First Farm Inn bed and breakfast is located in Petersburg, Kentucky, on the southwest edge of Cincinnati’s I-275 beltline, where Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio join, just above the Ohio River. The 1870s-vintage farmhouse offers a European-type farm stay with dogs, cats, goats, and horses on 21 acres, just 20 minutes from the downtown of one of the nation’s 20 largest cities. Convenient to downtown Cincinnati’s sports, music, restaurants, and theaters, B&B guests who prefer small-town ambiance can drive six miles to southeastern Indiana and wander along the riverfront to restaurants and shops in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, a community of 3,500 people. Open year-round, First Farm Inn bed and breakfast offers discounted lift tickets to Perfect North Slopes, a downhill ski area just 20 minutes away in southeastern Indiana.
The 21-acre Kentucky horse farm features a diverse collection of horses in various colors, sizes and breeds, from a rose-grey Arabian to a black Percheron-Thoroughbred cross. Goats, cats, and dogs add to the ambiance of the property. Guests can utilize the patio rockers and swings located on the house’s porch or watch other visitors participate in horseback riding in the arena. Patrons may bring well-mannered dogs who must sleep in crates for special training sessions with Carolyn Frias, a certified dog trainer and horse manager.
An all-purpose wooden barn, designed to hang tobacco, store grain and hay, house work horses, milk cows and beef cattle was built at the same time as the house, as was a small barn, originally made for pigs, now used to store machinery and supplies. The big barn has been resided, reroofed, and topped with 90 solar panels that provide the majority of electricity needed to power the farm. The small barn has also been preserved with aluminum siding and roofing. Next to the patio table and rockers, the old-fashioned milk house now houses a condo of beds for the outdoor cats as well as gardening tools.
Multiple gardens around the property provide unique color year-round, with art, lights, and glass decorating the flower displays. A wide variety of birds eat at bird feeders visible from the breakfast table. Curious horses may join guests who are fishing in their pasture. The large pond, surrounded by cattails and willows, is stocked with large-mouthed bass. It has a pier and rowboat.
Inside, the white-frame German farmhouse is an original art gallery featuring blown glass, mosaics, ceramics, watercolors, oils, feltings, and acrylic paintings and antiques combined with “comfortable furniture,” according to the owner. In the library, which also acts as the house’s family room, is a large television and leather sofa where guests can gather. A grand piano, singing bowl, various drums, and international instruments can be played by patrons in the formal living room. Outside a sliding glass door is a deck with an outdoor hot tub.
Two guest rooms are offered at the First Farm Inn Bed and Breakfast, which include all standard amenities and an en suite full bathroom. Vintage antique furnishings, quilts, and original art create a unique ambiance. The inn’s second-floor suite features cathedral ceilings, a queen bed, a single bed, and a trundle bed, which, according to the owner, Jen, “make it ideal for a family or girlfriends-getaway.”. Turn off the lights and watch a starry night sky appear on the ceiling, featuring the actual constellations, including Pegasus and Orion. The two-room bath, decorated with photos of First Farm Inn horses, includes an oversized glass shower and a double sink. The first-floor 1870s room is fairly authentic to the house’s vintage, with a queen-sized mattress set on Jen’s great-grandparents’ oak bedroom set. An electronic replacement for the old wood-burning fireplace can be utilized by guests at their leisure.
A full homemade breakfast is provided to guests each morning, including drinks, fruit, homemade sweet breads, entrée and meat, if desired, all served between 8 and 9 a.m. Healthy versions of traditional breakfasts include quiches, whole wheat biscuits with gravy, and breakfast casseroles as well as more unusual offerings like Swiss rosti, latkes, or pasta carbonara. Food allergies, special dietary needs, restrictions and preferences can be accommodated.
First Farm Inn bed and breakfast offers a unique horseback riding experience for both guests of the inn and those who are not staying in the house. Year-round, depending on the weather, guests may enjoy a two-hour or one-hour horsemanship experience. Both horseback riding sessions include helping to groom and tack up while “learning about how horses think and understand their worlds,” according to the owner, as well as the balance and posture needed to stay centered as riders.
The two-hour trail ride experience is geared towards people over 12 years old and under 200 pounds with some prior experience around horses. Horse riders mount in the barn, then go to the enclosed arena to practice stops, starts, and steering. Once riders are comfortable with their horse, they can go out to ride through the woods, trot over the pastures, and around the ponds. The one-hour session is geared towards guests with little to no prior interaction with horses. Depending on individuals’ comfort levels, they may stay on the ground to acclimate themselves to the horses’ presence, learn horse massage, or mount and ride for a shorter time.
Multiple professional and community theaters and music venues, including numerous free outdoor summer concerts, are convenient to First Farm Inn. Newport Aquarium, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the American Sign Museum, Jungle Jim’s International Market, Pendleton Art Center, Big Bone Lick State Park, Dinsmore Homestead, Hillforest Mansion and more are easily accessible. Links to these and more attractions, in addition to top-quality family-owned restaurants, are included on the inn’s website under “Things To Do.” German, Indian, Mexican, Greek, Japanese, Thai, and assorted American food is within a short drive of the inn. While weddings are limited to no more than 20 people inclusive, First Farm Inn offers elopement packages that can include horses or goats.
The farm began in the 1870s when a 16-year-old German boy purchased 700 acres extending to the Ohio River. He built three houses, three barns, an ice house, a milk house, and several other outbuildings. He had three sons but only two grandsons, neither of whom had heirs. When the property was divided by I-275 in the 1970s, they divided the farm and sold off lots. The main house was repeatedly bought and sold and used as a rental property.
By 1988 much had fallen into disrepair. The couple Jen and Dana purchased the house and its surrounding 21 acres in 1998 and updated and rehabbed the property, adding a garage, filling in the icehouse, and tearing down decrepit outbuildings. Jen and Dana have continued to update the house, making it more energy-efficient.