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Shelbyville All About Stables, Tables & Designer Labels



By Kathy Witt


It’s a recipe for good times and great memories: stables, tables and designer labels.


Mix these three ingredients for a getaway to experience the very best of Shelby County and its two “big cities,” the charming small towns of Simpsonville and Shelbyville. The county seat of Shelby County, Shelbyville is located just two miles south of Squire Boone’s Station, the settlement established by Daniel Boone’s brother, Squire, in the late 1700s and once considered a site for the county court.


Saddlebred Capital of the World


Those miles of beautiful black fences you see outlining acres of pastureland? Welcome to the American Saddlebred Capital of the World. Not just a nickname, that official state legislative proclamation is well-deserved. Shelby County is home to 90-plus saddlebred horse farms, along with breeding and training facilities.


Schedule an appointment at Simpsonville’s Kismet Farm, a horse boarding and training facility, to see these high-stepping equine athletes in action. Go behind-the-scenes with Charles Kramer, founder of Kentucky Backroad Tours and a guide at Undulata, a saddlebred farm listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Get an insider’s peek at this “peacock of the show ring” on Kramer’s highly personalized tours that include a discussion of the breed, the training aids the horses may be wearing, and how and why saddlebreds do what they do.


You can also saddle up for a guided horseback ride or lesson at Shelby Trails Parks. Part of Shelby County’s beautiful and amenities-rich park system, this 460-plus-acre nature preserve is a wooded wonderland designed especially for equestrians. Bring your own horse or ride one of the horses stabled at the park along 21 groomed trails. The park also has a 32-stall barn and outdoor arena for year-round riding.


The Tables are Set for You


Shelbyville loves to show off its one-of-a-kind dining experiences, so gourmands and casual foodies alike will find everything from fine to unfussy dining here – with lots of down-home hospitality served on the side.


The Bell House celebrates the joy of good food with the daily ringing of a bell that dates back to the mid-1800s when it was used as a city fire bell. Now perched in the restaurant’s front yard, it heralds a menu of American fare plus afternoon tea in gallery-style dining rooms. For fresh Kentucky trout, Kentucky country ham or a famous Kentucky Hot Brown open-faced sandwich smothered in cheese sauce, head to the former girls prep school now known as Science Hill Inn Dining Room.


Recently reopened and renamed Eleanor Hamilton’s Old Stone Inn, this former tavern and stagecoach inn built in the 1700s is a National Historic Landmark dishing up classic Southern fare. Have a hankering to sample recipes from the world’s most famous colonel not served in a bucket? Claudia Sanders Dinner House, opened in 1968 and originally named The Colonel’s Lady, plates up down-home-delicious fried chicken, chicken livers, sugar-cured ham, biscuits, yeast rolls and more.


It’s more bar than table, but once you’ve tasted the bourbon, vodka and moonshine at Jeptha Creed Distillery you’ll be glad you bellied up to it. The distillery also serves special event, multi-course farm-to-table dinners featuring regional chefs and plenty of locally sourced vegetables, fruits, cheeses, meats and more.


Bring Mad Money & Your Shopping Shoes


Serious shoppers make a beeline to the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass, Kentucky’s only designer outlet mall, with 100-plus gorgeous shops to outfit every member of the family in high style and value. Shop the sales at Gucci, Michael Kors, OshKosh B’ Gosh, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, Kate Spade, Tory Burch and dozens more. Need a pick-me-up? Stop by Ghirardelli Chocolate and Ice Cream. If you can’t decide between sweet and savory, head to Crepe Crazy and dig into both.


More shops are located in Shelbyville’s downtown; in fact, there are antique, home décor, apparel, accessory and specialty shops, each locally owned and all within a walkable two-block area. Fancy a hat for the Kentucky Derby? Pop into the Polka Dotted Pineapple, an upscale consignment boutique. Satisfy your vintage whim at Stacey’s Simple Stuff and find your fill of fine English antiques at Wakefield-Scearce Galleries.


Ready to customize a Stables, Tables and Designer Labels getaway to Shelbyville, Simpsonville and Shelby County, in the American Saddlebred Capital for the World? Call 502-633-6388 or visit