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2013 Best In Kentucky

Each year, readers choose what they consider the best in Kentucky. New categories are added and some are removed, but many categories—like those giving a nod to Kentucky’s wealth of outdoor recreational activities—appear on the list annually. And in a state so richly blessed in this department, it can be a challenge for readers to decide. But decide they do.

Should you set a course to avail yourself of all the best in Kentucky, readers offer some guidance: you can cover outdoor recreation, a family outing, extreme adventure, and outstanding trails with a single trek to Land Between The Lakes. Likewise, you can experience a scenic view, weekend getaway, outdoor recreation, and an iconic Kentucky landmark with one visit to Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.

And speaking of iconic: head to Fairview to check the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site off your list for that category as well as Civil War Site. Don’t forget some reading material: pick up the latest Byron Crawford or Silas House. And put the Penny Loafers in the iPod and enjoy your tunes “Loafer Style.”

You’re ready to experience the best in the Bluegrass.


OUTDOOR RECREATION SPOT
WINNER
Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area–Golden Pond
www.LBL.org
(270) 924-2000 or (800) 525-7077

Year-round wildlife viewing and scenic vistas, a family-friendly area with lots of opportunities to play in the natural world—on foot or horseback, by bicycle or car—and enjoy everything from hiking and fishing to water sports and target practice. Civil War history, planetarium shows, and environmental education programs, too—and all offered at a very wallet-friendly cost.

SECOND PLACE
Lake Barkley
www.KentuckyLakeBarkley.org
www.Cadiz-LakeBarkley.com
www.GrandRivers.org
www.LakeBarkley.org

THIRD PLACE
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park–Corbin
www.Parks.Ky.gov/parks


FAVORITE KENTUCKY SPORT
WINNER
Basketball

Slam dunk! Readers voted for Kentucky basketball, fishing, and horse racing, with the overwhelming majority going for basketball—and it won by a landslide. Is any true blue Kentuckian surprised?

SECOND PLACE
Fishing

THIRD PLACE
Horse Racing


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

In the Daniel Boone National Forest, Red River Gorge offers the largest concentration of rock shelters in eastern North America. It has 42,000 acres of national forest lands. A challenging 67-mile Forest Service-designated trail system. World-renowned rock climbing crags. Paddling adventures on the Red River, Kentucky’s only federally designated Wild & Scenic River. And the 12,646-acre Clifty Wilderness area of unsurpassed beauty.

SECOND PLACE
Mammoth Cave National Park–Mammoth Cave
www.NPS.gov/maca

THIRD PLACE
Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area–Golden Pond
www.LBL.org


FISHING SPOT WINNER
Lake Barkley
www.KentuckyLakeBarkley.org, (800) 448-1069
www.Cadiz-LakeBarkley.com, (888) 446-6402
www.GrandRivers.org, (888) 493-0152
www.LakeBarkley.org, (800) 355-3885

A part of the largest body of water between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico (that is, when Lake Barkley is combined with Kentucky Lake and the two are connected by a canal at Grand Rivers), Lake Barkley is the locale for annual big-name, high-profile tournaments for bass, crappie, and catfish. But there’s still plenty of room to find a quiet spot to fish and not be disturbed by other boaters.

SECOND PLACE
Lake Cumberland
www.LakeCumberlandTourism.com
www.LakeCumberlandVacation.com
www.BurnsideTourism.com
www.HeartofLakeCumberland.com

THIRD PLACE
Kentucky Lake
www.KentuckyLakeBarkley.org www.GrandRivers.org
www.KentuckyLake.org


BOATING LAKE OR RIVER
WINNER
Lake Barkley
www.KentuckyLakeBarkley.org, (800) 448-1069
www.Cadiz-LakeBarkley.com, (888) 446-6402
www.GrandRivers.org, (888) 493-0152
www.LakeBarkley.org, (800) 355-3885

Pristine, inviting, massive—Lake Barkley is more than 118 miles long with more than 1,000 miles of shoreline. With a slew of marinas and resorts located on Lake Barkley, as well as boat slips, restaurants, and lodgings—everything from state park cabins and lodges and bed and breakfast inns, to resorts, campgrounds, and RV parks—it’s no wonder Kentucky families head here for their boating getaways.

