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Kentucky Living Home

2014 Best in Kentucky

By Kathy Witt from April 2014 Issue

2014 Best in Kentucky

When it comes to planning vacations, restaurant stops, photo ops, evenings out (also in), forays to the theater or the flea market, shopping excursions for books, baubles—even grader blades–Kentuckians know what's best. And they're not shy about sharing their faves.

For the 2014 Best in Kentucky reader write-in contest, readers gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to one of the state's premier gems: Lake Cumberland was their choice for best outdoor recreation spot, weekend getaway, and fishing spot.

With the lake in the process of returning to its pre-dam repair elevation and offering new events and off-water activities, including the Lake Cumberland 360, which includes motorcycling around the lake, its vacation appeal sparkles as brightly as its more than 45,000 surface acres of water. Another Kentucky treasure—Mammoth Cave National Park—got the nod as the best spot for a family outing, not to mention for best walking, running, and bicycling trails.

Readers love to find made-in-Kentucky items among the thriving community of potters, weavers, sculptors, jewelry makers, and other craftspeople in Berea. Artisan-inspired items aside, they also relish shopping for dirt scoops, ATV tools, and fencing supplies from Dunnville-based Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment—an unexpected interpretation of this year's Place to Find "Made in Kentucky" Items category.

They were divided on favorite golf courses, not surprising in a state with so many challenging and scenically situated ones. The course set on its own island and surrounded by Lake Cumberland at General Burnside Island State Park tied with Louisville's Valhalla Golf Club in the number one slot, followed closely by the Kenny Rapier Golf Course at My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown, followed even more closely by six—yes, six!—golf courses located all over the state that tied for third place.

Where readers were united was in who they consider the best all-time Kentucky athlete: Muhammad Ali was the clear frontrunner. For music? Last year's first-place winner, The Penny Loafers, scored the top spot again. For extreme adventure/sport location? Red River Gorge repeated last year's victory. And for the state's iconic landmark? The choice for 2014 was once again Churchill Downs.

Ready to experience the best in the Bluegrass? Let your fellow readers be your guide.

OUTDOOR RECREATION SPOT

WINNER
Lake Cumberland
www.LakeCumberlandTourism.com (800) 642-6287
www.LakeCumberlandVacation.com (888) 833-4220
www.BurnsideTourism.com (800) 240-2531
www.HeartofLakeCumberland.com (606) 348-4241

With acres and acres of water outlined by more than 1,200 miles of wooded shoreline, it's pretty much guaranteed you can pursue your favorite water sport or activity at Lake Cumberland. Boating, tubing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, fishing, sunbathing, swimming—you name it—it's here. But there's plenty to do outdoors off the water, too: golfing, hiking, biking, skateboarding, sloshing around in a giant wave pool, exploring at a botanical garden, visiting vineyards, art shows, craft fairs, and more. The vacation is here; you just need to show up.

SECOND PLACE—TIE Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area—Golden Pond
www.LBL.org
Red River Gorge–Stanton
www.fs.usda.gov/DBNF
THIRD PLACE
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park—Buckhorn
www.Parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/Buckhorn-Lake/default.aspx

 

ALL-TIME KENTUCKY ATHLETE

WINNER
Muhammad Ali
www.AliCenter.org

The former professional boxer is considered to be among the greatest heavyweights in that sport's history. Pshaw! Kentuckians know he is the greatest, a legend in his own time—a Golden Gloves champion, Olympic gold medalist, American hero, and three-time heavyweight champion of the world, known for his impressive footwork, notable jab, and colorful quotes. (Remember him telling reporters he could "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee"?) A well-known philanthropist, his life story is told at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville.

I am overwhelmed and humbled by this award. As a child and young adult, I had dreams of achieving my goal to become the World Heavyweight Champion yet I never imagined I would be named the All-Time Athlete in Kentucky. What I am today, I owe in large part to my parents and the support I received from the Louisville community and people all over Kentucky. They gave me a sense of 'anything is possible' and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. From the friends and neighbors I grew up with, to my teachers in school, and the shopkeepers and business owners on 4th Street and beyond, they all played a part in my success.

I've always been proud of my Kentucky roots and heritage and I intend to continuously make my Kentucky family proud of me and the Ali Legacy—which is also a Kentucky Legacy.

                                                 —Muhammad Ali

SECOND PLACE
Dan Issel

University of Kentucky All-America basketball player and the program's career scoring leader; former NBA player and coach; inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame
in 1993.

