By James Natsis
Meandering among and intermingling with various genres of horses and riders as they hone their skills in dressage, stadium jumping and cross country in a natural training setting is an extraordinary experience for the non-initiated.
Add an historic residence built from its log cabin origins, simmer in a bit of the host’s 30 years worth of culinary acumen, and bask in the comfort of being no more than a 25-minute drive from Louisville’s bustling restaurant scene and urban bourbon distilleries — welcome to the Inn at Spring Run Farm.
“Our horses are accessible,” says proud owner and innkeeper Jeff Perellis as he walked the grounds with Insider on a recent sunny afternoon.
Perellis’ fiancée and farm owner/innkeeper, Susan Lewis Harris, was raised on the farm and has been riding horses all of her life. She is a member of the United States Pony Club and achieved the “A” level, which is the highest in the club. She is now a national clinician and national examiner for the Pony Club.
“Susan rode horses with her friends as a kid the way we would ride a bike with our friends,” Perellis jokes as he talked about her enduring love for horses.
The longtime restaurateur-turned-real-estate-agent-and-property-developer had a vision of opening a bed and breakfast someday as part of a working retirement. Although his dreams of a coastal view of the Pacific Ocean from a future bed and breakfast balcony were quelled by realities of family obligations in his home state of Kentucky, circumstances dictated a fruitful alternative.
The house Susan grew up in with her family on the Spring Run Farm had been occupied by renters when Susan’s sister suggested they arrange to free the dwelling to be used for family functions and for a bed and breakfast.
“It was very serendipitous as this all came around, and — wow — what a great idea,” Perellis says.
But it wasn’t so easy. What started as a mere cleaning up and some basic renovations became a yearlong labor of love.
“The whole family has been involved in some way,” he says. “Now it will be around for the next 200 years.”
The Inn opened in time for Derby 2017, and the first guests were a couple from Kansas City.
“I guess they enjoyed it,” Perellis recalls. “They already booked for Derby next year, as well as for the Breeder’s Cup.”
Perellis is proud of his Kentucky roots and wants guests to enjoy the things Kentucky is known for. He and Susan abide by their mission to offer everyone a taste of all things great about Kentucky — history, culture, horses, food and bourbon.
Historically, the Spring Run Farm and much of the surrounding acreage was originally settled by the Hardin family in the late 1700s. They built the two dogtrot cabins that are encapsulated within the Spring Run house. Parts of the cabins are still visible today.
On the culinary side, “Chef Jeff” serves his famous breakfast each morning at 9 a.m. It consists of items commonly served in Kentucky kitchens, along with the chef’s signature dishes, and is made from ingredients locally sourced and naturally grown whenever possible.
Guests also can tour bourbon distilleries in the downtown bourbon district, or even as close as neighboring Crestwood, where the Kentucky Artisan Distillery is located. The Inn also carries a number of bourbons and offers tastings to guests.
And let’s not forget about the horses.
Guests can roam the grounds and revel in the serene ambiance where various activities revolving around the boarding, training and recreation of horses all converge. Those who are traveling with a horse may also board their animal during their stay. It is a splendid opportunity to observe and partake in one of Kentucky’s finest attributes — a working horse farm.
Perellis is working on organizing several packages that would include a visit to Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and engaging in other local activities such as playing golf at one of several nearby courses or antiquing.
The Inn at Spring Run Farm is located at 10204 Covered Bridge Road between the cities of Crestwood and Prospect in Oldham County, off of Interstate 71. It’s an ideal location for relaxation, hiking, mingling with horses and those involved with them, and all within a very short 25-minute drive to the vibrancy of Louisville’s cultural center.
Check out the website for more details. Below is a look at more images from the Spring Run Farm.