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Kentucky

Photo by Deborah Kohl Kremer

Kentucky Itineraries

Kentucky Bourbon Distilleries

Kentucky History Front and Center

Lexington, the Horse Capital of the World

Lexington’s Favorite Dining

Louisville Beyond the Bourbon and Fast Horses

Louisville: Eating in the ‘Ville

Only in Kentucky

Bourbon, bluegrass and horseracing

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Maybe bluegrass, bourbon and horse racing brought you to Kentucky, but there’s much more to experience. Don’t be afraid to dip your toe in. Traveling through Kentucky leads you atop mountains to gentle rolling plains of bluegrass, to major metropolitan cities, and to small towns that are so cute, you wish you could pinch their cheeks.

After visiting awe-inspiring mountains, canyons, lakes, or forests, and when you’ve seen skyscrapers and tourist attractions, you’ll be getting closer to knowing Kentucky. For understand her best parts, get out of your car and possibly your comfort zone. Talk to people, the abundant natural resource that gives the state its beauty. They give it character, life, and personality.

Whether you’re in a bustling downtown or local coffee shop, pull up a chair and ask the locals about their hometown. You’ll find a sparkle in their eyes, genuine kindness in their hearts, a sprinkle of southern hospitality in their voices — and then you’ll start knowing Kentucky.


Lexington & Blue Grass Country

The Bluegrass Region is a patchwork quilt of farms: for horses, tobacco, dairy, and fruit-and-vegetables.

Its center core is Lexington, Kentucky’s second largest city, which offers a modern downtown, scattering of museums, and a large dose of historical sites intermingled in the downtown area. You’ll usually find something horse-related on every block.

As you head from downtown and to the farming areas, you’ll likely glimpse the famed Kentucky bluegrass, which, by the way, is not blue. It’s green like grass should be. It derived that name because its bluish buds are visible in the fields when the sun shines just right. No matter the color, it thrives on Kentucky’s rich limestone soil, and is credited as the key ingredient to growing fast thoroughbred horses.

Lexington, a college town at heart, supports their University of Kentucky Wildcats with a fever. But it’s also home to fabulous restaurants and modern amenities, sprinkled with a nice dose of Southern culture.

The Bluegrass Region was the first area of Kentucky settled as Daniel Boone and his followers came across the state. They stayed. After experiencing the region’s dining, history, and southern hospitality, you’ll understand why.


Louisville

Souvenir T-shirts are available all around the city proclaim: loo ey ville … loo a vul … lou is vil … luh vul… Makes you wonder, how many ways can you say Louisville? Apparently several, and after hearing the different dialects, you’ll understand. Choose your favorite pronunciation, they all work, but use lou-is-vil if you want announce that you’re from out of town.

Sometimes referred to as the northernmost city of the South or the southernmost city of the North, Louisville combines the best of both, no matter how you pronounce it.

Louisville is a modern, artsy city, with first class amenities. You’ll find a vibrant riverfront, avenues of funky shops and bistros, a world-class university and nearby bourbon distilleries.

This river city credits its development to the Falls of the Ohio, a 2-mile stretch of rapids and shallow water that made boat navigation nearly impossible. It was the only such obstruction between Pennsylvania and the mighty Mississippi. On the Ohio River, boaters had to remove their loads onto the shore and pull the vessel carefully through the rough stretch of water, then load back up on the other side. All this loading and unloading created a powerful thirst, so taverns, inns, and restaurants started springing up to meet the demand. Next thing you know, Louisville transformed into a bona fide city. The Falls of the Ohio was a legitimate landmark, noted in the writings of Clark, Daniel Boone, and Native Americans who used it as a reference point. When a canal system, locks and dams were completed, the falls ceased being a problem for river travelers.


When To Go

How Much Time To Spend

Well, people like me can spend a lifetime, but if you don’t have that long, I can help to tailor your trip.

If you are visiting Louisville or Lexington, a long weekend will generally give you enough time to get to all the hot spots.

A huge draw to the state is the Bourbon Trail, a self-guided trip to all the big distilleries in the state. There are several in the Bardstown region, which is about 30 miles south of Louisville, and then the rest are scattered about geographically situated between Louisville and Lexington. I recommend visitors figure out which distilleries they want to tour, assuming that each one takes about two hours, but could take more if you like to linger, and then calculate the mileage between each one. No need to rush, many are on scenic back roads that make the trip even more enjoyable.

Another draw to Kentucky is the horse-farm visit. Figuring your time is similar to the Bourbon Trail. Assuming each tour takes an hour or two, simply calculate the mileage between farms. It sounds simple, but the horse farms are real businesses and they, like you, don’t care for drop in guests. So please check their website for tour times and whether you need a reservation.

