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Weekend Wanderings

Maysville-Lexington Turnpike

Start your tour on either end of U.S. 68-the Maysville-Lexington
Turnpike-and you can run the highway in a little more than an hour. Or you can
spend a week or more, exploring the myriad of historical, cultural, and scenic
sites along the way. Thus, we find ourselves coming back again and again. Each
time we find something new.

The first significant stop out of Lexington
is Paris. Between the two towns the road is lined with horse farms and the famous
stone fences of the Bluegrass. Colloquially called “slave fences,” they
were actually built by Irish immigrants later in the 19th century.

In Paris, circle the courthouse-justifiably
said to be one of the most beautiful in the state-to Duncan Tavern. Built in 1788,
it hosted such luminaries as Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton. Today it’s a museum
owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Tours are available.

Just east of town, sidetrip to the Cane Ridge
Meeting House, the largest single-room log structure in America. You won’t initially
see the log church, however, as it is protected by a modern stone building that
surrounds it. In 1801, as part of the Great Awakening, the largest camp meeting
revival west of the Alleghenies was held here. An estimated 30,000 people attended,
and as many as 10 ministers preached simultaneously.

Back on U.S. 68, continue east to Millersburg,
where you’ll find marvelous old Victorian homes. Best bet is to find a parking
spot and enjoy the architecture on foot.

Immediately east of Millersburg is the Pio-neer
Cemetery. A toll station on the old turnpike used to stand here. The cemetery
itself has headstones going back to Colonial days.

A few miles farther east, U.S. 68 turns northward.
Before following it, detour three miles into Carlisle and explore this quaint
old town. Many of the buildings surrounding the town square are made of cast iron,
and it’s said to be the second largest cast-iron district in Kentucky. Louisville,
by the way, is the first. The cast-iron district is also one of two remaining
elevated business districts in the Commonwealth. The other is in Winchester.

If you do nothing else in Carlisle, stop in
at Neal’s Store-one of those “we have a bit of everything” emporiums.
Built in 1883 as the Mozart Hall Building, prominent entertainers, magicians,
and politicians graced the stage there until it was converted to shops in 1932.

Return again to U.S. 68 and turn north. Watch
carefully on the right shoulder and you’ll soon see a historic sign identifying
the last cabin occupied by Daniel and Becky Boone before leaving Kentucky for
good. If you know exactly where to look, you can see the cabin from the road.
But it’s better to visit it up close.

Continue to the next farm road. If you reach
Cardinal Valley Antiques you’ve gone a hair too far. The road sits on the southern
edge of that property.

Although it looks like a private drive, it is
open to visitors. The cabin-built in 1795 and later restored and moved to this
site-is in a grove of trees and surrounded by a split-rail fence.

Cardinal Valley Antiques is worth poking around
in too. Proprietress Jean Jones is always eager to chat with visitors, and you’re
likely to find something you just can’t live without.

Half a mile farther is Forest Retreat Inn, in
what was the home of Thomas Metcalfe, 10th governor of the Commonwealth. A stoneworker
by trade, Metcalfe was instrumental in paving the Maysville-Lexington Turnpike-which
may explain why it ran past his home and not through Carlisle, three miles away.

Forest Retreat Inn is now a B & B and restaurant,
and is a good place to stay during your drive through history.

A dozen miles farther is Blue Licks Battlefield
State Resort Park. Located on the site of the last battle of the Revolutionary
War, there’s a memorial to those who fought and died here, as well as a mass grave
where many of the pioneers who perished in the battle are buried. A re-enactment
of the battle is held every year in August.

Blue Licks has all the amenities you expect
in a resort park, including a recently expanded lodge, campground, museum, and
swimming pool.

About 15 miles farther north is the historic
village of Old Washington. Established by Simon Kenton in 1786, who’d moved his
trading post here to avoid Indian attacks, much of the town is now on the National
Register of Historic Places.

Examples of every 18th- and early 19th-century
architectural style can be found here, from log cabins to Federalist and Georgian
mansions. Many of them now house antique and craft shops, as well as five museums.
A visitor’s center built to resemble Kenton’s original post sits next to a re-creation
of his cabin. Information and tickets for the museum tour are available there.

Five miles downhill from Old Washing-ton is
Maysville. Known as Limestone when founded by Simon Kenton, Limestone Landing-a
park and riverboat dock-celebrates the town’s history.

