Postcard from the Bluegrass State

Ok, here’s a few photos to encourage you to jump in your car and take off somewhere. Anywhere. Preferably someplace with alpacas. The one in the last post had been born just a day or so earlier and was all black spindly-legged, doe-eyed, crazy-cuteness. Also, the adult ones have very expressive faces, and if you are so inclined, you can do what Madi and I spent an inordinate amount of time doing which is assuming alpaca-esque character voices and and describing what a thought-bubble above their head might say. Yes, we are weird that way but admit it, you know you’ve done it at some point in your life with your dog, or something. Don’t judge us.

Here’s a opportunity for you– QUICK, give it a caption, first thing that comes into your mind:


(Mine was, “Don’t hate me ‘cos I’m beautiful…” What was yours?)

Now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems, let’s continue.


Here is the first inn we stayed at, the Historic Maple Hill Manor in Springfield, KY.

It’s only like, 2 and a half hours from Nashville which is very do-able, and also you can antique your way up I-65 which makes it even better. The hosts are Todd and Tyler, who are savvy businessmen, perfect hosts, fascinating to talk to AND cute as bunnies. They also at least pretended to actually REMEMBER us from our one stay about 3 or 4 years ago– all the way down to the fact that I had been wearing my then-brand-new pair of Uggs! They must have a secret Pertinent Guest Details notebook stashed somewhere… Either that, or I just make an indelible impression everywhere I go, in which case I should run for president or something.

The inn is just beautiful. The rooms are generous and gracious (seven of them, fairly priced), the grounds are extensive and gorgeous (a gazebo, patio, old barn, wooden swing, grape arbor, walking paths), and the food is really good (homemade desserts served in the evening, giant breakfast with a cheesy/croissant/egg thingy and lemon pancakes in the morning). Here are some interior shots:

Front entry hall– isn’t that impressive? Pretty color, too.

Parlor– you can come have a glass of wine and maybe meet other guests down here in the evening if you want to. Or not, your choice. I stayed upstairs and watched TV with Madi and then snuck down later in my robe to raid the sideboard.


Dining room with mural– the scene of that killer breakfast.


We stayed here, upstairs in the Harriet Beecher Stowe room (photo from their website.) It has three beds, so next time when we bring Charlotte too, Madi won’t have to sleep on the floor or a couch. She would rather get bitten by another shark than sleep with her sister.


And here are some outside shots:

Isn’t this just what a country inn should look like? It was built in 1851, and when we were here last time Madi found some old rusty Civil War-era nails out in the yard. Surprisingly, this time she was too busy text-messaging her friends to find any artifacts.


View from the front porch. Not pictured: massive hairy dog named Samson splayed out at my feet as I took the picture. Too old and sweet and lazy to do more than open one eye and thump his tail at me. But here’s another beauty that is (slightly) more lively:

I TOTALLY want that exact same hair color, but I’m too chicken to try it. Also, I’m a little concerned that if I dye my hair red there might be a few too many ‘I Love Lucy’ comparisons than I’d be comfortable with.


Walking around outside you’ll see a lot of this:

and this…


Charming, right? But the real fun is the herd… feel free to make up more captions. I’ll wait.

(See that weird little baby again?) They are kinda shy and more skittish than horses, and yes it is true they DO have a tendency to spit– actually, it’s more like a sneezy spray, and they almost exclusively do it only to each other, like if they’re trying to keep another one from stealing their food or something. Not unlike my girls.


Here’s cute-as-a-bunny Todd feeding them. See, they do look a little pissed off, but nobody spat or anything. Including Todd.


They are really very docile and curious, though, not threatening at all. This dreadlocked one was quite interested in the camera– doesn’t it look like she’s smiling?

