Mare and foal, just two of the thoroughbreds residing at Hermitage Farm

When you think of Kentucky, do you immediately think bourbon and horses? Add culinary innovation to the mix and you will understand why Hermitage Farm is transforming a horse farm into an agritourism destination. Located just 25 minutes from downtown Louisville, owner Steve Wilson says his desire to showcase the best of Kentucky was the motivation to convert the horse farm into a farm-to-fork restaurant featuring menu items grown in the onsite five-acre garden, country store stocked with local farm products and picnic lunches, and specialty bourbon retail and tasting rooms. Groups will enjoy an art walk instillation and hayloft event space for approximately 200 guests. Planned to be open by Kentucky Derby Day 2019 will be the unique ability to dine inside renovated horse stalls, offering both communal and private dining opportunities. The 700-acre homestead, which includes the main house built in 1835, currently offers tours, weddings and event rentals. The stud barn, home to 75 thoroughbred mares and their foals, has been renovated with leisure and group experiences enhanced, from info on the sport of combined carriage driving (in which Wilson competes) to a carriage gallery, complete with an 1882 era horse-drawn carriage used in the movie Gone with the Wind. Hermitage Farm owners Wilson and Laura Lee Wilson co-founded 21c Museum Hotels, with the inaugural hotel in this collection located in downtown Louisville., a free Louisville Visitors Guide and complimentary hotel booking service via 1-888-LOUISVILLE.

Exterior of renovated Kentucky International Convention Center. photo by Kentucky Venues

$207 million dollars later, the renovation and expansion of The Kentucky International Convention Center (KICC) is finally finished. Closed for the past two years, the new build led by EOP/HOK Architects and Hunt Construction and over 60 sub-contractors, has increased contiguous exhibit space by more than a third. KICC now includes 200,125 sf of contiguous Class A exhibit space; a 40,000 sf column-free ballroom with color-changing LED walls; 52 meeting rooms and a 175-seat tiered conference theater. Also: a natural light-filled and community engaging design reflecting Louisville’s Bourbon culture. The kitchen will be able to serve 15,000 meals-per-day and a coffee-by-day, bourbon-by-night experience called Oak & Brew will play host to leisure and corporate groups. KICC is one of two convention venues to service more than 20,000 hotel rooms in the metro area.;


Planners: book your next event or meeting at any of the 4,400 participating properties in the Hilton portfolio by September 30, with events completed by March 31, 2019 and receive double points with the Hilton Honors Event Planner Program. Earn one point per $1 USD spent.  Naturally, existing meeting reservations not eligible and you must ask for the “Q3 Hilton Honors Event Planner Promotion” to get this offer.  

Grand staircase of the Kentucky International Convention Center


I have written about Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month in years past, but the amount of money raised and donated each year to a named charity makes it well worth repeating. Available from August 24 through September 30, restaurants across the Orlando, FL area offer three-course dining experiences for $35. One dollar of each meal this year supports Best Buddies and Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida. As my husband and I celebrate our anniversary in September, we use the occasion to dine out at as many of these fine restaurants as possible. I count 119 restaurants listed for 2018. If you are anywhere near the Orlando area, do check out the menus. Let the feasting begin!

Iforway PowerElf. Power up no matter where you are.


I confess I don’t think I personally will need this product, but it seems like most of the people I know in the hospitality/events & meetings industries who produce shows just might want to check this out for themselves. Do let me know whether this is “all that.” The Iforway PowerElf outdoor power station has a mega-capacity of 46,800 mAh battery, IP64 waterproof shell, compact design (2.65lbs) and 10 layers of power protection. It has a 45W type-c port, 2 USB ports, 1 DC output port, and a cigarette lighter socket; the better with which to charge electronic devices. The PowerElf can be charged from a wall outlet, solar panels, or car cigar lighter. The power station is also integrated with a LED flashlight.


My bags are finally unpacked from my latest travel adventures. The next blogs you see will be my series on Eastern Europe. Stay tuned to

Russ and I in Budapest, Hungary

Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries.  She is an active member of ILEA and MPI and is now serving on the 2018 – 2019 MPI Global Advisory Board for The Meeting Professional Magazine for the second consecutive year. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events.;; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.


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