Shopping Across Kentucky
Shopping Across Kentucky
It might be cold on the outside, but on the inside the shopping is hot.
Kentuckians don't necessarily have to travel to the "big cities" to find good shopping. Often there is quality shopping in the smallest of towns, and searching them out can make for some enjoyable wintertime travel.
These privately owned shops, many of which are mom-and-pop types, offer unique shopping experiences. They have managed to stay around for decades because of quality goods and friendly customer service.
Here are a few shops and stores waiting for you to enjoy:
Creatures of Habit in Paducah opened in 1987 as a costume store, and has grown to more than 11,000 costumes and half a million authentic period garments and accessories in stock for purchase or rental. It's no wonder it takes much of this four-story 1908 brick building to hold the inventory.
A few years ago the store made a "Hollywood connection," and since then their services have been used in movies and television productions. This unique store carries makeup, wigs, beards, special effects, masks, and accessories, including footwear, costume jewelry, eyewear, glasses, and canes.
Simon's Shoes in Henderson is a third-generation shoe store that began in 1919. The store's owner, Bruce Simon, likes to say it is "Henderson's best-kept secret," but in all honesty this is not the case at all. With customers driving in from Louisville, Nashville, Indianapolis, St. Louis, and Bowling Green, it's easy to see this store is not much of a secret.
"There are very few full-service fitting shoe stores remaining in the United States," says Simon, "but we're one of them."
As you might expect, a store of this caliber has all the well-known brands for both men and women, but it's the size selections that separate this store from the others. They offer ladies' shoes 4A, 3A, 2A, B, and D, and sizes 4-13; and men sizes 6 to 17 in very narrow and extra wide.
One customer liked the selections so much that she purchased 35 pairs at one time. "That's the record," Simon says.
Uncle Lee's in Greenville predates today's Wal-Mart, Lowe's, and Bass Pro Shop. First opened by Lee Fauntleroy in 1975 in what was considered then a big store with 38,000 square feet, today it has expanded to 130,000.
This store has it all: a family shoe department, a home decor center, plumbing and electrical, lawn and garden, and a 16,000-square-foot furniture department. But Uncle Lee's signature department is the hunting and fishing area. The store promotes itself as offering the largest selection in Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee, and after a visit here you'll see why.
Cowgirl Attic in Lexington is located off the so-called retail corridor of the city. Owner Karen Payne started riding horses at the age of 5, and because of that she has always considered herself a cowgirl. Over the years, she had been in the business of peddling antiques and old house parts, so when she decided to open her 5,000-square-foot warehouse/store, the name was a no-brainer.
The store is stacked with architectural antiques, light fixtures, fireplace mantles, doors, bath fixtures, hardware, stained glass, ornamental iron, garden elements, stone, bricks, wooden beams, and weather vanes. And it also has vintage cowgirl "stuff" and horse country items.
Creatures of Habit
406 Broadway, Paducah
1535 Delaware Avenue, Lexington
820 N. Main, Greenville
100 N. Main, Henderson
More Kentucky Shopping
200 Sycamore, Elizabethtown
Trains, planes, automobiles, and much more.
Nettie Jarvis Antiques
111 Taylorsville Road, Bloomfield
Open Tuesday-Saturday or by appointment.
High-end antiques in historic building.
Ridgemont Furniture Galleries
416 S. Buckman Street, Shepherdsville
Open Monday-Saturday, until 8 p.m. Monday and Thursday.
Quality furniture from more than 100 companies in 50,000-square-foot showroom.
Pistols 'N' Petticoats
102 W. Kentucky Avenue, Franklin
Children's clothing and accessories for newborns to size 16.
For more unique shopping spots, check out Gary P. West's new book, Shopping Your Way Across Kentucky-101 Must Places to Shop, $21.95, Acclaim Press, available at local bookstores.
Gary P. West is a regular contributor to the Traveling Kentucky column.
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"You'll just love it when you get finished,"
Norma Jean Campbell tells her students as they fashion airy wisps of black and white fleece around wires during a craft-making session at Campbell's West Wind Farm in Springfield.
With her hearty laugh and compliments encouraging them along, Campbell illustrates how they should position the fleece and use a felting needle to give it added shape and detail.
"I love this medium," she says. "It's so forgiving. The faces look real--is that weird?"
