Louisville Real Estate Blog | Brad Long Real Estate Group | Keller Williams Louisville East

Fall Racing Time at Churchill Downs

Although the Kentucky Derby, held each year at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May, gets most of the attention from thoroughbred racing fans, the track’s fall meet is definitely a Derby City gem. The meet opened this Sunday, Oct. 28 and will run each day except Mondays and Tuesdays through Sunday, Nov. 25. Louisville home owners love to check out the races during this fall ritual and find it to be a festive way to get into the party mood before the arrival of the holidays.

Although there isn’t as much daylight in the evenings during the fall meet like there is in the spring, the Downs offers a number of fun attractions in addition to racing that draw the crowds. Happy Hours run each Friday during the meet from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Paddock. In addition to discounts on drinks, various featured entertainers perform, and the admission is only $3. Also, each Sunday during the meeting is a Family Fun Day sponsored by Kroger. From 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the Paddock balcony, kids and families will have an assortment of activities. One Sunday will feature a spotlight on what the racing industry is really like; another will give kids a chance to make crafts; and the last Sunday of the meet will host visits from Santa. Again, admission is just $3.

Of course, a major draw during racing in November is the Breeder’s Cup. Although this international racing event will take place at Santa Anita this year, Churchill Downs will still be the place to be since it will simulcast all of the races on Nov. 2 and 3. Another big event during the meet will be the return of Downs After Dark, when racing takes place under the lights. Featuring a Roaring 20s theme, Great Gatsby-style music and dancing, and other fun activities, the event is sure to draw big crowds. Various seating options are available for a wide variety of prices.

Yes, the spring meet does get most of the attention, especially during a year when the Breeder’s Cup is not in town. But this week’s fall meet at Churchill Downs will have lots of Louisville residents celebrate autumn by checking out the races. The spring meet has the greatest two minutes in sports, but this year’s fall meet has lots of exciting events on tap for racing enthusiasts as well as those who just want to unwind and have some fun.

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You Have the Right To Feel Safe in Your Neighborhood

Moving into a new neighborhood comes with all sorts of firsts; you’re first dinner party, first round of the holiday season, and the unfortunate first big appliance melt down. Sometimes, the firsts can be a bit more serious and can cause you to question whether or not you made the right decision in buying the house in the first place. 

The Highlands Louisville KYLast night while playing with my son in the back yard I was suddenly disarmed by a noisy low lying helicopter over my head. I headed to the front porch to get a better view when I ran into my next door neighbor who had some shocking news. Just two blocks over, the police were on the scene of, what was thought to be a crime early in the investigation, where two bodies were found inside a house. I was numb. Two dead bodies were within yards from where my children play? That doesn’t sit well with me. Unfortunately this is not the first newsworthy event that has happened close to my new home within the past several years. Two years before I moved in to our home, a murder investigation took place in the alley behind my house and just a couple months ago, gun shots rang out from that same building. I live in the Highlands for goodness sakes, things like this are not supposed to happen in the Highlands!

Despite all the nonsense and frightening things that have gone on around my home, call me crazy, but for some reason I do not feel unsafe. 98% of my neighbors are wonderful and dedicated to keeping a safe neighborhood, so I can not let the occasional scary situation ruin that for us.

So how do you feel safe in your neighborhood if you have a similar situation? Before you choose to buy a home or if you already have a home, there are ways for you to find out if your neighborhood is safe. There are several websites dedicated to making an easy way for families to know where dangerous people reside. http://www.icrimewatch.net/kentucky/index.php is the official Kentucky Sex Offender Registry webpage and updates every time a new sex offender registers. This is the most accurate radius map and the most helpful. Just remember though that the sex offender map is not the end all be all in saying you are safe or unsafe. Whether you are covered with dots or not you should always be on the look out for anyone that looks suspicious. Knowing the active crime that is going on in your community can be even more helpful. One of the most helpful websites I have found when it comes to knowing any active crime that is going on in your neighborhood is spotcrime.com. Spotcrime.com is more helpful to me than the sex offender list because it will tell you every current reported burglary, assault, and theft in your neighborhood.

If you are really concerned with your neighborhood don’t be afraid to talk with your local police and request more information. Be persistent and don’t back down, as a citizen you have the right to feel safe in your neighborhood!

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Bardstown Road Not the Only Place to Be Anymore

Last week I ventured out on the town on a weeknight, which is a rare occasion for me. My sister-in-law is a new mom and was in desperate need for some time away. Last Thursday night, after about an hour of some skillful convincing on my part, I persuaded her to join me for a drink at the bar of her choice. In my opinion, it’s important for every mom to get out  every once in a while for some girl talk that has nothing to do with the kids. Once I rescued my sister-in-law from her diaper and bottle filled cave, we headed to Oshea’s Irish Pub on Bardstown Road in the Highlands to take advantage of their outdoor patio. 

Keep The Highlands Weird Louisville KYIt was 9:30pm at Oshea’s and the patio was about half full. We took a seat at a table in the back and got a couple drinks. The much needed girl talk consumed our conversation, but two women sitting alone at a bar are sure to be bombarded by any lonesome men. We met a couple men from Louisville, out for a drink with their buddies, but the most interesting conversation came from two men from Boston who were bourbon tasting at the bar. These men, in town for an engineering convention, were doing a poor job picking out their bourbons, so I was more than willing to help.  After about an hour at Oshea’s the bar became empty, those eating on the patio had finished, and we were ready to leave as well. We headed to Flanagan’s next. 