But if you want to experience things all over the state, say your itinerary looks something like this:
• go fishing for Crappie at Kentucky Lake in the western part of the state
• spelunking in Mammoth Cave National Park along with a tour of the Corvette Factory, both near Bowling Green
• take in a tour of Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark Distilleries near Bardstown
• stroll through several Louisville Museums, like the Kentucky Derby Museum, The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory and the Frazier History Museum
• take in the sights at the Kentucky Horse Park and visit Secretariat’s grave at Claiborne Farms in nearby Paris
• pay homage to the stars at Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in Renfro Valley and then a visit to the ‘Niagara of the South” the mighty Cumberland Falls.

You would leave with a very good idea of Kentucky, but you might need to block out a week.

High and Low Season

The High and Low season depends on what it is you are wanting to do in Kentucky.

I would consider the winter months the ‘low’ season. Kentucky has generally mild winters, compared to, say, Boston, but we can dip down below 0 a few times per season. And snow? Yes, we get several snow falls a year and you will find that our hilly terrain and the resulting slick streets, lead to less than optimum driving conditions.

That being said, if you come to Kentucky between December and March, keep your eye on the weather report.

The ‘high’ season, has to be spring. In the spring the horse people are welcoming all the new foals and getting excited for the Spring meet at Keeneland Race Track in April, followed by The Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday of May.

Weather and Climate

Kentuckians like to say the old adage “Don’t like the weather? Well, stick around, it won’t be here for long.”

Kentucky definitely has all four seasons, sometimes all in one day.  Generally we have cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers that fall in the months you would expect?. But every few years you see a wild swing.  I’ve seen an occasional 70 degree day in February and I’ve seen snow on Halloween.

-Winter months we see highs in the 30s and we have a few days per year where the mercury dips below 0.
-Spring is usually rainy with a chill in the air.
-Summer usually takes us to the 80 or 90 degree range, although about once a year we might hit 100.
-Fall brings warm days and cool evenings. October is historically the driest month, and I would say it is the best month to visit.

Events and Holidays

Kentucky’s unofficial largest holiday is, of course, The Kentucky Derby. Although the actual Derby takes about ?two minutes around 6 pm on the first Saturday of May, the city of Louisville begins the celebration about two weeks ahead of time.  During this time they hold the Derby Festival, filled with things like a parade, a marathon and 5K runs, black-tie shindigs and outdoor festivals featuring food, food, music and more food. There is also a giant fireworks display, called Thunder Over Louisville, which takes place on the Ohio River to an audience of about 500,000. So even if you are not heading to Churchill Downs in your seersucker suit or feather-laden hat, ?you can still get in on the Derby action all over the city during the last two weeks of April.

Another horse-related event is at Keeneland Race Track in Lexington. This gorgeous track is only open for three weeks in April and three weeks in October, so it has the feel of an event, rather than a destination. ?Horse people know that these meets bring in the biggest four-legged stars of the season, along with some attractive purses, which then lures fans from all over the world.

During the Fall months, generally September – November, you will find all kinds of festivals throughout the state. The mild weather gets everyone out, with the humid days of summer behind and the cold winter looming ahead, Kentuckians are anxious to get out and enjoy it. Through out the state you will find  not-so common festivals like The World Chicken Festival in London, The Kentucky Apple Festival in Paintsville, and The Wool Fest in Falmouth, each one are worth the trip!

Kentucky has 120 counties and the old fashioned county fair still commands attention throughout the state. Full of beauty pagents and pie-eating contests, you will also find competitions for homegrown vegetables and livestock. Winners go on to the giant Kentucky State Fair held each August in Louisville.

We celebrate all the national holidays too –
National Holidays

January (1st): New Year’s Day
January (third Monday):  Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February (third Monday):  Presidents Day
May (last Monday):  Memorial Day
July (4th):  Independence Day
September (first Monday):  Labor Day
October (second Monday):  Columbus Day
(not the same as Native American Day, which is only celebrated officially in two states, on September 25th)
November (11th):  Veterans Day
November (fourth Thursday):  Thanksgiving Day
December (25th):  Christmas

Time Zone

Daylight Savings Time (DST) happens in the spring (on the second Sunday morning of March at 2 a.m.). It’s when clocks are advanced one hour so there is more daylight later into the evening. In the fall (on the first Sunday morning in November at 2 a.m.), clocks shift back one hour to standard time. The entire U.S. (except Hawaii and most of Arizona) participates in this ritual of ‘springing forward’ and ‘falling back.’

About 3/4 of Kentucky is in the Eastern Time Zone and the other 1/4 is in the Central Time Zone.

To find out what time it is in your neck of the woods, this site is helpful
worldtimeserver.com

But when in doubt, ask.

What To Pack and Wear

Since Kentucky’s weather is ever-changing, layers are your best bet.

Some spring mornings see a light frost on the grass at 7 am, but highs can reach 75 degrees by 3 pm. So in the unpredictable spring and fall, you will probably want a jacket. During the winter months of December through March, you will probably need a warm coat. But in the summer, May through September, shorts, t shirts and flip flops are the standard casual attire.