THIRD PLACE
Kyle Macy

Point guard for University of Kentucky basketball (1977-1980); three-time All-American and three-time All-SEC player in Lexington; inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996 and inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.



EXTREME ADVENTURE/SPORT LOCATION

WINNER
Red River Gorge—Stanton
www.fs.usda.gov/DBNF (606) 663-8100–Gladie Center

With 2014 marking the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act (it established millions of acres as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System by special Acts of Congress), the folks at Red River Gorge, which includes Clifty Wilderness—one of two federally designated wilderness areas in Kentucky—are planning celebrations throughout the year. If you haven't explored the Gorge's rugged terrain with its hundreds of miles of cliff line and sweeping vistas, this is the year to pencil it in. You can hike, canoe, rock climb, rappel, and backpack—and, at Clifty and the surrounding Daniel Boone National Forest, experience the arches and forested slopes of a wild backcountry area.

SECOND PLACE
Mammoth Cave National Park—Mammoth Cave
www.NPS.gov/maca
THIRD PLACE
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park—Corbin
www.Parks.ky.gov

 

WEEKEND GETAWAY

WINNER
Lake Cumberland
www.LakeCumberlandTourism.com (800) 642-6287
www.LakeCumberlandVacation.com (888) 833-4220
www.BurnsideTourism.com (800) 240-2531
www.HeartofLakeCumberland.com (606) 348-4241


"Lake Cumberland showcases some of the best Kentucky has to offer: the beauty of the lake, rolling hills, beautiful farmland, and the hospitality of the staff at the state park resort there," says reader/voter Penny Chance (Salt River Electric Co-op). "It's an affordable place to vacation."

You can rent a houseboat, enjoy all types of water sports, relax, recharge, and get away from it all—but there's more. Go back in time and visit a historic gristmill with the world's largest overshot waterwheel. Tour the site of one of the nation's key Civil War battles. Visit the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery. Shop for antiques and local art. Sample the grape at a trio of wineries.

SECOND PLACE
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park—Corbin
www.Parks.ky.gov
THIRD PLACE
Louisville
www.GoToLouisville.com

 

FISHING SPOT

WINNER
Lake Cumberland
www.LakeCumberlandTourism.com (800) 642-6287
www.LakeCumberlandVacation.com (888) 833-4220
www.BurnsideTourism.com (800) 240-2531
www.HeartofLakeCumberland.com (606) 348-4241


Here is an angler's paradise, whether fishing professionally or purely for recreation. Striper, walleye, several species of bass (Kentucky, smallmouth, largemouth), crappie, sauger, bluegill, sunfish, and catfish can all be found in the clear, clean waters of Lake Cumberland, considered one of the finest fishing areas in the Eastern United States. And the marinas offer info on what's biting, where they're biting, and what bait is working on any particular day.

SECOND PLACE
Kentucky Lake
www.KentuckyLakeBarkley.org
www.GrandRivers.org
www.KentuckyLake.org
THIRD PLACE
Green River Lake
Facebook: Green River Lake Army Corps

 

BOATING LAKE OR RIVER

WINNER
Kentucky Lake
www.KentuckyLakeBarkley.org (800) 448-1069
www.GrandRivers.org, (888) 493-0152
www.KentuckyLake.org, (800) 467-7145

As one might expect, at the largest lake in Kentucky and the largest manmade lake east of the Mississippi River, there is plenty of room for all variety of boating adventures: skiing and fishing, taking out pontoons, houseboats, and personal watercraft—hiring guide services, too. The eastern shore of Kentucky Lake is the Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area, with 170,000 acres of outdoor recreational opportunities, including wildlife viewing adventures.

SECOND PLACE
Cave Run Lake—Morehead
www.MoreheadTourism.com
THIRD PLACE
Green River Lake
Facebook: Green River Lake Army Corps

 

PLACE TO FIND "MADE IN KENTUCKY" ITEMS

WINNER
Berea
www.Berea.com (859) 986-2540 or (800) 598-5263


As the Folk Arts and Craft Capital of Kentucky and home of the innovative H.O.W.  program, which presents hands-on workshop opportunities throughout the year, Berea is all about arts and education, and has been since its beginnings in the 1850s. Want to learn the ancient art of metal stamping? Sculpt a Santa figure? Craft a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry? Butcher a pig? You can learn how to make these artworks and others; buy these artworks and more; and catch artists in the creative process (just follow the "Studio Artists at Berea: Artists at Work" icons through town).

