I don't think I've ever seen such a diverse state as Kentucky...it has prairies, coal fields, mountains, and floodplains that all combine to its beauty. The people are just as diverse...there's the Appalachian Mountain People and their craftwork, the coal miners of the central hills, the horse breeders of the prairies, the tobacco farmers in the western part of the state, the industrialists found in the cities, and the retirees all over the state; yet, they are all Kentuckians. The photo is of my father who lived in western Kentucky, but he could be any "typical" Kentuckian.
Usually, I think that diversity is always good; however, in Kentucky, it has also led to hardship. For instance, during the Civil War, Kentucky was a "border state"; some of the people sympathized with the South, while others fought for the North. Thus, Kentuckians actually fought against each other in that war.
Another example of diversity causing problems comes with Kentucky being a state that depended on its natural resources. The abundant forest that covered the eastern part of the state gave the pioneers plenty of resources for building homes and communities; however, they eventually overharvested the woodlands, leading to deforestation and a loss of ecological diversity. Then, because there was an abundance of coal, it brought an economic boost and great employment over the years. But, the environment was also harmed, leading to pollution of the beautiful land and dangerous health problems to the miners.
Fondest memory: Even though these are examples of problems with diversity, the people of Kentucy have overcome them all. Today, Kentucky is still beautiful, filled with meandering rivers, sparkling lakes, huge forests, verdant pastures, thoroubred horses, spacious parks, abundant wildlife, ruggard mountains, powerful waterfalls, mysterious caves, vibrant cities, and fantastic people such as my father!
Kentucky can be divided geographically into four different regions.
1. The beautiful Appalachian Mountain is located in the east. These mountains become a scenic background for forests and streams. There are also many small towns among the steep hills, ravines, and narrow valleys. The Big Sandy and The Cumberland Rivers meander through these mountains. Allan and I really enjoyed this region and think it's worth seeing twice!
2. Huge caves, sparkling lakes, and fertile farmlands all reside in South-central, Kentucky. This is the Kentucky that most people think of, and no wonder, it's absolutely spectacular!
3. The Bluegrass Region is in the north-central part of the state. In this region, you'll see large horse farms, miles of white fences, gorgeous thoroughbred horses, fields of Kentucky bluegrass, and the state's largest city, Louisville, sitting on the bank of the Ohio River...what's not to like?
4. The Western Region flattens out more, and the landscapes seem to open up, but there are wonderful recreational opportunities on two huge man-made lakes and the Land Between the Lakes as well as many historic towns and villages.
Regardless of which area you decide to visit in Kentucky, I'm sure you will be delighted. But, I have a great idea....why not visit all four of the regions to really capture the flavor of this magnificent, diverse state called Kentucky!
Fondest memory: My most favorite memory of Kentucky took place when I was a child on a family vacation to Mammoth Cave. I remember that it was cool, damp, dark, mysterious, and filled with unusual "creatures". I pretended that I was Nancy Drew, and I was solving the mystery of the Blind Fish! I've never forgotten that moment in time.
My parents lived close to Kentucky Dam so I visited it several times and never tired of learning about it.
The Visitors Center road entrance is just east of Kentucky Dam on the north side of Hwy 62.
At the Visitors center, guests can actually view the operation center of the powerplant through a wall of glass on the main floor. If you go down several flights of stairs, you can view the caps of the turbines.
It's pretty amazing to learn that the power to run the generators at this hydroelectric dam is provided by the force of water spinning huge turbine blades connected to the generators.
In addition electricity is produced to light people's homes and businesses. To generate electricity, water enters the dam through the penstock (pipe) which leads to the power house structure. The force of the moving water turns the blades of the turbine, and its shaft is connected to the generator that produces electricity. Then, the water returns to the river through the draft tube underneath the powerhouse.
The people who designed Kentucky Dam because they wanted to have a means of flood control, which it does indeed.
But, after World War II, a great demand for electricity came about, and four generating units were installed; four years later, a fifth unit was installed.
There's lots more to know about this fascinating place, but you need to visit Kentucky Dam for yourself to discover it on your own!
Fondest memory: I remember the first time that I saw Kentucky Dam and the visitor's center because I wasn't too old, and I thought that it was the biggest "waterfall" I'd ever seen. Of course, I learned the real truth, and, believe it or not, the truth was even more exciting.
Abraham Lincoln was America's 16th President; what did he have to do with the state of Kentucky? Well, he was born in a log cabin on his father's homestead near Hodgenville, Kentucky.
He lived in Kentucky for seven years before moving to Indiana and later to Illinois.
The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site is located near Hodgenville, Kentucky. The one-room cabin in which Abraham Lincoln was born is now enclosed in a memorial building of granite and marble to keep it protected from the elements. You climb up many stairs, go through huge columns (similar to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC) and then in a door to see this modest cabin. An audiovisual show is presented in the visitors center; there are also exhibits related to Lincoln's life.