Campbell says she had always wanted to raise sheep and make crafts and clothing with their wool, so in 1986, she and her husband Virgil purchased a 1790 farmhouse in rural Springfield, where she's held spinning, weaving, crafts, and natural wool dyeing classes for three years.
After each spring's shearing of her 25 Border Leicester ewes, Norma uses anything from onion skins and blood root to sumac berries, mushrooms, walnut hulls, and cochineal bugs as natural dyes.
"I just enjoy nature and everything I do has to do with nature," she says.
Norma, who also sells items she's made,
will expand her agritourism and teaching efforts this year in her new fiber arts studio within a renovated historic outbuilding on her farm. She gives farm tours by appointment.
Also in Springfield, the 1851 Historic Maple Hill Manor Bed & Breakfast & Gift Shop alpacas supply the fleece used in the scarves, hats, and other items sold in their gift shop, says innkeeper Todd Allen. The inn has seven guest rooms, each with soft teddy bears, robes, and blankets made from alpaca fleece. It hosts quarterly group workshops and farm tours.
There are many wool-producing farms in this part of Kentucky, Allen says, as farmers continue to diversify and incorporate tourism into their operations.
"It is a new and enjoyable type of life-style that the entire family can get involved in and enjoy," he says.
A $50,000 state grant will enable Maple Hill to work with other area natural fiber farms to create and sell natural fiber blends, hold additional workshops, and expand their farm store by this spring, Allen says.
Allen, who is president of the Central Kentucky Agritourism Association, attributes an increasing interest in fiber artistry to baby boomers entering their retirement years yearning to busy themselves with something constructive, along with a recent resurgence in the popularity of knitting and weaving.
Primarily self-taught, Norma enjoys incorporating items she finds on her farm into her fiber art--whether it's a scrap of wasp nest and some barbed wire adorning a miniature birdhouse, or a peacock or rooster feather adding a splash of color to a figure's hat.
And she's always on the lookout for new ideas and projects.
"Besides giving workshops, I attend them,"
she says. "You don't ever quit learning."
CAMPBELL'S WEST WIND FARM
Located at 2888 Bardstown Road, Springfield, offering classes in craftmaking, spinning, weaving, and natural dyeing, varies by price and availability, reservations required. Call (859) 336-9283 or search for its new Web site coming in early 2009 with information on tours, workshops, and more.
Next time you're out for a spin, other fleece-related agritourism businesses and Web sites you can visit include:
Country View Llamas
545 Country View Lane, Ghent
Llama farm. Guesthouse, tours by reservation.
1851 Historic Maple Hill Manor Bed & Breakfast and Gift Shop2941 Perryville Road, US 150E, Springfield
(859) 336-3075 or (800) 886-7546
Seven guest rooms, special packages available--January "Cabin Fever" getaway: buy one night, get one free. Workshops, scheduled group tours, fiber art products, and gifts available. Reservations requested. Thursday-Sunday, 12 noon-5 p.m. or by appointment.
Greenbriar Vineyard & Suri Alpacas
159 Rarely Ridden Road, Lebanon
Vineyard, farm store selling alpaca fleece goods. Winter hours are weekends 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sweet Home Spun
6805 Castle Highway, Pleasureville
Sheep farm. Spinning, knitting lessons evenings, weekends, and by appointment. Meet-inghouse where spinners/knitters gather every second Sunday. Fiber items for sale. Informal tours, but call ahead. Saturday 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Lan Mark Farms
121 Sharpsburg Rd., Sharpsburg
Sheep farm, private and group tours, wearable art products, holiday and home decor items sold, workshops for all ages on Fiber 101. Sells own design of felt loom. Thursday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call for reservations and availability.
Sunshine Alpacas of Kentucky
2110 Mackville Road, Springfield
Alpacas, llamas, and angora bunnies. Flaggy Meadow Fiber Works mill on-site. Showroom/classroom building coming this spring.
Kentucky Wool Festival
Annually, the first full weekend of October. Entertainment, food, music, crafts, demonstrations, $5 admission. Near Kincaid Lake State Park. Promotes sheep and wool products.
For more information about these and other farms, go Kentucky's Agritourism Web site, www.kentuckyfarmsarefun.com.
Shannon Leonard-Boone is a regular contributor to the Traveling Kentucky column.
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