SECOND PLACE
Tarter Farm and Ranch Equipment –Dunnville
www.TarterUSA.com
THIRD PLACE
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park—Buckhorn
www.Parks.ky.gov/parks

 

GOLF COURSE

WINNER—TIE
General Burnside Island State Park—Burnside
www.Parks.ky.gov/parks (606) 561-4104

Here's a fun fact: General Burnside Island State Park is named for sideburn-whiskered Civil War General Ambrose Burnside, whose distinctive facial hair, according to the Civil War Trust, contributed the word "sideburns" to the American lexicon. One hundred fifty years ago, Burnside circled the 400-acre island with his men, defending it against Confederate encroachment. Today, golfers are challenged on the Brian Ault-designed, 6,394-yard course with sweeping and spectacular views.

Valhalla Golf Club—Louisville
http://Valhalla.PGALinks.com (502) 245-4475

Some readers already know this is a Jack Nicklaus-designed, private golf facility stretching out over 486 rolling acres, a stand-out course because of the overall quality of the golf experience and the premier tournaments hosted here. What they may not know is that this course is named for the Great Hall of Odin of Norse mythology, where the bravest warriors who had died in battle lived forever. Called by either name, Valhalla is a golfer's paradise for members and nonmembers alike.

SECOND PLACE
Kenny Rapier Golf Course at My Old Kentucky Home State Park—Bardstown
www.Parks.ky.gov/golf
THIRD PLACE—TIE
Battlefield Golf Club—Richmond
www.Battlefield.MadisonCountyKy.us
Bright Leaf Golf Resort—Harrodsburg
www.BrightleafGolfResort.com
Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park Golf Course—Burkesville
www.Parks.ky.gov/golf/18_hole/dale-hollow/default.aspx
Elizabethtown Country Club—Elizabethtown
www.EtownCC.com
Stearns Heritage Golf Course—Stearns
www.StearnsKyGolf.com
The Club at Olde Stone—Bowling Green
www.Olde-Stone.com

 

ANNUAL FESTIVAL (NONMUSIC)

WINNER
Lincoln Days Celebration—LaRue County
www.LincolnDays.org (270) 358-8710

For more than 40 years, LaRue County's Lincoln Days Celebration has honored the heritage and history of 16th president Abraham Lincoln, born in a humble log cabin outside of Hodgenville. Festival-goers enjoy pioneer games, a Lincoln look-alike contest, an art show, an award-winning parade, local food vendors, lots of music, and multiple strolling Lincolns, Mary Todd Lincolns, and young Abes and Sarahs. This year's celebration will be held October 4-5.

SECOND PLACE
Casey County Apple Festival—Liberty
www.CaseyCountyAppleFestival.org
THIRD PLACE
Kentucky Bourbon Festival—Bardstown
www.KyBourbonFestival.com

 

ANNUAL FESTIVAL

WINNER—TIE
Great American Brass Band Festival—Danville
www.GABBF.org (859) 319-8426

Celebrating its 25th year in 2014, this internationally renowned festival is the only brass band festival of its kind in the world. A free music event held at Centre College in downtown Danville, it has something for everyone: Great American Balloon Race, Bayous and Brass—New Orleans-themed music, Main Street Parade, children's stage and artistic experiences, and free concerts on stages, lawns, and at the Norton Center for the Arts.

Master Musicians Festival—Somerset
www.MasterMusiciansFestival.org (606) 677-6000

The success behind this festival is threefold. The MMF brings musical excellence and diversity to this community of 65,000 located in Pulaski County and surrounding region where it isn't otherwise readily available. (Willie Nelson and Family was a headliner at the 2013 festival.) It is an all-volunteer/nonprofit organization that the whole community gets behind and supports. And as Tiffany Bourne, president of the festival, bragged: "It has a wonderful crowd and location." Read the feature story on the Master Musicians Festival on page 38.

SECOND PLACE
Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival—Morehead
www.PoppyMountainBluegrass.com
THIRD PLACE
Forecastle Festival
www.ForecastleFest.com—Louisville

 

FAMILY OUTING

WINNER
Mammoth Cave National Park—Mammoth Cave
www.NPS.gov/maca (270) 758-2180 or (877) 444-6777

"Mammoth Cave is an amazing form of natural art work," writes reader/voter Tiffany Lamie of Lancaster. "It's also a great place to visit and explore with the whole family."

Some of the activities that make Mammoth Cave National Park a natural for families are cave tours, hiking, bicycling and horseback riding, canoeing on the Green River, camping, and picnicking. Family-friendly programming teaches kids about bats and trees and gives them an opportunity to earn a Junior Ranger badge. During the summer, a ranger-led "no parents allowed" tour called Trog puts kids in hard hats and headlamps to go "off-trail."

