Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory
As we travel through the Bluegrass State, our first thoughts might not incline towards the rich history of Kentucky. Prior to the settlers’ arrival, several native cultures occupied or fought over the land they came to call “The Great Meadow.” Kentucky would declare itself a neutral state during the Civil War, and oddly enough was the home of both Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, the U.S. and Confederate presidents, respectively. These days, Kentucky draws tourists from all over the world, who enjoy the state’s lavish mountains and meadows, along with all the many varied activities that this fine state has to offer.
Beginning in Louisville, one of the many points of interest is the Farmington Historic House, which has the distinction of being designed by none other than Thomas Jefferson. The house and grounds have been newly restored to their original elegance; the 18-acre estate features a sophisticated 19th-century garden, carriage house and blacksmith shop. Daily tours are available, so we should be sure to check out this piece of American architectural history.
If our trip through Louisville runs through the first week of May, we should definitely become part of thoroughbred racing history and buy a ticket for the world-renowned Kentucky Derby. Held annually at Churchill Downs, this is an event that goes beyond mere horse racing. Gentlemen and ladies dress to the nines – especially the ladies, who make it a point to wear the most elaborate, yet elegant hats to this grand affair. Old times and traditions are most certainly not forgotten here; it’s a great place to “people watch” even if we’re only a casual fan of the ponies.
Out on the road, we head east on Interstate 64, and a little more than fifty miles later we arrive in Frankfort, Kentucky’s capital. For the nature lover, the Clyde Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary is a must-see location; operated by the National Audubon Society, the 374-acre sanctuary is a refuge for all manner of birds and small mammals, along with hundreds of wildflowers and other plant life. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a day exploring the hiking trails that wander through this beautiful, peaceful haven of nature.
As with much of the South, there are many historical buildings and sites to see while in Frankfort. The Frankfort Cemetery is the final resting place of Daniel Boone, whose marker stands proudly atop a summit overlooking the city. Other points of interest include the Old State Capitol building, which served as the government center from 1831 to 1910. Inside, be sure not to miss a very distinctive staircase, held together solely by precision construction and pressure. Also, take some time to investigate the Old Governor’s Mansion, the Kentucky Military History Museum, and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Zeigler House.
A little less than thirty miles east on I-64 awaits the city of Lexington, founded in 1775. More than 3,000 acres in Lexington have been designated for parks, and several of them have “dog parks” for those of us who like to travel with our canine friends. Lexington is known as the Horse Capital of the World, so it’s natural that there are many equestrian-related activities and attractions devoted to the enjoyment of these beautiful animals. Another magnificent place to visit is the Kentucky Horse Museum, with 1,200 acres of grazing pastures for over 50 different breeds of horses. The facility also features galleries, museums and theaters, along with several working farm exhibits. Be sure to visit the Thoroughbred Training Center; the hour and a half tour takes us behind the scenes for a firsthand view of how the horses are trained and cared for. It’s a fascinating trip for visitors of all ages.
There are many historical points to visit as well; the Mary Todd Lincoln House is a monument to one of our First Ladies, and the 17-acre home of 19th-century statesman Henry Clay, Ashland, is open every day except Monday. Feel free to stroll along these lush, wooded grounds and colorful gardens.
Roughly thirty-five miles east lies the town of Mount Sterling, a small community of roughly 6,000 people. The town’s charming downtown area is a great place to go souvenir shopping. With all its rivers and creeks, Mount Sterling is ideal for rafting, tubing or kayaking, and the surrounding parks and trails are an excellent place to hike and stretch our legs, or just to sit and watch the world go by. It’s a great spot to get away from big city life, but still be close enough to enjoy metropolitan amenities.
Our destination stop of Morehead lies another 35 miles to the east, at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by the Daniel Boone National Forest. Morehead is a short drive from the majestic Cave Run Lake, an 8,000 acre body of water with ample opportunities for fishing, swimming, and boating. The community also offers a variety of shops and venues devoted to exhibiting local crafts and culture, such as quilting and other arts. Of course, virtually everywhere you go you’ll be able to hear the citizens strumming out that toe-tapping Kentucky bluegrass music!