At this point in the night it was getting late and I was expecting the bars to become busy.  Back when I used to frequent them more often, Thursday nights were basically an extension of the weekend. When we entered Flanagan’s I could count the number of customers on both of my hands. I was shocked. We decided to stay and I was curious to learn what kind of people were at the bar. Most were out-of-towners and people who had just gotten off work. I spoke with the bartender at Flanagan’s who has worked there for over 20 years to ask him about the slow night. He told me that more and more people are frequenting the bars in St. Matthews and that is has really hurt their business as well as all the bars’ business along Bardstown Road. He also said that the economy has a great deal to do with the bars’ weekday night sales. Because of the economy more and more people are drinking at home on the weeknights, although it doesn’t seem to affect the weekend market. He did go on to say however that Flanagan’s and the other Bardstown Road bar/restaurant combinations like Oshea’s and Molly Malone’s food sales are up.  More people are coming to eat rather than drink on Bardstown Road. 

I guess any time different areas develop and time passes, neighborhoods grow and change. The last time I went out on Bardstown Road it was a young, vibrant, “drink till you get drunk” party street. St. Matthews is quickly becoming that new spot. I’m not saying Bardstown Road is going anywhere, because on the weekends, it is still one of the places to be, but the difference now is that it is ONE of the places to be, not THE place to be. 

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Creating a Beautiful Home on a Budget

I wouldn’t consider myself a “Susie Homemaker” although other people have referred to me as her. I just take pride in my home and feel the more comfortable my home feels the happier I am living in it. Before I bought the home I am currently living in I used to love watching home decorating shows and flipping through high end interior designer magazines to get ideas on how I would style each room in my house. The reality hit me when we moved into our “dream home” with two young children that not only were most of the design choices unrealistic for our family, but also unrealistic for our budget. I wasn’t ready to give up my dreams on a beautiful house, so I have been on a mission since I moved in to find cheaper ways to get the same looks for less.

This designing on a budget and do it yourself trend is huge right now, creating many opportunities for people like me to make their beautiful homes on the cheap a reality. What I have learned so far is that there are a ton of hidden places spread throughout Louisville, filled with everything you need to make your home what you want it to be. The hard part is finding these places. 

The first place I am going to talk about is the most mainstream; Craigslist. Nowadays, most everyone uses www.Cragslist.com, whether it is to buy or sell goods or services. The key to Craigslist however, is getting good at using it. On the buying side, look for specifics, I have had the best luck on the site when I search for something particular. Most people don’t know what they have or are eager to get rid of it, so negotiate. Also, make sure you check out the product in person before you get suckered in to buying it. If you don’t know what you are looking at, bring someone who does. You don’t want to get it home only to realize you paid $50.00 dollars for something that is falling apart. 

A huge secret in Louisville is George’s on 7th and Market. When I first showed up to George’s on a Sunday morning I had to wait outside the gate for George to finish watching his Church programming. Exactly at 9:30am his handyman opened the gate and I entered what looked like a junk yard, and I immediately questioned what I had gotten myself in to. I continued to scour the outdoor yard filled with appliance, furniture, bicycles, and basically anything you could imagine. I told George I was looking for dining room chairs for my new kitchen table and he lead me inside. The inside of George’s is packed with collections of everything for the home. There are three floors filled with whatever you could need, all in rough shape of course, but with a little TLC most anything at George’s could come back to life. I went into the basement and found four wooden chairs that with a little bit of a wipe down looked fine enough for my purposes. George took $5.00 each for them and I was on my way. A quick sanding and coat of baby blue spray paint and I have four beautiful and modern chairs that add color and a bit of whimsy to my breakfast area for about $30.00! There are some things you have to be careful for at George’s. With any big warehouse style place, mold and wet furniture can be a problem, so make sure the furniture you pick is in good shape. Also, NEGOTIATE! People like George would rather sell four chairs for peanuts than let them sit for another five years. George’s is a great place to go, but know that you will have to put some work into whatever you buy.

Michaels is one of my favorite places to go for the décor in the kids rooms. If you check out the Pottery Barn Kids catalog you will find them selling some of the same products that I have made for crazy prices. Michaels sells wooden letters that can spell our your kids’ names, add a little paint, hang them with fun colored ribbon, or nail them to the wall and you have a cheap and striking addition to their room. My opinion is that your children are going to want to change their room so many times throughout their life, so why spend a lot of money on it anyway? Kids rooms should be fun, so let them be a part of it, let them paint a picture and frame it for their room.  Michaels has a million ideas for the kids’ rooms. 

I believe in mixing high and low pieces. We splurged on our staple pieces in the house, like our dining room table, couch, chairs, and bed, but everything else can be questionable. When you mix and match, people don’t know the difference. This allows you to change your room when you want to and allows your budget to breath a little!

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Really Scary Side of Halloween

With Halloween just days away, folks are gearing up for the special holiday by  stocking up on candy for trick-or-treaters, putting the final touches on their costumes, and finally cutting into their pumpkins transforming them in to Jack-o-lanterns. Halloween time is in full swing and the excitement can be felt everywhere you turn. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. A celebration that is inclusive of everyone, regardless of religion or economic standing, Halloween has become a day celebrating imagination, fun, and allowing yourself to splurge a little on goodies.

