By Mariah Kline | Business Profile
While some dads know exactly which gift they want for Father’s Day, others prefer the gift of experience. For the dad who has a penchant for history or just loves to explore, a day at Locust Grove may be the perfect gift. This rich historical site offers guests a glimpse at Kentucky life in the 1800s and has recently added an authentic distillery that any spirit enthusiast will appreciate.
Before the bourbon revolution, whiskey and brandy production played a significant role in the state’s economy. The farm distilling equipment at Locust Grove has been recreated based on machines from the early 19th century, and while they don’t produce alcohol, they do provide an authentic look at the distilling process as it once occurred.
Demonstrations of the distillery take place throughout the year, and groups can make appointments to view them upon request. These unique presentations allow visitors to see how these spirits were crafted based on the practices of the time. The next demonstrations will occur during the Jane Austen Festival the weekend of July 15, Watershed Festival on August 26 and 18th Century Market Fair on October 28.
Since the still was likely operated by slaves, the directors of Locust Grove are currently working with the African American Theatre Program at the University of Louisville to develop living history interpretations based on the perspective of these enslaved workers.
“Slaves were the majority of the people who lived here 200 years ago,” explains Program Director Brian Cushing. “But it’s more challenging to recreate their experience than the owners of the farm because the owners left behind letters that tell of their perspective. We’re trying to respectfully and authentically bring the characters of the enslaved African Americans who lived and worked at Locust Grove to life in the same way that we do other characters from the site’s history.”
In addition to the distillery display, there is a wide range of activities that dads and history buffs are sure to love this summer. On June 25, their Summer Antiques Market will feature a vast selection of furniture, books, ephemera and more. As part of their summer concert series, Locust Grove will host Celtic World band Keltricity, featuring both contemporary and traditional Celtic-inspired music. Check out their full schedule to see when concerts are happening, and enjoy an evening on the farm’s serene setting. And on July 4, guests will receive free admission, witness a recreation of Independence Day festivities in 1817 and see other historic demonstrations throughout the property.
Spending a day at the enchanting Locust Grove is both a gift and a bonding experience that will delight any father, friend or family member. Wander throughout their historical home and encounter the history of Kentucky like never before. VT