A boer goat stares at you. A donkey stares at the goat. And a baby tennessee walking horse reads its first Dr. Seuss book. No matter where you point your eyes, you’ll be treated to sights of charming animals at Jane’s Saddlebag’s petting zoo. It’s one of many delightful fixtures at the rural getaway—a hands-on historical education experience at a restored saddlebag home, which sprawls across more than 35 acres near Big Bone Lick State Park. A historic smokehouse adjacent to the home offers insight to the days before refrigeration, when Kentucky farmers would preserve their cured meat by hanging it above a smoldering fire. And behind the saddlebag home lies a replica of a 1700s flatboat, a low-cost form of transportation used by settlers to take one-way trips down the Ohio River and achieve ankle tans.
From April to October, these rustic outposts bathe in the sound waves of live music, and the cook-in-residence slakes the hunger built up from exploring both the refreshing nature of the grounds and the historical splendor it offers. When it’s in season, the cook uses freshly grown vegetables and puts flames to a new york strip steak until it’s almost as tender as the mashed potatoes with which it’s served. There’s even a wine and gift shop, where regional wines—some from Kentucky—vie with antiques and gift baskets for the attention of gift givers.
Situated amidst 80 acres of rolling countryside, Chateau de Pique Winery hosts wine tastings inside a fully restored, 19th-century horse barn. Glasses swirl handcrafted wines such as bold, dry reds, Late Harvest Riesling, buttery Chardonel, and juicy Peach Bum. In warmer months, a 6,500-square-foot tent accommodates up to 350 guests during special events, and two satellite tasting rooms provide sips in Indianapolis and Clarksville year-round.
When Simon Huber arrived in southern Indiana from Baden-Baden, Germany in 1843, he knew how to do two things particularly well: grow fruit and make wine. What started out as Simon's humble, 80-acre operation, today stretches across more than 600 acres as one of the state's oldest wineries. It remains a family business, too, with seventh-generation Hubers at the helm.
Open seven days per week, 12 months a year, the facility features u-pick fruits and veggies, a bakery, a cafe, and even a family farm park. All of this activity bustles above the wine cellar, which resides underground beneath the Huber's restored 1938 barn. There, the family transforms 18 different varieties of grapes into award-winning wines, combining modern equipment with old-world winemaking techniques.
Your Groupon grants you aerial access to a Cessna 172 ($49–$50 per half hour, depending on location). As you hop into the cockpit, study the navigational dials and instruments. Firmly grip the yoke. Then see how many witty quips you can squeeze in over the intercom before it's time to fly. Each lesson is copiloted by one of Givens' expert instructors ($20 per half hour). Having logged countless flight hours, your copilot will keep your confidence and nose up as you take in the basics. Though it may be difficult to resist showing off for friends, save the barrel rolling for professional stunt pilots and Donkey Kong.
Classic Biplane Tours' certified pilots helm modern versions of the 1935 Waco YMF, as they trace premapped and custom routes through the sky. Each pilot possesses years of professional flight experience, whether working as a missionary pilot, corporate pilot, or commercial pilot, and cheerfully shares savvy knowledge of the skyways throughout each flight via voice-activated headphones and microphones. Once safely returned to earth, passengers are bestowed certificates that designate them as qualified barnstormers, which budding aviators can then proudly display at home or use to legally commandeer an eagle.
Set in the heart of the Bluegrass region, Talon Winery's Shelbyville location is located on the unique backdrop of a hillside just above a lake. Its scenic tasting room hosts a covered porch overlooking a four-acre limestone quarry lake, making it the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon getaway. The Winery which boasts an atmosphere akin to the charm of a small town also features a Kentucky Proud gift shop where guests can purchase gifts and wines. The tasting room and gift shop are both open seven days a week year round.