Once a center of fancy ironwork manufacturing,
Maysville abounds with wrought-iron balconies that resemble those found in New
Orleans. Several museums are worth visiting, most notably the Underground Railroad
Museum.

For more information, contact: Kentucky Department
of Travel, 500 Mero St., Frankfort, KY 40601, (502) 564-4930, or go online at
www.kentuckytourism.com.

Day Trips & Short
Stops

Danville’s Constitution Square

Somehow or other many people think the political
infighting surrounding the last presidential election is something new, that
all was sweetness and light in the old days.

Far from it. Between 1785 and 1792 there were
no fewer than 10-count ’em, 10-constitutional conventions held in Danville,
with prominent citizens arguing for and against independence from Virginia,
often with some vehemence.

It was no accident that Danville was the locale.
Sitting as it did in the middle of the Wilderness Road, colonial Danville was
a crossroads community. By 1785 Danville’s square contained a meeting house,
courthouse, jail, and tavern. Indeed, the political heart of Kentucky beat there.
In 1792, with independence and statehood achieved, the sobriquet “Constitution
Square” stuck.

Although most of the original buildings are
long gone, you can still experience the fervor of those early political maneuverings
at Danville’s Constitution Square State Historic Site. A self-guided walking
tour around the square takes you through replicas and original buildings, offering
some insights into the struggle for statehood, and life in early day Kentucky.

A re-creation of the original log courthouse
contains artifacts, papers, and reproductions of furnishings used by the political
movers and shakers of early Kentucky, while interpretive plaques detail the
quest for statehood.

Among other buildings relocated around the
square are the jail, which was built with 9-inch-thick logs, just like the original;
and the meeting house, home of the first Presbyterian congregation in the state.

Original buildings located around the square
include the pre-1792 post office, which Danville claims as the first one west
of the Alleghenies; Grayson’s Tavern, built in 1785 and scene of many heated
statehood debates; Fisher’s Row, two circa-1817 rental properties once occupied
by local merchants; the 1816 Watts-Bell House, home to the Danville/Boyle County
Historical Society; and the Alban Goldsmith House, home of a noted physician
who helped pioneer abdominal surgery in 1809.

For details, contact: Constitution Square
State Historic Site, 105 E. Walnut St., Danville, KY 40422, (859) 239-7089.

Outdoor Log

Brown trout

The 20 or so streams in the Daniel Boone National
Forest offer a different type of trout fishing than most other trout streams
in Kentucky. Because they are more remote, they don’t get as much fishing, and,
whereas most state streams are stocked strictly with rainbow trout, you have
a shot at other species in the national forest. At least six streams have naturally
reproducing brook trout populations. And half of the 15 stocked streams receive
browns as well as rainbows.

In March, we like to target the browns. And
one of the best places for this is Indian Creek. Note, however, that there are
two Indian Creeks in the Daniel Boone Forest. The one we like is in Menifee
County, chockablock to the Red River Gorge Geologic Area.

To be sure, you are just as likely to find
rainbows in Indian Creek, because it gets monthly stockings between March and
October. Mixed in will be browns-both recently stocked ones and holdover fish,
many of which have spent several years in the creek.

Indian Creek and its East Fork flow into the
Red River, on Highway 613. Indian Creek Road (which is unmarked) follows much
of the East Fork, but only runs a little way along the main stream. So that’s
the one we prefer, because it provides more of a wilderness experience.

Ultralight spinning tackle can be used. But
for us, this is fly water. A lightweight outfit, something on the order of a
#4 weight, is ideal for this stream. Anything much heavier would be overkill.

Nor do you need a large selection of flies,
especially this time of year. A couple of nymph patterns-gold ribbed hare’s
ears, pheasant tails, maybe bead-head soft-hackles, and a very few dry flies
should see you through.

Brown trout are more wary than rainbows, and
are less likely to be feeding on top. So nymphs are the obvious choice when
you start fishing. Indian Creek is not a particularly large water, either. So
you want to be stealthy in your approach, and cast with a bit more finesse than
is required for rainbows.

For more information, contact: Kentucky Department
of Fish and Wildlife Resources, #1 Game Farm Rd., Frankfort, KY 40601, (502)
564-3400.

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