Kentucky

Encircle Kentucky: This inverted, L-shaped route through Northern Kentucky begins in Covington and winds through the Bluegrass Region, the capital city and the Bourbon Trail before arriving at the home of the Kentucky Derby. Enjoy the Bluegrass State.

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1 John Roebling Bridge Over Ohio River and River Center Building in Covington, Kentucky

The Ascent and River Center buildings help define the skyline of Covington, Kentucky. They are located along the Ohio River at the end of the 1867 John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. This connects Covington, a city of 40,000 people, with Cincinnati, Ohio. Among Covington’s charms are walking among the mansions in the historic neighborhoods and along the Roebling Point riverfront during sunset.

100 Ted Berry Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202
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2 Latonia Racetrack Mural by Patricia Christopher Reiter in Covington, Kentucky

At the base of the John A. Roebling Bridge along the Ohio River in Covington, Kentucky, are the Roebling Murals. This is a wonderful series that literally paints pictures of the local history. An example is the “Latonia Racetrack” by Patricia and Christopher Reiter. The track opened in 1883. This mural depicts the “Hindoo Stakes” in 1921. During this famous race, a silent film was made called, “Winning the Latonia Derby.”

Madison Ave & Riverside Dr, Covington, KY 41011
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3 Kentucky Horse Park Logo in Lexington, Kentucky

The state of Kentucky, and particularly the Bluegrass region, is synonymous with horse breeding. They gave rise to the state slogan “Unbridled Spirit.” Among the most famous horse farms is the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. In has a reputation for being a retirement oasis for champion horses. The facility also contains an equestrian museum, hosts regular educational and competitive events and displays life-size statues of past greats like Secretariat and Man o’ War.

Iron Works Pike & Iron Works Pkwy, Lexington, KY 40511
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4 Secretariat Sculpture at Kentucky Horse Park by Edwin Bogucki in Lexington, Kentucky

Secretariat was perhaps the greatest racehorse in history. In 1973, he shattered the records in the Triple Crown: the Preakness Stakes, the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes. In that last race, he won by 31 lengths. A tribute to this magnificent horse of owner Penny Chenery is at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The sculpture by Edwin Bogucki shows the legendary thoroughbred with his jockey Ron Turcotte. Standing alongside is his groomer, Eddie Sweat. The statue captures the moment after winning the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in May of 1973. Remarkably, Secretariat ran each of the five quarter miles faster than the previous ones.

4089 Iron Works Pkwy, Lexington, KY 40511
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5 Kentucky State Capitol Building Dome in Frankfort, Kentucky

This Kentucky State Capitol dome in Frankfort was patterned after L’Hôtel National des Invalids in Paris. That is the famous Parisian landmark where Napoleon and other French war veterans are buried. Kentucky’s dome is covered with terra cotta and it rises 215 feet. The Virginia granite, neoclassical, Beaux-Arts style building is adorned with seventy columns. The capital building was completed in 1909. Kentucky was the 15th state to join the union on June 1, 1792. However, they refer to themselves as a commonwealth.

700 Capital Ave, Frankfort, KY 40601
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6 Kentucky State Capitol Building Pediment Statuary in Frankfort, Kentucky

Above the portico of the Kentucky State Capitol Building in Frankfort, is a pointed pediment with symbolic sculptures. The Romanesque woman in the middle is the state. Flanking her are attendants representing Art, Labor, Plenty, History and Progress. The animals symbolize Agriculture. Interestingly, the figures cowering at right are Indians. This statuary was designed by Charles Henry Niehaus. He was a prolific American sculptor. The artist’s work can still be found in over fifty parks, monuments, museums and buildings.

