Hello, everyone! I know I haven’t posted anything since Christmas, but a lot has been going on. My daughter had been sick so I spent quite a bit of time with her during this period in her life. Once she got her health back, she decided to move to Frankfort, Kentucky. I drove with her on May 1st and I just returned to Los Angeles on August 6th.
Frankfort is in the bluegrass region of Kentucky. It became the capital of Kentucky in 1792 when Kentucky became a state. It’s a beautiful historical community in a setting of thoroughbred horse farms, mowed bluegrass as far as the eye can see and grazing horses on the rolling hills. By 1800 they noticed that horses grazing in the bluegrass were hardier than other areas where horses grazed. And as we know Kentucky is home to the Kentucky Derby located in Louisville, running its first race in 1875.
I fell in love with Frankfort and the people. We lived in an apartment in the historic downtown area and it was a wonderful experience for my daughter and me. We met many friendly, warm and helpful people and became fast friends with quite a few of them. So many people in Frankfort are really engaged in their history and have a lot of pride in their heritage. It was interesting to listen to what they had to say about how many generations of their family lived in Kentucky and Frankfort. They are historians on the civil war as Kentucky played a major role in the war. It was a border state and had sympathizers for the Union and the Confederacy. Although Kentucky’s legislature sided with the Union, many men joined the Confederate army and fought against the Union. We visited the cemetery and spent a solemn time at the Union soldiers and Confederate soldiers grave sties. We saw an even older grave site, Daniel Boone and his wife, Rebecca, were buried in the cemetery too. He is remembered for his exploration and settlement of Kentucky. He was born in 1734 and died in 1820 in Missouri. He and Rebecca were moved to the Frankfort Cemetery in 1845 where they are laid to rest on a hill overlooking the city of Frankfort
The historic downtown community has a lot going on during the summer. There’s the Art Walk, the Summer Concert Series that’s always held on a Friday night on the Old Capital lawn on Broadway. The family movie night is also held on a Friday night on the Old Capital lawn. You can visit the Franklin County Farmers Market that’s held three days a week. We visited the museums at the Kentucky Historical Society and the Capital City Museum. My daughter is researching her ancestors on her father’s side of the family. Before moving to Frankfort, she found that her great, great grandfather was born in Frankfort and fought in the Civil War as a Confederate. The staff at both the historical society and city museum was helpful to her search. They had suggestions, people to talk with who were historians, and showed her old documents. Frankfort even had a Civil War Reenactment this summer on Fort Hill, overlooking the city. There were several fortifications built on Fort Hill during the Civil War to protect Frankfort and it’s pro-union state government.
There are many historical buildings and they are reviving the historic downtown district. In the historic district there is a bookstore, Poor Richard’s Books, that is a great place to browse and purchase a new book. It’s located on Broadway across from the Old Kentucky Capital Building that was built in 1830. Richard Taylor, the owner, is a fascinating individual. He and my daughter became friends, talking about the history of Frankfort and Kentucky. Richard, now retired, taught English at Kentucky State University in Frankfort. He authored five collections of poetry, and several non-fiction books, Sue Mundy, A Novel of the Civil War, is just one of them. Another interesting book he authored is Rail Splitter: Sonnets on the Life of Abraham Lincoln. Richard served as Kentucky’s Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2000. When you visit Frankfort, stop in to meet Richard, you will enjoy any time spent with him.
There are gift stores with many items that have been made by the people of Kentucky. There’s the Broadway Clay Studio and Pottery where you can buy locally made pottery and even take classes. Another favorite store of mine is Completely Kentucky. It’s located on Broadway in a 150 year old building. They sell items that have been made by more than 650 Kentucky artisans, mostly small family businesses, many who still follow family traditions. This is a unique store and one to visit when you go to Frankfort. Historic Bridge Street has several other shops to visit too such as Rhonda Gauthier Fine Art. Rhonda is a an American impressionist, romantic artist and her shop includes an art gallery and art school. My daughter and I visited with Rhonda and her husband, Sammy Coulter, who is a local musician, plays the sax and sings. Most of our visits were at Rick’s White Light Diner across Bridge Street from Rhonda’s gallery.
Our favorite places to eat were the Kentucky Coffeetree Cafe, located on Broadway across from the Old Capital Building. There is an open door that joins the cafe to Poor Richard’s Books, with many books on shelves along the wall. There’s another open door across the store that will take you into Completely Kentucky. I tried to go as often as I could to have a cold frappe on those hot, muggy Kentucky days. Sometime I enjoyed my frappe with a strawberry and spinach summer salad with raspberry dressing. Thursday nights they had an open jam session with musicians with fiddles, guitars, banjos playing and singing bluegrass. People sat and read books, played a game of chess, worked on their laptops or sat outside and visited. We came to know a number of people who engaged in conversations with us while we drank our coffee sitting at a table outside. I could walk the two blocks to the cafe from the apartment. That was one of my favorite things to do, walk in the historic downtown district. Another favorite place to eat was Rick’s White Light Diner located on Bridge Street, just over the Singing Bridge which was built in 1895. It was just kitty corner from our apartment and I walked over often to have a bite to eat. Our first day in Frankfort, we went to eat at the diner after we watched a video online when the Food Network’s Diner Drive Ins and Dives visited the diner. Rick told us that his business tripled after the diner was on the show. Rick’s specialty is Cajun so if you’re in the area and you enjoy Cajun cooking; visit Rick’s White Light Diner. We grew attached to Rick’s daughter, Hannah, who ran the diner with her dad. I’ll miss hearing Hannah say, “Is this your first time here?” If it was, she had a lot to say about the menu items, how you got to pick your sides, and that everything was local including the meat right down to the eggs.
Alas, the time has come to leave Frankfort, Kentucky behind and get on with living in Los Angeles. My life has been enriched by the people of Frankfort and living three months in this historical setting. If you get a chance, take a vacation to Frankfort and enjoy the historic downtown district as much as we did.