SECOND PLACE
Natural Bridge State Resort Park—Slade
www.Parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/Natural-Bridge/default.aspx
THIRD PLACE—TIE
The Louisville Zoo—Louisville
www.LouisvilleZoo.org
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park—Buckhorn
www.Parks.ky.gov/parks

 

WALKING/RUNNING/BICYCLING TRAIL

WINNER
Mammoth Cave National Park—Mammoth Cave
www.NPS.gov/maca (270) 758-2180

Like to hike and bike? Mammoth Cave National Park has more than 90 miles of trails, all of which are open to hiking. About 60 miles welcome horseback riders and almost 30 miles are there for bicyclers, who can also ride on park roads. In fact, the park offers several venues for biking: the nine-mile Mammoth Cave Railroad Bike & Hike Trail; the five gated administrative roads; and the new 10-mile Big Hollow Trail in the park's backcountry north of Green River.

SECOND PLACE
Red River Gorge—Stanton
www.fs.usda.gov/DBNF
THIRD PLACE
Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area—Golden Pond
www.LBL.org

 

OVERNIGHT STAY

WINNER
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park—Corbin
www.Parks.ky.gov/parks (606) 528-4121 or (800) 325-0063

Kentucky has its very own Niagara Falls with the 125-foot cascade at Cumberland Falls. Called the "Niagara of the South," here is where visitors can witness the phenomenon known as the moonbow on a clear night during a full moon; in fact, it's the only place in the Western Hemisphere where you can. Beautiful falls, scenic hiking trails, and the new Gem Mining at the Falls, plus new programming, keep visitors coming back for more.

SECOND PLACE–TIE
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park—Buckhorn
www.Parks.ky.gov/parks
Galt House—Louisville
www.GaltHouse.com
THIRD PLACE
Lexington
www.VisitLex.com

 

NONFRANCHISE RESTAURANT

WINNER
Paula's Hot Biscuit—Hodgenville
Facebook: Paulas-Hot-Biscuit (270) 358-2237

"I cook just like your grandmother," says Paula Varney, owner of Paula's Hot Biscuit, a comfy little café in Hodgenville. "It's real home cooking—very simple."

It's a recipe for success. Diners love Paula's breakfast, served daily Tuesday through Saturday. For lunch, dished up Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (Rotarians take over the place for lunch on Thursdays), the favorites are the creamy homemade potato soup and cornbread, the slow-roasted beef sirloin, and her mom's squash casserole recipe.

"We fix squash some way nearly every day during squash season, but the favorite is Mom's."

SECOND PLACE—TIE
Corvette Café at the National Corvette Museum—Bowling Green
www.CorvetteMuseumCafe.com
Bread of Life—Liberty
Facebook: Bread of Life Café
THIRD PLACE
Bowlingtown Country Kitchen at Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park–Buckhorn
www.Parks.ky.gov/parks

 

NONFRANCHISE BARBECUE

WINNER
Southern Red's BBQ—Pilot Oak
Facebook: Southern-Reds-BBQ (270) 376-2678

It may seem like it's out in the middle of nowhere, but plenty of diners—appreciative of Red's barbecued pulled pork, beef brisket, steaks, pork chops, half chickens, slabs of ribs, skewers of shrimp, country-delicious sides like fried okra, hush puppies, coleslaw, and corn nuggets—find their way there again and again. Look for the rustic storefront (Red's is tucked into the former Pilot Oak Grocery) and lots of folks licking their fingers.

SECOND PLACE
Pop's Southern Style Barbecue—Morehead
Facebook: Pops Southern Style BBQ
THIRD PLACE
Big Moose's BBQ Smokehouse
www.BigMooseBBQSmokehouse.com

 

LOCAL BOOKSTORE

WINNER
Joseph-Beth Booksellers—Lexington and Crestview Hills
www.JosephBeth.com
(859) 273-2911 Lexington
(859) 912-7860 Crestview Hills

More than 60,000 books and 12,000 gift items, including many products by local artisans and books by local authors—what's not to like? Add to this the Brontë Bistro where you can relax over a full breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or grab a specialty coffee and fresh bakery item to enjoy with your perusing, plus booksellers who truly love books, and book signings and other special events and programming, and it's easy to see why Joseph-Beth makes so many readers' bestseller list.

