Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

September 25, 2013

Agritourism

Heritage Harvest Tour great way to spend this weekend

ASHLAND — Residents of Boyd and Lawrence counties who seldom wander far from Ashland and Louisa have a superb opportunity to see new parts of the counties this weekend. Expanded to two days by popular demand this year, the Heritage Harvest Tour of farms, country churches and other home-spun stopoffs in Boyd and Lawrence counties will enable area residents to partake of some excellent meals, visit some working farms, take in a bit of history, and see some things that many probably never knew existed so close to home. And, in so doing, they will enjoy the gentle hospitality of the rural people of the two counties.

The driving tour of places along U.S. 23 and Ky. 3 will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. People can partake of whatever portions of the tour they choose during those times. The event will be conducted regardless of the weather.

The self-guided tour winds it way down Ky. 3 from Cannonsburg to Louisa and then up U.S. 23 to Catlettsburg — or the other way around, if participants are so inclined. Along the way visitors may eat a country breakfast, see operating farms, buy quilts and other Kentucky-crafted items and watch apple butter and sorghum being made at the 13 stops on the tour.

For the first time this year, retired Morehead State University professor Roland Burns will open his Wolfpen Woods early-American village recreation in Rush. The village is usually open only a week per year, but this Saturday only, several historical re-enactors will be on hand for colorful demonstrations of Kentucky’s frontier past. The village is on Bolts Fork just off Ky. 3 in Boyd County.

Mount Olive Freewill Baptist Church in Rush will be serving a full country breakfast for $8 from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Some of the other stops include:

-- East Fork Farms, a working beef farm in Louisa, where visitors can learn farming history. It includes a photo opportunity with Barney the mule

-- Savage Farm in Louisa, which features a country store with soaps, honey, sorghum and other products.

-- Adkins Mill Farm and Dairy in Louisa, a working farm with a small sawmill.

-- Historic Savage Memorial Church in in the beautiful little Lawrence County community of Fallsburg, serving barbecue and fixings for $6.

-- Kentucky Roots in Louisa features “Autumn on the Farm” and includes dealers offering early country antiques, folk art and seasonal items on an 1800s farmstead. Kenrucky Roots has a $3 admission fee and will be open only on Saturday.

 -- Durbin Farms in Durbin, with sorghum and apple butter being made. The farm annually has its own sorghum festival.

Now in its fourth year, the tour grew from a seed planted by several farms along Ky. 3 that wanted to expand agritourism opportunities, said Lawrence County Extension Agent Julia Rollins said. The extension offices in the two counties are the primary sponsors of the tour.

“Agritourism is definitely growing and we want it to continue to grow,” Rollins said.

How important is the tour? Well, more than 600 motored through last year’s tour route, and at the Lawrence County stops alone spent more than $27,000, she said. That doesn’t account for money pumped into the local economy at that Boyd County stops or at gas stations, restaurants and other establishments not on the tour, Rollins said. In short, that makes the tour a fairly significant tourist attraction.

The tour itself is free, but two stops, Wolfpen Woods and Kentucky Roots, charge fees and other stops will have food, crafts and other items for sale. How much one spends on the tour in each person’s choice

For more information or to request brochures with tour maps, call the Lawrence County office at (606) 673-9497 or the Boyd County office at 739-5184 or visit heritageharvesttour.com or facebook.com/heritageharvesttour.

We suspect even some who have lived in either Boyd or Greenup counties for decades — or maybe even all their lives — will learn something new about the counties by taking the driving tour. The tour is not for everyone but for those who are not in a hurry, do not mind driving a few miles and are seeking hard-to-find crafts and good meals,  it strikes us as an enjoyable way to spend a weekend — especially if Mother Nature cooperates with a couple of beautiful autumn days.

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