There are some great drives in the area if you're into that. One of my favorite routes is to drive down the Bypass and onto Barnes Mill Road. If you continue on, you will end up on Poosey Ridge where you can get a great view of the county. (And a couple of other surrounding counties.) Poosey Ridge is about 8 miles long and ends smack dab in the Kentucky River so once there you get the palisades which are also lovely.
Another drive that I like is to take Doylesville Road (also considered Union City Road to some people) to the very end. You end up on provate property, but the owners are good about letting you spook around. The road turns to gravel and it ends in the river. At the river there is a big open field and the remains of a still that was used in the civil war. Beautiful spot.
Note: All photos were taken by me.
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
Kirksville is located in the same area as Poosey Ridge. It’s a small, farming community that used to be a happening place in Madison County. Now, due to the urbanization of most central Kentucky towns, it has died out and nothing remains but a general store and the old Kirksville School. (It’s now been turned into a community center.) The area around Kirksville is beautiful, however, and it’s a nice drive through the country to get to it. If you want to see some gorgeous countryside and early architecture then I recommend taking a short jaunt to the area.
Note: See my Kirksville page for some pictures and more information. All photos were taken by me.
- Historical Travel
- Hiking and Walking
Like many of the other communities that have died out in Madison County (Kirksville, Kingston, College Hill, and Boonesboro) Red House was once a thriving village. Now, all that remains are some of the old structures that are difficult to see from the road and farms. Still, here is an interesting fact: Garry and Penny Marshall’s parents live in Red House. You know, the guy that directed “Beaches?” Yes, it is a badly kept secret in the community.
The neat thing about Red House is that instead of being a river community like Ford or a centrally located community like Kirksville, much of Red House thrived on the railroad. You’ll notice as you’re driving down Red House Road that the railway runs parallel. In some parts you can still see the old bridges. It’s a really nice country drive out that way and if you follow it to the end you wind up at the Ft. Boonesboro State Park. There are also some neat ruins of old homes if you’re into urban exploring like I am. Just be mindful of snakes if you’re out traipsing around. During my last jaunt I ran into about five at one place so it’s wise to wear long pants and boots.
Directions: From downtown Richmond, take Second Street away from town. You'll go under an overpass and from that point on the road becomes Red House.
Salem Cemetary on Poosey Ridge
This is more of one of those things to do at night. Preferably at midnight. On a full moon.
Well, sort of.
The Salem Cemetary is one of the most famous Madison County sites. Anyone who has grown up with it knows about the hauntings. As a matter of fact, if you do a random search on the Internet for "Madison County ghosts" you come with several websites for it. As some people on here have already noticed. BUT, I have my own Salem story.
When I was a teenager we used to like driving around and window shopping. We didn't have any money. So one night me and three of my friends decided to trek up to it and see what it was all about. Well, one chickened out and wouldn't even get out of the car. The rest of us went up there. We walked around and didn't see anything and were getting ready to go back to the car when all of a sudden all three of us felt hands on the small of our backs. We were about ten feet apart and it hit us all at once-a slight push.
After that we trusted the legend and didn't feel the need to investigate anything else for awhile.
Directions: Follow Barnes Mill Road out of town. When it forks, take the left and go up the big hill. After that, it's a couple of miles down on the right.
One of my favorite things to do is to take drives out in the country. Poosey Ridge is still my favorite drive in Madison County. Although driving on the road can be like dodging bullets (cars go fast and it’s curvy) you get some of the best panorama views of Richmond and the surrounding areas. You won’t see any subdivisions or many new houses, but you will see lots of rolling hills, valleys, farms, and tobacco fields. The road ends in the Kentucky River (almost literally) and they’ve now set up a little picnic area. The Acres of Land vineyard is located at the beginning of the ridge.
Directions: Follow Barnes Mill Road all the way out of town. At one point the road divides. Take the road on the right, across the little bridge. From there you’ll go up a large steep hill. The ridge begins at the top.
- Hiking and Walking
There are several things that set Valley View apart from other communities of long ago around Richmond. One is the Valley View (car and people) ferry that is still in operation today. You can ride it from Madison to Jessamine county and it is free. The other thing is that if you are a fan of Cassius Clay and his history, this is the town where he first met his fourteen year old wife, Dora. (He was in his eighties which is another reason that Cassius himself was the man.) Although Dora’s home place no longer exists, it is her celebrity that gave the town a bit of a boost in the early 1900’s. Today, nothing remains of the town that once was. Still, it is worth driving down and taking a look at the ferry and a lot of the old buildings are still standing. As you might have noticed, I have a fondness for old houses, towns, and country drives. If you are into that as well, then by all means check out this small community.
Note: On the way, you will pass a place that USED to be a community. So much, in fact, that it had several churches, a school, and a factory. Now NOTHING remains except for a church. You can’t even see any ruins. Amazing how something like that can just dry up and disappear.
Furnace Mountain- A Buddhist Temple
Furnace Mountain is a Buddhist Temple located in Estill County, close to Irvine. It’s about a thirty-minute drive from Richmond. It is in a beautiful location near the Red River Gorge-where I grew up. It is modeled after a traditional Korean Temple. The teacher is Zen Master Dae Gak, who has been practicing Buddhism for over thirty years. Furnace Mountain us an offshoot of the Buddhist Temple in Lexington, which outgrew itself. They chose the location in Estill County due to the beautiful scenery and the proximity to the mountains. Aside from daily mediations and rituals, they also offer retreats every month. If you would like to visit, they welcome guests. It wouldn’t hurt to e-mail them in advance, however, to make sure you’re not going in at a time when something else is going on.
On a side note, my mother had a student not too long ago from Irvine. When she mentioned Furnace Mountain he said, “Aren’t those the people that worship rocks?” Well, they’re trying to educate people in the community but I guess it’s a slow process.
- Arts and Culture
- Religious Travel
Barne's mill was one of the oldest business in Madison County, dating back to at least 1795. The mill was used for the production of building lumber. The mill was run and owned continuously for 100 years by the same family and closed in aproximately 1913. All that remains are the falls where the mill was located.
To view the falls, take exit 87 on interstate 75. Go west off the exit and continue approximately eight miles. There will be a sharp curve in the road right after the falls that goes over the creek. The falls are on the left.
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