SECOND PLACE
Heritage Christian Bookstore—Somerset
Facebook: Heritage-Christian-Bookstore Inc.
THIRD PLACE
Lincolns Loft—Hodgenville
www.LincolnsLoft.com

 

CAR SHOW CRUISE-IN

WINNER
Somernites Cruise—Somerset
www.SomernitesCruise.com (606) USA-CARS (872-2277)

Now in its 14th year, the free and family-oriented Somernites Cruise continues to be the largest monthly car show in the region, according to its president, Jeff Girdler. With a multitude of activities for every member of the family, along with big prizes, and new and exciting monthly events, it's classic, nostalgic Americana at its best.

SECOND PLACE
National Corvette Museum Bash—Bowling Green
www.CorvetteMuseum.org
THIRD PLACE
Goodtime Cruisers—Hodgenville
www.facebook.com/GoodTimeCruisers

 

LOCAL PERFORMING ARTS SITE

WINNER—TIE
Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center (SKyPAC)—Bowling Green
www.TheSKyPAC.com (270) 904-1880

Since opening in the spring of 2012, SKyPAC has provided world-class entertainment to the southern Kentucky region, offering a performing arts mixed bag of Broadway shows, concerts, comedy, and family entertainment. The venue also offers visual art gallery spaces, an outlet for young actor development, and arts education programs at SKyPAC, in schools, and for teachers in the entire region. Last year, SKyPAC added its second resident company: Kentucky Stages joins resident company Orchestra Kentucky to bring professional-level theater productions to the region.

The Center for Rural Development—Somerset
www.CenterTech.com (606) 677-6000

Hosting performing arts series, special concerts, and events that enrich, entertain, and inspire, The Center boasts a state-of-the-art, 760-seat performing arts theater that brings such musical greats as Merle Haggard, Percy Sledge, and Ralph Stanley. The Center provides arts and culture outreach activities geared exclusively for younger audiences, delivering educational performances on-site at schools, plus special programming, hands-on exhibits, and professional development workshops geared to the community.

SECOND PLACE
Centre College's Norton Center for the Arts—Danville
www.NortonCenter.com
THIRD PLACE
The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts—Louisville
www.KentuckyCenter.org

 

FLEA MARKET

WINNER
The Most Awesome Flea Market in the World—Shepherdsville
Facebook: Most Awesome Flea Market (877) 4A-SPOTT

Looking for an awesome weekend activity? The Most Awesome Flea Market combines a ginormous outdoor flea market and a huge indoor flea market with the Ole Hickory Pit, so you can shop 'til you drop and then power up with good, old-fashioned barbecue and all the fixins'. Adding to the fun: Awesome Lazy River Tubing opens this summer and the Flea Market will have shuttle buses to transport customers between both venues.

SECOND PLACE
Lake Cumberland Flea Market—Somerset
Facebook: Lake-Cumberland-Flea-Market
THIRD PLACE
Flea Land Flea Market Inc.—London
www.LondonFleaLand.com

 

SCENIC VIEW

WINNER
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park—Corbin
www.Parks.ky.gov/parks  (606) 528-4121 or (800) 325-0063

This is a photo op jackpot: the 125-foot cascade tumbling over geologically ancient rocks; the rare moonbow that can be captured on a clear night during a full moon; a hiking trail meandering to the top of the falls; the rugged and thickly forested landscape—Cumberland Falls is Mother Nature's grandeur unleashed.

SECOND PLACE
Natural Bridge at Natural Bridge State Resort Park—Slade
www.Parks.ky.gov
THIRD PLACE
Red River Gorge—Stanton
www.fs.usda.gov/DBNF

 

CURRENTLY PERFORMING KENTUCKY MUSICAL GROUP

WINNER
The Penny Loafers—Berea
www.TheLoafers.com (937) 532-3979 or (859) 582-4624

Hometown boys make good: four Berea College students banded together in 1985, singing a cappella in unique arrangements of traditional favorites as well as original music. The Penny Loafers are a perennial favorite with Kentucky Living readers and it's easy to see why.

"We were thrilled to be voted 'Best in Kentucky' last year," says Alan Pike (bass) on behalf of the foursome that includes Larry Nichols (baritone), Kevin Slemp (2nd tenor), and Michael Hunt (1st tenor), singing together since 1994. "Our fans have been so good to us and 2013 brought great opportunities to make many new fans. It is our hope to continue to make great a cappella music for our fans, spread the gospel of Jesus to all who will hear, and have a lot of fun doing it."

