Sunday, November 9, 2014

Old Kentucky Tobacco Barns

Every October we enjoy visiting the mountains of North Carolina to see the amazing Autumn leaf color changes.  My husband and I hop in the car and take off with great anticipation for what we may find just around the bend.  Of course my camera always goes with us in an effort to try to capture some of the awesome beauty we see along the way.

The below photo shows Highway 24-West leaving Chattanooga, Tennessee.  This solid rock wall was a beautiful sight for several miles along the highway just north-west of Chattanooga.


Highway 24 is a one-and-a-half hour, very scenic drive on up to Murfreesboro, Tennessee,  where we planned to stop off for a visit with my sister and her family.



Then we planned to continue on along Scenic Byway Highway 68 on our way to Nicholasville, Kentucky to visit with our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.

   National Geographic selected sections of Highway 68 as one of America's most spectacular drives.


We were driving along enjoying the very scenic rolling hills of Kentucky when we began to spot many old barns.  Our curiosity took us closer and we discovered most of these old barns were tobacco barns.

The old barn in the below photo is full of drying tobacco, but interestingly, seen in the forefront of this photo for as far as you can see,  are soy bean plants.  


I loved "Old Glory" attached to this old barn.


And, on the back of this same barn we saw a "barn quilt."  We didn't know it at the time, but all along the way we would see many more very interesting and colorful "barn quilts."  If you would like to see a previous post on "barn quilts" you can click on the site below:

sweetsoutherndays.blogspot.com/2012/09/barn-quilts.html 


Leaving the main highway and driving on up to get a closer look at the inside of this old barn we could actually see tobacco hanging from the rafters.  It looked like someone had really been busy getting all this tobacco hung, but we never did see anyone.





From what I can find out from Mr. Google,  Kentucky as well as the states of Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Maryland were major tobacco growing states.


Turning around from inside the barn, standing there with the cool breezes blowing,  looking out over the landscape before us, almost took my breath away to see such a beautiful and peaceful view. 

Off in the distance you can see Kentucky Highway 68 where we will be continuing on our way.


Interestingly, also seen from the inside of the barn, for as far as the eye could see, were fields of soy beans.  I saw this as an omen as far as tobacco is concerned.  Due to health concerns from tobacco use, the production of tobacco has sharply declined and as a result there are not too many tobacco farmers left in the United States. 


Leaving this very interesting tobacco filled barn we drove back to Scenic Highway 68 and continued on our way.

Back on the scenic rural backroads of Kentucky we began to see more old tobacco barns around most every curve in the road.


Again, it was very nice to see the "grand old flag" on the side of this very colorful barn.


As you can see this was another working tobacco barn.




A field of tobacco growing behind the barn.



We just had to stop the car to get a better look at this cute little donkey. 
He was so adorable and so friendly.


Preservation groups are encouraging restoration of these old historic barns.  Many of the barns have been in farming families for generations and many folks feel the barns need to be remembered and preserved. 

According to Mr. Google there were a few hundred thousand of them at one time, but now there may be only about a thousand.


Kentucky has a unique twist on conservation with a Quilt Trail Project that encourages barn owners to place 8-by-8-foot boards with colorful quilt patterns on the barns for tourists traveling down the highways to enjoy.

As you can see I tried to capture many of these "barn quilts" along the way with my camera.


This beautiful house on the hill in the below photo reminds me of the old song, 
"My Old Kentucky Home."


Actually, Kentucky was my original home since my brother and I were born in Louisville, Kentucky.  My mother was born and raised in a little town called Morganfield, Kentucky.  My grandfather owned a blacksmith shop there many years ago.

For miles and miles we drove past pastures just like the one in the below photo.  Some of the fences were white but many of them were dark brown.


The below photo shows what they call a traditional black Kentucky tobacco barn.  I especially like this particular quilt pattern.

Black barns raise the heat inside, helping with the curing of the tobacco hanging inside. The black color is from creosote which is also supposed to repel termites.




What a pretty butterfly quilt pattern!



We saw many stone fences similar to the fence seen in the below photo.  The history of Kentucky tells us these stone walls were built according to methods brought to the area by Scottish and Irish immigrants in the 1700’s and 1800’s,


We just had to stop to get a picture of these beautiful yellow wildflowers growing behind another stone wall along the roadway.  How pretty!


I hope you enjoyed driving along with us on this very Scenic Kentucky Byway in rural Kentucky.

Join us next time as we see more lovely places along the beautiful backroads of Kentucky.

Blessings to you wherever you may be!

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