Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Kentucky 50 by 50

I enlist your help in making a list of the 50 things in Kentucky that every Kentuckian should see or do.

In ten days I will be 49. I have lived in Kentucky for the last 19 years. I have done a few things that I think all Kentuckians should do -- been to Lincoln's birthplace, attended a race at Keeneland, been to the state capitol, eaten at Moonlite Bar-B-Q. Still, there are many I have not. I have never been to the Kentucky Derby. I have never really explored the Red River Gorge. I have not been to the Louisville Slugger Museum.

So I propose to post a list of the 50 things I want to see and do in Kentucky before I turn 50 in 2010. Please send me your suggestions.

I will post the list on my birthday (April 13). I expect the debate about the list will be interesting.


putnam said...

The ACORN offices in Louisville.

Balkan Barbie said...

Run the Flame
(maybe this is an activity that a Prof. at Centre must avoid making public)

Swim across the Ohio River from Illinois to Paducah

Attend the Oaks (day before Derby)

Anonymous said...

Eat a Kentucky Hot Brown at Hal's on the River.

Your Daughter, from Sharples said...

*Visit Mammoth Cave
*Tour Ashland and Mary Todd Lincoln's house
*See a Kentucky basketball game
*See a moonbow
*Drink bourbon in Bourbon County
*Eat at the original KFC in Corbin

I'll work on more.

Amanda said...

We second Mammoth cave, the Oaks, the Slugger Museum, and the UK Basketball game.


-Distillery tour in Bardstown
-Eat a Hot Brown at the Brown Hotel
-See the Stephen Foster Story in Bardstown
-Fishing at Kentucky Lake (or Lake Barkley)
-Someone may suggest the Bambi walk. I do not recommend this at 49.

Gruntled said...

I understand all of these suggestions except a "Bambi walk." Also, I have never heard the ACORN offices described as a destination, even among people who think ACORN is a great organization.

Could you clarify?

Whereaboutsindanville said...

Red River Gorge: Eat at Miguel's Pizza in Slade (RRG is a nationally renown climbing spot, drawing people from all walks of life - the main hub of these folks is Miguel's), explore a few of the many arches, stop by Natural Bridge next door.

Yahoo Falls, Whitley City: Tallest waterfall in KY at 113 ft.

Phelps, KY or any other coal town: Just a drive through the town really introduces a different side of KY. Drive up old strip mines for a bird's eye view.

Central KY Wildlife Refuge: maybe not a top 50 on the list for Kentuckians, but definitely on the top 50 for Danvillians - 13 miles outside of town.

Attend a local Bluegrass Festival.

Even though seeing a moonbow is inconvenient, the peak of a full moon will land on a Friday or Saturday night (which will lend to more people).

UK Basketball Game is a must (go to a game vs. a rival or decent team - UK vs. Louisville?!).

Go on a 2-3 day city/town/village road-trip accross KY, stopping by local coffee shops. You'll get views of the countryside and local culture.

Anonymous said...

The Berea Christmas Country Dance School has been going since 1938. It's a wonderful time that celebrate the English country dance tradition and the Kentucky dance tradition that grew from it in new soil. It's also a wonderful time to get a flavor for the special history of Berea College. I loved it both times that I attended.

Amanda said...

The Bambi Walk is a drinking tour of Louisville's Bardstown Road drinking establishments.

Kerri said...

Not only Red River Gorge, but -Natural Bridge as well. And eat at Miguel's Pizza on the way.

The Kentucky Horse Park in Lexingotn.

Go to Court Days in Mount Sterling (maybe I'm biased on that one)- drink some Ale 8, eat a funnel cake, and buy a cork gun.

I hear the moonbow at Cumberland Falls is amazing, though I haven't even been there myself.

There's also a Woolly Worm Festival in Beattyville that I've always wanted to attend.

halifax said...

How about a retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani, the Trappist monastery outside of Bardstown? Perhaps it would be an appropriate follow-up to the various pub crawls already proposed.

I think that a visit to Shakertown should also be on the list, though I'm sure that you have taken various job candidates to that destination.

And what is that big annual barbecue for politicoes called? I would imagine that you might be interested in that.

Anonymous said...

Hindman Settlement School
Moonlight Barbecue
Jeff Davis Monument

And the kid from Sharples has dibs on the UK game

Anonymous said...

While I do love this wonderful Commonwealth that we call home, I dare say that I think I would be hard pressed to find 50 things that I would HAVE to do in Kentucky.

However, just to do my part I suggest sneaking into Waverly Hills (reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the country), canoeing any one of Kentucky's awesome rivers (I read somewhere that between rivers and lakes, Kentucky has more coastline than Florida), visiting Mammoth Cave and going on the long tour (involving crawling, squeezing, and getting wet), taking a picture of yourself in front of the "now entering" signs of all 120 Kentucky counties (3rd most of any state in the union) and visit Butchers Holler and marvel at the awesomeness that is Loretta Lynn.


Anonymous said...