Although the most popular way of celebrating the modern day Halloween holiday is how I previously discussed it, but we sometimes forget the dark routes that Halloween is engrained. Halloween dates back to an ancient Celtic festival called Samhain, which was a festival marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of the extremely cold and deadly Winter. It was believed that during the festival, the dead would return to Earth to help the Celtic Priests foresee the future of the harsh Winter months. You have probably heard of Halloween referred to as All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints Day or all Souls Day. This was the Catholic spin on the Samhain Festival created in 609 AD. Celebrated much like the Celtic festival, it was said that on All Hallows Eve there was a blur between life and death and the dead would return to Earth.

Although today we do not celebrate Halloween the way the Celts and Catholics did in the past, there are still some people that enjoy Halloween for the darker side of it. Louisville is filled with real life haunted houses and urban legends that keep ghost hunters and those interested in the paranormal busy all Halloween night. In all my research looking in to haunted places in Louisville, I've found many places that you can explore if you are interested and you don’t have to go too far.

Cave Hill Cemetery and Eastern Cemetery are just a short drive away in the Highlands and worth checking out if you want to see a truly Haunted graveyard. Witnesses at Cave Hill have reported green lights, sounds of falling graves and odd noises. It is reported that the sounds can be heard miles away from the back gate. Eastern Cemetery is adjacent to Cave Hill Cemetery and is an abandoned graveyard that is in terrible condition. It is said that the ghosts of the buried haunt the cemetery upset at it’s condition. It is also said that the ghost of a woman can be seen taking care of the babies buried in their own section of the cemetery.

If you don’t feel like committing to a graveyard to go ghost hunting, but want to ease in to paranormal activity, there are a couple places that you could go to get a drink that are said to be haunted. Joe’s Older Than Dirt in Lyndon opened in 1937 and has had many regulars over the years pass away. The staff claims that late at night chairs and voices can be heard along with visions of white apparitions. Spring Street Bar and Grille is another bar and restaurant that has been around for a while and whose staff claims it is haunted. It is said that the ghost of a man lives on the second floor. Late at night when things are quiet the staff can hear footsteps upstairs and when they go to the second floor their hair stands on top of their head.

If you are interested in these stories there are several more just like them. I encourage you to do some research of your own and do some ghost hunting too! Halloween is all about fun, imagination, and adventure, so embrace whatever that means to you and have a great Halloween!

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18th Century Market Fair at Locust Grove

“Hear ye hear ye may I have your attention please.” If you’re looking for something unique to do this weekend I have the perfect event for you. St. Matthews’ Historic Locust Grove is hosting an 18th Century Market Fair to feed all your American culture history needs. The Market Fair will give both adults and children an amusing look back at a time in American life when jugglers and traditional sea songs were the days entertainment, candle making was a top job, and military battles were complex and hand to hand. This weekend’s event will give visitors a chance to see what life in the 18th century would be like from many different standpoints.

The 18th Century Market Fair will take place at historic Locust Grove Saturday October 27th and Sunday October 28th. Locust Grove is a National Historic Landmark located just outside the Indian Hills neighborhood. Locust Grove was established in 1790, and was home to the founder of Louisville, George Rogers Clark. The Georgian Mansion on Locust Grove’s campus has been beautifully restored and is available for tours. Locust Grove Locust Grove offers 55 acres of grounds to explore, hosts events, public and private, and attracts visitors year round. The Indian Hills community which is home to Locust Grove is steeped in Southern history itself. Originally named the “Indian Hill Stock Farm” in 1872 and one of the largest horse farms in Kentucky, Indian Hills holds still shows evidence of it’s original farming roots today. The Georgian Style Veech House at 125 Indian Hills Trail, and Spring House at 119 Arrowhead Rd are still standing from the original Farm, and add historical relevance and Southern charm to the neighborhood.

Some of the events from the Locust Grove 18th Century Market Fair include mock battles, excellent period food, games, jugglers, traditional Celtic music, dancers, and even a period doctor who you can visit to cure you with treatments of the time period. Traditional fare includes a rustic homemade stew and cornbread as well as hand crafted wine and ales. Visitors will also have the chance to shop for 18th Century furniture, clothing, and period style candles. No matter what you are interested in, whether it be the battles, food, music, or shopping, there will be something at the market for you.

Not only is this weekends event going to be something unique to be a part of, but it could not be held at a better time. Locust Grove is on my top five list of places to go to appreciate the Fall foliage. If watching the mock battles is not your thing, then take a stroll around the grounds of Locust Grove. Right now is the perfect time to see the variety of hues of the trees and admire the falling leaves.  

The 18th Century Market fair runs from 10:00am to 4:30pm each day and is $6 for adults and $3 for children.  For a complete list of the days events go to www.locustgrove.org/marketfair.html. 

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What's Your Most Frightening Fantasy?

Every woman has her fantasy. Whether they are fantasies of grandeur, fame, or wealth, out-of-body fantasies allowing you to act as someone else, or simpler fantasies of success, happiness, or family, fantasy plays a vital role in our lives as women. Today, women do it all. We take care of the kids, maintain a full time job, manage the house, groceries, dog, birthday parties, and the PTA. It’s a wonder we have time to wash our hair let alone think of ourselves for enough time to fantasize about what we desire. Whether we realize it or not, there is one sacred woman act that allows us to delve into our fantasies and set us up for success. It is the few minutes that we have to ourselves in the morning, when we can close the door to the bathroom and be alone with our reflection in the mirror. Putting on whatever make-up that we do, allows ourselves to check-out from the real world for a brief moment. While we put on our mascara and eyeliner, we embrace Audrey Hepburn. We roll the lipstick over our lips, and for a brief moment we become Marilyn Monroe. Our make-up is applied and we look in the mirror feeling confident, and we are Jackie-O. Make-up is transformative, and that is exactly the message that Blades Salon make-up artist Lori Karnes is spreading across Louisville.