SECOND PLACE
Kentucky Lake
www.KentuckyLakeBarkley.org
www.GrandRivers.org
www.KentuckyLake.org

THIRD PLACE
Cave Run Lake–Morehead
www.MoreheadTourism.com


GOLF COURSE
WINNER
Boots Randolph Golf Course at Lake Barkley State Resort Park–Cadiz
www.Parks.Ky.gov/parks
(800) 295-1878, (270) 924-9076

Walkable and player-friendly, the 18-hole, par 72 Boots Randolph Golf Course is also picturesque with an abundance of native vegetation, wildlife, and a meandering creek. It features a large driving range and a full-time PGA instructor, Dee Brown, for those wanting to improve their game. Four sets of tee boxes let golfers of all skill levels enjoy the course.

SECOND PLACE
Arrowhead Golf Club–Cadiz
www.ArrowheadGolf.com

THIRD PLACE
General Burnside Island State Park Golf Course–Burnside
www.Parks.Ky.gov/parks


WEEKEND GETAWAY
WINNER
Lake Barkley State Resort Park–Cadiz
www.Parks.Ky.gov/parks
(270) 924-1131 or (800) 325-1708

Sitting in scenic splendor on Lake Barkley and near Land Between The Lakes, Lake Barkley lodge ushers guests into a world-class stay with lovely rooms and private balconies. Dining at the Windows on the Water restaurant, with its glass wall opening to lake and woodland views, is a home-cooking treat whose ingredients showcase the flavors of Kentucky Proud products. Amenities include golf, outdoor pool and swimming beach, indoor wellness pool and hot tub, a fitness center with racquetball court, free-weight room and a variety of Nautilus exercise machines, plus hiking trails, boating, birding, tennis, trapshooting, and lots of planned activities from a full-time recreation staff.

SECOND PLACE
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park–Corbin
www.Parks.Ky.gov/parks

THIRD PLACE
Bardstown
www.VisitBardstown.com/tourism


ANTIQUING
WINNER
Cadiz
www.Cadiz-LakeBarkley.com
(270) 522-3892 or (888) 446-6402

It’s one-stop antique shopping in the Cadiz Antique District, with Cherokee Antique Mall, Cadiz Antique Mall, The Blue Heron, Oh My! Antiquities & Curiosities, and Cranberry Creek Rustics, representing some 300 vendor booths, all within a pleasant amble of each other.

SECOND PLACE
Berea
www.Berea.com, (888) 446-6402

THIRD PLACE
Glendale
www.GlendaleKentucky.com


ANNUAL FESTIVAL
WINNER
Trigg County Country Ham Festival
www.HamFestival.com
(270) 522-8756

Smithfield Foods may have taken the title, but Guinness Book of World Records holder 1985-2002 Trigg County Country Ham Festival—a family-friendly event for 36 years—still has the world’s largest edible ham biscuit when measuring overall dimensions.

“The diameter is 10 and a half feet,” boasts Leida Underhill, Main Street manager. “It’s also the only edible biscuit of its size, and it’s exciting to see how fast they put the country ham on each piece.”

SECOND PLACE
Casey County Apple Festival–Liberty
www.CaseyCountyAppleFestival.org

THIRD PLACE
World Chicken Festival–London
www.ChickenFestival.com


BED AND BREAKFAST/INN
WINNER
Futrell House Bed & Breakfast–Cadiz
www.FutrellHouse.com
(270) 522-9214

Comfortable elegance in the historic district of Cadiz, the Futrell House, a two-story Queen Anne home built around 1878, is known for its hospitality, gourmet breakfast, modern amenities, and 30-something innkeeper.

“Most guests seem to assume innkeepers are older retired couples,” says innkeeper Gary Polete, who runs the inn and cooks breakfast, while wife, Amanda, works as a therapist with kids with autism.

