The three of us took a leisurely Friday drive searching for fall color before the first bad storm strips the trees. It has been a good year for trees, with lots of rain and no early frost. But we really haven’t had quite enough of those thirty degree nights to really fire up the reds, and with a few exceptions, that was true throughout our 120 mile road trip. Our route took us to Hodgenville, Elizabethtown, Bernheim Forest, and back through Bardstown and Lebanon. The weather was perfect and Pink seemed to enjoy the scenery.
Kentucky has no mountains but lots of rolling hills, lovely meadows, and horse farms. Limestone is everywhere, often serving as the floor for lakes and streams. The water can be greenish, but more often is clear enough to cook with, as is. The water is also said to be the key to Kentucky’s bourbon industry. In fact, its water inspired an Abe Lincoln story. Abe was lawyerin’ in Illinois defending a 70 year old woman accused of murdering her husband. She claimed self-defense: her old man was choking and beating her when she got a hold on a stick of firewood and brained him with it. His last words were “I reckon she killed me. But if I survive, I will have my revenge.” She was allowed out of jail for a pre-trial meeting with her lawyer, and after a couple of hours asked for a drink of water. Abe said “I hear there’s mighty fine water in Kentucky” which is also what he told the judge after she disappeared.
Bernheim Forest is a research and art arboretum, established with funding from the founder of the I. W. Harper Bourbon distillery. They emphasize sustainability, partly because the forest was planted over an abandoned strip mine (what’s less sustainable than an open-pit coal mine?) Now and then donors commission upscale outdoor art, which only adds to the beauty of the setting. But the real highlight is the plants, the terrain, and the water. Words can’t do it justice, so I’ll let Kat’s pictures do the talking.