“We love the people and the diversity as well as the food, museums, arts scene, and the incredible nonprofit community.” – Andrea Shepherd
Brett and Andrea Shepherd are Kentucky natives who love to call Louisville home. Brett says, “Louisville offers a mix of activities for everyone - single people, seniors, families, kiddos. Every phase of life has been fun in this city! My parents have loved it so much that they still live within blocks from where they grew up in the Highlands neighborhood.” Brett was born in Louisville, which he describes as “a place with big city amenities, yet much more approachable and laid back.” He adds, “Our family loves to travel, but it always feels good to come home to Louisville.” Brett is the Chief Development Officer at Fund for the Arts.
Andrea grew up in Lexington, and every time she drove through Louisville as a child, she would look out the window on I-64 - gasping at all the big buildings - and say, “I'm going to live here one day." When she was 22, she was hired as a reporter at the Courier-Journal and finally made the move. Andrea is now the Senior Director of Philanthropic Partnerships at Dare to Care Food Bank.
The couple has two children: Julian (age 9) and Liam (age 7). They also have a guinea pig named Mario who loves to run around in their yard and eat grass. The boys have enjoyed local favorites such as art classes at Preston Arts Center, creative writing with Young Author’s Greenhouse, gymnastics at All About Kids, soccer with Soccer Shots, art classes at the Oldham County Arts Center, and piano lessons with Pianissimore. They have also participated in the Louisville Science Center and Louisville Zoo’s summer camps.
As for the family’s Louisville favorites, Andrea says, “The food!! Our perfect date night is dinner at our favorite spots: The Pine Room and Mayan Café. Some favorite family-friendly spots to eat include The Irish Rover, Recbar (a fun mix of arcade games and bar food) and Mile Wide Beer Co.”
The family also loves all the great nearby hiking with the boys voting for Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve in neighboring Oldham County as the favorite. For a short weekend away, the Shepherd’s suggest their favorite Kentucky spot, Red River Gorge. Other outdoor activities they suggest are visiting the Falls of the Ohio, picking pumpkins or strawberries at Gallrein Farms in Shelby County, gathering blueberries at Bryant's Blueberries in Southern Indiana, or just a stroll over the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge on a beautiful night. Also, they love to get treats from Georgia’s Sweet Potato Pie Company or lunch from Pokehana downtown as well as picnic at Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood or Tom Sawyer Park (lots of tennis and pickleball courts). Brett adds, “We are hoping to take the family kayaking on Harrod's Creek this year. Andrea did that with some friends and had a great time. You can paddle on up to a little area of restaurants; enjoy a meal; and paddle on back.”
Andrea shares, “We have ‘adventure days’ on Saturdays when we try to take the boys to a new-to-them spot like Louisville’s Frazier History Museum. Or we may venture over the bridge to Southern Indiana to grab ice cream cones at Widow's Walk. I personally love getting chicken strips with extra honey mustard at Polly's Freeze - trust us on this! And for some great thrifting, Fleur de Flea Vintage Market is a favorite.”
As mentioned, the Louisville arts scene is thriving! With theater, for example, there is everything from the major PNC Broadway in Louisville series at Kentucky Performing Arts to smaller theater groups like StageOne (they offer some great performances for kids) and Redline Performing Arts. The Shepherds were also excited to see that Louisville’s most famous annual art festival, St. James Court Art Show, had a performing artist village for the first time in 2022 to get a taste of more of our local talent (thanks, Fund for the Arts, for spearheading that initiative!).
Overall, the Shepherd’s home church, Middletown Christian Church, is the source of an abundance of the family’s activities. Andrea says, “We found this wonderfully affirming church in 2021 that is beyond anything we thought was possible in a church.” The whole family participates with the church in the Kentuckiana Pride Parade & Festival in June each year. The church also has a beautiful Christmas concert every year; and currently, their kids participate in the children's choir.
Andrea’s Big Tip for Parents of Young Kids:
“What you may not see coming, but is extremely important to know, is that Derby season in Louisville often means preschool Derby parades. It means making a float or a horse or something creative and fun. If you make something or buy decorations, save them for the next year. Just when you think parades are done with, the elementary school will bring them back! Keep those Dollar General roses at the ready!!”
And Speaking of Derby . . .
“Derby week means a shorter work/school week for many Louisvillians. It’s also known as the best week to start planting gardens. I love working with Edible Gardens to spruce up my veggie garden!”
The first Dollar General store opened in 1955 in Springfield, Kentucky – just about 1.5 hours south of Louisville.