When I told my boss I was taking the day off to tour Fayette County, he looked at me like I’d grown a second head and then laughed at me. That was pretty much the reaction from everyone I told about the trip, including the people I met along the way while actually in Fayette. But if you really think about it and do some research, Fayette County is not such a weird place to spend a vacation day. Sure, it has a reputation of being full of hillbillies and rednecks, but there’s also beauty nearly everywhere you look in Fayette. Between Ohiopyle, Laurel Caverns, Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob, Nemacolin, and the local wineries and farms, there are more than enough things to fill up an entire day. Add the famous (infamous?) Fayette County Fair into the mix, and you’re guaranteed a fun (and exhausting!) day.
I got a bit of a late start on Fayette County leg of the Surrounding Counties 15 in ’15 series, since my car wasn’t ready to go until after noon. But because I’d already taken the day off, I decided to do what I could in the time left. I ended up getting through a lot, actually, and I ran into a bit of a theme: waterfalls. They’re everywhere in Fayette, and they’re gorgeous to photograph.
I started with Fallingwater, as seen above. I like art and architecture as much as the next person, but I just couldn’t justify paying $27 to tour a person’s house, so instead I paid the $8 grounds fee (to be honest, I grumbled about that as well… but I’m cheap like that). After some time in the visitor’s center, I made my way through all the trails.
I enjoyed hiking the trails and spending some time in nature, and there were ample photo opportunities. However, Fallingwater was wicked crowded today, and I kept having to wait for the high school group in front of me to finish about 1000 selfies at each scenic view (side note: it’s early August… school already??), so I did the full tour of the grounds and then went onto my next destination.
Running short on time, I decided to skip Kentuck Knob. Really, if I didn’t go inside Fallingwater, why would I visit it’s less-well-known sibling? Instead, I drove through town and stopped into the Falls Market Restaurant & General Store. I was tempted to get some ice cream – I’d skipped lunch – but instead I left empty-handed. I knew I’d be heading to the fair later on, and I didn’t want to spoil my appetite. 😉
After walking around for a while and watching kids slide down rock water slides at Ohiopyle, I decided to get a closer look at a larger waterfall.
I headed for the Cucumber Falls portion of Ohiopyle and hiked both underneath the falls and above them. There was a lot of walking today. 🙂
The hike took a little longer than I was expecting, and I arrived at Fort Necessity just as the clock was striking 5 – closing time. Merp. Next time. So I continued on the same path and ended up at Christian W. Klay winery.
I looked around for a while and had a few samples before deciding on a bottle of red to take home, and then I walked around the property and checked out the vines.
Just a few weeks ago, the Klay family opened up a vodka and moonshine distillery across the street from the winery, so of course I had to check that out as well. When I got there, there was an older couple hanging out, talking with the staff. When I arrived, they immediately included me in their conversation and I ended up hanging out with them for about an hour. We were also hanging with the winery’s namesake himself, Christian Klay. He makes a heck of a Moscow Mule with the Ridge Runner Distillery vodka.
Everyone at the distillery told me I’d need at least one drink to be able to handle the Fayette County Fair, so I obliged. 😉
My next stop, and final stop in Fayette, was the infamous fair.
My first order of business was the sheep barn. Obviously. I was a little disappointed, though – there were no Ku Klux Lambs in Fayette. Of all places, I expected them to be there.
Food-wise, I decided to go hog-wild (hehe). First stop: church pierogies. Deee-licious.
Next stop: corndog and french fries. Fun fact: I’ve never (to my knowledge) eaten a corndog before. I kind of hate hot dogs, so it’s really not that surprising if you know me… but my coworkers discovered this fact recently and told me I had to have one at the fair. Umm, I’m sorry, but I don’t get what the fuss is. It was gross. I felt gross while eating it, and I felt like I was going to puke almost immediately after getting halfway through it (because that’s all I could handle). Seriously, people enjoy these things? The fries, on the other hand, were delicious and exactly as fair fries should be – greasy yet crispy, and smothered in vinegar and ketchup (not pictured). Noms.
I took a few laps around the fair before heading to the last food stand on the to-eat list. Given the delicate state of my belly post-corndog, I did not get to ride anything. Considering the reputation carnival/fair workers have, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I enjoyed watching others ride, though.
Finally, once my stomach had settled a bit, I decided to throw some more greasy fried food down the trap in order to live dangerously. The last item on the list – deep-fried oreos.
I’ve actually had one of these before, and I liked it. And since I’ve been craving oreos since before having eye surgery (I refuse to buy a bag of them), I figured the small order of three would satisfy my craving. Somehow I managed to eat all three, and I swear I actually felt myself getting fatter halfway into the third one. Good thing fair season only comes around once a year, yaknowwhatimsayin?
Finally, stuffed with grease, covered with powdered sugar, and feeling nothing but shame at the shambles my life has become, I left Fayette County. I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t see any truly weird people (or, I fear, the folks I’m used to seeing at the Butler Farm Show are the exact same kind of people as the ones that go to the Fayette County Fair), and very surprised at just how much fun I had throughout the day. Sure, the day started off kind of touch-and-go, and much later than I’d wanted it to, but I feel like I got a good taste (ha) of Fayette today, and a good feel for what the county truly stands for (as opposed to it’s reputation).
So the Surrounding Counties Tour of Fayette County is being deemed a success!