If gas prices have you in a tizzy, there are alternatives
to long trips. Rather than touring the countryside, head for one of our cities.
They offer much in the way of cultural attractions and entertainment and in
many of them you need not drive at all. Many of the points of interest are found
in, or near, the downtown area, and you can walk to them from your hotel.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Ashland: Few people realize that Ashland's
downtown area has a highly concentrated collection of sights and attractions.
In the heart of downtown is Central Park, whose ancient Indian burial mounds
are a focal point. Laid out in the late 1700s, the 47-acre park contains recreational
facilities, a bandstand, picnic areas, walking trails, and a pond.
Surrounding the park are some of Ashland's most stately
homes, all part of a two-mile walking tour.
The Ashland Area Art Gallery serves area artists
as a place to display and sell their work. A few steps away is the Paramount
Arts Center. Originally the first "talkie" theater in the Ohio Valley,
the restored Paramount now serves as a cultural focal point for the tri-state
area, with live performances of everything from Beethoven to bluegrass, ballet
to Broadway, big bands to Billy Ray Cyrus.
Only a block from the Paramount is the Kentucky Highlands
Museum, which celebrates area history, culture, and industry through a variety
of displays and exhibits.
For additional information, contact: Ashland Area
Convention & Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 987, Ashland, KY 41105, (800) 377-6249.
Lexington: If there is one town in Kentucky
designed for walking, Lexington is it. Its downtown walking tour, in fact, is
the best in the state. If you made no stops, you could do the walk in about
two hours. But two days are barely enough to see all the sites marked on
The Lexington Walk & Bluegrass Country Driving Tour brochure available
at the Visitor's Center.
The tour starts at Triangle Park, with its stepped
fountains and flowering pear trees. Behind you is Rupp Arena, and the adjacent
UK Basketball Museum. Triangle Park is a pleasant place to sit and plan your
itinerary. Make sure to visit the Mary Todd Lincoln House. Mary Todd was born
in Lexington, and moved with her family into this 22-room house in 1832. Tours
are given Tuesday through Saturday.
Another must-see spot is the Lexington Children's
Museum, a hands-on creative play center for children of all ages. Here you can
climb on giant teeth, sit in a jet fighter, play with bones and fossils, and
make music by hopping on a keyboard.
Space precludes even listing all the attractions
along the way. As you walk, you'll step through history at places like Transylvania
College and the Hunt-Morgan House; enter the cultural world at the Lexington
Opera House ("the best one-night stand in America") at Artsplace;
and explore the Lexington Courthouse and grounds.
The last stop is Phoenix Park, where a stream flows
past several benches and tables. The Vietnam Veterans memorial is in Phoenix
Park. And don't miss the nomad and camel sculpture at the west end.
For complete details, contact: Lexington Convention
& Visitor's Bureau, 301 E. Vine St., Lexington, KY 40507, (800) 845-3959.
Louisville: Louisville is another town designed
for walking, with many of its attractions grouped along two walkways: the Riverwalk,
which follows the Ohio River, and the West Main Street Walking Tour, which parallels
it for nine blocks.
Although Riverwalk stretches for seven miles as a
hike/bike trail, most of the attractions are concentrated near Belvedere Plaza.
There you'll find paving blocks outlining the course of the Ohio as it meanders
the northern border of the Commonwealth, along with interpretive historical
and cultural notes, and a statue of George Rogers Clark.
From the Plaza you can look down on the river. To
the right are the various paddlewheelers that call Louisville home. To the left
is McAlpine Lock & Dam. Until it was built, navigation ended here.
The West Main Street Walking Tour is affectionately
called "Louisville's Time Machine." It begins on First Street and,
in nine blocks, spans roughly 200 years. Along the way you'll find bits of history,
intriguing glimpses into Louisville personalities, and some of the finest examples
of cast-iron architecture in the U.S.
For information, contact: Louisville & Jefferson
County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 400 South First St., Louisville, KY
40202, (502) 584-2121.
These few glimpses should give you an idea about
how much there is to see and do in Kentucky's cities. They are not alone. Next
month, we'll give you a few more possibilities.
Day Trips & Short
Battling at Blue Licks
Is there one spot in the Commonwealth pivotal to
Kentucky's early history and development? A case could be made for Blue Licks
Springs. It was here, for instance, that longhunters often made camp. Salt was
boiled out of the springs by early settlers and, indeed, the capture of Daniel
Boone and his party before the Siege of Boonesborough took place here too.
It was at Blue Licks Springs, however, that the last
battle of the American Revolution was fought. More than 400 Native American
and British regular forces ambushed 180 militia from Boonesborough, Harrodsburg,
and Bryant's Station. For the fledgling country, it was a victory. For Kentucky,
however, it was a catastrophe of unprecedented proportions. About 72 settlers
died during the five-minute battle. Those killed represented one-thirteenth
of the fighting men of the state and, comprised in the words of historian Thomas
Clark, "an unusually high ratio of the enterprise, the leadership, and
the courage of Kentucky defenders and settlers."
You can see what this was like for yourself on August
18-19 when the annual re-enactment of The Battle of Blue Licks will be held
on the actual site at Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park. During this
yearly event, costumed historical re-enactors will portray all sides of the
conflict-settlers, Indians, and British regular troops.
The battle will be re-enacted on both days. In addition
to the battle, a special memorial service will be held on Sunday, commemorating
the slain on both sides.
Throughout the weekend, re-enactors will live in
a primitive camp, erected near the pool. Here you'll see how early colonists
and regular military lived and worked during the late 18th century.
For further information, contact: Blue Licks Battlefield
State Resort Park, P.O. Box 66, Mt. Olivet, KY 41064, (800) 443-7008.
Hard as it may be to believe, Kentucky has more
moving water than any state except Alaska. There is something on the order of
7,000 riverine miles crisscrossing the Commonwealth. For the non-boater, there
are miles and miles of wadeable water that never sees a fisherman. These streams
contain a bewildering array of fish species, from largemouth and smallmouth
bass, to musky, catfish, all sorts of panfish, white bass and stripers, carp,
There's more to wading, though, than just tromping
through the water. Stream fish tend to be wary, and any unusual disturbance
will spook them. So when stream fishing, you want to stay out of the water as
much as possible. When you do enter it, do so gently, trying not to disturb
Wading isn't really walking. Instead it's a controlled
shuffle. Put all your weight on one foot. Gently slide the other foot forward
about six or eight inches. Transfer your weight to that foot. Then slide the
first foot forward until they are both even.
There are safety considerations. Even a small stream
with a slow current has more power behind it than you may think. In heavier
water you want to always stay sideways to the flow. When moving, angle upstream
or down, providing as little of your body against the flow as possible.
Savvy anglers use a wading staff as well. Whether
a stick cut on-site or a sophisticated folding device, a wading staff turns
you from an insecure biped into a very stable tripod.