|By TIM THORNBERRY
MIDWAY, Ky. — Vacation time can’t always be tropical islands and exotic locations. Kentucky has a multitude of get-away destinations for day trips as well as week-long excursions scattered across the state. Two such places are located in the Central Bluegrass Region a little more than an hour apart; however, these spots are completely different in all other aspects.
Equus Run Vineyards and Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill are both a bit off the beaten path but close enough to major metropolitan areas in Kentucky to bring in thousands of visitors each year - including those from across the country and the world.
Equus Run is located in historic Midway just off Interstate 64 and only a few minutes from Lexington, right in the middle of horse country.
The 35-acre vineyard sits on what used to be a tobacco and cattle farm. Since 1998, it became the home to one of the most picturesque vineyards in the area creating award-winning wines.
It was named by CNN in 2004 as one of the 16 hidden treasures in the United States.
Co-owner Cynthia Bohn serves as the vineyard manager and winemaker. The idea for her own vineyard and winery came while Bohn studied business case studies of wine giants Mondavi and Gallo as part of continuing education curriculum at Harvard University.
Bohn grew up on a tobacco farm in Hart County and has become instrumental in state grape production education among contracted growers and is a resource for the Kentucky grape and wine industry. Bohn also played a key role in establishing the Kentucky Grape Industry Advisory Council and served as its first chair.
Some of the many highlights of the vineyard include a renovated tobacco barn that now serves as a wine production facility, flower gardens and a stone tasting room, not to mention acres of vines and the nearby South Elkhorn Creek.
Equus Run hosts a number of concerts during the summer at the outdoor amphitheater along with tours, wine tasting and picnics, or even a game of croquet or bocce.
Shaker Village is the largest historic community of its kind in America with 34 original 19th-century buildings on 2,800 acres of farmland.
The National Historic Landmark is one of 19 Shaker communities established during the1830s in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana after the first Shakers were led by Ann Lee to America from Manchester, England in 1774.
A nonprofit, educational corporation operates Shaker Village.
Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of activities, including self-guided tours, riverboat excursions and special events. The village also offers two craft stores, meeting facilities, as well as dining and overnight accommodations in some of the restored buildings while costumed interpreters chronicle Shaker life throughout the village.
The self-guided walking tour includes 14 restored buildings including the Centre Family Dwelling, which houses an extensive collection of original Shaker furniture and household items from the nineteenth century.
Skilled artisans work at 19th-century trades and historic farming within the restored community bringing the past to life. The Shaker Life Exhibit in the East Family Dwelling has changing exhibits, a video viewing area, and hands-on room.
For more information or to make reservations at Shaker Village, visit their website at www.shakervillageky.org
For details about Equus Run Vineyards, visit www.equusrunvineyards.com