The Lincoln family moved away from this house when Abe Lincoln was only two-and-a-half years old. He spent his next six years in a cabin about ten miles away from his birthplace.This cabin is no longer there; however, a cabin just like it has been reconstructed and furnished with antiques and historic items. It's open to the public during the spring and summer. It's sits on top of a hill near the stream where the Lincoln family got its water. This home is really small (12x17 feet) and only has one door and one window. But, they say that in the early nineteenth century that was considered a good home!
Oh, yes, in the town of Hodgenville on Saturday night, country music performers put on a Lincoln Jamboree which is very popular.
In Elizabethtown you can visit Lincoln Heritage House (which is really two log houses). Abraham Lincoln's father helped build these, and they are both furnished with items of the days when Lincoln was a young boy.
Another Lincoln landmark is in Springfield, Kentucky. It is the boyhood home of Abraham's father, Thomas.
Fondest memory: Finally, Mary Todd Lincoln House, located in Lexington, is the girlhood home of Abraham's wife, Mary. This is a restored 1803 home that contains period furniture and decorations from both the Lincoln and the Todd families.
If you love architecture and antiques, you will really enjoy Mrs. Lincoln's family home.
I did not see all of these places at the same time; they are located in such various places. I did see them all, and it is fun to piece it all together to see the influence that one of my favorite presidents , Abraham Lincoln had on beloved Kentucky.
As a lover of roses, I was intrigued by all the information I learned at the Derby Museum.
Each year exactly 554 red roses are sewn into a green satin backing with a seal of the commonwealth of Kentucky on one end and the twin spires and number of the running on the other end. It's also adorned with a "Crown" of roses, ribbon, and green fern. The "crown" is a single rose that points upward in the center of the garland to symbolize the struggle and the heart that it takes to reach the winner's circle.
Also, each year, the governor gives the winning jockey a bouquet of 60 long-stemmed red roses wrapped in 10 yards of ribbon. The Kroger Company (grocery chain) has been the official florist of the Kentucky Derby since 1987, and they construct the garland in a local store for the public to view on Derby Eve.
Crowds of spectators watch its construction. That's how important everything to do with the Derby is to the people of Kentucky!
It all started as part of the Derby celebration for all ladies who attended a fashionable Louisville Derby Party. Each woman was given a long-stemmed red rose. The roses caused such excitement that the president of Churchill Downs adopted the ROSE as the race's official flower.
That's probably more than you wanted to know, but I found it quite interesting.
Please CLICK PHOTO to see entire brochure
The reason they call Paducah, Ky "Quilt City, U.S.A." is because for four days in April the population of Paducah more than doubles as nearly 40,00 people from all over the world come to town for the Annual American Quilter's Society Quilt Show and Contest. There are 400 quilts on display at the Executive Inn Convention Center. The Best of Show award-winning quilts of years past are exhibited at the Museum of the AQS, which is also located in Paducah.
All of this started in 1984 when Meredith Schroeder founded the AQS. Its purpose is to support the accomplishments of today's quilters and to create worldwide recognition of quilting as an art form. She realized that there had been no national quilt competition since the World's Fair in 1933! The association started with 1,500 members and has grown to more than 70,00 members worldwide.
The first quilt show was held in 1985, and the cash awards were $25,000. Now, more than $100,00 is awarded.
This quilt show had a positive impact on Paducah and western Kentucky. It helped downtown and the riverfront revitalization.
Now this "non-profit museum maintains year-round quilt exhibits in three galleries, a museum shop, book shop, and a schedule of workshops and lectures."
The quilt show brings in about $15 million each year. Lodging within a 60-to100 mile radius are filled to the limit; many are booked a year in advance.
Fondest memory: It's fun to go to the permanent museum to see the displays. They are correct when they say that quilting is art!
2005 Quilt Show
April 20-23, 2005
Paducah Expo Center
Forgive the looks of the photo; it is from an old slide.
Jefferson Davis State Historical Site , Fairview, Kentucky, is a memorial in the form of an Obelisk made of stone. You who know me, know that I love Obelisks, and this one is the world's largest concrete obelisk. Completed in 1924, this 351 foot obelisk rests on a foundation of solid Kentucky limestone; its walls are seven feet thick at the base, tapering to two feet thick at the point. The monument marks the birthplace of Jefferson Davis who served as president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
There's also a replica of the log cabin in which Davis was born.
The Monument has undergone major renovation and reopened in May 2004.
Since I was there, a new Visitor Center has opened which gives the history of Davis before the Civil War and all about the construction of the Monument. The center has a gift shop that features Kentucky handcrafts, souvenirs, books, and Civil War memorabilia.
There's a picnic area, two picnic shelters, and a playground
There's an elevator to the top of this impressive monument which we rode to the top to oberve the countryside.
Open May 1 through October 31. Hours are 9-5
Fondest memory: For me, riding the elevator to an observation room high atop the Obolisk for a panoramic view of the Kentucky countryside was the highlight of the visit.