700 Capital Ave, Frankfort, KY 40601
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7 Kentucky State Capitol Building Rotunda Dome in Frankfort, Kentucky

Although the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort was built in 1909. However, the four murals in the triangular spaces, called pendentives, of the rotunda dome did not exist until 100 years later. They are titled: Civitas, The Light of Progress; Industry, The Strength of Commerce; Nature, The Bounty of the Land; and Culture, The Fruits of Knowledge. A detailed brochure on these works is available from the Division of Historic Properties. The art was created by Evergreen Studios from New York City. This firm has become my favorite for restoring the architectural beauty of historic buildings in the United States.

700 Capital Ave, Frankfort, KY 40601
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8 Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory Bourbon Ball Boxes in Frankfort, Kentucky

If you like bourbon and chocolate, then the Rebecca Ruth Candy Factory in Frankfort, Kentucky, has a very special treat for your taste buds: Bourbon Balls. The word “delicious” does not do them justice. During a tour of their facility in a residential home, you will be amazed to see their equipment. The chocolate-making process has not changed much since it was started by two school teachers in 1919. Today, the family business is run by the grandson of founder Ruth Hanly Booe.

116 E 2nd St, Frankfort, KY 40601
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9 R J Corman Railway Locomotive Mural by Jennifer Zingg in Frankfort, Kentucky

In 2012, a quarter-mile railroad trestle on Broadway in Frankfort, Kentucky, was converted into a giant wall mural by 24 elementary students from Good Shepherd School and their teacher, Jennifer Zingg. This train image detail was included at the request of R.J. Corman Railroad. The company was one of the project’s sponsors. They also own the bridge. Other sponsors were Sherwin-Williams and the Frankfort Tourism Commission.

410 W Broadway St, Frankfort, KY 40601
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10 Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles, Kentucky

The oldest current bourbon distillery building in Kentucky began in 1780 at Versailles. The historic structure is now the home of Woodford Reserve. The distiller is owned by the Brown-Foreman Corporation. The tour of their whiskey-production process begins at this visitors’ center. They pride themselves on their small batch, premium bourbon using minimal automation. The result of this old-age, hand crafting is a spectacularly smooth, 90 plus proof sipping whiskey. One taste and you will understand why it has won so many awards.

7855 McCracken Pike, Versailles, KY 40383
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11 Horse Wearing Fly Mask Close-Up in Versailles, Kentucky

Versailles, Kentucky, only has 8,500 people. There are a lot more horses among the surrounding thoroughbred, standardbred and saddlebred farms. The Inner Bluegrass Region is covered in lush green pastures. This countryside gave the state its name; Kentucky means “meadow lands.’ The properties are divided by whitewash wood or dry stone fences surrounding the grazing horses. Many of the animals wear these fly masks to protect their eyes from flying insects. Although they look blinded, the masks allow for adequate vision through the semi-transparent mesh.

1420 McCracken Pike, Versailles, KY 40383
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12 Motorcycling Couple on Jo Blackburn Bridge in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky

As of 2009, 27 million people operated motorcycles in the U.S. More than 26% of bikers are women. Perhaps just as many prefer to grab the waist of their partner and go along for the ride, like this couple in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. They are shown crossing the quarter-mile Jo Blackburn Bridge. This span is one of the few remaining “S” bridges in the country.

6778 Tyrone Pike, Versailles, KY 40383
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13 Wild Turkey Distillery Sign in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky

Wild Turkey in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, is one of eight distilleries on the Bourbon Trail. Each whiskey company offers a manufacturing tour. Afterwards, you can sample your favorite brands in the tasting room. You are instructed to savor the aroma. Then allow the bourbon to roll across your tongue and down your throat. Wonderful! So, board a tour bus or find a designated driver to weave through the back roads of Kentucky’s northwestern quadrant and visit them all.

1417 Versailles Rd, Lawrenceburg, KY 40342
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14 Jim Beam American Stillhouse Mural in Clermont, Kentucky

The Jim Beam seal is painted on the two-story visitor’s center and gift shop at their distillery in Clermont, Kentucky. This bourbon lovers’ attraction is called the Jim Beam American Stillhouse. It was fun to see where two of my best friends, Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark, were born and raised. This is one of eight distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The brand was owned by Fortune Brands, Inc. In January, 2014, Japan’s Suntory Holding Company announced plans to acquire it for $13.6 billion.

