Colorfest At Bernheim Forest

Kentucky is well known for our whiskey. As it is said, all Bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon. Until recently, bourbon could only be called bourbon if it came from Kentucky. There are still requirements on what classifies as bourbon, but being from Kentucky, particularly Bourbon County and created by the water distilled by our infamous limestone (which by the way is exported to Saudi Arabia and other wealthy countries in order to give them the pure drinking water that we have) is no longer one. 

What is less known is that due to whiskey production in Kentucky, we have been given many gifts. One such gift is from Isaac W. Bernheim; a German immigrant who went from a peddler to a wealthy owner of a distillery that created the I.W. Harper brand of bourbon. In return for his success in Kentucky, he established the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in 1929 with 14,000 acres. He purchased the property at $1 an acre because the land had been stripped of its iron ore. The Frederick Law Olmsted landscaping company begin work in 1931. Frederick Law Olmsted was the landscape architect of Central Park in New York as well as 18 parks, 6 parkways, and the grounds of the Free Public Library and University in Louisville in Kentucky. Bernheim Forest opened in 1950.

Bernheim is open for free every day during the week and is $5 a car load on the weekends. There is always free events happening and the Education Center is open daily. There are hiking trails, plenty of beautiful shots to photograph, and creatures to spy. In Autumn, they have the Colorfest and as the name explains it is a festival to celebrate the Fall color, explore nature, and learn about sustainablility. It is family fun.

From where we had to park, we had to cross one of the lakes over a bridge.


Kids always have to climb rocks and ham it up for the cameras.

We came across a bench facing the lake, a fairy den (an activity previously put on by Bernheim), lava rocks, and a copper tree of donors.

A large glass mosaic hand called “Hello” by artist Russel Voigt.

Edible Fall garden with tomatoes, Swiss chard, kale, green peppers, hot peppers, etc. There was companion planting with flowers and sometimes flowers bloomed from free flying seed.

Crafting for the kiddos with sand art, key chains, and necklaces.

We found critters! Salamanders, Tadpoles, Spiders… Oh My!

Gifts of the Standing People. Standing People being the trees; the name given by Native Americans. We learned a lot at this area of the Colorfest. The Osage Orange or Hedge Apple is very fascinating. The actual “fruit” of the tree is selling for $25 for five as insect/spider/mouse repellent. The wood is very dense and perfect for tools, fencing, and very prized bows. It also has a very high BTU, burning long and hot. The trees are perfect for wind break, erosion control, and cattle barrier. We learned that Praying Mantis have been known to attack and eat Hummingbirds. My 9 year old son really had a great time talking to the Beekeepers and was asking some terrific questions. This is one project I want to start at home and so I know he will be my right hand man for the Beekeeping. I drooled over the Bow, arrows, and quiver… my Katniss was coming out.

Where there is water, there are the kids. This was a beautiful pond with waterfall. The planting was a message in Morse code; complete with dashes, spaces, and dots. The kids did not have patience for us to decipher the message.

Face painting! The cool factor when you are a kid.


Some man doing his thing with his sticks. I did not really understand it, but it looked cool.

Cooking demo of how to cook from your garden. It was kale, Swiss chard, onion, garlic and white beans. A complete main dish with salad from the garden and five ingredient homemade vinaigrette. It smelled so heavenly and tasted just as divine.


Wooden Tornado made from trees in the Forest.

Mudpies and more crafts.


The lone musician from Lexington. She was really good and played great songs. Her audience was mainly little kids jumping the hay bales which caused her to start giggling once. I do not blame her, they were having a great time.

My youngest son looking like an old man with his cousin. They are two peas in a pod and often act like an old married couple.


Then the beautiful Autumn colored butterfly.

Living Building Challenge; sadly had to miss because of kids. Next year, I am going to take them one day and then return the next to see the things I missed. Gourds ready for birdhouses. If there is not enough for you to do at Colorfest, write and needlepoint.

How do you start next year’s pumpkin patch? Pumpkin Chuckin’!!!


Orange Zinnia bringing in some Fall color.

When the mural is full, go behind it or paint over other’s pictures.

Hay bale maze. Sometimes ya gotta climb up to see where you need to go.

Everybody loves tractors. Only the youngest girl was brave enough to get all the way up on the biggest one.

Spinning yarn and weaving.

The ultimate fish tank; self contained.

Art, outdoor potting shed, Autumn berries.

On the way back to the car, another fairy den, sister photobombing, and beautiful Fall color.

2 thoughts on “Colorfest At Bernheim Forest

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s