Karnes’ passion for make-up came while working in retail. A seven-year-old little girl whose face was burned in a house fire came to Karnes with her mother looking for help covering her scars. A week later, the girl and her mother returned to visit Karnes at work, thankful and excited, telling her how the new make-up had changed her life. Making this little girl’s humble fantasy a reality motivated Karnes to look in to make-up schools around the country and is what gave her the fervor and dedication to work with burn victims later in life. After gaining her education, traveling, and working for such companies as Universal and Disney, Karnes settled in Louisville and opened up her Studio at Blades Salon on Chenoweth Lane in St. Matthews. Jackie Sturgeon, Co-Owner of Blades Salon is the founder of Cool Cuts, a non profit organization providing wigs and hairpieces to children with medical challenges. To Karnes, it seemed a natural fit for her to open up her studio with a passion for helping burn victims, close to Sturgeon. 

Karnes’ is not only well know for working with burn victims, but also for her fantasy make-up artistry. Karnes is one of Louisville’s most talented and best known fantasy make-up artists. According to Karnes, “fantasy make-up is creating any character that you can’t be every single day. Being able to be something completely different…to me that’s fantasy.”  Fantasy make-up, according to Karnes can range from a bride on her wedding day transforming from a plain Jane to a beauty queen, a beautiful peacock painted on a face, or bloody zombie make-up transforming someone one into “night of the living dead.” Karnes has a deep appreciation for the art form of fantasy make-up. Her father was an artist and taught her how to use the airbrush at a young age.  Between her father and the geniuses she learned from at Universal Studios, she has become one of the only skilled airbrush make-up artists in Louisville. Her unique skill set, background, and knowledge of the “blood and gore” make-up world are all reasons she is back for her second year at the Waverly Hills Sanatorium Haunted House.

One of Karnes’ most massive undertakings to date, the make-up in the Waverly project is sure to impress, that is if you can dare to look at the characters long enough to see. Waverly Hills Sanatorium is known as the “Most Haunted Place in the World.” A fifty bedroom Tuberculosis Hospital located in Southwest Louisville, the hospital was built in the early 1920’s and has seen it’s share of illness, death, and reportedly, paranormal activity.

Karnes started work in  June for the Waverly Project.  With roughly sixty actors that needed head to toe make-up, there was a lot of work to be done. Karnes started out the process by going room by room of the haunted house, learning the theme of each room, how many characters there would be, and if the characters would be zombies, ghosts, clowns, etc.  She then sat down and sketched each character, deciding their individual head to toe looks and unique quirks.  Once all sixty sketches were done, she ordered all the make-up including airbrushing materials, three kinds of blood including dry, stage, and scab, she then had to work with the engineers on lighting for each room, work with casting, and the list went on.  The Waverly Project is a full scale production. 

This year’s haunted house is more extravagant than ever,  with thirty rooms and thirty different scenes. Among the rooms is a 3D clown room where visitors must wear special glasses while walking through a neon colored room inspired by Steven King’s “It” and the film “Killer Klowns from Outer Space.”  Karnes was able to use this year’s Waverly Hills Haunted House to explore the boundaries of fantasy make-up.  Relying on her own terrifying and humorously twisted fantasies and assuming the visitors’ most frightening fantasies, she created the most realistic and petrifying haunted house experience possible.   

Tours of the Sanatorium and the Halloween Haunted House are some of the recent attempts by Waverly Hills’ owners to cut down on vandalism and raise money to restore the historic building.  This year’s proceeds from the Haunted House will be split between restoring the building and the WHAS Crusade for Children. The Haunted House opened September 21 and will be open every Friday and Saturday night from 7:30pm to 1:00am through November 4.Tickets are $20.00 cash at the door. For more information go to Facebook.com/scareatorium2012 or www.therealwaverlyhills.com.     

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Louisville Urban Legends for this Halloween

When I think of Halloween the first few things that pop into my mind are the ridiculous costumes, trick-or-treating, and the frightening haunted houses. Halloween, although originally based on death and things far too mature for children, is a modern holiday built for kids. All about candy, dressing up, and imagination, Halloween today is far from the original All Hallows’ Eve that it began as.   

Pope Lick Bridge Louisville KYHalloween time or not, Louisville has plenty of haunted stories and urban legends, keeping it’s residents busy searching for answers year round.   While out the other night I spotted a man with a t-shirt with the words “The Goatman Lives” written on it. Unsure of what that meant I went over to his table and asked him who the “Goatman” was. He went on to tell me the urban legend of the “Pope Lick Trestle Goatman.”  There are varieties of the story, like most urban legends, but I will tell you the version he told me. The Goatman was the offspring of a farmer and his goat, making him half human half goat. Once people found out about him, rumors started to go around town. A circus eventually captured him mistreated him, and put him on display. When the train carrying him and the circus members was headed over the trestle at Pope Lick, lightening struck the train tracks, killing everyone on board, except the Goatman. Now at the trestle you can see the Goatman above the trestle as well as the ghost train.  For those who dare to walk across the tracks, it is said that the sight of the Goatman will cause you to fall the 100ft to the ground. Several accidental deaths have since occurred at the Pope Lick Trestle.