And this one was like a movie star! It’s a baby llama– (Yes, they have both llamas and alpacas and no, I can’t really tell the difference although Todd patiently explained it to me at least twice and I nodded sagely and pretended to get it. Something about ‘banana-shaped ears vs. smaller ears’, but seriously? ALL of their ears looked banana-shaped to me. There is a difference in their size and coat type too, but again, la-la-la-in-one-(non-banana-shaped) ear-and-out-the-other… I was too busy trying to pet one to really focus.)

The point is, this one is a llama and it is GORGEOUS– all fluffy and funny, jumping all around trying to get the other ones to play. I fell in love and would have kissed it right on its fuzzy little lips if I could have gotten close enough. Wisely, it didn’t get close enough.


HAVE YOU EVER…?! (mmwa– *big kiss*)


Meanwhile, Madi was falling in love on her own with a rangy old black stray tomcat. And by ‘rangy’, I mean ‘mangy.’ No kidding.

But it attached itself to her, following her everywhere purring its head off, rubbing its (mangy) head on her legs and twining around her feet until she knelt down and petted it again. And when she tried to get up, it would grab at her butt with its claws!

(Hopefully this does not in any way reflect her future in terms of what kind of human she eventually falls in love with. Because mangy and butt-grabbing are not great attributes in a son-in-law. I’m just saying.)


So, that brings the first day of our Runaway Mom/Runaway Daughter/Girl Trip/Road Trip travelogue to a close. I’ll leave you with this shot of the two happy campers–

(All together now: “Awww…….)





17 Responses

  1. LindaB

    Okay, here’s my captions:

    1) Do you mean your right or my right?

    2) Does this coat make me look fat?

    3) Do you think George Clooney has a black and white hairy brother who’s available?

    And I wouldn’t think of judging you…….I do that ALL THE TIME!!! But I am weird.

  2. LindaB

    Kentucky is a beautiful state! My sister moved there a few years ago, and when I go down to visit her, I love to go exploring the countryside. Loved Lexington and the beautiful horse farms best!

  3. LindaB

    4) Excuse me! I’m a Pervian American!

  4. tori

    OK, laughed out loud and scared the dogs on that last one!

  5. gracelynn

    ROTFL Good ones Linda! Actually mine were more like this:
    1) HEY! She has on MY coat!
    2) HONESTLY! Do I HAVE to claim these relatives?!

    And I love the one of the man feeding the animals. Here’s a good one for that:
    “Get away from my leftovers or you are going to get spit on!”
    (I have horses remember. They give you that laid-back ear expression too when you feed them and if you aren’t very careful, they will mistake you for another horse trying to get their feed and kick the crap out of you!)

    And the white llama: “Do my ears really look like bananas?”

    And of course, can’t forget the cat! He has that same look as my cat when you take a picture of her – “Get that camera out of my face – NOW!” LOL

    Seriously though, it is a beautiful place and I am so glad you and Madi (is she back to spelling it with one “d” yet? LOL) had such an awesome time. It’ll give her precious memories for years to come.

  6. tori

    You guys are GOOD at this!

  7. BrownEyedGirl

    I want that Inn for my house! Great pictures!
    The Llamas and alpacas are so cute. I’m thinking the alpacas are the shaggy ones…

    Go for that hair color you want , Tori . You’ll look stunning. Change is fun!


  8. LindaB

    That is a beautiful house, isn’t it Wendy? I just love the staircase! I picture myself coming down those stairs on a misty summer morning…… my ratty nightgown and Snoopy slippers. I could be a postcard picture!

    Ditto on the hair color change, Tori—–except your color you have now is striking. What about that reddish color and lots of blonde highlights? It’d be a gradual change, and very pretty. I think one of those alpacas had that color combo.

    Here’s another caption—–(see what you’ve done—eggin’ me on like this! I can’t quit thinking about it!)…….”don’t hate me because I spit!” LOL

  9. gracelynn

    ROTFLMBO That is a good caption Linda!

  10. drinwi

    I almost feel as though I was there. The alpaca/llama description made me bust out laughing! They are so darn cute no matter what they are or how their ears are shaped.

