Thursday, March 25, 2010
A Beautiful Day with Abe!
Spent another beautiful day in Kentucky, this one exploring the earliest haunts of Abraham Lincoln. Met a really nice couple from Ithaca, New York--around our age, they both grew up on dairy farms in that area. They were happy to tell us that they only buy Cabot cheese, which they find to be so creamy. Bill told them Jersey's provide the milk with its high butter fat for the cheese. He also admitted that we buy Price Chopper cheese and sometimes Helluva Good, both of which come from New York State!! We met several times as we toured the grounds of the birthplace and wound up walking to our cars together. As we did we began to discuss books for some reason and found ourselves comparing notes on McCullough, Michener, recent autobiographies we've read, are reading or are planning to read. I must get the one on Joe Biden. She's having trouble getting through Obama's but says she will finish it. I love when we get to talk to people about stuff like that! One of the really great perks of these trips--the people we meet! When my sister and I went to Texas in 2006 we arrived at the birthplace just about 4:30 and the site was closing for the day. Since then I have read articles about the log cabin that is enshrined in the Grecian temple-like structure. Apparently, the temple is located at the site of his birth cabin but the log cabin within the temple, while, at first blush, thought to be the actual structure has since been carbon dated and is too " young"! Still, I had hoped to stand in the place where it all began. It was not to be--the temple has sprung a leak in the roof and is undergoing repairs, as is its interior and whatever may have been damaged on the cabin. Oh, well, the spring is still there which gives the place its name--Spring Hill Farm. Thomas Lincoln settled here with his considerably younger wife, Nancy Hanks, about whom almost nothing seems to be known--there is not even a painting or photo of her. The painting at the museum is one that was created by the artist from written descriptions of her and he has made her in such a way that her son resembles her and shows nothing of his father in his visage. At any rate, Thomas and Nancy had a daughter Sarah and then Abe. As a result of property ownership di sputes the Lincolns relocated to Knob Creek when Abe was two and he attended school down the road in Athertonville,where there is a historical sign at a most inconvenient stopping site! There are all modern houses there so nothing remains of his time.He spoke of his time at Knob Creek and the blab school he attended. In a blab school students repeated their lessons aloud to learn them--I did that, too! For the rest of his life he read the newspaper aloud, claiming he learned better when using two senses. I don't do that--we had to read silently in school and I still like complete quiet when I am reading. While at Knob Creek, Abe fell into the creek but could not swim--I would imagine it was deeper and wilder than on the day I took these shots! At any rate, his buddy,Austin Gollaher, held out a branch to him and he latched on and was saved. When the court case on the Spring Hill Farm was lost the family packed up and moved to Indiana. The Lincoln home was torn down and the cabin that sits on the 250 acre farm is believed to be Austin's, moved there in the '30's. So no Lincoln log cabins to be seen-- not even where his grandfather, Abraham Linkholn, lost his life in an Indian raid! I must say that a lot of work has been done on Austin's cabin and the ranger at the Birthplace told me that the site is staffed in summer now and there are plans to cultivate and plant that beautiful field between the knob-like hills and along the creek with plants that Abe and his father would have tended. I think that will be really nice--especially since this road was, during his time there, the main road between Louisville and Nashville and many a group of slaves was marched along it. Lincoln claimed that one of the reasons his father chose to leave Kentucky was because of the use of slaves there. After that small does of history we continued on our way to Bardstown and stopped at Heaven Hill Distillery to taste their wares and have Bill see their beautiful tasting room. We did not take a tour for I wanted very much to do that at Buffalo Trace with my favorite tour guide, Freddie. We were given two bourbons to taste--one a single barrel ten year old and the other Evan Williams single barrel 18 year old. What an incredible difference! The ten year old burns but with only four drops of water the burn is significantly reduced. Our leader said he pours it over two ice cubes and lets the ice melt as he drinks. That is how I drink it as well--I cannot imagine mixing a good bourbon with anything--just bourbon and branch. But, oh, the Evan Williams! Smooth as silk alone--a true sipping bourbon. And its price is indicative of its fineness! So we bought some honey, mustard, marinade and sorghum all fortified with bourbon and went on our way to the Quality Inn. Our plan was to eat at Dagwood's, an elegant restaurant on the main street of Bardstown where Barb and I enjoyed Elijah Craig marinated rib eye served on a barrel stave, a wonderful soup and salad bar, and a delightful character waiter who was a McCoy of the Hatfield and McCoy feud. I could not find it in the phone book or on-line and so I called the Chamber of Commerce--the lady who owned it has died and though the family tried to keep it going for about a year without her cooking the place just withered and they closed. OHHHHH! She suggested several other places and we drove up and down looking for another I'd seen in the phone book only to discover it empty and shuttered, too. So off we went to Applebee's where the food is good and the place usually friendly!