SECOND PLACE
Montgomery Gentry—Nashville, TN
www.MontgomeryGentry.com
THIRD PLACE
Kentucky Headhunters—Edmonton
www.KentuckyHeadhunters.com

 

ICONIC KENTUCKY LANDMARK

WINNER
Churchill Downs—Louisville
www.ChurchillDowns.com (502) 636-4400

Since 1875, Churchill Downs has been the home of the internationally renowned Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, two of the oldest sporting events in America. Known for the iconic twin spires and grandstand, it is arguably the most famous racetrack in America. New this year: the enormous high-def/high-tech Churchill Downs Big Board (it's the size of three NBA basketball courts); and the Grandstand Terrace and Rooftop Garden, which significantly upgrades and expands the wagering windows, restrooms, and food and beverage available to grandstand patrons.

SECOND PLACE
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park—Hodgenville
www.nps.gov/ABLI
THIRD PLACE
Federal Hill (aka My Old Kentucky Home) at My Old Kentucky Home State Park—Bardstown
www.Parks.ky.gov/parks

 

CIVIL WAR SITE

WINNER
Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site—Perryville
www.PerryvilleBattlefield.org
www.Parks.ky.gov (859) 332-8631

One of the nation's best preserved and most pristine Civil War battlefields, Perryville is coming into its own.

"The Sesquicentennial of the Civil War brought it into the national conscience," says Preservation Program Coordinator Joni House. "Over the past few years, the Civil War's Western Theater has gotten increased attention and historians are recognizing how important strategically the Western Theater really was. Perryville was a huge part of that."

New to the battlefield: the Civil War Trust acquired the field where the battle climaxed and visitors can explore this. A "Life of a Soldier" program, held during Commemoration Weekend in October, introduces tour participants to the daily lives of Civil War soldiers.

SECOND PLACE
Mill Springs Battlefield—Nancy
www.Millsprings.net
THIRD PLACE
Columbus-Belmont State Park—Columbus
www.Parks.ky.gov

 

MUSEUM

WINNER
National Corvette Museum—Bowling Green
www.CorvetteMuseum.org (270) 781-7973 or (800) 53-VETTE

At the only place in the world where Corvettes are made is the only museum dedicated to a single marque. Celebrating all things Corvette, this museum has something for everyone: Corvette displays through the years, a Corvette you can "try on for size," a KidZone with hands-on activities, educational driving simulators for teens—even the chance to register to win a Vette. And it keeps getting better, with the new Motorsports Park  set to open in August.

In February, a large sinkhole opened beneath the museum's Skydome, pulling eight cars into it. The Skydome portion is now closed; however, museum tours are open as usual and there is a viewing area to see into the room with the sinkhole and watch ongoing work to prepare the Skydome for its August reopening. There is also a live webcam showing footage of the area that can be watched during the tour.

SECOND PLACE
Mill Springs Battlefield Museum—Nancy
www.Millsprings.net
THIRD PLACE
Civil War Museum of the Western Theater—Bardstown
www.Civil-War-Museum.org

 

The 2013 Hall of Fame Class held steady, with no new additions for 2014.
Lake Cumberland, already in the Hall of Fame for Best Boating Lake or River, earned the top spot in several other categories for 2014. The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park, also a Hall of Famer in the Historical Landmark/Museum category, got a nod in this year's Iconic Kentucky Landmark category.

Check back in 2015 for a status update. In the meantime, here are last year's Hall of Famers, the benchmark bests for Kentucky Living readers.

Boating Lake or River
Lake Cumberland
www.LakeCumberlandTourism.com
www.LakeCumberlandVacation.com
www.BurnsideTourism.com
www.HeartofLakeCumberland.com

Historical Landmark/Museum
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park—Hodgenville
www.nps.gov/ABLI/index.htm

Nonfranchise Restaurant
The Whistle Stop Restaurant—Glendale
www.WhistleStopRestaurant.net

Nonfranchise Barbecue
Moonlite B-B-Q—Owensboro
www.Moonlite.com


READER WINNERS

EACH YEAR, FIVE READERS' NAMES are drawn at random from all those who vote in the "Best in Kentucky" contest. The prize? $100. Kentucky Living congratulates this year's winners:

ROBERT CUNNINGHAM, Junction City, member of Inter-County Energy Cooperative

DIANE ROCK, Hodgenville, member of Nolin RECC

BRUCE MARTIN, Glasgow, member of Farmers RECC

WILLARD NEAL TUCKER, Knifley, member of Taylor County RECC

LINDA PHELPS, Somerset, member of South Kentucky RECC