Monday, July 6, 2009

Little Bit of Bybee and Churchill Downs

Yesterday, my husband decided that we needed to go to Louisville to watch the last day of racing at Churchill Downs for the Spring/Summer season. Since I love adventure and travel, I packed my bag and we headed south. The weather man said the sun would come out after noon. Sad to say that he was wrong. We hit rain around 1:30, however, after we parked and headed to the gate it did stop. It stayed overcast the rest of the day. We were lucky that a gentleman was handing out box seat tickets. We did not have to pay an entrance fee and the box was front row on the finish line. We checked them out, but did not sit in them because we like to people watch, as well as, watch the races (and the seats were wet). We wondered onto the Veranda that overlooked the paddock. We watched the horses be mounted by the jockey's from the veranda, as well as, down at the paddock. I got a picture of Calvin Borrell. He is the jockey of this years Derby winner, Mine that Bird. Beside Calvin, I did get some shots that might work for future paintings and the Hubs won a little money. So it was a great day at the track. Today we went to a little town outside Louisville called Middletown. There we went to a store called A Little bit of Bybee (11617 main St.). For those not familiar with the Kentucky pottery company I will enlighten you. Beginning with some back history...I went to college at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. Most college students go down to Bybee and buy their mugs, cups, bowls and plates to fill their apartments. I myself have several pieces that have been with me over the years. Southeast of Richmond is a little town called Bybee outside of Irvine, Ky. In this blink-and-you-missed-it town is a family owned pottery business that has been around for 200 years. The Cornelison's are in the 6th generation of ownership. It is the oldest existing pottery west of the Alleghenies. The pottery is housed in a log cabin that was built in the 1800's. They mine and process their own clay that is found near Bybee. Once processed at the old pug mill, the clay is then thrown by a potter into the pieces found at the original store and at Little Bit of Bybee. This brings me to today and my visit with Ron Stambaugh at his pottery shop. I am pictured with Ron on the right. Ron is a cousin of the Cornelison Family. Ron also went to EKU. As we found out today, he graduated in 1977 and we did in 1979, so we walked "campus beautiful" around the same time. While at EKU Ron worked for his uncle and learned how to throw pots. He finished his degree at EKU, but years later found himself coming back to what became his passion. So today he runs his shop and throws pots in the back of the store. Spending time talking with Ron, while looking at the many pieces of Bybee pottery lined around his shop, we learned about the many similarities he and the Hubs had. I let them talk while I shopped :-) I added soap dispensers and cups to match for my bathrooms, as well as, two coffee mugs and a chip and dip plate (to replace the one I had broke). It was nice to find this gem of a place. Not just for what I bought, but for the trip down memory lane. So, if you find yourself in or near Louisville, stop in Middletown (two miles west of the Gene Snyder hwy.) and enjoy this pottery shop and its proprietor. I promise you will find lots for your home and gifts you might need to buy. You can find out about this shop, the history of Bybee and directions on how to get there at Gaylynn


debwardart said...

I love Bybee pottery and am happy to know that it has not closed up shop - and sounds like it has expanded! Once upon a time I dated a guy from EKU (a bit before your time there, tho!) And if you went to EKU you no doubt went south to Berea - I sure hope you got some of that spoonbread!

Gaylynn said...

Spoonbread from Boone Tavern was delish!

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