A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky by Heart: Love is in the air this Valentine’s week, and the Bluegrass State can be quite romantic

By Steve Flairty
KyForward columnist

Karen and Jim Searle (Photo provided)

There’s a lovely rumor going around that the Bluegrass State is, in fact, a romantic state. On this Valentine’s Day week, I thought I’d check into that. Romantic places? Special experiences?

First, I asked some friends.

Karen Searle, now a Florida resident after growing up in Louisville, found her soulmate and husband, Jim Searle, in Richmond while both were attending EKU. Ironically, he lived across the dorm hallway from a person Karen had previously dated. “My roommate set us up and I was really not too anxious to go,” she said. Interestingly, the first date was on Valentine’s Day. “According to my now husband, I clung to the door all night. He was a perfect gentleman and I was surprised that I had a good time. Well, that led to a second date and almost 46 years later, we have been married 44 years in July.”

Nicholasville resident Rita Setness shared a cute anecdote about a romantic gesture her husband, Mike Setness, did for her.

Rita and Mike Setness (Photo provided)

“Mike once took me to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. When the server brought out a bowl of fortune cookies, I broke one open and pulled out the little message. I was very surprised to read on the little slip of paper: ‘You will be kissed by a guy named Mike today.’”

Rita explained. “I looked in surprise at my husband and he was sitting there grinning from ear to ear. He had gone out somewhere and bought fortune cookies, typed up little romantic notes, printed them out, replaced the messages in the cookies with his own little messages, slipped them to the server when I wasn’t looking and had her bring them over. I was so surprised! The most romantic time I ever experienced.”

Then, I looked online for places advertised as romantic places to visit in the state. There are quite a few, and here’s a sampling of links to them:

And, oh yes, one might wonder about the choice for Valentine’s Day celebration my wife and I choose. It’s pretty simple. Suzanne thinks being at our home in Versailles is quite special, so we usually get a takeout steak dinner from a favorite restaurant in Lexington and bring it home. And, we often do so on another day in the week other than THE DAY in order to avoid the hassle of extra traffic and possibly higher prices. Works just lovely!

Let’s close with this link to one of my favorite stories of romantic love, that of Mike and Darlene Snyder down in Kirksville, in Madison County:

Steve Flairty’s Everyday Heroes: Darlene loves Mike through sickness and health

It’s taken from my 2012 book, Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes for Kids. Their narrative takes “through sickness or health” to a new level. Hope you enjoy the love story…and hope you’ll continue to “be my Kentucky by Heart” reader!

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •


Steve Flairty is a teacher, public speaker and an author of six books: a biography of Kentucky Afield host Tim Farmer and five in the Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes series, including a kids’ version. Steve’s “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #4,” was released in 2015. Steve is a senior correspondent for Kentucky Monthly, a weekly KyForward and NKyTribune columnist and a member of the Kentucky Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. Contact him at sflairty2001@yahoo.com or visit his Facebook page, “Kentucky in Common: Word Sketches in Tribute.” (Steve’s photo by Connie McDonald)

Related Posts

Leave a Comment