SECOND PLACE
Jailer’s Inn Bed and Breakfast–Bardstown
www.JailersInn.com

THIRD PLACE
Bennett House Bed and Breakfast–Richmond
www.BennettHousebb.com


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

Considered a must-do weekend by classic car enthusiasts, the free and family-oriented Somernites Cruise is classic, nostalgic Americana. It is one of the largest monthly car cruise-ins in the country, averaging about 1,100 cars each month with a spectator crowd of 8,000 to 15,000 people, according to its president, Keith Floyd.

“We have special events and celebrities during the year and we give away at least two classic cars each year,” he says. “Last year we gave away three.”

SECOND PLACE
Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area–Golden Pond
www.LBL.org

THIRD PLACE
Louisville Zoo–Louisville
www.LouisvilleZoo.org


WALKING/RUNNING/BICYCLING TRAIL
WINNER
Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area–Golden Pond
www.LBL.org
(270) 924-2000 or (800) 525-7077

Want to see LBL and all its natural wonders up-close? Take the North South Trail, which spans its length, traversing terrain from rugged to hilly to flat. You’ll stroll along secondary roads, through fields, and along quiet shorelines. Along the way you’ll spot plenty of wildlife (bald eagles, wild turkeys, white-tail deer, coyotes, and a variety of birds and forest animals), and perhaps even step along the paths walked by General Ulysses S Grant. You can also pedal along miles of roads perfect for mountain biking and cycling.

SECOND PLACE
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest–Clermont
www.Bernheim.org

THIRD PLACE
Mammoth Cave National Park–Mammoth Cave
www.NPS.gov/maca


LOCAL PERFORMING ARTS SITE
WINNER
The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts–Louisville
www.KentuckyCenter.org
(800) 775-7777 tickets
(502) 562-0100 info

Home to the Kentucky Opera, the Louisville Orchestra, Louisville Ballet, StageOne Family Theatre, and PNC Bank Broadway Across America-Louisville, as well as a host of community theaters and its own Kentucky Center Presents performances, this venue attracts world-class performers to its stages. It also takes artists to Kentucky classrooms, healthcare facilities, and festivals, and is nationally recognized for its extraordinary range of Access Services for those with physical, hearing, or visual challenges, ensuring that everyone is able to experience the performing arts.

SECOND PLACE
The Center for Rural Development–Somerset
www.CenterTech.comm

THIRD PLACE
EKU Center for the Arts–Richmond
www.EKUCenter.com


CURRENT KENTUCKY AUTHOR
WINNER–TIE
Byron Crawford–Shelbyville
www.AcclaimPress.com

Former host of KET’s Kentucky Life and former columnist with The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Crawford currently holds court on the closing page of Kentucky Living magazine, where you can read Byron Crawford’s Kentucky column. He has also written several books, including Crawford’s Journal, Kentucky Stories, and, most recently, Kentucky Footnotes. The veteran television, radio, and newspaper journalist grew up in Lincoln County.

Silas House–Berea
www.SilasHouse.weebly.com

Born and raised in eastern Kentucky and living in Berea, House is the author of three plays and five novels, including Clay’s Quilt, The Coal Tattoo, and Eli the Good. This award-winning author serves as the NEH chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College and on the fiction faculty at Spalding University’s MFA in Creative Writing program. He is presently at work on his novel, Little Fire, which he hopes to finish this year.

SECOND PLACE
Bobbie Ann Mason–Lawrenceburg
www.BobbieAnnMason.net

THIRD PLACE
Wendell Berry–Port Royal
www.WendellBerryBooks.com


KENTUCKY PRODUCT
WINNER
Ale-8-One-Winchester
www.Ale8One.com
(859) 744-3484

Bottled in Winchester since 1926, Ale-8-One remains the only soft drink invented in Kentucky still in existence. Mixing up the family’s secret recipe is Fielding Rogers, the great-great-nephew of founder G.L. Wainscott. Take a factory tour or stop in the Ale-8-One Company Store. Pour some Ale-8-One into your next entrée—its distinctive flavor adds punch to chicken, ribs, ham, chili, and other dishes.

