Howl with the wolves at Refuge Ridge in Whitley County, a new distillery has come to town in Radcliff’s Boundary Oak Distillery, and the ice cream classic Dippin’ Dots is still the coolest place in Paducah.
Refuge Ridge Wolfdog Sanctuary
Wolf/dog hybrids, known simply as wolfdogs, have plenty of enthusiasts. But they don’t make great pets. That’s why Refuge Ridge in Williamsburg provides a sanctuary for these captivating animals who can’t simply be adopted out to loving homes.
“They’re not particularly good as pets,” says Becky Parman, president of Refuge Ridge. “They’re wicked smart. They’re very high-energy, which sounds like a lot of fun but it’s really difficult to live with. They’re a lot of work. They’re also extremely athletic, so they’ll climb an eight-foot fence, no problem.”
Connie Howard, outreach director for Refuge Ridge, explains that in Kentucky, wolfdogs picked up by animal control are not made available for adoption. They will be put down. That’s because they aren’t domesticated animals.
“When you buy a wolfdog, you really don’t know which it’s going to be,” Howard says. “Is it going to have more of a dog behavior or is it going to have more of a wolf behavior? You don’t know.”
Marty Wilson is the founder of Refuge Ridge. She came into the world of wolfdogs almost by accident.
“When we bought the land, I wasn’t really thinking about wolfdogs,” says Wilson. “I think life really does send us signals, when there’s something that’s really ours to do. There was a red wolf and two wolf hybrids starving in Lily, Ky. We called all the way to Colorado, my husband and I did, to try to find a refuge, and every place was turning away hundreds.”
So Wilson kept the three canines on her land, with no intention of adding more to the pack. But the need was so great that she couldn’t turn them away. Refuge Ridge now has wolfdogs from all over the country, even from as far away as Alaska.
“I love our wolfdogs,” says Wilson. “They’re magnificent animals and I wish people would not breed them because I think the wolfdog suffers. There are way too many that are destroyed. There are so many that need homes and most places turn them away. Refuge Ridge is to me an incredible, magical place. We’ve got 248 acres. There’s a lot of room to do other things. Our dream is for it to really serve the community and have a greater impact. And of course I always want any wolfdog or wolf that needs help to have a place to come.”
Boundary Oak Distillery
Brent Goodin has a long family history in the bourbon industry, and today, he and his sons run Boundary Oak Distillery in the town of Radcliff.
“On our family farm there’s a large tree that divides two properties,” says Goodin. “It is a boundary oak tree which was a survey marker in the old days. We’re named after the tree that’s on the farm. The base of that tree is the beginning of a spring and the spring comes up from the roots of the tree and that’s where we collect all of our water, which we distill from.”
Goodin says the water from that spring is perfect for distilling.
“The limestone here is very soft because it carries a lot of the trace minerals,” he says. “Yeast tend to just really love it and they produce a very unique style alcohol when we use that water.”
Boundary Oak produces several different spirits, but bourbon is the specialty. One of their most popular products is the George Patton Armored Diesel, modeled after the whiskey that Gen. George S. Patton favored.
“Pat Waters is the grandson of George Patton and we have worked very closely with him and the family,” says Goodin. “He helped us as we designed it, especially the designs of the bottle. Part of the proceeds of this goes to the Patton Family Trust.”
Boundary Oak produces a straight bourbon called Abraham Lincoln. Goodin says that it’s exactly the kind of whiskey consumers would be drinking if they were alive during Lincoln’s time.
“The first Lincoln box sets are made from a piece of the boundary oak tree,” he says. “The cork is actually made from Abraham Lincoln’s tree at his birthplace.”
Like many of Kentucky’s craft distilleries, Boundary Oak is as much a tourist destination as it is a producer of spirits.
“Last year we had over 20,000 visitors here,” says Goodin. “They are all mesmerized by what we do in Kentucky. They’re in love with the idea of this brown liquid that we store in barrels.”
The ice cream of the future is now 30 years old, but Paducah-based Dippin’ Dots is still going strong.
“Dippin’ Dots is a high quality, specialty novelty ice cream product,” explains Stan Jones, the company’s chief development officer. “They’re made in the shape of little beads, small like BBs.”
Dippin’ Dots founder, Kurt Jones, has an unlikely background for a frozen treat innovator. He was working in the livestock nutrition business, producing probiotics for animal feed.
“He had a love of ice cream and so he took the flash freezing process that he was using with animal feed and thought, what if I put ice cream into this process? What would happen?” says Dana Knudsen, senior director of marketing. “Out of that came Dippin’ Dots.”
Dippin’ Dots are now available all around the United States and in seven countries. But there’s a reason you probably won’t find them at your local grocery store. They must be stored at 40 degrees below zero. The company has specialty freezers that can be installed at convenience stores or other locations.
“Currently Dippin’ Dots has 30 different flavors,” says Knudsen. “We have a lot of fun with choosing what flavors going to be next. You’ll find us here eating ice cream at 10 in the morning, taste testing. We also listen to consumers for their flavor ideas. We have flavor houses that will tell us what’s the next popular flavor that’s coming out. Then we will take that out to schools and actually get the kids to tell us what the next Dippin’ Dots flavor should be.”
Although the shape of Dippin’ Dots and the experience of eating them is unique, they’re made from the same ingredients as traditional ice cream. Visitors to Dippin’ Dots shops can enjoy them as sundaes or floats, or layer several flavors together in one cup.
“We have plans for a 30th anniversary in our franchise locations in malls across the United States on National Ice Cream Day, Sunday, July 17,” says Knudsen. “We will also be celebrating our 30th anniversary by having parties at each of our franchise locations. Two very fun things to celebrate: National Ice Cream Day and Dippin’ Dots 30th anniversary.”