About 2 1/2 hours southeast of Cincinnati is the Red River Gorge Geological Area. It sits across the Blue Mountain Mountain Parkway from Natural Bridge State Park. Although Natural Bridge holds it own beauty, the RRG side is lest "touristy" and primitive camping and hiking. There are some outstanding hikes through the area, a good one for beginner to get a great view of the region is Auxier Ridge Trail. Also, there are several trails to Natural Bridges throughout the area. Primitive camping is allowed, as long as you stay off the mark trails. If you are not a primitive camper, I highly recommend Koomer Ridge Campground. Many secluded spots that give you the sense of camping primitive, but include conviences of parking along site and restrooms.
Go here for good home cookin' (cornbread, green beans, mac n cheese, mashed potatoes, chilli, and of course, fried chicken). Take a look at how KFC got it's start. Pretty impressive house, interesting stories and photos. There's a gift shop inside, and plenty of tasty souvenirs.
Directions, hours and time in the car are all on the website which I've included below.
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Cloverport is a sleepy little town on the banks of the Ohio River that has watched it's hayday flow down river. In the 1800's Cloverport was a major riverport to send Kentucky products out into the world. In 1851 a plant was constructed to manufacture coal oil, which was then shipped as far away as England.
In 1816 the Lincoln family, including 2 year old Abraham crossed the Ohio River on a log raft ferry between Cloverport and Indiania.
Cloverport is located about 100 miles downstream from Louisville, Ky. and can be reached from US Hwy. 60
Hensley's Settlement is part of Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, which lies in three states: Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. The preserved settlement is located atop Brush Mountain where the Hensley's first settled in 1903. In the early part of the century, the Hensley's settled on the mountain, forsaking settled areas for an entirely self-sufficient way of life. This truly rural Appalachian settlement continued, without electricity, indoor plumbing, roads or any modern conveniences until the last inhabitant left in 1951. You can get to the Settlement by tour shuttle or driving up at certain times or hiking. All of us have our Family Reunions there more and more come each year. It has gotten to be more like a community picnic many come from all over the states. (For tour information check the web page link below)
This wooden bridge which crosses Tygart Creek in Greenup County, Kentucky, is 195-feet-long and reported to be the oldest and longest single-span covered bridge in the world open to traffic. Originally constructed in 1855, the bridge was fully restored in 2002-2003, by the Kentucky Department of Transportation. At that time it was raised two feet above the original level due to the increasing level of flood waters.
The Bennett Mill Covered Bridge was built by B. F. Bennett and his brother, Parmaly, to provide access to their mill for those settlers who located on the west side of Tygart Creek. The mill, no longer in existence, was used not only to grind grain but also to saw timber used in home construction and furniture making.
Another bridge in Greenup County, The Oldtown Covered Bridge, spans the Little Sandy River and is longer than the Bennett Mill Bridge, but it has a center stone support with two equal spans. The Oldtown Bridge has also been restored but remains closed to vehicular traffic.
Bennett's Mill Covered Bridge is in the extreme north-eastern corner of Kentucky, on Hwy. #7, 3/4 mile north of Hwy. 10.
The Oldtown Covered Bridge is on Greenup County Road #705, 200 yards off KY-1.
Wildcat Mountain is a little known battlefield of the Civil War, only recently developed by the National Forest Service. The battlefield is partially within the boundaries of the Daniel Boone National Forest, and partially on private land, about 7 miles north of London off US Hwy. 25. It is reached by a narrow winding one-lane gravel road which was a part of the Daniel Boone's original Wilderness Road.
The Wildcat Mountain position was considered crucial for each side during the Civil War. Union forces camped here at Camp Wildcat to prevent Convederate attack into the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. Confederates wanted to prevent Union advance into eastern Tennessee, where many citizens remained loyal to the Union. The battle fought here on October 20-21, 1861, was the first Union victory of the War Between the States.
Camp Wildcat Preservation Foundation
P.O. Box 1510
Fort Knox, which is located to the southwest of Louisville, is best known for the United States Bullion Depository, which stores and safeguards the nation's gold bullion reserves.
During the height of the First World War, Congress allocated funds to purchase 40,000 acres (16,190 hectares) for an Army base and training ground to be called Camp Knox. The camp was named after Major General Henry Knox, chief of Artillery for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.
In 1918, construction of the camp facilities began. However, the base closed in 1922 as a result of the Armistice of 1918 that ended the First World War, and the army-strength reductions that followed after the war.
Seeing the need for a Mechanized Force as Hitler rose to power in Germany, Camp Knox was reopened in 1931 because the area's terrain was deemed suitable for the development of armored tactics. Congress designated the base a permanent garrison in 1932, and at the same time, its name was changed to Fort Knox.
In 1936, the United States Treasury Department began construction of the United States Bullion Depository, also called the Gold Vault, for the storage of the nation's gold reserves. The Gold Vault was completed in 1937. In addition to storing America's gold reserves, the Gold Vault was used to store the Crown Jewels of England, the Magna Carta, and the gold reserves of several occupied European countries during the Second World War.