After hearing the Goatman urban legend, I decided to look in to some other Louisville urban legends.  I live right by Cherokee Park, go there every week, and had never heard of the “Legend of Pan.”  If you are familiar with Cherokee Park, you most likely have seen the Statue of Pan, which is more commonly referred to as Hogan’s Fountain. It is said that every full moon at midnight, Pan comes alive and causes mischief. Most of the damage reported has been to cars. 

If you frequent the Ohio River, listen up because the “Legend of the Captains Tomb” is an interesting one. According to Louisville legend, in the early 1800’s Captain Francis “Frank” McHarry was the leading businessman when it came to the Ohio River in Louisville. In 1850 he started the first Portland to New Albany Ferry. As technology grew however, the steamboat trade grew as well, which literally rocked his ferry business. McHarry had a temper and his anger grew. In 1857 he passed away and was said to have brought a curse down on the river with him. He was buried underneath a vertical tombstone overlooking the river with the curse “anyone who sees my grave will not make it back to the shore and the river will be their home.”

There are plenty more local urban legends to tell your friends this Halloween.  For a few more go to http://www.louisvilleghs.com.  

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Pumpkin Pickin' Fall Traditions

Halloween is right around the corner and signs of Autumn are popping up more and more with each passing day.  Louisvillians will soon be visiting their chosen pumpkin patches and family farms to partake in their favorite Fall customs and stock up on seasonal necessities. Nothing beats riding on the back of a tractor on your way out to the pumpkin patch while drinking a hot apple cider. The taste of hot apples, cinnamon, and spices makes the way out to search through those sticky vines to find the perfect carving pumpkin that much more special. 

One of the nice things about the Fall season in Louisville is that you don’t have to live in the Country to experience all that rural Kentucky has to offer.  Within a half an hour there are several farms that convert themselves into seasonal destinations.  Most of these farms include a pumpkin patch as their number one draw, but many are now offering a wide range of events, children’s activities, and food to set them apart.  

For as long as I can remember, my family has been going to Joe Huber’s Family Farm and Restaurant for our annual Pumpkin Pickin’ Fall tradition. Located in Starlight, Indiana, 22 miles from Louisville, Huber’s is my pick of pumpkin patch to go to if you are looking to sit down and have a delicious, southern meal as well.  The restaurant on the farm is the part of the day trip that I most look forward to every year.  When you go, order the family style meal, it’s the only way to do it, and you will get a table full of all the best in home-cooked food.  The fried chicken and homemade chicken and dumplings are the stars of the meal but all the sides including the green beans, corn, and mashed potatoes are delicious. There are two things you need to remember though when eating at the restaurant; make early reservations because during this time of year they are busy and can run out of things, and don’t fill up on the fried biscuits and homemade apple butter, just remember you can buy the apple butter in the gift shop.  Aside from the restaurant, Huber’s has a gift shop that makes fresh caramel apples, an assortment of fresh apple ciders, apple butters, as well as a full farmers market. Tractors are constantly taking folks out to the pumpkin patch and it has yet to disappoint me in finding the perfect pumpkin for my many years of jack-o-lanterns.  Huber’s also has a small area called the “Barnyard” that offers an area for children to play. Acow train, cartoon corn maze, and a tractor a wagon ride to see the farm animals are all included in the Barnyard. Lastt year, admission to this area cost money, so you may need to plan ahead for that.  For more information on Joe Huber’s Family Farm and Restaurant, go to www.joehubers.com.

Yesterday I received a call from a friend asking if I wanted to take the boys pumpkin picking.  I felt as if I was cheating on Huber’s, but seeing as though we have our family trip planned for next weekend, I thought it would be nice to get the boys out and check out some place new (and it would be ok as long as I didn’t buy a pumpkin).   Deere Farms is located in the Heart of Lanesville, Indiana, about a half hour away from Downtown Louisville.  Deere Farms offers a much different experience that Joe Huber’s, focusing on family activities rather than food. After an $8.00 charge for adults and a $5.00 charge for kids we were surprised to fin all the other charges involved with the trip. The only food that was offered was a concession stand with hot dogs and soft pretzels and a man grilling pork chops for $6 a pop.  I have to say though, that the activities for the kids were great.  The activities were basic farm activities taken to the next level.  A large tunnel slide, playground made of tractor tires, and truck bed filled with corn were among some of the highlights for my boys.  Deere Farms is also home to the largest corn maze and pumpkin patch in Indiana. Despite the fact that we thought it was too expensive, we ended up having a great time at Deere Farms.  For more information, go to www.deerefarms.com.

There are other farms closer to Louisville that can offer similar excursions including Sunny Acres Farm in J-town and Foxhollow Farm in Crestwood.  Both of these farms offer hayrides out to the pumpkin patch and can give you the same feeling of the other farms but close to home.  For more information on these farms go to www.sunnyacresfarmky.com and www.foxhollow.com

If you go every year, or have never been to a pumpkin patch, I could not suggest any higher either going for your first time, or supporting a new farm.  Pumpkin picking is my favorite family tradition, and I hope many of you get to enjoy it this season as well.  

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Louisville's Fall Foliage

This morning while I was sitting on my front porch, cup of coffee in hand, my robe still on, and the cool fall morning breeze on my face, I was wracking my brain thinking about what I wanted to write for today’s blog.  Admittedly still half asleep from my long night the night before, I found myself getting lost in the sunrise reflecting on the large golden leaves of the tree in my front yard.  They were green only yesterday.  I continued to study the neighborhood only to realize that all the trees are changing. Reds, oranges, and yellows are taking over the street, and I am stunned that I am just realizing that Autumn is here.

