Hubtrail Capstone: Kentucky

Random Facts and Facets

Known as the Bluegrass state, Kentucky is classified as a Southern state by the U.S. Census Bereau. I have heard many people refer to Kentucky as a "Mid-Western State" or even a "Mid-Atlantic State". Calling it such may be a good way to start a heated discussion with some of our finer, born-and-bred residents. Kentucky is one of four states that are also considered a Commonwealth- Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Massachusettes are the others. Kentucky was the 15th State admitted to the Union in 1792. It is the birth place of Abraham Lincoln, Johnny Depp, Hunter S. Thompson, and Muhammed Ali. We have a some of the most fertile land in the country and also some of the nicest, down to Earth people. It was first settled by colonists in the mid-1700s, but had been inhabited by Native Americans until at least 1650 where they still used it as a hunting ground.

Kentucky is a sacred place that offers a plethora of experiences and tastes. From bourbon to basketball and horses to hiking, Kentucky is a state that can satisfy many different traveling interests. Here is an ode to the Commonwealth that has brought me so many good times, good people and so much learning.

My Old Kentucky Home

Kentucky, a beautiful land full of wonderful people and rich history, is a state in which many unique phenomena call home.

  • It is home to the largest cave system in the world, Mammoth Cave and boasts the longest length of navigable waterways in the Lower 48.
  • It is home to the largest fireworks show in the world, Thunder Over Louisville.
  • The winningest college basketball program in the Nation, the Kentucky Wildcats, call Kentucky it's home, as does the Louisville Slugger, famous baseball bat manufacturer.
  • If you're looking to experience the "most exciting two minutes in sports" you'll have to come to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby.
  • Bluegrass music hangs its hat here in the ole KY, and it is the only place in the World where you can find true Bourbon.
  • Old Louisville is home to the largest Victorian Historic neighborhood in the Nation.
  • It is also home to the only Corvette assembly plant in the world in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Outdoor Adventure

In my opinion, the coolest thing about the state of Kentucky is our land. To describe the awe and wonderment felt at a place such as the Red River Gorge, could take an entire book... and it still would not do it much justice. I recommend any and all of the state parks and recreation centers that can be found in Kentucky, if you don't mind being outdoors. Here I've listed to just a few to be brief.

Kentucky is also home to 52 state parks that boast sights such as beautiful shorelines, mysterious caves and majestic mountains. Kentucky has plenty to offer the outdoor adventure seeker. The Red River Gorge, in Daniel Boone National Forest, is a rock climber's haven which offers over 80 natural bridges, miles of trails to hike and incredible scenery. The Land Between the Lakes in Southwestern Kentucky offers great camping and boating opportunities as does Lake Cumberland to the South, a summertime, holiday-weekend hot spot. Cumberland Falls is one of the only places in the Western Hemisphere were a moon bow can be seen quite regularly. Mammoth Cave National Park, in Southwestern Kentucky is an incredibly breathtaking experience, not to be missed when wonderment of nature is a primary intention.

Low-land portion of The Gorge
Low-land portion of The Gorge

Fanaticism, Highlight style

A View of "The Ville"

Cities


In central Kentucky you will find Lexington, Horse Capital of the World, with its gorgeous rolling hills and massive horse farms. If you ever wanted to catch a clinic in fanaticism, be sure to catch a University of Kentucky men's Basketball game. Or if you are here in the early fall or spring you may want to check out a meet at the historic Keeneland race track, where you may rub elbows with horse racing's elite while perhaps sipping on fine Kentucky-made bourbons. If you find the horses to be intriguing, then you will not want to miss the World Equestrian Games hosted by Lexington in September of 2010.

To the West, on the Ohio River lies Kentucky's major metropolis, Louisville. Louisville offers many an activity to experience, but to get a good feel of its eclectic side, I would have to recommend spending an afternoon or evening in the Highlands area. You can hang out in the massive Cherokee Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, designer of Central Park in New York City. Bardstown Road also in the Highlands is the city's cultural heart that coaxes residents and visitors alike to it's many local businesses, bars and restaurants. A few notables are Ramsii's Cafe on the World, Ear X-Tacy music, and Cafe 360. Be sure to check out the annual, free Fourth of July concerts on Waterfront park. Past performers include Al Green, Parliament Funkadelic, Greyboy All Stars, and The Ohio Players, just to name a few. Louisville is also host to Lebowski Fest, honoring (in my humble opinion) one of the greatest movies of all time, The Big Lebowski.

Covington/Newport lies to the North, right across from Cincinnati on the Ohio River. Home to many historic houses and parks, Covington offers a quaint but thriving city to visit. The Madison Theater is a great venue to catch live music, as is the Southgate House in Newport, KY a short walk across the 4th street bridge from Covington. While you're there you can check out the Newport Aquarium, boasting a wide array of sea creatures from around the world and with a new expanded Bizzarre and Beautiful exhibit, the Aquarium is not to be missed if you are in the area.

Authentic, Kentucky-made Bourbons
Authentic, Kentucky-made Bourbons

Cool Tours


Just west of Lexington, traveling on the Bluegrass Parkway you'll find the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Nestled in historic towns between Versailles on the East and Shepardsville to the West (just south of Louisville) the Kentucky Bourbon Trails offers six distilleries (Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, Heaven Hill and Wild Turkey) each with their own unique recipes for hand crafting Bourbon.

To the East you can take a ride down the Country Music Highway. Stretching across seven counties, highway US 23 received it's name in 1994 when State Representative Hubert Collins sponsored a bill that passed to recognize the country music stars that hail from this Appalachian region. The notable musicians from this area include Billy Ray Cyrus, Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, and The Judds, just to name a few. Definitely not to be missed by the country music lover.

"The World's Longest Yard Sale", a 675 mile treasure trove of great deals and interesting people, runs through Kentucky as well. This year's festivities run from August 5th through the 8th on Highway 127, a north-south stretch of road that passes through Frankfort, just west of Lexington.

Come Visit!

My hope is that this hub was a good read for you, providing you with some information you may have not known before now. If you're passing through, don't be shy, take a load off somewhere in Kentucky and get to know the people and the land. Hope to see you real soon! Happy travels!

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Comments 2 comments

pappabeaver 6 years ago

Kentucky should always be known as lying in the Upper South. Mid-western is too whitebread for such a fabulously quirky commonwealth.


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TimArends 2 years ago from Chicago Region

I absolutely loved visiting Mammoth Cave as a kid, and I still remember the huge underground cafeteria! My mother's mother was born in Kentucky, as was her mother before that! I even ended up attending college there.

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