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Weekend Wanderings

Discovering Kentucky

For the adventuresome, every highway and byway
in the Commonwealth takes you to sites of scenic beauty, cultural attractions,
and museums. Some of these, in fact, are not very well publicized, and stumbling
on them by accident is the only way you’ll find them. Many of the attractions
we tell you about in these pages are discovered just that way.

Rabbit Hash General Store in northern Kentucky, for
instance, was found like that, as were the Bluegrass Motorcycle Museum in Hartford,
and the Daniel Boone Cabin near Carlisle. We just picked a direction and let the
car find the sites.

Most travelers find this approach too freewheeling,
however. Instead, they need to structure their weekends and day trips with a specific
destination or activity in mind. February is the perfect month to do such planning.
Not only is the weather usually less than clement, but many attractions are closed.
So a February weekend might be used to plan where you’ll wander on other weekends
in the spring and summer.

In addition to the “On The Road” and “Events”
columns in Kentucky Living, another resource for your travel planning is the Kentucky
Department of Travel, which publishes the Kentucky Great Getaway Guide
each year. In roughly 130 pages, the guide details many of the sites and attractions
found throughout the state, and does it in a very useful format. Overall, the
book is divided into the four tourist regions of the Commonwealth (Western Waterlands,
Bluegrass Heartlands, Scenic Wonderlands, and Eastern Highlands); the guide highlights
what’s there, where to find it, and who to contact for additional information.

Frankly, anyone who explores Kentucky without a copy
of this free publication is doing themselves a disservice. Copies are available
from Kentucky Travel, P.O. Box 2011, Frankfort, KY 40602, or by calling (800)

The next best resource is your local library, where
you’ll find numerous books dealing with Kentucky travel. Many of them, such as
Kentucky Off the Beaten Path, have a direct tie-in to exploring the Bluegrass
State. But don’t confine yourself to those. More general titles often provide
insights to offbeat and out-of-the-way places, as well as to the more well-known
tourist attractions. Best Places to Stay in the South and Fodor’s
Great American Vacations
have information about Kentucky.

Sometimes a book that seems like a real stretch provides
interesting travel info. Our own Hiking Kentucky, for instance, provides lists
of interesting sites near each of the trails covered. Another Sunrise in Kentucky,
essentially a cookbook, is a collection of recipes from some of Kentucky’s finest
bed and breakfasts. But the bed and breakfasts themselves are described, which
may help you find a locale you’d like to visit.

By the same token, don’t neglect lodging guides. Most
B&B directories, for instance, are arranged to include points of interest

As with so many other things, the Internet is an unending
source of Kentucky tourism information. A simple search under “Kentucky Travel,”
for example, produces nearly 1,000 Web pages to be perused. Many of them have
links to other sites, which have additional links. Add them up and there is no
end to your ability to find vacation spots that way. The state tourism Web site
can be found at

Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget the ads
right here in Kentucky Living. The tourism folks who place those ads want
you to visit, and welcome inquiries. So don’t hesitate to contact them.

Day Trips & Short

Mother of God Church

Back in the 1960s, America went through one of its phases. Downtown areas by
the score were leveled to make room for parking lots and sterile high-rise buildings.
Many historic buildings were lost in the hubbub.

Kentucky was no different. Cities across the Commonwealth, in a mania of modernization,
rushed to tear down beautiful old buildings. Often these structures had great
historic or architectural worth.

Fortunately, sanity prevailed in some cases, and many of these grand old architectural
masterpieces were kept from the wrecking ball. Among them was Mother of God
Church, in Covington. Slated to be razed, community action convinced the city
to leave the old church standing.

This oasis of peace and serenity stands at the corner of Sixth and Montgomery
streets, just a few blocks from the hoopla of MainStrasse Village. You can’t
miss it. Twin Renaissance clock towers, soaring skyward, mark the way.

Built in 1870 by a predominantly German congregation, this German Baroque church
is often mistaken for a cathedral. But it’s not. It is, and always has been,
a parish church. But the imposing building and architectural details make it
easy to understand why that mistake is often made.

The church features an apse dome decorated with frescoes, for instance. And
five murals by Vatican artist Johann Schmitt grace the walls. Other features
include stained-glass windows imported from Munich; German Mettlach floor tile;
Stations of the Cross; a large selection of inspirational statuary; and a Koehnken
and Grimm pipe organ, all dating from the early 1870s. Be sure, too, to examine
the fine wood carvings, especially on the ends of the pews.

Despite its imposing façade and splendid interior, however, Mother of God Church
exudes warmth and friendliness. This is not a monument, but a living house of
worship. Visiting it, you feel you are in the welcoming presence of God.

For information, contact: Mother of God Church, 119 W. 6th Street, Covington,
KY 41011, (859) 291-2288.

Outdoor Log

Winter hunting season

Come February, most hunters have cleaned their guns
and put them up. After all, they reason, the weather is bad. And seasons have
all closed.

Wrong on both counts!

True, February is often our most bitter month, with
extremely cold weather, ice, and sometimes snow. But the fact is, there are
just as many pretty days, when the temperatures are well above freezing and
the sun beats down from a bluebird sky.

Nor, as is commonly thought, are hunting seasons
closed. Rabbit and quail hunting remains open in 29 western counties through
February 10. In addition to bobwhite and cottontails, this is the area where
you can find swamp rabbits as well-a subspecies whose hairy paws adapt it to
marshy swales.

In the eastern zone, grouse remains open until February
28. There are 53 counties in the grouse zone, covering virtually the entire
eastern part of the state. Ruffed grouse-the so-called king of game birds-has
been expanding its range in the Commonwealth. But they remain under-hunted,
so they make the ideal game for a last hunt of the season.

While wild birds and upland game are always appealing,
we want a quality hunt for our last outing of the year. So, more times than
not, February finds us on one or more of the shooting preserves that have sprung
up across Kentucky. Black’s Wing & Clay, the bible of wing shooting and
clay bird range locations, lists 15 such clubs in the Bluegrass State.

Hunting clubs range from farm fields where the owner
puts out pen-raised birds as a cash crop, to sophisticated shooting sports resorts
offering a full range of amenities. Elk Creek Hunt Club in Owenton, for instance,
offers 600 acres of hunting for quail, pheasant, and chukar, several sporting
clays ranges designed by famed shooter Jon Kruger, a pro shop, and meals. There’s
even a bed and breakfast on the premises.

Another such place is found in Pleasureville, at
Eddie Shucks’ Happy Ridge Preserve with 122 acres of rolling hills, forested
bottoms, and marshy swales managed strictly for bird hunting and dog training.
That’s where we usually finish the upland gunning season.

For more information, contact: Curtis Sigretto, Elk
Creek Hunt Club, 1860 Georgetown Rd., Owenton, KY 40359, (502) 484-4569; or
Eddie Shucks, Happy Ridge Quail Preserve, 111 Shucks Rd., Pleasureville, KY
40057, (502) 878-4903.

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