Favorite thing: If you ever get the chance, you must travel along Highway 25. Starting just north of Lexington, ending just before Cincinnati and running parralel to I 75, it is one of Kentucky's most picturesque highways, with scores of horse ranches and row upon row of STONE WALLS. It never ceases to amaze me how long it must have taken folks to build these walls/ fences. I'm sure way back when, folks had a lot of time on their hands to build them. It's like putting together a piece of a rock puzzle. Amazing!
Those who drive through Northern Kentucky on Interstate Hwys. 71/75, can't help but see the huge watertower on the west side of the highway that proclaims "FLORENCE Y'ALL" For many years when I lived in Tennessee, I made frequent trips through Kentucky on my way to Ohio, and always smiled when I saw the sign. I especially enjoyed seeing it when I was headed back south, because the water tower is reached just as one begins to leave the Cincinnati metropolitan area, and I felt it was a warm welcome back to the southland. For those who may not know, the south is often associated with the term "y'all", which means "you all."
After moving to the Cincinnati area I learned the story behind the water tower greeting. The tower, which belongs to the City of Florence, sits beside the Florence Mall, a spacious modern shopping center. When the tower was erected Business people from the mall had the words "Florence Mall" inscribed on it to advertise the location of the mall. Others in the community pointed out that a city ordinance forbade advertising a private business on public property, so city officials ordered that the "M" be painted over and replaced with "Y' "
I still smile every time I see the "Florence Y'all" greeting.
Kentucky is is to be devided in 4 regions: the north central, the western, the Eastern and the South Central. On each of these there are visits to be made regarding the history, the lakes, the mountains (Appalachian mountains)
Fondest memory: Easy and relaxed, friendly people, beautifull nature (deer, birds, wild turkeys) and great place for hiking.
Louisville was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark. His original settlement was on Corn Island in the Ohio River, but it eventually became centered on the south bank of the river. The settlement grew up around the Falls of the Ohio, which presented a barrier to river traffic. River boats had to be unloaded before being moved downriver over the falls. In 1780, the settlement was chartered as a city. At the same time, it was named Louisville, after King Louis XVI of France, since his troops were aiding the Americans in their war for independence against the British.
Before the American Civil War, Louisville was one of the largest centers for the slave trade, and much of the city's initial growth was due to that trade. During the American Civil War, Louisville served as a base for Union soldiers, although the loyalties of Kentuckians were divided between the Union and the Confederacy. The city was used by Union forces as a transportation center to move troops and supplies to campaigns throughout the region.
The first Kentucky Derby was held in Louisville in 1875 at the Louisville Jockey Club, later to be called Churchill Downs. This is the world's most famous and prestigious horse race, and is inexorably linked with Louisville.
Nowadays, Louisville is the center of a metropolitan area of about 1,390,000 inhabitants, which includes New Albany, Jeffersonville, and Clarksville in neighboring Indiana, giving rise to the term of "Kentuckiana" to describe the bistate metropolitan area.
Kentucky Burgoo is a must ! It is a stew like dish which was made from everything available including squirrel, possum, rabit, etc..Now it is somewhat tamer without quite as much wild game but still a speciality of the state. Kentucky barbecue is also a favorite.
Many wonderful state parks available and the largest cave network in the US in Cave City
Fondest memory: Never leave home with out my Makers Mark supply just in case it is not available when traveling
If your going to be traveling through Kentucky the Mountains sure mess up your calls sometimes it's not even the Mountains. So if you have to make an important call remember you might not can call out if you do you might still get cut off. Most all of eastern Ky is served by a local Cellular provider, Appalachian Cellular and Cingular. To my knowledge, T-Mobile has nothing local in the area. You will be roaming on another company's stuff. Cingular does not have nearly the coverage as Appalachian either.
Fondest memory: Everything :-)
Fondest memory: If you are planning a trip to Kentucky, the State's official web site is useful. www.state.ky.us. For a new site that features the unusual and just plain weird places or people in Kentucky, try www.unusualkentucky.com.
When visiting Paducah you much talk a walk down broadway just as it was during the 1930's. Walk to the Market house museum where you'll lean about Paducah's rich history and important people from Padcuah and western Kentucky. Then end up browsing the flood wall murals that describe parts of Paducah through art work. For a great restaurant go to Patties 1880's settelment which has won several awards from Southern Living magazine for their fine pork chops. Pattie's is located in Grand Rivers, KY which is about 30 minutes from Paducah in the land between the lakes region. If you're looking for seafood try Country Crossroads Restaurant in Hardin, Ky. Hardin is just outside of Murray about 45 minutes from Paducah. I have both phone numbers and if you need any other information about western Kentucky please let me know.
Fondest memory: The people in Paducah are the nicest you'll ever meet. You can see a complete stranger and you'll wave at each other just like you were old friends. Nobody puts on a show for you like you'll often find in the big cities.
Stayed here while in town for a boat show free parking, and great weekend rates* discounted apply...more
The sleeping accommodations at the hotel were average. The king bed was reasonably comfortable, but...more
We crossed into the Eastern Time Zone, and got gas in Indiana before we crossed into Kentucky....more