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See, stay, do and taste your way across Kentucky  

A charming city park honoring the greatest racehorse in history just a quick stroll from the Eiffel Tower. Glamping digs framing views of a starry, starry Kentucky night. A bus tour rolling into the heart of Amish country to offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse into this faith- and family-centered lifestyle. A cocktail popularized during Prohibition that is nothing short of the bee’s knees. These are among 24 unique experiences—many of them new—that will inspire spring and summer day trips and even longer road trips around the Bluegrass State. 

Come see, stay, do and taste what’s new, what’s different and what’s delicious in Kentucky. 

Clive the Alien, created by artist Mark Phelps, recently landed in Covington. Photo: meetNKY
Secretariat Park is a beautiful addition to the already charming, historic downtown Paris. Photo: Bobby Shiflet
Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Inductee, Carly Pearce, stands beside her display case. Photo: Sarah Cahill
My Old Kentucky Dome pairs a glamping experience with the modern luxuries. Photo: Victoria Stiles
Bleubird Studio & Suites is a five-star stay with an art studio featuring Kentucky artists. Photo: Bleubird Studio & Suites
Experiences are available year-round at Four Roses Warehouse and Bottling Facility. Photo: Four Roses Distillery
Diamond Lake Resort in Owensboro brings on the family fun. Photo: Diamond Lake Park
Elk Creek Vineyards offers visitors a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Photo: Elk Creek Vineyards
Guist Creek Marina & Campground guarantees plenty of aquatic fun. Photo: ShelbyKY Tourism
Grayson Lake State Park is home to more than 70 camping sites and Hidden Cove Golf Course. Photo: Kentucky State Parks
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park offers a lovely lodge and lots of adventures. Photo: Kentucky State Parks
The Knowledge Bar and Social Room is located inside North by Hotel Covington. Photo: North by Hotel Covington
The Old Fashioned cocktail is the favorite among guests at Oak and Match.
Paducah’s Wall-to-Wall Floodwall Murals is a portrait dedicated to Paducah’s African American History. Photo: Paducah Wall to Wall, Inc.
RedPoint Barbecue: delicious barbecue using locally sourced ingredients. Photo: RedPoint Barbecue
Somerset’s theater scene promises an unforgettable journey into the arts. Photo: Lake Cumberland Tourism-SPCCVB


Clive the Alien, Covington 

Feel like someone is watching you in Covington’s Central Business District? That’s because someone is. Or rather, something is. Straight from the galaxy of Artalon, Clive the Alien hangs out at (and over) the midtown parking garage at Fifth and Scott streets in all his bug-eyed, green-skinned glory. 

With a massive magnifying glass trained on any Earthlings that cross his path several stories below, this 30-foot-tall squizzle (squizzles are a race of explorers and pranksters) loves being part of Covington’s ever-growing arts scene and is always ready for his close-up. 

Secretariat Park, Paris 

Oh, the majesty of artist Jocelyn Russell’s life-size bronze sculpture of Secretariat, softly illuminated in the glow of the lampposts. With the three-story mural showing the Triple Crown champion winning the 1973 Kentucky Derby as its backdrop, the statue is depicted running the field at legendary Claiborne Farm. The brick-paved park joins the 20-foot Eiffel Tower replica as irresistible magnets in Kentucky’s own “City of Light.” 

“We so love our park,” says Betty Ann Allen, executive director at the Paris-Bourbon County Tourism Commission. “There is someone always walking around on pretty days and also in the rain, wind and snow!” 

Guist Creek, Shelbyville 

Five minutes from downtown Shelbyville, this 317-acre lake is paradise found, beloved by anglers for its largemouth bass, hybrid stripers, catfish, crappie, bluegill and rockfish and by water babies for its designated water skiing area from May to September. 

Guist Creek Marina & Campground, served by Shelby Energy and located across the street from state-of-the-art Bulleit Distillery, accommodates sunseekers, boaters, anglers and skiers with 42 campsites, including 30 pull-through sites with water and electric hookups, picnic tables and fire pits. Hungry? It’s the waterfront Channel Cat Fish House for dinner. 

Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, Mt. Vernon 

Enter the only museum that features all genres of music, as well as those behind the scenes who create the music—and does so through what was once the original riding stables of John Lair, the founder of Renfro Valley Entertainment Center. 

Located next door to Kentucky’s legendary Country Music Capital and served by Jackson Energy, the museum is filled with memorabilia, show costumes, instruments, photos and more, each piece highlighting the careers of inductees such as Carly Pearce, the Kentucky Headhunters, Boots Randolph and John Lair himself. 

Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland, Calvert City 

One man’s trash is another man’s treasured toy, or 4,000 toys in this case. Former Hollywood actor Keith Holt, the owner and originator of this wacky world of weird and wonderful, describes the old country store museum and fantastical Toyland as “an eclectic fun stop, with many punny dad jokes.” Like a circle of toilets called “Thronehenge.” And bowling pins arrayed on a pew facing a makeshift pulpit named “Holy Roller Church.” Served by Jackson Purchase, it is guaranteed to return all ages to their childhood, smiling every step of the way. 

Performing Arts/Theatre, Somerset 

It may be (way) off Broadway, but Somerset has a lively theater scene with four theaters located within 10 minutes of one another. The circa 1922 silent film movie theater, The Virginia, and the modern Center for Rural Development offer an eclectic mix of performances—from comedy shows to favorite plays showcasing local talents and national acts alike. The semiprofessional Flashback Theater Co. stages both classic and new theater performances in its Black Box Theater. And the Little Stone Theatre? It is award-winning community theater presented by Somerset Community College. 


North by Hotel Covington, Covington 

Lots of square footage to stretch out and indulge in your best life in this urban oasis. Located in the same boutique luxury complex as Hotel Covington and Coppin’s Restaurant and Bar, North features more than 50 upscale apartment-style suites. Each sports a sexy, modern design with extravagant color hues and arresting art, and all are outfitted with fully stocked kitchenette, locally curated private bar, high-end bath products and more. Linger over light bites and craft cocktails beneath the shimmery lighted art display at the hotel’s new Knowledge Bar and Social Room. 

Bleubird Studio & Suites, Georgetown 

Say goodnight in one of two luxury guestrooms so Zen you won’t ever want to leave. The rooms share a stunning kitchenette and balcony in this immaculate bed and breakfast that also encompasses an art gallery, yoga studio and airy Crow’s Nest overlooking a wide swath of lawn and garden. 

A wellspring of calm within walking distance of historic downtown Georgetown, Bleubird is a perfect getaway for girlfriends and couples—especially if they are participating in one of the cooking classes conducted monthly by local chef Rodney Jones, owner of nearby Rodney’s on Broadway. 

Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg  

The top five reasons to visit this eastern Kentucky refuge served by Big Sandy RECC include elk viewing tours, which take place September to March; boating and fishing on Dewey Lake; mountain biking; and digging into signature catfish and Kentucky Hot Brown entrées, and sampling bourbon and apps, all at the Music Highway Grill. 

Here are three more: Outdoor summer theater at Jenny Wiley Amphitheater this year includes Artists Collaborative Theatre productions of Mamma Mia!, Southern Fried Nuptials and BloodSong: The Story of the Hatfields and the McCoys, an annual favorite. 

My Old Kentucky Dome, Mt. Washington 

This one-of-a-kind getaway checks all the boxes for a memorable overnight or weekend: Insta-worthy countryside views, sunrises too irresistible to miss, evenings amid the bubbling water of a hot tub and a peaceful, remote location that has guests sighing in relaxation. 

The brand-new geodesic dome, tucked in the woods of Mt. Washington and served by Salt River Electric, has a slew of thoughtful details—king-size bed plus loft with full-size bed, full bath, heat and AC, well-stocked kitchenette, Wi-Fi, TV with Roku, grill and more.  

