I've spent five days at home this month, between a trip to lovely British Columbia, where my husband Brian had to go for work, and time working on our house in Detroit. Maybe it's the blue skies and baby buds of spring (and putting the top down on the car of the first time this year!) but there's something about finally settling in to home for a few weeks that has made me especially happy this time.
I got to spend yesterday morning exploring at Buffalo Trace, where the sweet smell of making whiskey combined with the fresh new flowers made me as giddy as if I'd been sipping the good stuff. Driving home later I found myself feeling a particular kind of contentment I don't find anywhere else. Now, I keep up with home while I'm away. I'm still working, still scanning social media where I follow all the food folks in addition to my friends and family in the Bluegrass, but it's not the same as just being here. Standing in a sunwashed room at the distillery yesterday I was taken by a few barrels sitting in a corner under a fall of spring sunshine. It was just nothing special, just some barrels waiting to go somewhere, but I could hardly drag myself away from the scene.
As much as I thrive on exploring other places, my Kentucky side requires sustenance once in a while. At the tail end of our Pacific northwest trip, with just an overnight in Seattle before heading home, Brian and I found ourselves at a restaurant called Ma'ono Fried Chicken and Whisky. Why, you might ask, would I go out for fried chicken and whiskey of all things when I was fewer than 24 hours from being back home? Well, it was supposed to be really good, for one. But maybe I was just ready for a taste of home. (As it turns out it was The. Best. Fried. Chicken. Ever. and I've been thinking about it since.) And sitting down to a beautifully made Old Fashioned and a pile of crisp, hot fried chicken just felt right after being away for half the month. Just like going for a bourbon when I could've had a local beer or wine seemed like the right call at least half the time.
What I've really found to be fun lately is letting people know I'm from Kentucky. From Michigan to Vancouver those words conjure a pour or three of whiskey that the bartender or chef or server wants me to try. And hey, who am I to decline such hospitality?
I'll be headed out again in a few weeks, back up to Detroit. But I plan to make the most of springtime here. There's a whole wide world out there waiting, but truly, there's no place like home.