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What You Need to See in Kentucky

October 16, 2015

Happy Friday! The Friday Favorites series has recently become a reoccurring share around here and I’m especially excited about today’s as I’ve asked one of my fellow southerners, Sheryl, to share some of her favorite things about her state: Kentucky. (I’m already planning my KY road trip to see ALL THE THINGS.) Thanks, Sheryl! 

Hello Ember Grey readers!! I’m Sheryl from the blog How to Make a Life. Although there is not a one stop book for any of us in regards to how exactly to live our lives, my hope is that with each post I provide a little motivation, inspiration and hope in creating a healthy and happy life. Today I want to ask if you are aware of what is in your own neighborhood, city or state? Are you able to share what you would suggest a visitor do when they come to visit? As someone who loves to travel, I love to explore new cities and spaces and often wonder if those that live there appreciate the natural beauty or access to entertainment/education/business. I will admit that in the past, I’ve been guilty of thinking other places are so much better than where I live. I’ve learned over the years that every place has something to offer, if we only take some time to appreciate it. Today I want to introduce you to my beautiful state of Kentucky and give some suggestions of my favorite things to do if you have the opportunity to visit. 


Lexington is home for me and I feel that everyone should fly into our airport at least once in their life. There are not too many places that you can look out your window and enjoy acres of horse farms. It’s a beautiful welcome! Lexington is considered the horse capital of the world. I’ve driven past thoroughbred horse farms all of my life and only recently did I realize not everyone has this luxury (this takes me back to acknowledging what you have). A visit to Lexington needs to include a stop at Keeneland Race Track (the season is each April and October), a trip to the Kentucky Horse Park, and a visit to Old Friends Retirement Home where you can visit past Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup winners.

After you have visited a few horses, I suggest taking a Scenic Driving Tour. Central Kentucky has some of the most beautiful drives and was mentioned in this month’s Southern Living. As many of Kentucky’s settlers were originally from Ireland, you will find beautiful rock fences which still stand today (and more horses). You may be surprised that a scenic drive takes you to some of the best food in what appears to be the middle of nowhere.

I am a fan of Windy Corner Market. This restaurant is fashioned after an old country store and sits in the middle of beautiful horse farms. Every menu item uses Kentucky food ingredients and focuses on using local farmers. More than likely there will be a wait, but the food is worth it! Of course, if you are visiting Lexington during college basketball season, you should try to get tickets to see a game at Rupp Arena. The University of Kentucky Basketball fan base is (to put it simply) fanatic. Seeing an arena full of my favorite color blue and hearing an almost deafening crowd is a bucket list item for most Kentuckians.


I cannot write a post about Kentucky without mentioning bourbon. Kentucky has more bourbon barrels in warehouses throughout the state than there are people and produces 95% of the world’s bourbon. Each distillery has a varied history of producing bourbon and The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is the best place to begin. You will learn about the history of bourbon in the state, the process, and visit beautiful scenery. My must visit tours would include Woodford Reserve (right outside of Lexington) and Maker’s Mark.


It’s the city that can be pronounced five different ways but if you want to sound like a native – it’s pronounced LOO-A-VUL. Here you will find the Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. If you are unable to make a trip to the Derby, you can still visit the Kentucky Derby Museum. Downtown Louisville offers a variety of museums within four walkable blocks including the Louisville Slugger Museum, The Muhammed Ali Center, and my favorite place to stay the 21c Museum Hotel. 21c is a fantastic boutique hotel with a rotating art gallery throughout the year. We first stayed at 21c in December 2013 and I’m simply in love with every aspect of the hotel. Louisville has always had wonderful restaurant choices and continues to provide a choice for whatever your palate. I believe you will find whatever you are in the mood for on Bardstown Road or Frankfort Avenue.


Kentucky is a state with a varied geography and I haven’t even begun to give you a full overview. You will find beautiful lakes, some of the best rock climbing and trails, and always something to do. I hope if you ever get the chance to make it through the state that you will take a detour to one of my suggestions.


What are your favorite things to do in your hometown or state?


You can follow along in Sheryl’s Kentucky (and life) adventures here:
*This post was a guest post, written by Sheryl from How to Make a Life blog as part of EG’s Go the Distance sponsorship option. This post contains fresh content and was written specifically for Ember Grey readers.

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