Some days not having a plan is the best plan. You have nowhere to be, no one waiting for you, no expectations and nothing on the agenda. The plan for the day is to just go with it and see where the day takes you. That is the type of day we had this past weekend and I wouldn't have traded a million awesome plans for it.
With a forecast of beautiful weather, the best season of the year upon us, and no demands from work we decided to check out this beautiful countryside that we now live in. First, we just wanted to go to an orchard or something... we weren't really sure so we just sort of took off with a few addresses in hand. We found one about 30 miles from us, and it was awesome-- Bramble Ridge Orchard in Mount Sterling. While there wasn't a whole lot going on the morning we stopped, it sounded like a happening place. The couple that runs the orchard even won an Emmy! An Emmy?! How does an apple orchard win an Emmy? They were featured in a news story describing their work with the local schools. The story explained what they do when hosting field trips. The story also talked about their partnership with the school district lunch program and the benefits of Farm-to-School. As someone with a background in public health, I was quite impressed!
After some time visiting with the people at the orchard and being called out as a couple from Minnesota-- it was the license plates, not the accents, thank goodness-- we asked if there were any other good places to go nearby. They suggested a pumpkin patch just a few miles down the road. Well, as we made our way to the next stop we were in awe of all the pretty ranches, colorful leaves and beautiful homes we were driving by. Thinking that we should be getting closer we spotted a field full of sunflowers. "STOP!! SUNFLOWERS!" Ok, seriously, if you see a field of sunflowers one must stop, admire the height and size of such bright flowers, and take a few pictures.
After our time frolicking (such a silly word) around in the sunflower field we made it to Two Sisters pumpkin patch. All I have to say is these two sisters must be BUSY because this was so much more than I expected. They had tons and tons and tons of pumpkins, a corn maze, hay rides, a petting zoo (I kind of want a donkey now!), pumpkin painting, concessions, and a little store with souvenirs and homemade baked goods. After some time of getting lost in the corn maze, hanging out with the animals and taking a horse-carried wagon ride we were about ready to think about the next stop. It may have been that I was just thirsty or the name of the pumpkin patch, Two Sisters, reminded me of one of my favorite wineries back home, Four Daughters (if you're ever in SE Minnesota, check it out), but I wanted to know if there were any good wineries nearby. So, we asked a lady at the patch where we should go and she raved on and on about this one in Lexington. So, that's where we went next!
When we arrived to the winery they asked us if we wanted to sit inside. I'm not sure if they know this, but when you're from Minnesota and it's nice out, you sit outside. Beautiful weather days are like gold! Maybe I'm the only one, but I do not want to waste a minute indoors. The lady that recommended the winery to us was right, Jean Farris Winery was beautiful, and the wine was awesome. I also really liked that they had more than just wine samples, as you could also sample some craft beers, whiskey and a few other wine varieties. While I love going to a winery and having the server tell us about each wine we are tasting, I enjoyed how this winery operated-- you order a flight of four different wines and they bring all the options out to you at once and you can just sample and sip at your own pace.
While at the winery we sat across from another younger couple that was also new to the area. Like us, they were just starting to learn the lay of the land and adjusting to life in Kentucky. After a few samples of white wine and craft beer we decided that we were ready for dinner. Like our first few stops, we asked the couple if they had any food recommendations. They suggested a locally owned (always my first choice) restaurant called Bella Note. The kicker about this place is if you tell them that you're new to the area or have never been to the restaurant they will give you something free, either dessert or an appetizer! Well, after hearing that news, who can turn down a suggestion like that! We are glad that we asked the couple about this place because it was awesome. The food was amazing, the customer service was great, and you guessed it, we got free dessert!
Being new to an area and eager to try new places, I would say we had a very successful day. Everyone that we talked to was so nice and happy to make recommendations for us, plus they know the area and can tell you what's good and what isn't. So next time you're somewhere and not sure where you want to go next, just ask someone-- they'd be happy to help you out! Also, keep that "We're new here" card in your back pocket for as long as you can. People always want to help out the newbies!