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Exploring Kentucky

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Lynn’s Paradise Cafe in Louisville has been featured in many national media.

During this all-too-busy season, time can be more precious than the top-of-the-line offerings in the Neiman-Marcus catalogue. Adding the gift of time for certain folks on your holiday list is one sure way to get more bang for your buck. Consider this idea for people you care about and want to spend time with, and also for those you’d really like to see but never seem to be able to squeeze onto your calendar.

The concept is totally win-win. The recipient receives the gift and time with you during its creation, while you have fun, too.

Kentucky has a slew of these double-dip options up its holiday sleeve. Here’s a sampling:

Become a Berea artisan
As the Folk Arts and Crafts Capital of the commonwealth, Berea is full of talented creative types who sell exquisite handcrafted wares.
This year, Berea Tourism is adding a new do-it-yourself program, “The 12 Days of Christmas: Make It, Take It, Give It.” During the first 12 days of December, a number of Berea studio artists will lead 20-plus workshops to teach you – and perhaps a friend or family member – how to make your own artisan-quality creations.

Even as a novice, you can create a tile Saggar-Fired clock or “throw” a ceramic salt pig with Kentucky Artists and Craftsmen Guild member Lesa Geiringer. Another member, Steve Farmer, will teach you to craft a rattan-top wooden footstool or sturdy cutting boards. Make copper or brass earrings with Ken Gastineau. Stitch a Friendship quilt sampler, make a 14-foot Santa, and blow your own glass ornament.

Foodies, there are even seven in-kitchen workshops from which you’ll take home your own homemade goodies. Think Buche de Noel (a traditional French Yule log centerpiece) or luscious Pavlovas, egg-white-and-cream confections from New Zealand.

Stop salivating and call (800) 598-5263. Or go to berea.com for offerings, times and prices, which vary per class.

Whip up a Bourbon-based dinner
What better place to refine your culinary and bourbon-aficionado skills than in Bardstown, the Bourbon Capital of the World?

On the first three Fridays in December – the 2nd, 9th and 16th – Margaret Sue Masters, author of Kentucky Bourbon Cocktails and Desserts, hosts the Kentucky Bourbon Cooking School at Chapeze House, the restored 1787 Federalist mansion she shares with her husband, Colonel Michael Masters.
For you and your giftee, school starts at 4 p.m. Magically, you transform into Southern chefs until 6:30, when you become the Colonel’s guests for fine-Bourbon tasting and appetizers featuring Margaret Sue’s own Bourbon cheese. Dinner is served at 8 p.m. The all-Kentucky menu could include one-and-a-half-inch pork chops, baked cheese grits, Bourbon sweet potato casserole and bread pudding with Bourbon hard sauce.

“We’re not a restaurant,” said Colonel Masters, “but we cook every night for people by reservation. At the cooking school, they get to give us a hand in the preparation.”

Assure your place at the table by calling (800) 704-4917 or by going to chapezehouse.com

Toast the New Year in your PJs
Who says you have to get all gussied up for New Year’s Eve? This final option for double-gifting is a study in having a raucous good time outside your home in your jammies. Nightwear is not required at Lynn’s Paradise Café on Dec. 31, but should you and your gift receiver choose to go boudoir-casual, you’ll win a prize.

A Louisville institution since 1991, the kitschy restaurant is all bright colors, kooky knickknacks and scrumptious vittles.  It even has its own line of clothing, and has appeared on such national media as the Oprah Winfrey Show, Food Network and Discovery Channel. And Lynn’s end-of-year celebrations are legend.

“One group of women who come every year dress alike, bring the same stuffed animals and meet two gentlemen in their PJs, robes and lampshade hats,” laughs Patty Schnatter, the eatery’s CIO/COO.

New-Year’s-in-Paradise traditions include a coffee cart with free espresso drinks, impromptu singing and line dancing, live entertainment and take-home photos.

Next day, BYO hangover to Lynn’s New Year’s Day Brunch.
Make reservations for this memory-gift at (502) 821-8888 or lynnsparadisecafe.com.