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Kentucky's capital rolls out the bourbon and bluegrass

When you think of Kentucky, a few things come to mind: thoroughbred horses, fields of bluegrass and Kentucky bourbon. A trip to Frankfort, Kentucky, the state's capitol, will give you a chance to experience all three plus lots more.
Visitors to Frankfort are never at a loss of things to do and it's the perfect place to take the RV. So get the dogs, pack the RV and let's get started on your trip to Frankfort, Kentucky.

When you get to Frankfort, one of the first things you'll notice, other than the sheer beauty of the place, is the abundance of bourbon. Kentucky bourbon is as old as the hills—well, almost. The history of bourbon goes back to the origins of the United States. Frontier farmers in Kentucky had great luck growing corn, but moving it through the young nation's meager transportation infrastructure was another story. Often, corn would sit for months in oak barrels awaiting a ship to carry it down the Mississippi.

The farmers soon learned that grain fermented, so they converted the product, mostly corn, into whiskey. This prevented excess grain from simply rotting and gave them a product that they could sell.

The drink as named after a county that stretched across both Kentucky and Virginia—at the time, Kentucky was still part of Virginia—and most of the corn was produced there. Remember the oak barrels? They were stamped with "From Bourbon County" before they were loaded on the ships to New Orleans and the name just stuck.

In 1964, by U.S. congressional order, Kentucky bourbon was declared a distinctive product of the United States, and as folks in Kentucky say, it's "America's Official Native Spirit."

Today you can learn all about America's native spirit by following a bourbon trail or two. You'll find the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, the Urban Bourbon Trail and, a few miles down the road, you'll be able to follow the Bourbons of the Bluegrass Trail. Make sure you don't sample too much, because there's a lot more to do.

Daniel Boone
Anyone over the age of 50 probably remembers a TV show in the '60s called Daniel Boone. Starring Fess Parker in the title role, the show followed the life of an ex-soldier-turned-pioneer who forged a new trail through the wilderness of Kentucky, befriending Indians along the way. The storyline isn't too far off from real life. Daniel Boone truly did forge a new trail into what is now Kentucky and founded a town called Boonesboro. He was an American pioneer and many of the fictional characters that depict the frontier are based on him. Today, you can pay homage to this frontier hero at the Frankfort Cemetery, where he is said to be buried.

Kentucky Military History Museum
Daniel Boone wasn't the only military man to make history in Kentucky. Housed in the old state arsenal is the Kentucky Military History Museum, where nearly 200 years of Kentucky military history is laid out for your enjoyment. You'll be able to see General William Butler's presentation sword from the Mexican War and the Fighting Falcon, which is the first American glider to land at Normandy, and even research old military records in the museum.

Did you know that horses can live for as long as 30 years and that they can have great lives in a special retirement farm? "Old Friends" Farm is devoted to life after racing for more than 130 thoroughbreds. Visitors can touch, pet and talk to past winners of the Kentucky Derby as well as many other famous horses. The farm gives three tours a day at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Reservations are required.

Frankfort's Floral Clock
When you're in Frankfort make sure you make time to see the floral clock. This beautiful timepiece sits behind the state capitol building and is 34 feet across and contains over 10,000 flowers, some of which spell out "Kentucky." The clock sits four feet above a reflecting pond that has been used as a wishing well since the clock was built in 1961. All the money from the wishing well goes to fund horticulture scholarships for Kentucky students.

Bourbon Balls
In the mood for some chocolate laced with spirits? Located in downtown Frankfort is a candy factory that makes the world famous Bourbon balls.

The Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory has been in operation since the early 1900s and is still churning out some of the finest chocolate candy in Kentucky. Factory tours are given daily with free samples being offered to guests. Sweeten up your day with a visit to this chocolate wonderland.

Salato Wildlife Center
If you have the kids or grandkids along for the trip then you'll have to stop at the Salato Wildlife Center and Game Farm. This 262-acre wildlife preserve features two fishing lakes, picnic areas, hiking trails and, of course, animals. You'll see bears, bald eagles and bison, all living in carefully maintained habitats. There is also a botanical garden and a dragonfly marsh.

Tour the Downtown
If you'd still like to see more of downtown Frankfort then hop on a trolley and take a tour. It's a free service that runs Monday through Saturday and hits all the big attractions.

For More Information:
Visit Frankfort

Kentucky Tourism