That time I embraced my Kentucky heritage and visited Jane’s Saddlebag

14 Apr

Whenever someone (with knowledge of US geography) asks me where I’m from, I usually say “Cincinnati.” (If they have no US geography knowledge, it’s “Chicago,” where I spent most of my young adult life.) It’s mostly because Cincinnati is the nearest metropolis to northern Kentucky, but also because, let’s face it, Kentucky has some stigma attached to it — hillbillies, rednecks, cousin-marrying, barefoot hicks… you get the gist.

Most of the time I shun my old Kentucky home — I’m wasn’t born here, majority of the time I live and have lived elsewhere, and do not care about college basketball whatsoever — but sometimes — sometimes — I choose to embrace it. Like this past Saturday.

We started our Kentucky appreciation day with a walk with Squirt at Big Bone Lick State Park — yes, that is the actual name of the park. According to Wikipedia, “The name of the park comes from the Pleistocene megafauna fossils found there.” Apparently mammoths liked to hang out there because of the natural salt lick. Nowadays there are only bison hanging out there.

big bone bison
Squirt was ready to go!

Squirt hike

Although he promptly crapped out once we reached the bison and had to be carried. The old man is not a good hiker anymore (not that he ever really was).

squirt picked up

Bison! They actually do not do anything or move in the slightest. Maybe because it was starting to get uncomfortably hot for April.

big bone lick bison

chihuahua bison

Squirt was overheating a tad.

old hot chihuahua

He was also tired… or bored.

tired chihuahua

squirt car
After hiking back to the car, we drove further down the road until we officially hit the boonies.

welcome to the boonies
Jane’s Saddlebag.

“What is it?” I asked my mom when she suggested we visit. “Is it a town?”

“You’ll have to see,” she said. “There’s no way to describe it.”

When we pulled into the parking lot I knew exactly what she meant — Jane’s Saddlebag cannot be defined with simple words, or even photos. It’s everything that’s wrong and right with Kentucky.

wyatts general store
Upon exiting our vehicle we were met by a friendly big dog whom Squirt had no interest in, and were greeted by the ::whatever Jane’s Saddlebag is::’s creator? founder? owner?’s grandson, who welcomed us and encouraged us to walk around, try some wine at the Whine Shoppe, visit the petting zoo or check out the replica 1700s flat boat. He told us to let him know if we needed anything or had any questions, but I figured “What is this place?” and “Why?…” were too loaded questions for a sunny Saturday afternoon, so we set off to explore whatever-this-is:

janes saddlebag auto

janes saddlebag buildings

big bone chapel

Squirt did not know what to think. Neither did I.

squirt chapel

text if you want to meet him

national sarcasm society

“Hate is never a family value” — surprisingly progressive for the boonies. Right on, Jane’s Saddlebag!

janes saddlebag barn

I neglected to photograph the petting zoo, restaurant and replica flatboat, but that’s Jane’s Saddlebag. I learned “Saddlebag” refers to an old style of house on the property and is unrelated to thunder thighs. I had no idea such a place existed, yet alone within 20 minutes of my parents’ house. calls it “a heritage tourism family destination,” which is probably the best way to describe it. I’ll admit a part of me is a little sad I won’t be in the country for their annual wine festival, as such a place as Jane’s Saddlebag may be best experienced after three glasses of vino.

I’ll just leave this here now:

wanted squirt


wanted squirt zoom


wanted squirt super zoom


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