Could This Unique Garden and Toy Museum Be Kentucky’s Weirdest Destination?
As you travel westward through Kentucky toward the Purchase area--down around Paducah, the lakes, Murray State University and beyond--it feels like your entering a whole other state.
That region of the Commonwealth, to me, always feels like it has its own vibe--like you truly have crossed a state line when you've simply passed an imaginary dividing point between it and the rest of the Bluegrass.
Perhaps, then, it's appropriate that one of the most offbeat destinations Kentucky has to offer is located on the cusp of that transition from this part of the state to that part of the state. Yes, if you're planning a visit to the National Quilt Museum, hoping for some relaxing getaway time at Land Between the Lakes, or going to check out the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers (I recommend it), don't leave Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland off of your itinerary. It really could be the weirdest place in Kentucky...but in the BEST way possible.
It all began in 1928 with the purchase an apple orchard by one Oral Wallace. There was also a two-room house on the property. Then Wallace started selling his homemade cider at a produce stand he acquired. Not much later, an underground still--this was during Prohibition, after all--began churning out HARD cider.
Leftover wood from a house built for the purpose of renting rooms was used to construct Apple Valley, Wallace's country store.
Fast forward to 2005 and the return Keith Holt to his grandparents old homestead in Calvert City. Holt had been in Hollywood working as an actor, a clown, a comic, and a puppeteer. So that will explain his expertise at hosting the tour you saw.
Couches in trees, more toys than you can shake a stick at, and a lawn mower ranch. This is absolutely priceless. I stumbled across this place one time a few years ago, but it was closed. Shame on me for forgetting about it because I meant to return.
And I plan to. You see, I HAVE to ride that lawn mower mini-coaster thing that Keith Holt has set up, but then there's everything else as well. You know, I'm getting that little ramp has become his trademark. It's also the first thing I saw in this KET profile:
Keith Holt--loving life and entertaining tourists from 8 AM to dusk every single day. Hopefully, he'll see me sooner rather than later.