A Beautiful Journey

We had an amazingly beautiful weekend here in the Kentucky Bluegrass.  It's days like this that remind me of why we choose to make this our home.
My good friend Paula and I knew that Saturday was going to be perfect for an afternoon drive down to Livingston, Kentucky. Our destination, the
 Rockcastle River Trading Company. 
We could not have picked a more perfect day for a visit with the gracious proprietress Lucille Carloftis and her incredible family.
Rockcastle River Trading Company is the center of the Carloftis family homestead and a charming place where Lucille and other members of her fine family welcome visitors along US 25 to explore their well-edited selection of gift items, home & garden decor.
The beautiful setting encourages you to wander, relax and stay for a while. When we arrived, we were greeted on the patio by Lucille's son, garden designer, Jon Carloftis, and by her darling granddaughter, Carly.
Carly & Paula
Paula, who is also a dear friend of the Carloftis family, and I stayed long into the afternoon enjoying pimento sandwiches, homemade cookies, walks throughout the homestead and wonderful family stories with good people who are the epitome of southern hospitality.
Lucille's gorgeous cherry tree was in full bloom and served as a lace canopy over the walk from the residence back to the store.
Photo Helen Norman
Lucille will be the first to tell you that she is not a gardener, however, her son Jon Carloftis is an honest-to-goodness gardening celebrity. To quote from her book, A Beautiful Journey, "Momma," he said, "these ladies here in Lexington are real gardeners. Please don't call everything 'bushes.'"
Most days, he is outside like any gardener, getting his hands dirty, whether it's on his own property or on a client’s New York rooftop.
While Carloftis splits his time between Livingston and his home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, he admits he’s made a name for himself designing gardens for “some of the wealthiest people in New York,” but he doesn’t consider that the hallmark of his career.
There is one special place that’s his touchstone. “It’s called the Rockcastle River,” he says. “I can go there, and really get inspired real quick.”
Jon Carloftis is every bit the down-to-earth Kentucky boy he attests to being. He is amazingly humble and told me that he would love to come by and see my garden and stonework next time he is in Lexington!
Despite his hectic schedule, he makes time to speak regularly at Kentucky garden club events, and he has also donated his talents to gardens at the University of Kentucky Arboretum and to Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate.
 Giving back to Kentucky is a way to pay tribute to his family and the source of his lifelong love of nature. For someone to be so committed to giving back to his home state is really inspiring. He has also devoted his many talents towards three incredible books.
Jon's latest book, Beautiful Gardens of Kentucky, which I purchased while there, is one I look forward sharing with you all.
Paula and I had a delightful afternoon with the Carloftis family. It was such a pleasure to spend time with each and every one of them. Before we said goodbye, Lucille read to me an excerpt from her book, A Beautiful Journey. As I listened, I was reminded of the power of storytelling and that this incredibly gracious woman has a deeply moving story to tell. I look forward to reading and traveling along.
Thank you Lucille and your kind family for a beautiful afternoon and A Beautiful Journey.

Rockcastle River Trading Company.
Located off I-75 at exit 49 on US 25, or a leisurely drive down US 25 south past Livingston on the left just before the Laurel County bridge.


Dumbwit Tellher said...

Lisa you have me yearning to visit Kentucky. I love to garden and appreciate the talents of master gardeners & landscape architects and alike. I'd like to garden next to Jon anyday! His books look like great reads as does Lucille's. Thanks for taking us along on your beautiful day. Wishing you a great and 'sane' week. Don't know about you but I'm prom and graduation exhausted already!? All my best to you Lisa. xx

GrannySmithGreen said...

If that doesn't sound like a perfect way to spend a day, I don't know what is! What a wonderful time you must have had. Spending time in the garden with great company--just delightful. Now, I'm off to check out the Carlofits and Rockcastle River Trading Co. Thanks for sharing them with us!

Debra Phillips said...

what a delightful afternoon of beauty, good company and true southern hospitality. have not seen a lady in such a fine pink hat for many years. and jon.....what a talent with a mesmerizing smile :-)

The Consummate Hostess said...

Your post makes me so proud to hail from the bluegrass state! Your images capture the beauty of Kentucky in the spring as well as the talent of Jon Carloftis.

Alicia said...

Green, green, green with envy at the all the Kentucky graciuosness & goodness you experienced this weekend. Greenery & hospitality go hand & hand & both bounties are a fabulous necessity.
Im heading over to Amazon & I must confess..he's a looker too.

teaorwine said...

Several years back and while visiting in Lexington, I took a ride out to RockCastle River Trading Company. It was indeed a serene and bucolic treat, though none of the Carloftis family was there on that day to show us around. I enjoy the first two of Mr. Carloftis's books, and am anxious to have a look at his most recent. How honored you would be to have a visit from him to your gardens!

Jo said...

What a delightful day surrounded with beauty. Your tour was beautiful ~ this includes friends and gardens. I am always so intriqud with your area and all that it beholds.


Lisa said...

Thank you ladies,
I do believe that the saying "good graciousness" just might have started with this lovely place and lovely family.

Coty Farquhar said...

Lisa, You and I must be the luckiest girls in the world, we both live in such wonderful areas. The photographs of Kentucky above are just divine and they are very much like the Southern Highlands here in Australia. I'm sure when you do ever come to Australia you will agree.

I'm so glad you had a fantastic time,
My weekend was amazing, I should call you right now to tell you all about it, but I'm helping my son clean up after his party that he had here at home last night.

Twelve eighteen year olds, REALLY LOUD MUSIC and most of them stayed the night and only left a little while ago.

Totally opposite to my weekend away. Can you imagine??

Looking forward to talking with you soon.

Renae said...

What a lovely place to spend the day with your good friend. The gardens and the setting are so beautiful and I know must have been so inspiring for you, a girl who loves to garden.
Great memories were made I am sure.

A Country Farmhouse said...

Lisa, What a beautiful day and a beautiful place. The pictures completely transported me and I felt as if I myself had walked beneath that blossoming cherry tree. xoTrina

maría cecilia said...

Hola Lisa, it`s been a joy to browse through your inspiring blog, so, so many interesting and wonderful posts!!!
Greetings from Chile,
Maria Cecilia

Lipstick said...

What a beautiful post and "Please don't call everything bushes" is something that he would have to say to me too! :)

LiveLikeYou said...

Kentucky is now definitely on my list to visit! Magical pictures.

Anne Marie said...

Lisa.......what a beautiful home, grounds and pictures of your time with friends....and thank you SO much for those book recommendations! I need a few more good ones -

Hope you have been well - nice to visit....

Anne Marie

Millie said...

What a true little piece of paradise Lisa!
Millie ^_^

Amy R. said...

Great post. I did one a couple of weeks ago about the open house at River Trading Co, but yours is much better. It really is a lovely place that just seems enchanting. I am glad I live in Kentucky.

Mélanie said...

Kentucky looks so beautiful , so quiet, so green ..

Isla Pergola said...

What an amazing garden and home. Living in the tropics, the gardens here are not nearly as classic, more jungle than charming. Thank you for the insight into a world that is so different from my own.