The past few mornings and evenings I have been living on my front porch.  Coffee in the morning is a time to gather my thoughts, say hello to the neighbors and guarantee a nice beginning to my day. Last night I brought a blanket, book, and bottle of wine to accompany be in my big comfy chair and sat by candlelight for hours, reading in the crisp Autumn air.  This time of year when the weather is changing from hot to cold, the first leaves are floating off the trees, and that distinct smell of the impending chilly months is tickling my nose, I cant help but think it is truly magical.  

If you don’t have a front porch to admire this time of year, don’t worry, there are plenty of places in Louisville, and a few places a little further away, that are great places to get out and enjoy the Fall colors and weather.  

Right here in Louisville’s East End is historic Locust Grove. Locust Grove is a National Historic Landmark established in 1790, and was home to the founder of Louisville, George Rogers Clark. The Georgian Mansion on Locust Grove’s campus has been beautifully restored and is available for tours. Locust Grove Locust Grove offers 55 acres of grounds to explore, hosts events, public and private, and attracts visitors year round.   Fall at Locust Grove is an especially great time to visit because the Fall foliage is breathtaking.  

One of my favorite places in town to watch the leaves change is Cherokee Park.  You can go for a drive, walk, bike, or run around the 2.4mile scenic loop and admire all the different varieties of trees going through their various shades throughout the season.   Cherokee Park also has 389 acres of public land and a golf course where you can take in your surroundings while playing a round.

There are some day trips a little outside the city of Louisville that are great for admiring the Fall foliage.  The Kentucky Horse Park just outside of Lexington is comprised of 1224 acres of Kentucky bluegrass.  A peaceful atmosphere, the Kentucky Horse Park is home to over 100 horses and is set on rolling hills and is beautifully landscaped.  

Bernheim Forest is located about 25 miles South of Downtown Louisville and offers all sorts of outdoor activities for admiring the Fall colors.  With an arboretum, hiking trails, picnic areas, special events, and so much more, Bernheim Forest offers many  unique ways to take in the Autumn beauty. These are just a few of the great places you can experience the beauty that the Autumn months naturally create every year.  I suggest taking it in every day, and making a special trip at least once this season to admire the weather; it is truly a special time. 

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Louisville Family Fun dot net

If you are a new parent or grandparent in Louisville, or are visiting Louisville with children, you know that it is often hard to find things to do with your family. The obvious choices like the Louisville Zoo, the Science Center, and the Louisville Slugger Museum get tired after your membership cards start desinigrating in your wallet. It is hard though, to come up with creative ideas when you are in a bind and need your children to get busy, and quick. The good news is, now-a-days, the internet is chalked full of information to help caregivers receive the best information on how to keep their child entertained.

I recently learned about a website called Louisvillefamilyfun.net, and it has changed the way I look at keeping my two young boys entertained. Not only does this website give tips on what family friendly events are going on daily in our community, but there are also product reviews, healthy recipes, science projects to do at home with your children and so much more. On the front page of the website, the calendar pops up to today’s date, giving a list of things to do. Most weekdays there are several events going on for children of all ages that I never knew about.  Our public libraries offer free story times for children of all ages, there are open gym times for children to play inside if it’s a rainy day, and I can not believe how many places offer free food for children every day.  

Aside from the calendar, which alone makes the website amazing to me, Louisvillefamilyfun.net offers reviews that help in understanding the realities of several facets of parenthood. Reviews on family vacations like day trips to the Newport Aquarium and Clifty Falls State Park help families decipher which will be a good fit for their particular situation, and may possibly help them avoid making the same mistakes others have made before them. There are reviews on parks, museums, restaurants, and popular children’s attractions like Puzzles Fun Dome and All About Kids. You can get a chance to experience these places before dragging your kids out to them, only to find out that it wasn’t what you expected or wished for your kids to be a part of. My favorite section in the reviews however, is the special event section.  Here you can get tips from parents who have experienced such events as the Kentucky Derby Parade, State Fair, and Thunder over Louisville with kids. These reviews allow their readers to get the inside scoop on what to do and not to do and what events to avoid bringing the kids to all together.  

The last section of the website I am going to talk about is the daily discounts and deals section. This area of the website it fantastic for everyone, I mean, who doesn’t want to take advantage of the areas greatest deals? We all know that kids can be expensive, especially when it comes to a special day out. Today a family trip for four to a baseball game or the movies can cost over $100.00 easy once you factor in the hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, and $5.00 cokes. Louisvillefamilyfun.net helps you find cheaper ways to have just as much fun with your family.  

Did you know that this Saturday you can get in to any museum for free because it’s Smithsonian day at the Museums, or do you know how to make homemade slime? I know these things and a whole lot of other useful information now because of Louisvillefamilyfun.net. Spread the word about this website, it can truly be a lifesaver.

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Indian Hills Named Seventh Best City for Suburbanites

What is a Suburbanite? Would you want to be called a Suburbanite? Would you call yourself a Suburbanite? I think that there is a lot to say about life in the suburbs.  I grew up in the suburbs and loved every minute of it.  Granted I didn’t know life any different, I was comfortable playing with my neighbors across the street after my mom made a nice family dinner, walking the dog among private neighborhood streets, and  setting up kickball courts in the cul-de-sac behind my house.  Life in the suburbs is great if you like to commute to work, be part of a neighborhood, and actually see the stars at night.  There are many perks as well as disadvantageous that come with life in the suburbs, the same that you would get in any community.  

