Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Kentucky-born Savannah GA Innkeeper Readies For Kentucky Derby Day 2015

SAVANNAH Georgia -- Zeigler House Inn's bed and breakfast owner, Jackie Heinz readily shares her Kentucky heritage and what it is like to be a Kentucky gal on Kentucky Derby Day. The running of the roses at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, happens Saturday, May 2, 2015.  Gates open at 8:00 a.m. and the first of 12 races is at 11:00 a.m. We'll be tweeting from @ZeiglerHouseInn on Derby Day, hashtag #KentuckyDerby #SavannahGA.

Kentucky Heritage from Savannah GA bed and breakfast inn's Kentucky owner
Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
I was asked to write a few lines describing what it was like growing up in Kentucky and my thoughts on the Derby.

If you’ve spent any time in Kentucky you know it is a beautiful state with green rolling hills, gorgeous lakes, spectacular mountains to the east and amazing meadows and fields covered in that famous Kentucky bluegrass.

You will also pick up on something else there, it's that there are two things Kentuckians are passionate about, Basketball and Horse Racing. You can’t live in this state and not fall in love with both and if you’re born there it is in your DNA. There’s just no getting around it.

This time of year, basketball is behind us for the season and it's time to focus on horse racing and The Derby. “The Derby”, what can I say? Its just the most spectacular event ever! People dressed in their finest, ladies in their hats all with mint juleps in hand and the most majestic of animals, the thoroughbred race horse, all on display. 
Kentucky Derby Churchill Downs photo by Rick Rowland
Kentucky Derby: Churchill Downs finish line.
Photo Courtesy Rick Rowland. Creative Commons License.
Derby Day holds some of my favorite memories. 

My best part is right before the race and the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home” as the horses move on to the track. The site, the sound bring tears to my eyes every year. Just ask my family, they all think I’m nuts when I start to cry. My fellow Kentuckians will understand though.

A trip to Derby should be on everyone’s bucket list. If you ever have the opportunity to go, grab it with both hands and run. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Derby Day brings other things to mind. Food and drink, of course. 

It just wouldn’t be Derby Day without that famous drink, the Mint Julep. Properly made this is a hard drink to beat.

Then there’s the food. Probably the most iconic dish is Kentucky Burgoo. What is it you say? Well, it’s a bit of this and a bit of that. Traditionally, its three types of meat, fresh vegetables all cooked down till the meat is fall-apart tender and the stew is thick enough to stand a fork in the middle of the bowl. Now, there are those that like it more like a soup but, in my opinion, it’s a stew. Either way, it’s a lot of awesome yumminess.

Derby Pie at Zeigler House Inn 2015
(Notice the table roses to honor "Running of the Roses")
You also need a dessert to go with this and I happen to think Derby Pie and Bourbon Balls work just fine. As a matter of fact, that’s what we’ll be serving Derby Day at the inn along with a few other Kentucky staples.

I have made Georgia my home for the last 21 plus years and I love it here, but Kentucky still holds my heart and probably always will. I still watch the Derby every year and go when I can. I watch the Wildcats on TV and if you cut me I still bleed Blue.

The picture of a beautiful horse running across a pasture of bluegrass will still take my breath away and hearing the band play my “Old Kentucky Home” will bring a tear to my eye. Like I said, it’s in my DNA.
Steve Buttleman, the official bugler of
Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby,
sounds the call to the posts(2012).
Photo by: Spc. David Bolton, Public Affairs
Specialist, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs
Detachment, Kentucky Army National Guard).
Tidbit: On May 2, 2015, The Kentucky Derby will be the 141st Run for the Roses.
Copyright 2015 Zeigler House Inn. 

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