SECOND PLACE
Broadbent Hams–Kuttawa
www.BroadbentHams.com

THIRD PLACE
Maker’s Mark–Loretto
www.MakersMark.com


NONFRANCHISE RESTAURANT
WINNER
The Cadiz Family Restaurant
(270) 522-2249

Known for its good ol’ country food, this is the place to get a taste of the local flavor in Cadiz. Whether you queue up for the buffet or order off the menu, you’ll find great service and delicious vittles at an affordable price.

SECOND PLACE
Patti’s 1880’s Restaurant–Grand Rivers
www.Pattis-Settlement.com

THIRD PLACE
Mammy’s Kitchen–Bardstown
(search Mammy’s Kitchen Bardstown)
www.Facebook.com


NONFRANCHISE BARBECUE
WINNER
Porky’s Pit BBQ–Cadiz
www.Cadiz-LakeBarkley.com
(270) 832-0191

“This is old-style west Kentucky barbecue, sweet-smoked and slow-cooked,” says owner Gene Cooper of his famous barbecue. In business more than 30 years, Porky’s specializes in pork chops—the dish that got Cooper started.

SECOND PLACE
The Wood Shed BBQ Restaurant–Hopkinsville
www.Facebook.com (search The Wood Shed Hopkinsville)

THIRD PLACE
Roy’s BBQ–Russellville
www.Facebook.com(search Roy’s BBQ Restaurant Russellville)


WINERY
WINNER
Chuckleberry Farm & Winery–Bloomfield
www.ChuckleberryFarm.com
(502) 249-1051

A business that believes in taking things back to the basics, Chuckleberry grows its berries on-site, harvests honey from its own hives, and makes jellies and jams from its homegrown fruits. Wines include blackberry, strawberry, pomegranate, and chocolate raspberry, as well as limited-edition flavors honeysuckle and pumpkin. Other delectables include wine fudge and Chuckleslush wine slushies.

“We like to experiment,” says owner Ladonna Hall.

SECOND PLACE
Acres of Land Winery–Richmond
www.AcresofLandWinery.com

THIRD PLACE
Elk Creek Vineyards–Owenton
www.ElkCreekVineyards.com


CURRENTLY PERFORMING KENTUCKY MUSICAL GROUP
WINNER
The Penny Loafers–Berea
www.TheLoafers.com
(859) 582-4624

With family-friendly entertainment that appeals to all generations, high-quality vocals, and unique arrangements of traditional favorites as well as original music, The Penny Loafers have been serenading the generations since 1985 when four Berea College students sang an a cappella arrangement of Happy Trails for a campus talent show. The foursome—Alan Pike (bass), Larry Nichols (baritone), Kevin Slemp (2nd tenor), and Michael Hunt (1st tenor)—has been singing together since 1994.

SECOND PLACE
Kentucky HeadHunters–Edmonton
www.TheKentuckyHeadHunters.com

THIRD PLACE
Montgomery Gentry–Nashville, Tennessee
www.MontgomeryGentry.com


ARTIST/CRAFTSPERSON
WINNER
Jeff Foley, Bluegrass
Woodworks–Russell Springs
www.KentuckyProudMarket.com
(click Kentucky Proud Brands/Bluegrass Woodworks)

This juried Kentucky artist and craftsperson specializes in heirloom wooden toys (new ones are added each year) and has a collection of them on display beneath the Christmas tree at the Governor’s Mansion every yuletide season. His work may be seen locally at Grider’s on Main in Russell Springs and across the state in Kentucky State Park gift shops, the Appalachian Artisan Center, Kentucky Community Crafts in Barbourville, The Wood Shack in Lancaster, and the Kentucky Proud Market.

SECOND PLACE
Morgan Denise Guiley–Richmond
www.MorganDenise.com

THIRD PLACE
Leona Waddell–Stephensburg


SCENIC VIEW
WINNER
Cumberland Falls–Corbin
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
www.Parks.Ky.gov/parks
(606) 528-4121 or (800) 325-0063

Home of Cumberland Falls, the “Niagara of the South,” with its 125-foot wide, 65-foot-high cascade, this scenic view holds the distinction of being the only place in the Western Hemisphere where, during every full moon of the year, if the sky is clear, you can witness a moonbow, or a rainbow at night, for about six days per month. This park is also known for its superb hiking, including the one and half mile Eagle Falls Trail #9, which takes hikers to the top of the falls.

