Day Trips & Short Stops
Even before Jack and Nancy Embry opened their Bluegrass Motorcycle
Museum in Hartford three years ago, folks from near and far were stopping by to
admire, chat about, and swap stories of motorcycles past and present.
“There’s something about a motorcycle that captures the heart and soul
of all kinds of people,” notes Jack, called Hombre by the biking fraternity. “We’ve
hosted visitors from 29 states and six countries. And they come from all walks
Inside the museum, the 25 bikes that make up the collection are arrayed in neat
rows. Almost as if they were ready to ride, we remarked. “Indeed they are!” Embry
replied. In fact, they’re all road-ready, and he’s ridden each one.
The oldest bike on display is a 1911 Yale, decked out in its original color
scheme, and sporting a tandem seat. Embry says it’s the only one of its kind still
in existence. He spoke lovingly of each motorcycle, from the 1915 Shaw with its
original red and cream paint, wooden wheels, carbide lamp, and leather; to the
1930 Harley-Davidson V Model, also with its original color scheme and solo leather
seat; to the 1955 Harley-Davidson 55L 1736 with sidecar.
Embry is especially proud of his 1912 Eagle, manufactured in Brockton,
Massachusetts. He tells us, “There are only 10 of these left. Of those, only four
of them are still operable. This is one of those four. And it’s the only one with
original paint on it.”
He’s also currently involved in restoring a 1906 Indian, a project that’s
already consumed nearly three years.
In addition to the motorcycles, there’s a vast amount of motorcycle-oriented
memorabilia on display. Everything from helmets and gloves, to bottles and ashtrays
is on display, including a glass candy dish issued by Indian in 1918, and a belt
buckle/lighter combination issued by Indian in 1950.
For additional information, contact: Bluegrass Motorcycle Museum, 5608
U.S. 231 North, Hartford, KY 42347, (270) 298-7764 or 298-3944.
Back in time on U.S. 68
U.S. 68 between Maysville and Lexington is a time machine cutting diagonally
across the Bluegrass-physically, historically, and scenically.
Beginning as a buffalo trace, it became a path trod by Native Americans,
then a route through the wilderness for early settlers, evolving into the Smith
Wagon Road, and becoming the Maysville-Lexington Turnpike. It’s been a major artery
of commerce and travel for more than two centuries.
Begin your exploration in Maysville, first known as Limestone when founded
by Simon Kenton on the banks of the Ohio River. Limestone Landing, a park and
riverboat dock, celebrates the town’s history.
Downtown Maysville abounds with wrought-iron balconies. No surprise considering
it was an early manufacturing center for fancy ironwork, which was shipped downriver
to New Orleans. Enough examples stayed at home so that sections of Maysville closely
resemble the Crescent City’s Vieux Carre.
Five miles south is historic Old Washington, believed to be the oldest
incorporated town west of the Alleghenies. Established in 1786 and named for General
George Washington, much of the downtown area is on the National Register of Historic
Places. Simon Kenton relocated his trading post there to avoid Indian attacks.
The Visitor Center resembles his post, and his re-created cabin sits next to it
surrounded by the river cane that once grew in profusion throughout the state.
The town contains samples of every 18th- and early 19th-century architectural
style-from log cabins to Federalist and Georgian mansions. Original buildings
house antique and craft shops, as well as five museums. The museums are part of
the guided tours, tickets for which can be purchased at the Visitor Center.
May’s Lick, a few miles down the road, was founded in the 1780s. A town
that has fallen into obscurity in the last 200 years, it’s experiencing a rebirth.
Artisans’ workshops, antique stores, a coffee house/sandwich shop, and a bed and
breakfast inn now occupy several of the old, original buildings.
Continuing south on U.S. 68, check out Blue Licks Battlefield State 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. Time it right and you can see a re-enactment
of the battle on August 21 and 22, as well as attend a moving memorial service
complete with music, settlers, British military, Native Americans, and a 21-gun
flintlock salute at the foot of the monument on Sunday, August 22.
The park contains a new lodge, a campground, museum, Olympic-size swimming
pool, a bathhouse, playgrounds, picnic shelters, and hiking trail.
Eight miles or so south of Blue Licks is the old town of Elliston, with
the remains of the Old Stone Tavern. Built in 1807, it’s thought to be the only
limestone stage stop west of the Alleghenies.
A few miles further south is Forest Retreat Inn, in what was the home of
Thomas Metcalfe, 10th governor of the Commonwealth. Metcalfe was instrumental
in macadamizing the Maysville-Lexington Turnpike, which explains why it runs past
his home and not through Carlisle, three miles away. Metcalfe was a stonemason,
and you can see examples of his handiwork nearby.
