Thanks to some Savannah, GA peeps, one of our favorite lines is “You Think You Might Know….But You Are Not Sure” and Kentucky lived up to this. Our visit was a mix of pleasant surprises and unexpected disappointments. This blog (to some of your delights) will be more of a visual album than a thousand words about our Sunday – Friday visit to Kentucky as I’m not feeling too witty or chatty.
We visited four distilleries. Although our favorite bourbon is Woodford Reserve, it was our least favorite visit as it felt commercial and inauthentic. Wild Turkey was also underwhelming for some reason, but both Bulleit and Buffalo Trace were awesome experiences. Both tours were given by long-time employees and they shared great insights of bourbon distilling and company history. Both offered tastings at the end and we really enjoyed contrasting the subtleties of their products. While we don’t know much about distilling, we were surprised how many similarities there are to beer brewing.
Although a secret to most of my friends and family, I’m not really comfortable around horses.
But, over the years, Lynn and I have always loved watching the Kentucky Derby. So, we took a tour at Churchill Downs. While steeped in obvious tradition, we left feeling a bit melancholy as the tour guide did not seem too interested in going the extra mile, so it was mainly just a guided walk around a small part of the grounds. They have an excellent museum which we enjoyed very much. In my mind, Churchill Downs was in a far less urban area than it is, so it too was a bit odd seeing where in Louisville it actually is.
To be honest, wandering through caves sounds about as much fun as grooming a horse…so Lynn’s suggestion of visiting Mammoth Cave National Park and taking a two hour tour a few hundred feet underground was not a day circled with a smily face on my calendar. Surprisingly, we had a blast. Though my leg muscles took a few days to recover from all of the climbing. National Park rangers are always fun to be around and their passion for their jobs is unmistakable.
Excuse me. Stop looking at my wife’s butt! We are walking through soapy water which is mandatory….done in order to prevent our shoes from carrying out a virus which affects the local bat population. So there. 🙂
Today, we toured Franklin, the town our campground is located in. We visited the state capital building, an old clock made from flowers and the Kentucky Vietnam Memorial, which is created as a sun dial. As I won’t be able to do justice to explaining this design, this is how their website describes the memorial
The veterans whose names are listed on this Memorial fought and died for the same values that inspired their ancestors since the Revolutionary War – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The blue-gray granite plaza of the Memorial contains the names of Kentucky’s 1105 citizens who died. Each name is precisely located so the shadow of the sundial pointer, or gnomon (pronounced ‘noman’), touches each veteran’s name on the anniversary of his death. Thus, each individual is honored with a personal tribute. Accordingly, every day is memorial day for a Kentucky Vietnam veteran. The Memorial’s unique design was created by Helm Roberts (1931-2011), a Lexington, KY architect and veteran. The ground breaking ceremony was held November 7, 1987 and construction was completed in late summer 1988. The Memorial was opened on November 11, 1988 and officially dedicated on November 12, 1988. Kentucky’s twenty three MIA’s are listed behind the sun dial, so that the shadow never falls on their names.
All in all, our visit to Kentucky was OK…nothing special. Another old campground with the tightest spot I’ve ever backed into. So, if I manage to get out of here tomorrow morning, we are off to Charleston. Not that one….The other one. West Virginia. We are having fun…..just not as much fun as we had expected. It’s more to do with the unanticipated itinerary due to the unexpected return to the factory for repairs. We are excited to have our friends Jim and Holly and Lynn’s parents visit us in a few weeks. Also, a week from today, I fly to Boston to see my family, so that is terrific. Hopefully I get back in the groove and blog more with the creative / wordy zest you likely expected here 🙂 Stay tuned.
Lynn’s two cents – I have always wanted to visit Kentucky. I cried as we crossed the state line 5 days ago. But I agree with Jim’s comments. It has been underwhelming. We did check off a few bucket list items, like a National Park and Churchill Downs, but the area itself is not impressive. The one saving grace was a Total Wine store. $300 later and we are ready to move on to another new state – West Virginia.