Recently, real estate company put together a “Best Places to Live” Survey, with one of the categories being for suburbanites. Wouldn’t you know it, our very own  Indian Hills, Kentucky came up seventh on the list.  Indian Hills is a beautiful, wooded community of roughly 1,200 homes and 2,900 residents.  Indian Hills was incorporated as a fourth class city in 1999 and includes the cities of Cherokee, Indian-Hills Country Club, Winding Falls, and Robinswood. Along with it’s neighboring communities of Glenview and Mockingbird Valley, the area makes up one of the most prosperous suburbs in the city of Louisville.  Over a third of the land in Indian Hills is left undeveloped, purposefully, lending to the scenic atmosphere.  Indian Hills is steeped in Southern history.  Originally named the “Indian Hill Stock Farm” in 1872 and one of the largest horse farms in Kentucky, Indian Hills still shows evidence of it’s original farming roots today.  The Georgian Style Veech House at 125 Indian Hills Trail, and Spring House at 119 Arrowhead Rd are still standing from the original Farm, and add historical relevance and Southern charm to the neighborhood.   

The survey chose it’s winners based on several factors including safety, gas affordability, number of college graduates, median disposable income, coffee shops, good schools nearby, cultural activities, outdoor activities, high number of people who eat in, and several others. Indian Hills is not only a beautiful community but offers convenience and a wide range of housing options for the affluent homebuyer. Most homes in Indian Hills are found on large lots with long drive ways and large green front lawns.  Homes in Indian Hills follow the hilly terrain of the neighborhood and offer a variety of style homes from Traditional to Ranch to Cape Cod.  Most of the homes in the area were built in the 1950’s and 60’s with a median price of $415,000 and a price per square foot of $190.00.  There is however an availability of beautiful 5000+ square foot estate-sized homes available in Indian Hills.

If I was the ultimate Suburbanite I could not think of a better suburb to live in than Indian Hills.If you agree or disagree, either way it’s pretty cool that one of Louisville’s oldest communities was recognized as an excellent neighborhood to live in!

To find your own wonderful Indian Hills Home please check out Indian Hills Homes for Sale

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Tips From a Girl Whose Been There

I want to preface this blog by saying that I am not a real estate agent and have no real idea what I am talking about when it comes to what is best for an interested homebuyer’s decisions.  I am simply a person who bought a house a few months ago, couldn’t be happier with the choice I made, and want to pass along a few pieces of advice that I think could be helpful for those going through the process that I just finished.  

Our homebuying process began about three years ago when my husband and I were living in a one-bedroom condo, which we loved.  While taking a camping trip in Harlan County, Kentucky I was bit by a Mud Dobber and subsequently had to be rushed to the nearby hospital as I was covered in hives and my eyes were swollen shut.  Not only did we find out that day that it takes quite a lot of Benadryl to reduce the puffiness associated with a Mud Dobbber bite, but that we were expecting our first baby.  We were both in shock as you could imagine.  From that day, our search was on for the perfect house for our growing family.  

My husband and I started off on our own, without a realtor (Big Mistake).  We searched websites weekly, went to open houses on Sunday,  and drove around the neighborhoods we found most desirable in our spare time.  At first we thought it would be easy to find a new home so we didn’t take things too seriously. That’s how we ended up converting our sunroom into a nursery for our son Maxwell. We would have preferred to move before Max was born, but things weren’t that bad, we were comfortable, that was until he began to walk. Maxwell’s toys began to take over our small space and he was frustrated with no back yard or room to play. Just when I felt like things couldn’t get any more crowded, I found out I was expecting baby number two.  

The news of number two put the search for a house in to high gear.  Knowing what I know now, I would have drastically changed the way we searched for a home. I truly believe it would have cut down on the time and energy that we spent looking.  

My first tip is to do some soul searching.  Research the areas that you are interested in moving to and really decide what neighborhood best fits you and your family.  My husband and I lived in a condo in the Highlands and wanted our house to be in the Highlands. We looked in that area, but didn’t think we could find anything in our price range so we focused on other neighborhoods.  We wasted so much time, nearly two years, going to open houses and private showings of homes, and driving through neighborhoods that in reality we would not be happy living in.  In the end, we did find a house in the Highlands that fit our budget and everything on our list of must-haves.  Nearly every day we say to ourselves how lucky we are to live in a neighborhood that we love, with neighbors we enjoy, and a lifestyle that we want to be a part of.  I suggest that you decide which neighborhood lifestyle fits yours and stick with a similar community to join.  If you are just a little patient and wait for the right house to come on the market I bet you will save yourself a lot of wasted time and energy in the end.

My next tip is to scour the neighborhood and see what the neighbors are like.  If the community is offering any festivals, yard sales, or farmers markets, go and introduce yourself.  See if it is a welcoming community or if people stay to themselves.  You can tell a lot by driving by the house you are looking at on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to see what the neighbors are doing. 

My last tip is to do a 360 degree view of the house.  Look at all the buildings around the house and who is living there.  Are there any apartment complexes around the house and if so what kind of tenants live there? If you have children are your neighbors to either side of you friendly and okay with the occasional ball in the yard? You would be surprised how many times we ran in to cranky neighbors! The building across the street is the one you are going to be looking at the most, so make sure it’s not an eyesore.  Most of the time these are not deal breakers, but just some food for thought.

