There are two indulgences Martin Johnson can’t wait for each summer — attending Ellis Park and staying at the L & N Bed and Breakfast in downtown Henderson KY.
Johnson, who lives in Birmingham, Ala., is a long-time racing connoisseur who works through the school year as comptroller for a private school in downtown Birmingham. His wife, Janice, is a special education teacher. In the summer months they’re off to the races, visiting tracks around the globe.
"I’ve been to tracks from Arcadia, California to Moscow, but Ellis Park is one of our favorite places to go," Johnson said recently after finishing up a breakfast served up by L & N proprietor Mary Elizabeth Priest. "There’s a lot of history here."
Ellis Park is a horse racing track a short drive across the Ohio River from the city of Henderson, where the L & N Bed and Breakfast is located.
The Johnsons have been making the trip up to Henderson for almost 15 years.
"And we’ve stayed at the L & N for 12 consecutive years," Johnson said. After that first stay at the bed and breakfast, the Martins fell in love with its owners, Mary Elizabeth and husband Norris. And just why have the Martins returned to overnight at the same place for so many years?
"First of all, it’s a beautiful bed and breakfast," Martin said. "And second, they’re extremely nice people. We’ve grown very fond of them over the years."
Norris and Mary Elizabeth shower their guests with southern hospitality and uplifting personality. They try hard to make everyone feel welcome. Plus, they simply enjoy people.
"We’ve met all kinds of people here, and I think every one of them is interesting and they’re all good people," Mary Elizabeth said. "If someone has something to hide, they’re not going to sit down and eat breakfast with you."
What is your story of attending Horse Races at Ellis Park in Henderson?