This is the second installment of our Day Trips Series, where we travel to different places near Louisville, exploring our local treasures. Today we are profiling Westport, Kentucky.
I have learned that in Kentucky, when you see a squiggly sign like the one pictured below, something beautiful is coming on the horizon soon, like Westport, KY. Heading due east on Highway 42, past Prospect, past Goshen, the wide highway eventually narrows to an old, two lane road. Old general stores, restaurants and churches are sprinkled throughout the drive, with some heavy hitter horse farms mixed in, as well.
Westport, which is 12 miles past the Oldham County/Jefferson County Line, is a river town, so you turn north on Hwy 524 and head to the river. Or as the locals say, go down Brownsboro Road until you see the big WAVE-TV Tower and then turn left right before it; It’s a little over three miles from that turn into Westport.
You pass by old beauties such as this house below:
And when you arrive, you are welcomed by a sign telling you that Westport was established in 1792. Little did I know that I would be meeting someone here this day whose family established themselves here in 1796.
I love a town where the post office has some character, and this one does indeed. It has a “quilt” painting of a flag on the front of the building. You don’t see that too often in the Louisville postal hubs.
Highway 524, otherwise known as Main Street, brings you into town and dead ends here at Westport Park with an incredible view of the Ohio River. You feel as though you could jump right in and swim to Indiana, it looks so close. This would be a great place to picnic.
The day we visited, we stopped at Knock on Wood Mercantile and Cafe to eat lunch and shop.
Knock on Wood is located in the 2,000 square foot old general store. Owner Lea Nachtman and her husband purchased it in 2000 as a place to sell their wares from their craft show business. They opened the cafe portion two years ago. If you are wondering what they sell here on Knock on Wood, this photo below pretty much sums it up:
On one side is the cafe, with seating in quaint tables and booths, each one different, and all the furniture you are sitting on is for sale.
The other side is the gifts, furniture and decor wing of the establishment.
Lea Nachtman and her husband paint and restore all the furniture pieces themselves.
They also sell gifts and decor.
The cafe was bustling when we were there. Lea and her associate prepare all the food themselves and man the shop.
The menu is on a chalkboard and we had a hard time deciding what to order with all the choices of good homemade food.
We ordered a little bit of everything. Among our favorites was the homemade Benedictine with bacon, shown below, with big cucumber chunks and no nasty green food coloring.
My daughter had the Savoy Cabbage Soup with potatoes and carrots and an piece of Spinach, Bacon and Tomato Quiche. They loved the soup so much, we went back and ordered another cup.
One of my summer interns struggled to get the first bite and wanted to keep the toothpick in his sandwich the entire time.
They sell Blue Bell ice cream here by the scoop, so you know that was on the itinerary immediately following lunch.
Bellies full and requisite ice cream scoops later, we head on to our big adventure which is the Little Big Horse Trails, which is a few miles from Main Street.
Little Big Horse Trails offers one hour guided horseback riding on trails. Let me say that we are not horse people, so we needed all the sherpas we could get. (I had a hard enough time just getting my interns to wear jeans and closed-toe shoes, when they initially tried to wear capri yoga pants, flip flops or athletic shorts for this adventure). Wear jeans and closed toe shoes, period. You’ll figure out why immediately.
The proprietor of the horse trail is Garnet Morgan. Garnet’s family emigrated here from Wales and established themselves on over 500 acres in Westport in 1796. He lives in the same house he was raised in. Hearing this made me feel just so … transient.
The Morgan property has been a milk house, and they have raised cows, sheep and now just horses and hay. Garnet is a talented wood sculptor, so the grounds are like a museum, with all this creations and touches. Here is the front porch, with several of his chainsaw sculptures.
Before I ventured to Westport, a number of people said to make sure we visited the facilities on this property, or the “Outhouse” as it is called. It is amazing. Truly the best outhouse I have ever visited.
From our Outhouse pit stop, we meandered to the barn to get on our horses, each with a great name and colorful gear.
We peruse the rules, reading them to my youngest intern, who, I fear, might break rules 7, 9, and 10 immediately.
The trail is three miles long, up down hills and through some beautiful country. There are four of us and we have three guides. I think we fell into the “rookie city folk” category and I’m glad for it, as I am the worst, most nervous rider in the bunch (after a scarring birthday party horse experience when I was 13, this is my first time back in the saddle).
It is a relaxing, quiet hour and for some reason the horses have rendered my interns almost completely silent, which is nothing short of a miracle. They are absolutely focused and entranced.
We had a follower throughout the hour, the farm dog, a European Chow who trotted along with us on our trail ride, intermittently hiding and popping out at the horses.
We avoided the rain all day, but this was our ride back up to the barn. The skies opened up ten minutes after we got here. I love this picture, it looks like something out of a movie.
Little Big Horse Trails can take a guided group of up to twelve people. You have to make a reservation in advance and you have to be six years old to ride. Every rider gets their own horse. The entire tour takes about an hour. What we appreciated the most was their attention to safety and educating new riders on how to sit and where to keep your weight (Heels DOWN, Toes UP).
Westport is close enough that you can do this in afternoon and still feel like you have left town. The land is idyllic and experiencing it on horseback made it feel like vacation. My intern’s direct quote was, ‘I wish we could move here, eat every day at Knock on Wood and then ride horses all afternoon.”
For more information about Little Big Horse Trails or to make a reservation, call them at (502) 222-1842 or visit their website at http://littlebighorsetrails.com/. You must make a reservation to ride, as they have to make sure they can staff your group and that the trail is in good condition. (You do not want a wet, muddy trail as the horses will be slipping up and down the hills). It costs $30 per rider and the trail lasts an hour.
Happy Trails, StyleBlueprint readers!