Cardinal Valley Antiques is half a mile from the Forest Retreat. Proprietor
Jean Jones is always eager to chat with visitors, and you’re sure to find something
there you can’t live without.
The Daniel Boone Cabin is located a skip and a holler from Jones’ emporium. Specifically,
a country lane at the end of her garden leads to it. Built in 1795, it was home
to Boone and his family until they relocated to Missouri. The cabin was restored
several years ago, and moved from its original site in a floodplain.
Don’t be put off by the looks of the road. Although it is a private drive,
it is also open to visitors. The cabin, located in a grove of trees and surrounded
by a split rail fence, sits on the banks of a small pond.
U.S. 68 turns west shortly after leaving the Boone Cabin. Before reaching
Millersburg, you’ll come to the Pioneer Cemetery. Be sure to stop and contemplate
the gravestones and the lives lived by the settlers buried there.
Millersburg’s streets are lined with marvelous old Victorian homes. Park
your vehicle and take a stroll to observe them up close.
Continue west to Paris where you’ll find Duncan Tavern off Court Square. Major
Joseph Duncan’s 1778 home and tavern has been fully restored. And Betty Sosby,
hostess extraordinaire, has delightful tales to tell about the owners and guests
who gathered there.
Between Paris and Lexington, U.S. 68 is lined with historic stone fences
that border some of the most famous horse farms in the world. The posted speed
limit allows ample time for observing the unique fences and the thoroughbreds
cavorting in the fields behind them.
The Kentucky Horse Center is a treasure trove of history on thoroughbred
racing in the Bluegrass. Guided tours touch on skills for training winners, chats
with industry professionals, care and feeding of a champion, equipment and training
techniques, and the ins and outs of an auction.
Some of the farms, like Walmac International, are open for tours. At Walmac,
for example, you’ll get to see Nureyev, a $40 million stallion, who lives in equine
splendor in a private barn. Son of Kentucky Derby winner Northern Dancer, he continues
to command stud fees in excess of $125,000 despite being more than 20 years old.
To arrange your own adventure along U.S. 68, contact: Maysville/Mason County
Tourist Commission, 216 Bridge St., Maysville, KY 41056, (606) 564-9411; Blue
Licks Battlefield State Park, P.O. Box 66, Mt. Olivet, KY 41064, (606) 289-5507;
Paris/Bourbon County Chamber of Commerce, 525 High St., Paris, KY 40361, (606)
987-3205; and Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, 301 E. Vine St., Lexington,
KY 40507, (800) 845-3959.
It isn’t much of a stream, Taylor’s Fork. Most of it is only ankle-deep,
with an occasional waist-deep run, or a deep hole on an inside bend. Most of the
time, you can walk across it in five or six strides. But it holds fish, lots of
fish. There are bass, bluegill, and green-eared sunfish. Rock bass thrive here,
as do creek chubs, and horned pout as much as 10 inches long.
You can fish Taylor’s Fork with a flyrod or an ultralight spinning outfit,
or even a cane pole and a bobber. Without fail, you’ll always catch something.
You don’t hear much about Taylor’s Fork, nor about the hundreds of similar
streams flowing through the Commonwealth. Sure, some of them, where they join
larger streams, are known. But by and large, these are the thin blue lines that
criss-cross any map of Kentucky.
Most “serious” fishermen skip them by. After all, conventional wisdom says,
for “real” fishing you head to the big rivers or the lakes. But a small, knowledgeable
group of anglers knows that the blue lines are the places to be when you just
want to kick back and go fishing. Relaxing with a rod and only a handful of tackle.
Just fishing, for the rejuvenating effects of sunlight, running water, and a fish
now and again to break the monotony.
You find them everywhere, these little creeks. Look at a county map and
you’ll see a spider web of blue lines, all of which may become a secret fishing
They may not look like much from the bridge. But park the car and take
a walk, upstream or down, and you’ll discover a fishing world you never dreamed
of. Just around the bend, the ankle-deep water gives way to a hole of water. It
may only be 18 inches deep, but there are fish there. Fish that have never seen
an angler. Fish that have no idea what artificial bait or a fly look like.
You don’t need heavy tackle here. A lightweight flyrod or an ultralight spinning
rod loaded with 4-pound line will subdue any fish you find.
But the cares of the work-a-day world disappear when you fish the blue
lines. And that, after all, is what fishing should be all about.