Hermitage Farm pays tribute to past while moving into the future

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by Claudia Coffey

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 5:37 PM

(WHAS11) -- Residents breathed a sigh of relief when word got out Hermitage Farm would continue to operate as a successful thoroughbred farm.

The farm, which is rich with equine history,  will soon be expanding and will be a unique tourist attraction. Hermitage owner, 21c Hotel CEO and philanthropist Steve Wilson talked about a bright vision that will impact all of Oldham County and take the farm into the future. 

"We are very proud to know it's going to be preserved and make it available to as many people as possible," Wilson said.

The farm has been home to more than 200 stakes winners. 1953 Kentucky Derby winner Dark Star and Zenyatta's half sister currently call Hermitage home. Even Queen Elizabeth visited the farm in 1986. Now owners Laura Lee Brown and Wilson plan to keep the farm a working thoroughbred operation.

"There was a time when we used to worry that we would only see housing here. So we are thrilled to know it's always going to be a farm," Wilson said.

While the thoroughbred farm is the heart and soul of Hermitage, the vision is to expand it to much much more. 

Renovations are almost complete on the home that will become a rental space for special events and weddings. Tours will soon roll through these hills and Wilson even foresees a restaurant located in one of the barns.

"In five years I see a restaurant in one of the dairy barns," Wilson said.

He said he also plans on bringing in a top chef for the restaurant.

For nearby residents, the future of the farm means maintaining Oldham County's charm and limiting yet another development.

"I couldn't be happier. We live right at the front of the subdivision and I open my front door and I look out at a wonderful Hermitage Horse Farm. The thought of doing a development there is not something I would ever look forward to," Hermitage neighbor Joe Robinson said.

County Judge Executive David Voegle said the county has just about reached it max when it comes to expansion.

"How much more we can stand, I think is subjective. I think we are at saturation point right now," Voegle said.

The vision at Hermitage is wide open: Looking to the future while paying tribute to its rich past.

For more information about Hermitage Farm, events and tours, click here.

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