Boone Gardiner, a petting zoo where the animals live in reclaimed greenhouses. Climb Wood Chip Mountain, see a garden train exhibit and tour a butterfly habitat. Ask to pick veggies from the garden greenhouse.
At the 170-acre Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve, little ones can toddle about the magical forest play area after visiting the natural history museum. The whole family can enjoy 9 miles of scenic wooded trails and meadows along spring-fed creeks, a frog pond, a new 2-acre woodland garden, a bird blind, waterfalls, picnic areas and camping.
Lush Gardens & Native Habitats
See the Yew Dell castle rising over Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, a nationally-recognized center of gardening and sustainable horticulture. Visitors will find extensive display gardens, as well as having their pick of educational programs and family-oriented community events.
Help yourself to a “Nature and Garden Backpack” and let the kids loose with the bug catchers, magnifiers, nature guides, sketch pads and journals they’ll find inside. Or grab a “Books ‘n’ Blankets” basket and head to a shady garden nook with a handful of nature/garden-themed children’s books to share.
Learn about Kentucky’s native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses (and find wild-crafted home décor) at Meadowview Farm & Natural Habitat Garden, a sustainable farm whose owners believe in living as close to the land as possible. The farm specializes in heirloom plants, such as rare black popcorn, Native American flour corn and dried beans, plus jams, jellies and baked goods made from heirloom veggies and ground corn flour or meal.
Delicious Dairy & Fine Fabrics
Got milk? Harvest Home Dairy does – artisan cheeses, too. Schedule a tour, watch a working family dairy farm in action and see how dairy cows are cared for. The best time to visit? When there are babies to see! At Bluebonnets and Bluegrass Alpaca Farm, you can learn about raising alpaca and shearing them for wool, and how that wool is then turned into artwork and fine fabrics in farm owner and fine artist Denise Coonley’s fiber studio.
Learn about real homesteading on the Diamond Family Farm in La Grange. They pride themselves on being grass-fed and pasture-raised. See sheep, cattle, turkeys and chickens that have not been given hormones, steroids or preventative antibiotics – and are being raised on pastures free from pesticides.
Overnight visitors to Oldham County will want to check into the luxurious 9-acre Bluegrass Country Estate Equine Bed & Breakfast with its five gorgeously appointed rooms. A gourmet breakfast greets you in the morning and, after a day of exploring, an in-ground pool, hot tub and full theater room await for evening relaxation. For those traveling for horse shows, the inn’s barn has eight comfy stalls and a wash bay for your horse to relax their head and hooves while you enjoy the commercial racehorse community of L’Esprit.
Train Watching & Dining on Main Street?
One-of-a-kind local dining options include Rails Restaurant & Bar, with its old train station décor and white tablecloths in the quaint historical shopping district of Main Street in La Grange – the only town in the US with a train that runs up and down the center of Main Street!
Also located on Main Street is Karen’s Book Barn, a hot spot for down time, browsing new and used book collections while sipping a cappuccino or frozen beverage from La Grange Coffee Roasters, serving coffee drinks roasted just across the street from Karen’s. Or enjoy Sisters Tea Parlor & Boutique, a traditional tea service in chic surroundings.
Ready for show and tell where touching the animals is encouraged? Head to Oldham County for a variety of farm adventures you’re not likely to find all in one place anywhere else. An Oldham farm tour getaway will put you right in the midst of more than a dozen memorable experiences.
For more information about these and other adventures, visit www.touroldham.com.
If You Go
Oldham Farm Tours (all farm tours listed), 800-813-9953, website
Acorn Lane Farm at Boone Gardiner, 502-243-3832, website
Aurora Acres Gypsy Vanner Horse Farm, 239-404-1470, website
Bluebonnets and Bluegrass Alpaca Farm, 502-727-2072, website
Bluegrass Country Estate Equine Bed & Breakfast, 877-229-2009, website
Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve, 502-228-4362, website
Diamond Family Farm, 502-558-1413, website
Dropseed Native Plant Nursery, 502-439-9033, website
Harvest Moon Dairy, 502-817-3165, website
Hemmer Hill Sheep Farm, 502-228-3860, website
Karen’s Book Barn & Java Stop, 502-222-0918, website
Kentucky Artisan Distillery, 502-241-3070, website
Kentucky Farm Fest 2015, 502-222-0056, website
LaGrange Coffee Roasters, 502-265-0563, website
Little Big Horse Trails Horseback Riding, 502-222-1842, website
Meadowview Farm & Natural Habitat Garden, 502-345-4231, website
Morgan Conservation Park, 502-241-9674, website
Pillow & Paddock B&B, 502-222-4372, website
Rails Restaurant & Bar, 502-608-6179, website
Sisters Tea Parlor & Boutique, 502-222-6420, website
Spruce Point Farm (persons with disabilities only), 502-222-8762
Windy Meadows Horse Farm, 502-222-0299 or 502-608-6179, website
Woodland Buffalo Farm, 502-222-7051, website
Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, 502-241-4788, website