SECOND PLACE
Natural Bridge–Slade
Natural Bridge State Resort Park
www.Parks.Ky.gov/parks

THIRD PLACE
Red River Gorge–Winchester
Daniel Boone National Forest
www.fs.usda.gov/DBNF


ICONIC KENTUCKY LANDMARK
WINNER
Churchill Downs–Louisville
www.ChurchillDowns.com
(502) 636-4400

The most exciting two minutes in sports takes place at Churchill Downs, the place for live Thoroughbred horse racing. Home to both the Kentucky Oaks and the Derby, this is where Kentucky traditions—placing your bets, donning spectacular hats, sipping mint juleps—have been honed for more than 135 years. In the Time Machine at the onsite Kentucky Derby Museum you can watch footage of Derbies as far back as 1918.

SECOND PLACE
Jefferson Davis Monument–Fairview
Jefferson Davis State Historic Site
www.Parks.Ky.gov/parks

THIRD PLACE
Cumberland Falls–Corbin
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park
www.Parks.Ky.gov/parks


CIVIL WAR SITE
WINNER
Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site–Perryville
www.PerryvilleBattlefield.org
(859) 332-8631

Today peaceful and pastoral, the Perryville Battlefield was the site of the largest and bloodiest Civil War battle in Kentucky, which raged on October 8, 1862, leaving 7,600 soldiers dead, wounded, or missing. It is one of the best-preserved battlefields in the United States.

“The history made at this park helps define who we are as Kentuckians and how important this battle was in our national destiny during the American Civil War,” says Joni House, preservation and program coordinator.

SECOND PLACE
Mill Springs Battlefield–Nancy
www.MillSprings.net

THIRD PLACE
Jefferson Davis State Historic Site–Fairview
www.Parks.Ky.gov/parks


MUSEUM
WINNER
Janice Mason Art Museum–Cadiz
www.JMAM.org
(270) 522-9056

This arts center is not a collecting museum but one focused on bringing art in all its forms to the community. Priding itself on the exceptional quality of visual art exhibitions and performing art presentations, the center mounts eight to 10 exhibits annually—featuring local, regional, and international artists working in a variety of media and genres—as well as two theatrical productions. Family-friendly arts enrichment programming is offered every summer.

SECOND PLACE
Speed Art Museum–Louisville
www.SpeedMuseum.org

THIRD PLACE
Creation Museum–Petersburg
www.CreationMuseum.org


HALL OF FAME WINNERS

Like the Class of 2012, the 2013 Hall of Fame Class showcases some of the best Kentucky has to offer: the irresistible beauty of Lake Cumberland; the depth and breadth of the 16th president’s imprint on his birth state at Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park; the mouthwatering home-style cooking at The Whistle Stop Restaurant; and Moonlite B-B-Q Inn, cooked in the old-fashioned Kentucky tradition.

Again and again, Kentucky Living readers have voted these venues as the very best in the state. Congratulations, Hall of Famers, you have set the bar of excellence and given Kentucky’s attractions, artists, and eateries something to aspire to—and given readers outstanding places to experience.

Best in Kentucky Hall of Fame—for those special places that readers have voted number one for three years in a row:

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 Historical Park–Hodgenville
www.nps.gov/ABLI

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

Nonfranchise Barbecue
Moonlite B-B-Q Inn–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 goes to each! Kentucky Living congratulates this year’s winners:

Karen Jones, Shepherdsville, member of Salt River Electric
Thomas Lorimer, Jackson, member of Licking Valley RECC
De Anna Salyers, Benton, member of West Kentucky RECC
Tammy Wine, Corbin, member of Cumberland Valley Electric
Laura Wright, Ekron, member of Meade County RECC

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