LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Jan Roehl spends most mornings setting up picnic tables, and preparing for guests who have booked an outing on her farm in Athens. It’s a shady spot with a lot of charm.
But when the guests drive up, they find they weren’t the first to arrive. Three goats are tied to trees just outside the picnic shelter. Five others run through the field behind a fence.
“They’re super friendly. That’s why I have to tie them up,” Roehl said. “Otherwise, they’d be right up on the table with all the people.”
Here, visitors share their picnics with a herd of goats. And guests know what they’re getting into.
“I got online and was looking for interesting things to do around Lexington for team-building,” said Angie Smith of KPC Architectural Products. “‘Picnic with Goats’ popped up and it sounded absolutely perfect.”
Smith brought her staff to a recent picnic for bonding and to celebrate a co-worker’s birthday.
Roehl and her late husband got the goats originally to help clear the lot.
But once that job was done, the goats needed another purpose. She didn’t just want them put out to pasture.
“Friends were like, ‘you should do goat yoga’ and I was like, ‘no, we should just sit and relax with the goats.'”
She just had a hunch people would like to lunch with her bunch, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many restaurants were closed. And in no time, it was a highly-rated experience on Trip Advisor.
The price varies (usually about $59 per person) and includes food from some popular Lexington restaurants, plus plenty of snacks for the goats. Roehl believes the secret to her success is the personalities of the non-persons present.
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“They’re so kind, so sweet. They don’t bite or kick or be mean.”
But they do bleat for the greet-and-meet.
“They are a calming presence and for some reason, I just find them interesting and funny,” Smith said.
The goats have witnessed a lot of things: family reunions, surprise birthday parties, even a couple of engagements. They’re good to have around if you don’t mind them butting in on a private ocassion.
Smith said, “They seem to really like people and people really like goats, a good combo.”
A good combo indeed, and for Roehl, an idea that seems to be the GOAT, “Greatest of All Time.”