(The walk around the creek at Hermitage Farm and Barn 8 is highlighted by a “light show” that turns normal into magical.)
I have had the good fortune to visit several of the 21C Hotels that have been restored and repurposed from old bank, office buildings and former warehouses into beautiful, lavish and one-of-a-kind hotel accommodations.
Each time I go and visit, I am amazed.
I have been lucky enough to sit in a few of their restaurants and bar areas, and enjoy both the atmosphere and the unique decor and ambiance.
Each time I sit and look, I am entertained.
And, I have learned through the years that anything that Steve Wilson and his wonderful bride, Laura Lee Brown, touch will somehow, magically, mystically, wonderfully turn into gold. Literally.
Each project somehow overshadows the last.
But I got a treat on Saturday night’s Halloween festival that even I was not expecting. It was beyond amazing. It was Halloween like no other.
By some trick, the duo have somehow turned one of the most historic horse barns on Hermitage Farm into a most wonderful dining and restaurant venues that you can imagine.
Each stall has been turned into a mini-dinning space. The walls restored to remind you of its’ past, when some of the best Thoroughbreds to ever grace Kentucky’s bluegrass stood and bed right thee. New art work to remind you that this space has now been repurposed and redecorated.
The food was served with grace and style. The servers smiling, and willing to help with every beckon call. It was magnificent.
But the best was still yet to come.
There as this “walk” that came highly recommended.
It was under sold.
By some wave of a magical wand, Wilson and Brown — the newest curators of this grand property that was once owned by Churchill Downs’ Chairmen Warner Jones and Carl Pollard — have turned a nighttime stroll over and around one of the creeks that meander through the farm into a Disney-like experience that resembles something straight out of the “Wizard of Oz.”
This place is a real-life, come true “Wizard of Oz.”
The “Yellow Brick Road” has been replaced by the most wonderful wooden deck that goes from hither to yon, but everything else is like sprinkled with star dust.
There’s a light show that turns the creek’s water into a real life Leroy Neiman display on rocks and trees instead of canvas. A splash of water is now a splash of orange, purple, red and green — all rolled into one.
There’s a “staging area” where there is a constant stream of images that resemble horses racing across the sky, and trees, and water.
There’s music and sounds that echo throughout the grounds like the best Bose surround-sound studio.
And, on this night, there was the majestic full moon that only God could create. It was sitting above the fray to remind us that history has preserved this special place, and that tomorrow’s sun will bring us both a ray of hope and sunshine mixed together.
It was an amazing journey that played upon all the senses, and left an impression that will last forever. Much as I hope this land and water will, too.
Here’s a look. But the photos do not do justice.
If you can? Take this trip to Oldham County and step back in history and step forward into the future. It is a mix that will bring light to your dreary soul, and restore hope in human kind.
Here’s a few looks: