This is the second in a series of Backyard Bucket List pieces in which Heather Blair visits unique Ohio County locations and landmarks. The first piece, “Backroads and bluegrass bucket list” can be found here.
By Heather Blair / OC Monitor Community Contributor
My previous job saw me driving, often 100 miles a day, across this beautiful county. Along the way, I have noticed and admired the many quilt paintings displayed on barns. Combining two of my favorite things, it quickly became a bucket list goal to drive through Ohio County and see them all.
Every season in Kentucky is beautiful, but I planned to set off in the fall, just as the leaves were in full color. The fall landscape is much like that of a patchwork quilt, autumn hues intermingling and providing a canvas of warmth. This seemed the perfect backdrop to view faded barns and quilt pieces, each with a story to tell.
The Quilt Trail project originally began in Adams County, Ohio, when Donna Sue Groves painted a quilt square on her barn in honor of her mother, a lifelong quilter. The idea grew from one to 20 painted across her town, as a driving tour.
In Kentucky, the Quilt Trail project took root and spread quickly. Carter County hung the first square in the commonwealth and was painted by local volunteers. The project spread as a grassroots movement with each community introducing its own twist, painting quilt squares not only on barns, but also on walls, shops and restaurants.
Ohio County formed their piece of the trail in 2008 and throughout a two-year process, with the help of the extension office, there are now over 40 quilts stretching across these vast backroads.
We were only gifted with fall-like weather for a brief spell, but I somehow managed to choose the absolute perfect day for a scenic drive. At times, I was so caught up in the beauty of the changing landscapes, I almost missed the barns. If you go on the tour, I would recommend taking along a friend to help. It was calming; however, to simply cruise through the countryside in silence, admiring the views.
Though a decade has faded their once bright sheen, quilts become all the more comforting with weathered age.
A few weeks after the driving tour, I stumbled on a century-old quilt beater to add to my tiny but growing collection of antiques, hanging it above the only quilt I owned. Days later, receiving my great grandmother’s quilt was an unexpected blessing. Oh, to sit on her lap covered in this blanket so many years ago! Gently touching the colorful details among worn threads, I imagine the tales this fabric holds of past generations I never got to meet.
Much like that of the quilt pieces scattered along the leave-covered roadways on country barns, there are stories to be heard along the trail. I hope you’ll take the time to drive and listen.
Heather Blair is an Ohio County native, residing in Beaver Dam with her husband, Tim, and son, Noah. She is a Family Support Worker for the HANDS program, through the Green River District Health Department. Through HANDS, she helps families build healthy, safe environments to boost growth and development for their children. She is active in her church, enjoys rock painting, photography, fishing and exploring with her husband. Heather has a passion for writing and sharing about faith, family, and finding joy in every day.