Formerly the Patton Museum of Cavalry and Armor, the General George Patton Museum is undergoing major changes due to Base Realignment and Closure affecting Fort Knox. Its cavalry and armor exhibits are being packed and moved, and the museum building is undergoing renovation. The focus of the museum is changing as well. It had been established in 1949 to preserve historic materials relating to mechanical cavalry and armor. Now, however, its focus is on the history of the building, training, and leading of armies throughout the course of American history. The museum is administered by the United States Army Accessions Command of Fort Knox.
The General George Patton Museum contains the world's largest collection of artifacts relating to General Patton, including his trademark ivory-handled Colt pistols, West Point swords, Cadillac staff car, and original mobile headquarters van he used in the field, among other things.
Interactive exhibits at the museum include what life was like in Kentucky before Abraham Lincoln was president and how things were affected by the American Civil War, a leadership quiz, army life, and the military applications of simple machines.
The General George Patton Museum is located in Keyes Park, near the main entrance of Fort Knox.
Recently listed as one of America's top 100 small towns, Bardstown is a pleasant and historic town about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of Louisville.
William Bard arrived in the area in 1780 as an agent for his brother, David Bard, and John Owings. Based on a land grant of 1,000 acres (408 hectares) from the Virginia General Assembly (at that time, Virginia claimed the land that is now Kentucky), Bard began to section off a town. Originally called Baird's Town, it was renamed Bardstown when the town was incorporated in 1788.
Bardstown is most noted for the Federal Hill Mansion, which was the inspiration for Stephen Foster's song, My Old Kentucky Home, which has since become the official State Song for Kentucky.
About 2 hours east from Cincinnati (in Northern Kentucky) is Carter Caves State Park. Although the cave system is not on the scale of Mammouth Cave National Park, it still has several cave systems readily available to explore. There are less tourists here, which provides a more one-on-one experience with your guides. At the time we went, you could also get a permit and do some cave exploring on your own. We did this in winter time when the bats were hibernating. Pretty cool experience to go into pitch black cave (only flashlights in hand) and come across thousand of bats hibernating in creavasses and ceilings. They have restricted this in recent years, due someone killing bats and spread of diseases. The state lodge is really nice place to stay, probably one of the better ones in Kentucky. There is also trail that loops the lodge and provides nice hikes and a very large natural bridge.
From Louisville, you will be driving south for about an hour and 1/2. (I have included the website for directions and other info). The drive is stunning, especially in the fall. There are miles of green pastures, hills, windy roads, horse stables, open land, old barns and modest housing. When you arrive, you will be at the visitor center, and you are a part of a tour that takes you through the actual building where the fermentation takes place. You will see how the whiskey is made, from corn to bottled, drinkable liquor. You will see the bottling conveyor belt accompanied by a short film. After seeing the barrels and understanding the aging process, you will be able to taste the whiskey at different cycles of it's fermentation. (They don't give you much, so don't look forward to getting a buzz). Finally, you have the opportunity (you pay for the bottle) to dip the Maker's Mark in their signature red wax. What fun! Well worth the drive and the money.
I made a pilgrimage to Sanders Cafe on my way to Louisville and was not disappointed. I don't normally do KFC much, but I would say the food here is no different than any other KFC. The real treat is seeing the building where it all began. The dining area is just as it was when it was Sanders' Cafe, and you also get to see the original kitchen, the Colonel's old office, old place settings from the cafe (when you would go there for their specialty: Country Ham) and some other fun, kitschy artifacts from over the years.
It is a good place to catch up on your history and have your photo with a life size statue of the Colonel. Missing from the museum is an exhibit on a major contribution introduced by KFC: the Spork.
There are some gift items to be picked up as a memento of your trip. It is surprisingly limited, but what else do you need other than a Colonel Sanders Bobblehead Doll.
The park offers camping, boating, fishing and skiing on approximately 325 acres with 27 miles of shoreline. The lake has bluegill, crappie and channel catfish. Guist Creek Lake has good (large mouth) bass fishing and the two state records for mud cat and white catfish.
I've seen more great blue herons here than any where. The boat launch is well maintained as are the slips. Launch fee is only $5.00 with an honor box if the store is closed.
The River of the 1800's was the main throughfare into the interior of North America. Today that has changed but the signs of the bygone era are everwhere to be found along the Kentucky shore. It took about an hour to drive along the river from Stephensport to Hawesville, including stops to take pictures and read the signs.
All of the pictures were taken in Breckinridge and Hancock counties.
Natural Bridge is an arch in the natural sandstone formation. The State Park is one of Kentucky's upgraded parks and includes a Lodge, Restaurant, Camp Ground, Hiking Trails, and a Sky Lift to the top of the bridge
NATURAL BRIDGE STATE RESORT PARK
2135 Natural Bridge Road,
Slade, KY 40376-9999
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