    So how far north would you be willing to come to escape? I’m just saying . . .

  11. tori

    I will go as far north (south, east or west) as I can! Our business manager Zach once told me that I was a “travel slut”– he said, “You’ll go anywhere, anytime with anybody!” I believe that was right after I went to Iceland … in December…

  12. auburn60

    The very first picture–the first caption that came to mind was ”Who invited all these TACKY people” said in a very ‘diva-ish’ llama voice…and the others…I’m just too tired to try to be clever and think. I’m in BOSTON!!!
    We got here on Tuesday and have been eating clam chowder,walking,taking boat rides,walking,touring Berklee and walking.I really like the city.Over the walking.
    I think KY is gorgeous,too. I went to Lexington 2 years ago for a football game and stayed an extra day to just wander around near the university where all the older houses are.I also have a huge thing about the state of VA. I would probably move there if I had my way.
    Give Madi a belated birthday hug. Tell her I’ll come teach her how to drive now that she’s sixteen. I’ve already been through that with two teenage girls–and lived to tell about it.

  13. tori

    Allison– you’re on.

    (Madi doesn’t appear to be in a huge hurry to start driving yet, for which we are thanking our dear Lord every day. I would not be good at teaching. I think I have a tendency to do that shriek-and-hit-the-imaginary-brake thing…)

  14. auburn60

    I did that with the first child A LOT. Now that I am teaching the third how to drive I’ve learned to (1)not assume that they know what they’re doing (in spite of the fact that they think they have absorbed everything from just watching for 16 years)and (2) not let them on real streets until I feel comfortable with that.
    An example: When Megan began driving,I never thought to tell her that AFTER she made a turn she needed to allow the steering wheel to return to it’s normal position. Therefore, we did a 360,jumped a curb, and ended up in a median. We both were somewhat stunned but gamely travelled on.
    See? I can do this.

  15. auburn60

    You know what I said about Virginia? I would still love to live in the mountains of Virginia,BUT now I’m thinking maybe for half of the year I’ll live in Maine. I just spent the day touring up the coast of Maine and I loved it!It was so pretty and nice and cool and historic (historical?). Matthew ate his first lobster (or should I say wrestled with his first lobster) in a restaurant overlooking the beach.
    So far I’ve lived in FL,OH,AR,AL, and I’m on my second venture into TN. Maybe I’ll branch out to some other places for the second 50 years of my life. :)

  16. belinda

    Okay, I would like to go there for about a month and just enjoy everything, it looks so peaceful there. That is a gorgeous place and I can see why you girls wanted to go back. It looks like someplace you can go to several times and enjoy it every time. Glad you had such a great time. I love places like that where you don’t have to spend hours in the car to get to. A few hours and you are there, enjoying your stay.

  17. belinda

    #1 – This is my best side, take the picture, I’m posing for it.

    #2 – The Dog – This is a hard job but someone has to lay here and look beautiful. Don’t you love how shiny my coat is?

    #3 – The picture with that baby in it, that one up front is saying “Don’t you just love my white beard, isn’t it to die for?”

    #4 – Todd feeding – “If we surround him, he cannot get out and then we can eat all we want.”

    #5 – Dreadlock one – “Come a little closer and kiss me, you know you really want to.”

    #6 – White/tan llama – “Here I am, take some pictures, you know I’m gorgeous. Don’t you just love the way I look?”

    #7 – White/tan llama – “How is this pose, is it okay?”

    #8 – White/tan llama – “Wow you are really close there, can you see my gorgeous eyelashes. I know I’m pretty.”

    #9 – Black Cat – “Come a little closer with that camera missy and I will attack it.”

    #10 – Madi and the cat – “Okay, finally someone that will play with me, this is fun and I love all this attention.” “Can I go home with you Madi?”

    #11 – Tori & Madi at the gazeebo – “Awwww” Great picture and you both look lovely!!!! So what were you two talking about?

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