526 Happy Hollow Rd, Clermont, KY 40110
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15 Distiller Booker Noe at Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky

Booker Noe is sitting in a rocking chair on Beam Hill alongside of his dog, Dot. He was the sixth generation of the Beam family and a master distiller for more than 40 years. Tours of “America’s Stillhouse” are available in Clermont, Kentucky. Their motto is, “Come as friends, leave as family.” Enjoy sipping their excellent samples next to Booker. The Jim Beam Distillery is a great stop along the Bourbon Trail.

526 Happy Hollow Rd, Clermont, KY 40110
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16 Churchill Downs Home of Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky

More than 100,000 people can fill these stands at Churchill Downs in Louisville. During the Kentucky Derby, the crowd sips mint juleps while watching three-year-old thoroughbreds race two kilometers in about two minutes. This annual tradition on the first Saturday in May began in 1875. Over time, Churchill Downs has expanded into a venue for car races, concerts and other events. However, the track will always be known as the host for the Kentucky Derby as chronicled in their museum.

700 Central Ave, Louisville, KY 40208
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17 Barbaro Sculpture at Churchill Downs by Alexa King in Louisville, Kentucky

At the entrance to Churchill Downs and their museum is this sculpture of Barbaro by Alexa King. This thoroughbred racehorse was undefeated before winning the Kentucky Derby in 2006. However, he shattered his back leg during the Preakness Stakes two weeks later and had to be euthanized. The horse’s remains are beneath this monument.

700 Central Ave, Louisville, KY 40208
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18 Colonel Sanders Grave Site Bust in Louisville, Kentucky

Colonel Sanders was born in 1890. He was abused by his step-father, dropped out of school at 12 and joined the army at 15. At 18, he married. His wife left him because he could not hold a job. From those humble beginnings, David Sanders developed his secret recipe and began selling fried chicken at a service station. In 1952, at the age of 65, he created and sold his first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. Today, there are 15,000 KFC outlets in over 100 countries. This gravesite bust is at the Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville. He was buried in his iconic white suit and string tie.

2121 Lexington Rd, Louisville, KY 40206
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19 Babe Ruth Baseball Bat at Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville, Kentucky

New York Yankee Babe Ruth is synonymous with baseball, America’s favorite pastime. Outside of the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, you can see a 120 foot, 68,000 pound replica of his bat. Inside you can see his real 36”, 42 ounce bat that earned him the nickname “The Sultan of Swat.” Babe used it during the 1927 season when he hit 60 home runs. The notches for each homer are visible near the logo.

800 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202
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20 Derek Jeter Wax Statue at Louisville Slugger Factory in Louisville, Kentucky

Derek Jeter is synonymous with the New York Yankees. For 20 seasons beginning in 1995, he set records in hits, games played and numerous other accolades. Much of his batting success was achieved while holding a Louisville Slugger bat. He favored Model P72, which is 34 inches long and weighs 32 ounces. This full-size wax figure of the American’s Pastime hitter is at the Louisville Slugger Factory in Louisville, Kentucky. It honors the legend who retired in 2014.

800 W Main St, Louisville, KY 40202
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21 Man Painting Butterfly Mural by David Schuster in Louisville, Kentucky

While traveling for weeks at a time and taking thousands of pictures, my camera occasionally acts up or breaks down. Such was the case when I stopped into Chuck Rubin Photographics shop in Louisville, Kentucky. On the side of their building was this wall mural of a man painting a butterfly by David D. Schuster. Notice the cute image of Winnie the Pooh with his paw in the “Hunny” jar. I took this photo to test my repaired camera and then kept it because I liked the artwork.

1031 Bardstown Rd, Louisville, KY 40204
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