Monday, April 13, 2009

The Kentucky 25

Today is my 49th birthday. I had previously asked readers to suggest 50 things that every Kentuckian should do or see by 50. I thank you for the many excellent suggestions I received.

Today I am going to post the top 25 suggestions. In the course of the year I will add another 25, based on what people suggest and what I learn about in my travels. I am going to try to do them all before this day next year.

I picked the top ten based on intrinsic excellence and national or world impact as a symbol of Kentucky. This means there has to be some horses, bourbon, coal, and basketball. There should also be some tobacco, but I do not have an excellent nominee for that category.

Kentucky Derby
Mammoth Cave
UK basketball game at Rupp Arena
Maker’s Mark factory
Lincoln Shrine
Fort Knox - Patton Museum
Louisville Slugger Museum
Red River Gorge & Natural Bridge
Abbey of Gethsemani
Van Lear coal museum (& Loretta Lynn) [or something like this]

The next ten are places are perhaps a step down, but big in Kentucky:

My Old Kentucky Home
Moonbow at Cumberland Falls
Museum of the American Quilters Society
Southeast Christian
Creation Museum
Berea College
Cane Ridge revival site
Ashland - Henry Clay's home

I will round out this first list with five food suggestions.

Hot Brown at the Brown Hotel
Kentucky Fried Chicken at the (reproduced) original store in Corbin
Ale-8-One at the plant in Winchester
Moonlite Bar-B-Q in Owensboro
Miguel’s Pizza at Natural Bridge

I have also had suggestions for five or ten great Kentucky texts to read, a category I am mulling. I will revisit these ideas, and your other suggestions, in future posts.


halifax said...

Happy birthday, Mr. Gruntled. There are so many great books written by Kentuckians and about Kentucky, but one of my favorites is Robert Penn Warren's first novel, Night Rider, which is about the tobacco wars in Kentucky in the early part of the 20th century.

Jon said...

If you're going to hit the Quilt Museum in Paducah, maybe you could time it around the Fancy Farm political picnic in August, celebrating the beginning of KY's campaign season. Glad to see some truly Western KY activities worth doing :)

Gruntled said...

I have been thinking of several Robert Penn Warren titles. More in the next post on this subject.

And Fancy Farm is at the top of my Next 25 list.

Michael Kruse said...

Happy birthday!

Kerri said...

woo! Ale 8 and Miguel's.

Anonymous said...

If you think the Quilter's Museum and annual Quilt Show in Paducah is a step down, you are definitely not a quilter. These are big in the quilting world. I do not live in Kentucky (but have lots of family there) and every year, it is my goal to make it to Paducah. Haven't been there yet but I will be!

virginia said...

Robert Penn Warren is my favorite author and my favorite Kentuckian. "All the King's Men" might just be the perfect novel.

Katieupnorth said...

Happy birthday! I'll be 30 on the 27th, but it seems like just yesterday that I was sitting in your class learning how to think. Today, especially, you should be proud of how much you've changed lives for the better through your excellent teaching.

Gruntled said...

About Robert Penn Warren: All The King's Men is one of my favorite novels. I have had both Night Rider and World Enough and Time recommended as more Kentucky.

My mom is a big quilter, and made a pilgrimage to the Quilters Museum. Still, it is not well known outside quilting world. But I still want to go.

And thank you, Katie. I am looking forward to your return visit to KY some day.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't Cumberland Gap on this list? Most of us wouldn't even be in Kentucky if Daniel Boone hadn't come through there. And Cumberland Falls - the moonbow is mentioned, but not the Falls itself. The moonbow is neat, but the Falls is awesome! And Kingdom Come in Harlan County. Natural Bridge. The Red River Gorge. I could go on and on and on.