All of these tips are things that my family happened upon my sheer luck, karma, or fate if you believe in that.   We put offers in on over six houses in neighborhoods as far away as Goshen.  At the time I was devastated, but looking back, luckily, none of those offers were accepted because the Highlands was the right fit for us. My final thoughts for you, if you are struggling through the homebuying process now or are about to begin, is don’t settle.  Whatever house you end up with will be the perfect one.  It might not be the “forever perfect house,” but it will be the “right now perfect house.” Good Luck, and that moment when you are sitting in your new living room looking back and saying, “remember when…” will come soon enough.

To learn more about The Highlands of Louisville, please visit Louisville Highlands Homes for Sale.

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Louisville Is No Longer A Town To Get Out Of

When I was growing up, Louisville was sort of a means to an end.  For the privileged kids, once you graduated high school you were, without question, destined to go on to bigger and better things, far away from Louisville, Kentucky.  At graduation the number one question I was asked was “where are you going to college?”  When I answered, “York University in Toronto,” I was greeted with warm smiles filled with satisfaction.  I guess Canada was far enough away from the bluegrass state to make myself look accomplished. The bizarre thing about my ability to impress folks by saying I attended school in another country, was that I wasn’t even majoring in a highly impressive subject; I was going to theatre school.  At the time I was ecstatic because “I knew” that I would become an actor and York University was the place that would set me on my journey.  After a year of acting school in Ontario, I did learn something valuable, that maybe a BFA wasn’t the best choice in a degree for me.  After many months of weighing the pros and cons I decided to come closer to home for school, but not too close.  I had been subconsciously conditioned my entire life that it was just plain unacceptable to go to college at the University of Louisville, so I transferred to Indiana University, about an hour away from home.  I had all sorts of ideas about a new major and a new start to my college career, but after only one semester, I folded.  With my head hanging low, and feeling awful as ever, I did what I never thought I would do in my entire life and registered for classes at UofL for the Spring semester. Four years later and one year later than my original college graduation date should have been, I graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in Psychology and I never looked back.  

Why do I tell you my shameful college story?  Because things are different now. Looking back on the way I felt about leaving Louisville and staying away from the city I love so much today is just a reminder of how far Louisville has come in just a matter of a few years.  Louisville was recently named the 2012 best city at luring and retaining educated young people according to a report by two Portland State University Professors.  Yes, I said retaining, not pushing them away.  Portland, Oregon used to be the number one hot spot for college graduates to settle, but Louisville has taken that title away.  I can personally attest to this transformation in Louisville’s attractiveness to the college educated, 20-something to 30-something crowd. Over the past several months I have been running in to more and more of my friends from the past who moved away only to come back to Louisville.  Some have opened their own businesses here in town, are running small recording studios, or are coming back to work for a family business because they missed the city.  Other friends who never left are making names for themselves opening restaurants and bakeries, coaching high school sports, and creating some of the town’s greatest original festivals.  We can probably attribute the growing attractiveness of the city to this age group on the ongoing revitalization of historic neighborhoods like Nulu, the amazing new restaurants and bars that keep popping up, and the affordability of living. Louisville is no longer the city you want to get away from after high school, it is the city you can’t wait to make a name for yourself in.  I love Louisville, I am not afraid to say it, and I’m not going anywhere.

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LaGrange Railroad and Antique Festival Art Show

Its not very often that an art and antique show comes along that can be just as appealing to adults as it can children. I know that my two-year old son will be just as intrigued with the variety of “choo choos”  showcased in the LaGrange Railroad and Antique Festival Art Show as my husband and I will be.  The multimedia art show is running now through Novermber10th and features trains and train related subjects.  The event is sponsored by the Oldham County Arts Association and will take place in Gallery 104 located at 104 East Main Street in LaGrange. The event is free. 

LaGrange itself is a great place to go if you want an opportunity to check out a train up close. Known for it’s railroad line running through the town’s center, LaGrange’s unique city layout offers visitors a chance to get up close and personal with a locomotive. Apart from the train tracks providing a unique experience, LaGrange has so much more to offer. LaGrange is a great place to spend a day and unwind. LaGrange is the largest community in Oldham County and it’s location away from the busy city makes it a desirable place for many to call home. LaGrange has a close-knit, small town atmosphere that is both comforting and peaceful. LaGrange’s historic downtown is filled with restaurants, ice cream parlors, and specialty shops that attracts visitors from all around.  

While you are in LaGrange checking out the Railroad and Antique Festival Art Show, stop by one of their excellent restaurants for a bite to eat.  LaGrange may be considered a small town, but it does not lack in having a variety of great food. Irish Rover Too, Steve O’s Italian Kitchen, and Big R’s Barbeque are all great choices. 

The Railroad and Antique Festival Art Show is a precursor for what is to come.  Mark your calendars for October 12th and 13th, because LaGrange will be hosting the popular Railroad Festival. Friday and Saturday will be packed full of events that encompass the town’s love of trains.  A Discover Downtown LaGrange Event, this will be the third year of the festival, and it is getting bigger every year.  The streets of LaGrange will be filled with different varieties of entertainment. Music, farm-fresh foods, and antique cars are just a few of the entertainment options you will find at the Railroad Festival.  Last year’s festival included such events as the History Center activities, a farmer’s market, a scale model train swap, and a Fall City live steamers train rides. The Railroad Festival’s true missions is to celebrate the town of LaGrange’s railroad legacy. It was the expansion of the railroad in the 1850’s that ultimately lead to the city being the largest in Oldham County.  LaGrange’s history is enveloped in the railroad that run’s through it, and this festival was created to celebrate that.

This year’s festival is supposed to be bigger and better then ever before, so grab your kids and come out to enjoy the fall weather and everything locomotive.  

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