It is the unique goal of many travel adventurers to visit all 50 states in America. To boost this objective, each week we shall explore one state. Alphabetically, the 17th to visit is none other than Kentucky, abbreviated KY. Regardless of the order in which you visit them, Kentucky, the Bluegrass State, is worthy of your time.
Visit state # 17 – Kentucky
|State Motto||United we stand, divided we fall|
|State Bird||Northern Cardinal|
|State Gemstone||Freshwater pearl|
|Famous Foods||Kentucky Derby Pie, The Mint Julep, Apple Stack Cake, Benedictine, Southern Wilted Lettuce, Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce, Kentucky Bourbon, Hot Brown Sandwich, Burgoo and more.|
Kentucky, officially a Commonwealth, sits in the east south-central region of the United States in an area along the west side of the Appalachian Mountains known as Upland South. Kentucky borders Virginia to the southeast and Tennessee to the south. The Ohio River forms a natural border with Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. The state line with West Virginia to the east is defined by The Big Sandy and the Tug Fork Rivers. Kentucky’s border with Missouri to the southwest is marked by the Mississippi River.
Kentucky was first home to Native Americans who initially were hunters and gatherers before shifting to an agricultural economy. European settlement began in the mid-18th century. The land we know as Kentucky today was ceded by the French to the British in 1763 and then to the US by the Treaty of Paris in 1783. American pioneer Daniel Boone also explored the region. People from Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania eventually moved to this new frontier. Kentucky was admitted to the Union, along with Vermont in 1792, as the 15th state.
Kentucky gained its nickname the Bluegrass State from its extensive meadows of blue-flowered grass that grew in pastures. The state today is well-known for its horse racing culture, bluegrass music, sweet bourbon, kind hospitality, sports history and more. One of the most enjoyable places to visit is Kentucky’s famous Mammoth Caves National Park which was established to preserve caves. The park features an intricate cave system and it’s the longest recorded one in the world with more than 400 miles explored. Folks can enjoy cave tours, hiking, horseback riding, camping, canoeing, fishing in the region and more. Many of the explorers and guides of the 19th and 20th centuries were African American and played important roles in the park’s history.
Tourism is a significant industry in Kentucky. Folks can tour horse farms, mansions, or take walking tours through various long-established neighborhoods such as Historic Old Kentucky. Walking tours enable visitors to discover rich architectural gems and learn the history behind these attractive buildings. Kentucky is also famous for its civil war battlefields, stunning parks and green space, the Belle of Louisville (the nation’s oldest steam driven paddlewheeler) and is home of many fascinating museums. Some favorites are the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, Creation Museum, Frazier History Museum, Muhammad Ali Center, and the Kentucky Derby Museum, just to name a few. Consider experiencing the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and learn about the time-honored process of crafting the world’s finest Bourbons while learning history and absorbing stories of the region.
Kentucky is a versatile state offering a plethora of fun activities for lone travelers, couples, families, and groups of friends. With so many iconic spots to visit, great hotels and restaurants, and boasting an abundance of beautiful horse country that makes you feel at home, Kentucky is a place that once you go, you’ll want to return time and time again.
Up next: Louisiana