Eat squirrel brains (burgoo).

Anonymous said...

Bardstown Road is a pretty cool place to check out, even if you avoid the bars.

I second Kerri on the importance of Ale-8-One. At least drink it (from a bottle) at some point, but hopefully take a tour of the place.

Hot Browns are amazing, too!

I'm having a hard time thinking of new worthy places. Apparently I'm a lame Kentuckian.

Anonymous said...

Take a ride on the Belle of Louisville? Take a ride on the Trolleys in Louisville?

rebecca said...

-Go to Magee's Bakery in Maysvillle, Kentucky and have a piece of their world famous Transparent Pie.

-While you're in the Maysville area, stop by historic Washington and see some of the underground railroad sites.

-See some very American art at the Museum of the American Quilter's Society in Paducah. The more you know about quilting, the more amazing it is.

This is a great idea! I'll keep thinking.

Anonymous said...

Hatfield McCoy Festival and Reunion in Pikeville KY

Tour a Stallion barn at one of the BIG stables

Horse auction at Keeneland

Distillery tour, even if you dont drink, Woodford Reserve is a Historic landmark and BEAUTIFUL!

VA said...

Eat at Lynn's Paradise Cafe in Louisville - enjoy the comfort food and the kitschy decor.

Go to the Oaks (because Kentuckians know to avoid the disaster that is Derby).

Do a leg of the Bourbon trail. Even if you don't like bourbon, it's pretty cool to see the process of distilling it in action.

See the "moonbow" at Cumberland Falls:

If you're going to eat a hot brown, do it at the Brown Hotel.

Definitely go to the Slugger Museum - you get a free mini baseball bat just for visiting!

Cave Hill Cemetery.

St. James Art Fair.

Thunder Over Louisville.

rebecca said...

Visit Berea College (which has an amazing abolitionist history), and try to time your visit so that you can attend one of the folk art festivals.

Go to Bardstown this summer and see Stephen Foster—The Musical. You have to join in when they sing “My Old Kentucky Home.”

Abbey of Gethsemani (in Trappist, Ky). It's where Thomas Merton lived and wrote for most of his life. It would be great if you could spend the night or go on a retreat.

Don a coonskin cap, and visit Fort Boonesborough.

You have to see at least one car related place or event:
1) Visit the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green
2) Take a tour of Toyota in Georgetown, or
3) See an event at the Kentucky Speedway (your sociologist radar will go crazy)

Attend either a UK basketball game or a Louisville football game. If possible, attend the Louisville-UK basketball game.

Go to Keeneland one of the weekends that it's open, BUT you have to do it right. Get out your best tweed tie, pack a southern style picnic, and if possible, get yourself involved in a round of corn hole before heading in to watch the races.

Get hooked up with a real tobacco farmer, and offer to help with (or observe) at least one of the steps in the cultivation process—setting, topping, harvesting, hanging, stripping, selling. Cigarette companies have RUINED the art of tobacco farming, and most of it is now produced in South America and other places with fewer pesticide restrictions, so see it done while you still can.

Anonymous said...

Visit a Mountaintop Removal site outside of Hazard

Anonymous said...

St. James Art Fair
See (I guess now you can stay at) the castle in Versailles
Belle of Louisville
Wear flipflops in January
Mammoth Cave
Red River Gorge
Shaker Town
Attend a play at the Humana Festival of New Plays at Actors Theatre
Thunder over Louisville

Nate said...

Definitely second Rob and Kerri on Miguel's pizza - I didn't know artichokes could go on pizza until I had Miguel's. While at the gorge, I suggest the auxier ridge trail, it's just under 2 miles and gives you some great views.

Anonymous said...

I should add that my granny ate squirrel brains and lived to be 106. She also dipped W. E. Garrett's Snuff. So there.

Rebecca said...

Does reading count on your list? If you haven't taken up with some of our fine Kentucky authors, you should do so during the next year. It will enrich your experience of Kentucky.

My suggestions:
-Anything and everything by Wendell Berry
-Robert Penn Warren (All The King's Men is his most famous novel, but World Enough and Time takes place in the Frankfort area). His poetry is also nice.
-Jesse Stuart, The Thread that Runs so True (as an educator, you'll appreciate this)
-Harriette Simpson Arnow, The Dollmaker. I consider her the Steinbeck of Appalachia. Lovely social commentary.
-Bobbie Ann Mason

Anonymous said...

is the ky high school b-ball tourney finals still a big deal?

if so then that should be on your list

do they still play the ky vs ind high school all star games?

shabob2 said...

Visit Rabbit Hash (in northern KY) and meet the mayor. In part because the town is named Rabbit Hash and in part because the mayor is a border collie named Lucy Lou.

Anonymous said...

As a Presbyterian you should visit the site of the old River Meeting House. A Presbyterian Church back in the day. The Great Revival of 1800 started there. The reaction to it would be one cause of a Presbyterian Split on the frontier.

An argument could be made that the decline in Presbyterian "market share" began there.