Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

June 9, 2013

Tim Preston: Big, red barn; Amish cabins; and a $12.50 burger: 6/9/13

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — I had a fun adventure last weekend as part of a gang of musicians in a van traveling to an “out in the county” part of Greenup County to play a little bit of music for some truly nice people at a place called the Red Barn Dance Hall.

“We’re out in the county ... or in Warnock or Leatherwood,” said George Hayes, who owns and operates the alcohol-free venue on Ky. 7 along with his wife, Robin.

Hayes, an excellent keyboard player who took turns providing the solo sections of our unrehearsed set, said the Red Barn was in business long before it came up for sale about five years ago. As a working musician, Hayes smiled as he said, “I was tired of hauling equipment,” and explained they have steadily invested and built the place up. Hayes said the dance hall tends to have near-capacity crowds every Saturday night, when the Red Barn House Band (made up of himself, his wife, their son, Christopher, Larry Evans, Paul McWain, Mike Moore and Jim Greenslate) performs classic rock and modern country.

“This is just our weekend hobby,” he said, noting he and his wife have regular jobs that keep them busy during the week.

I’m not sure when Hayes takes a break, but he was telling me a little about some of the work they’ve put into the barn in recent weeks and months, including the addition of a small kitchen. In my notebook I underlined the words “fresh peach cobbler,” and scribbled that Hayes makes hot dog sauce according to his own formulation.

I really did enjoy our evening at the Red Barn, and it was refreshing to play music for a sober audience members not afraid to get up and move when they felt the groove. For more information, call (606) 922-9346.

Amish cabins

If you’ve driven along 13th Street in Ashland lately you’ve probably noticed an Amish cabin and horse-drawn buggy near Ashland Community and Technical College.

I received a note from Ashland native Linton Wells, who said the model cabin on display at 1712 13th St. is one of several styles available, along with custom units built to meet a customer’s specifications. Wells said the company “will have two additional cabin models in different styles there in next few weeks,” and added the business can also customize the floor plan for model/size/layout/colors/options and have a structure delivered “in about six weeks.”

Amish Cabin Co. has also reached an agreement with a leading regional solar power firm, he said, and offer two “off-grid” solar power options. I have to confess the “off-the-grid” concept is especially appealing to me.

For more information, visit amishcabincompany.com or call Wells’ father-in-law, Lew Ferguson, at (606) 922-8401 to make an appointment for an up-close look at the model cabin.

Mexican market

Apparently I am not alone in my desire to find a few specialty items from a good Hispanic grocery, as I’ve received several reports about the Lapaz Authentic Mexican Grocery Store at the Meade Station Plaza on U.S. 60 in Summit.

While I’m only after a couple of brands of Mexican coffee, I was surprised to hear about the things other people hope to find there. According to a report from my editor, the store even had a visit from our publisher, who is a Texan, while looking for a specific type of wrapper (made of corn husks?) called for in one of his favorite dishes. Another person mentioned the hope to find a beverage I had almost forgotten, tamarindo, while another is seeking a specific brand of commercial mole sauce.

While the grocery was set to open at the first of the month, people close to the project report the owners encountered unexpected delays and are still working hard to get stock on the shelves and welcome customers.

I will keep an eye on it and report when I encounter an “open” sign.

Faraway burger

One of my new favorite field agents recently returned from an almost-cross-country train trip with friends and shared a story about discovering an absolutely fantastic burger while visiting the Strater Hotel/Saloon in Durango, Colo.

The Diamond Burger, he noted, comes with a $12.50 pricetag and is well-worth every penny. I know you can’t get one of these things locally, but I enjoyed the description and you never know when you might find yourself in that neck of the woods.

“Cooked the way you ordered it, starts with 10 oz. of rib eye, New York strip, filet and beef brisket. Topped with Port Salut cheese from France, Italian pancetta chips (Italian bacon), roasted garlic and Dijon aioli, cider-soaked caramelized onions and served on a house-made baguette bun with hand-cut fries double fried tossed with garlic, parmesan and fresh parsley,” the agent reported.

While trying to figure out where in the world Durango is, I came across this bit of information: “Several well-known movies were made in Durango, including ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,’ ‘City Slickers,’ ‘Cliffhanger,’ National Lampoon’s Vacation,’ ‘Night Passage,’ ‘Ticket to Tomahawk,’ ‘Around the World in Eighty Days,’ ‘How the West Was Won’ and ‘Tracker.’”

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.