Diamond Lake Resort, Owensboro 

Diamond Lake Resort is everything a family wants its vacation to be, with active recreation like go-carting, paddle boating, kayaking and 18-hole mini golf. Lazy-day fun includes fishing, swimming and catching a movie or live music performance at the Good Time Theater. All this, plus Pit Stop Grill (burgers and hot dogs), pizzeria and ice cream parlor, not to mention the convenience of a grocery store and laundry room. Served by Kenergy, the resort offers a selection of accommodations, including tent and RV spots, cottages, motel rooms and tiny houses. 

The Lodge at Mammoth Cave, Mammoth Cave 

What’s your camper personality? Will it be a cute-as-a-bug’s-ear Historic Cottage? For lovers of peace, quiet and off-grid pursuits, these tiny white hideaways have neither Wi-Fi nor TV but do have AC and other amenities. How about a 1930s/1940s-era Woodland Cottage? Made for those who relish the rustic, these pet-friendly bungalows, without heat, AC, TV or Wi-Fi, are shaded by trees and cooled by ceiling fans. The 1960s lodge-like Sunset Terrace? Enjoy AC, satellite TV, Wi-Fi and other homey comforts. All are close to the Visitor Center, point of departure for cave tours. 



Elk Creek Vineyards, Owenton 

Travelers seeking an authentic taste of the Bluegrass Region’s rural charm and natural beauty will find it at this winery tucked amid rolling hills and lush landscaping. Wine enthusiasts enjoy tastings of the vineyard’s award-winning vintages from deck or patio and foodies appreciate Elk Creek experiences that pair its wines with locally inspired cuisine made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. 

“It’s a sensory feast that showcases the best of Kentucky’s culinary offerings,” says Barry Papina, who owns the vineyard with his wife, Karin. Served by Owen Electric, Elk Creek also hosts local artisan workshops. 

Rail Explorers, Versailles 

Kentucky is one of only six locations in the country to glide the rails on the new Rail Explorers’ pedal-powered vehicles with custom-built electric motors. Board a tandem or quad at the site of the Bluegrass Scenic Railroad & Museum and take a two-hour, 10-mile ride on the Louisville Southern Railroad. 

Whiz hands-free (steering not required) through Kentucky Horse County, passing thoroughbred horse farms and arriving at the turnaround area on the cliffs above the Kentucky River gorge for views encompassing Wild Turkey Distillery and Young’s High Bridge. 

Wine, Whiskey & Ale Trail, Bullitt County 

Four award-winning wineries. Two world-renowned bourbon destinations. One brand-new brewery—the first and only in Bullitt County. Each stop on the Wine, Whiskey & Ale Trail shares a story and experience, including tours and tastings, in a uniquely beautiful setting. 

Download the digital passport to begin your quest of discovery along country roads and rolling pastureland to Brooks Hill, Forest Edge, MillaNova and Wight-Meyer wineries; James B. Beam American Outpost and Four Roses Warehouse and Bottling Facility distilleries; and the Gallant Fox Brewing Co. All but the brewery are served by Salt River Electric.  

Grayson Lake State Park, Olive Hill 

At this state park served by Grayson RECC and stretching 1,500 acres along the Cumberland Plateau, the terrain is ruggedly beautiful and the options for outdoor recreation plentiful: camping, golfing, hiking, fishing, boating and picnicking. Kayak to Grotto Falls, a photoworthy wonderland hidden within sandstone cliffs with water splashing down rocky ledges framed by mossy boulders. 

“Our 18-hole championship golf course is friendly and challenging for golfers of all skill levels,” says Park Manager Steve Kennedy. “We have 4 miles of trails, and our hikers enjoy hiking to the Lick Falls Waterfall Overlook.”  

African American Heritage Driving Tour, Paducah 

Learn about the people, places and events that helped shape the Paducah of today on this new 26-stop tour created by the Paducah Historical Preservation Group. 

