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My Old Kentucky Home: Reid Boren's Louisville

For Reid Boren, (right) his love for Louisville, Kentucky began in college, when he took regular excursions to the derby city with a friend who was a native of the area. His reasons for visiting soon became professional as the two became business partners and operated offices in Louisville for 12 years. Boren brought the city closer to home—and his heart—when he and his wife name their first child Emma Derby.

 

Vibe: Kentucky’s personality is gracious southern. There are so many nice people, and they are incredibly warm hosts.

 

Soundtrack: If you have ever been to the Kentucky Derby, you will have had a hard time not getting choked up when everyone at Churchill Downs sings “My Old Kentucky Home.”

 

Best Time to Go: Spring and fall, when both Keeneland and Churchill Downs (below) have Thoroughbred races. There is nothing more fun than attending a meet.

 

 

Fashion essentials: Louisville used to be very formal, but it has gotten more casual; you will see people in everything from jeans to suits. Most of the locals still wear a tie and jacket to the track just like their fathers and grandfathers did. It is one of the few places I still see bow ties, especially Hermès—my favorite—and, lately, Vineyard Vines.

 

Local dish he dreams about: There is no better brunch in the world than a Derby brunch with ham, grits, corn pudding and biscuits (below). Most of the restaurants have new and interesting versions of this old classic.

 

 

Restaurant requirements: The classics such as Lilly’s Bistro, Bistro Le Relais and Jack Fry’s are a must. There are also quality new restaurants like Rye, Proof on Main and 610 Magnolia. They all have incredible food and amazing scenes.

 

Best way to spend a free morning: There are some great places to play golf in Kentucky. The Louisville Country Club is a beautiful old club with a great, fun group of members, while the Valhalla Golf Club (below) is a very difficult newer golf club that has hosted the Ryder Cup and other PGA events. Both are a treat.

 

 

A must-do experience not in the guidebooks: The post-Kentucky Derby party at the Pendennis Club—if you can find a member to invite you. It is a great place for people watching. I have lent a tie to Richard Branson there and have seen everything from movie stars to royalty.

 

Signature cocktail: The Old Fashioned, which was invented at the Pendennis Club

 

Hometown good to sample and stockpile: Find a stash of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon or rye, which is difficult to locate outside of Kentucky and very expensive. Louisville residents take their bourbon seriously. Most of the great producers have a top shelf or small batch. Pappy has a bit of a cult following, but I recently tried the double oak from Woodford Reserve and the M, and they are all great.

 

Old Fashioned Pappy Van Winkle

 

Unwritten rule the locals live by: Everyone in Louisville is polite—they still say “sir” and “ma’am.”

 

His Louisville secret: I always try to go to the Speed Art Museum. Louisville has produced many great artists, and many of their pieces are there.

 

One tip for Palm Beachers: Locals are the key. Somehow, everyone has a friend from Kentucky. Find one who will take you out with them.

The Louisville skyline

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