The story unfolds from Bronzeville, the Southside (Uppertown) District that was an affluent commercial district similar to other “Black Wall Streets” throughout the United States, to the Hotel Metropolitan, listed in “The Green Book” and now a museum. Another stop is the Hamock Funeral Home, steward for 60 years of the mummy of Charles “Speedy” Atkins, who became a celebrity thanks to appearances on That’s Incredible! and the Discovery Channel. 

Farmwald’s Amish Country Tours, Horse Cave/Hart County 

The largest and fastest-growing Amish community in Kentucky is in Hart County and a new bus tour has been created to give visitors a behind-the-scenes peek into their world of horse-drawn buggies, handcrafted furniture and produce auctions. 

Farmwald’s Amish Country Tours feature Amish farms, an Amish school and a number of Amish-owned businesses. Tour stops, a demonstration, an Amish box lunch from Farmwald’s Restaurant and Bakery and an Amish tour guide—who might interrupt his narration to play a harmonica tune—are all part of the adventure. 


Jane’s Saddlebag, Union 

New owner Kelly Bricking has been busy putting her stamp on this fun entertainment complex served by Owen Electric. Located next door to Boone’s Landing, it sits among area attractions that include Big Bone Lick State Historic Site, Florence Speedway and the Ark Encounter.  

The former wine shop has been revamped and rechristened the Stable Club, a chummy bar featuring events such as Friday night karaoke and musicians performing live on Saturday nights. Outside is a covered pavilion, fire pit, and cornhole and kids’ play areas. An amphitheater hosts live summer concerts and Saturday steak nights. 

Pilot View Market, Winchester 

Locally owned Pilot View Market, served by Clark Energy, is a little hole-in-the wall that dishes up big flavor with Kentucky scratch comfort food. 

The 125-year-old general store serves breakfast and lunch, including a daily lunch special, seven days a week. It sits on the trail Daniel Boone blazed on his way to the top of Pilot Knob—where he got his first full look at what would become the state of Kentucky. It is also one of the more than a dozen stops on Winchester’s famous Beer Cheese Trail. 

Backroad Burger Co., Raywick 

The drive to this family-owned, family-friendly restaurant, served by Inter-County Energy and deep in Marion County, is part of the experience. 

“Kentucky backroads are like no others,” says co-owner Erin Ballard. “Your drive will set the tone for taking a deep breath and enjoying your time here. No rush, no hassle.” 

And the sippin’ specialties, showcasing Ballard’s Backroad Margarita, don’t hurt. Nor does a menu, created by co-owner Angie Leake and offering hand-pattied burgers, local favorite frog legs, Higher Than Hell Nachos and sinfully rich desserts that Ballard calls life-changing. 

RedPoint Barbecue, Campton 

A stunning landscape with gorgeous scenery. A focus on good, simple food that is handmade daily and features locally sourced ingredients. Located in the Red River Gorge Geological Area, this casual restaurant, served by Licking Valley RECC, has a goal of pairing its laid-back atmosphere, seasonal menu and bar service with scenery marked with waterfalls, lake and wide open spaces for a unique and memorable dining experience. 

“Eastern Kentucky is abundant with great ingredients and beautiful landscapes,” says owner Dario Ventura. “We are striving to make a dining experience that adds to that.” 

Golden Pond Distilleries, Cadiz 

Fourth generation moonshine maker Jimmie Smith has lots of stories about his family, their history and the history of moonshine in western Kentucky; in fact, Smith’s alias is “Jim Bomb” (he’ll tell you that story, too)—and what a checkered past it is. 

“My dad made whiskey illegally and went to prison for it,” says Smith, master distiller. “I’m making whiskey legally because I don’t want to go to jail.” 

Stop by the distillery, served by Pennyrile RECC, for a tour and tasting. The top sellers are the Kentucky Moonshine and Paw Paw Moonshine. 

Oak & Match, Campbellsville 

This new watering hole served by Taylor County RECC is gaining a solid reputation for a menu of vintage craft cocktails, the majority made with recipes that date back more than 100 years. 

“All are handcrafted with freshly squeezed citrus, our different blends of house cocktail syrups that we make from scratch in house and original European liqueurs,” says co-owner Chris Moss. 

The bar is also known for its extensive spirits selection, including over 100 unique bourbons and several true vintage bottles, a Prohibition era/Roaring ’20s-themed lounge and private Speakeasy Cigar Lounge and Walk-In Humidor. 


Use all your senses to explore Kentucky 

Want to see, do, stay and taste your way around Kentucky? Here’s where to find the experiences: 

African American Heritage Driving Tour, Paducah. See the interactive map at

Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland, 9351 U.S. Highway 68 W., Calvert City;, (270) 366-2301. Open 8 a.m.-dusk year-round. 

Backroad Burger Company, 205 Main Street, Raywick; Facebook: Backroad Burger Co., (270) 490-9806 

Bleubird Studio & Suites, 427 W. Main St., Georgetown;, (502) 642-5125 

Clive the Alien, Midtown Parking Garage, Fifth and Scott streets, Covington;  

Diamond Lake Resort, 7301 Hobbs Road, Owensboro;, (270) 229-4900. Open year-round. 

Elk Creek Vineyards, 150 State Route 330, Owenton;, (502) 484-5319 

Farmwald’s Amish Country Tours, Farmwald’s Restaurant & Bakery, 3720 L&N Turnpike, Horse Cave;, (270) 786-5600. Tours are set to begin in April. 

Golden Pond Distillery, 97 Canton Lane, Cadiz;, (270) 205-7685. Hours: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday-Saturday.  

Grayson Lake State Park, 314 Grayson Lake State Park Road, Olive Hill;, (606) 474-9727 

Guist Creek, 11990 Boat Dock Road, Shelbyville;, (502) 647-5359 

Jane’s Saddlebag, 13989 Ryle Road, Union;, Facebook: Janes Saddlebag, (859) 384-6617. Check Facebook page for hours. 

Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, 75 Theatre Court, Prestonsburg;, 606) 889-1790. Jenny Wiley Theater: Facebook: Jenny Wiley Theatre or Artists Collaborative Theatre, Inc. 

Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, 2590 Richmond St., Mt. Vernon;, (606) 256-1000. Hours: Open daily 10 a.m.–6 p.m. 

Lodge at Mammoth Cave, 171 Hotel Road, Mammoth Cave;, (270) 451-2283. Check website for lodging availability. The Woodland Cottages are typically open April 1–Nov. 1. 

My Old Kentucky Dome, Mt. Washington; Facebook: My Old Kentucky Dome,, 

Oak & Match, 115 Nancy Cox Drive, Campbellsville;, (270) 465-1515. Open 4-10 p.m. Monday–Thursday; 4 p.m.-12 a.m. Friday and Saturday. 

Pilot View Market, 7695 Ironworks Road, Winchester; Facebook: Pilot View Market, (859) 556-2622. Open 6 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. 

North by Hotel Covington, 638 Madison Ave., Covington;, (859) 905-6600 

Rail Explorers: Board in Versailles (at the Bluegrass Scenic Railroad & Museum), 175 Beasley Road;, (877) 833-8588 

RedPoint Barbecue, 356 Jim Smith Road, Campton;, (606) 668-7000.  Hours: 4-9 p.m. Fridays and 12-9 p.m. Saturdays. 

Secretariat Park, 525 Main St., Paris;

Somerset Performing Arts/Theaters: Flashback Theater, 400 E. Mount Vernon St.;, (888) 394-3282 

The Center for Rural Development, 2292 S. U.S. Highway 27;, (606) 677-6000 

The Virginia, 214 E. Mt. Vernon St.;, (606) 679-6366 

SCC Little Stoner Theatre, 808 Monticello St.;,, (606) 451-6766 

Wine, Whiskey & Ale Trail, Bullitt County;, (502) 543-8656 (Shepherdsville/Bullitt County Tourist & Convention Commission) 

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