What to pack? Kentucky, like most places these days, is pretty casual. Obviously if you have reservations at The Oak Room, Kentucky’s only AAA Five Diamond restaurant, men will need a tie and jacket and a dress or suit for ladies.  Various Kentucky Derby-related events call for black-tie, but if you are on the guest list, you probably know the attire.

If you are going to The Kentucky Derby or the races at Keeneland Race Track, your attire level goes up along with the price of your ticket. Do you have seats in Churchill Downs famed Millionaire’s Row? Bring your suit. ?But if you ?are purchasing a general admission ticket to the infamous infield?, ?cut-offs and tank tops work just fine there.

Kentucky’s parks feature a mind-boggling array of hiking trails. Although there is a trail for every skill level, there is also an abundance of poison ivy, oak and sumac mixed into to our beautiful wooded terrain. So wear jeans or at least wear long thick socks to protect your legs.  And that sun is strong all year long, so don’t forget the sunscreen, no matter what month you come.

What it Costs

Abstract Pricing at a Glance

Prices often fluctuate dynamically depending on capacity, seasonality and deals. We don’t want to lead you astray by quoting exact prices that quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.

Price ranges are quoted in $US.

See & Do
N/A => Not applicable
Free
$ => Tickets less than $10 per person
$$ => Tickets $11-25 per person
$$$ => Tickets $26 per person

Sleep
$ => Rooms less than $100 for a double
$$ => Rooms $200 for a double
$$$ => Rooms $300 for a double

Eat
$ => $1-15 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
$ => $16-40 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)
$$$ => $41 per person for a meal (without alcohol, tax, tip)

Shop
N/A => Not applicable

Tours
$ => Tickets less than $10 per person
$$ => Tickets $11-25 per person
$$ => Tickets $26 per person

Currency Converter

In the US, we use good ‘ole American dollars, also known as USD to international users. If you are traveling here from another country, the advice would be to download a trusty worthy converter app on your phone or just Google currency converter and plug in your country/currency and the amount and you will know the price instantly.

Airfare and Car Rental Prices

Fly the Friendly Skies

Airfares are a fickle thing. When you need it to be low, it’s high. And when prices dip, what happens? You can’t get off work to travel. Sigh.

But you can get notifications from companies like Kayak, which will email you when airfares drop. Type your destination and the dates you are watching and boom, when there’s a deal, you’ll hear about it immediately via your inbox.

Sites like Momondo www.momondo.com also display prices for multiple airlines, so you can compare rates without visiting individual airline sites.

That said, there is an advantage to visiting an individual airline’s site. Why? Because some of their really great deals don’t show up on the aggregator airfare sites. Most airlines share limited-time, super-specials via their Facebook pages or email blasts. So it pays to be their ‘friend’ or subscribe to their e-mailings.

 Have Car, Will Travel

Like airlines, car rental rates are all over the map. Companies like Expedia and Hotwire offer comparison price shopping.

There are also name-your-own-price sites, like Priceline, where you tell ‘em what you want to pay and they hook you up with a car rental company who can fit the bill. There are some great deals here, if you are not too picky about the make and model of your rental.

Zipcar is another choice for rentals. Available in many major cities and college towns in the U.S., Zipcar is a great alternative for super-short term rentals. Picture this scenario: you are in a big city with terrific public transportation, so you don’t need a car. But then you hear about an amazing restaurant 20 miles away in the suburbs. You can’t go home without trying it. A taxi would cost a fortune. You’d have to wait a long time to get a return taxi. Open the Zipcar app; search for a nearby Zipcar locale. You need to apply for membership and download the app in advance. Memberships cost about $7 a month; rentals are about $8 to10 per hour; gas and insurance are included. Foreign drivers can apply and you don’t need to pay a monthly fee if you’re an occasional driver (from $25 per year for a membership).

Ride-sharing companies, Uber and Lyft, are also ubiquitous in major cities. Through a smart phone app, you can line up rides all over town. It’s convenient because no money changes hands (payment is made through the app) and it’s usually cheaper than a taxi. Another bonus? After requesting a ride, you can see where the driver is on a map, so you know that they are on their way and how long it will be. Try that with a cab.

Money Saving Tip: Costco, because of its behemoth size and price negotiating power, offers great low prices for most major car rental companies. Yes, you need to purchase an annual Costco membership first, but it more than pays for itself with what you’ll save with a typical week’s car rental (i.e. searches turn up a mid-size car through Costco for $225 and a comparable car through another aggregator for $325.)

Did You Know: Budget Car Rental offers drivers residing at the same address (i.e. unmarried partners or BFFs) complimentary extra driver coverage. Other car rental companies charge upwards of $10/day. By the way, when renting in California, there are no additional driver fees by law.

Insurance

Hopefully, your trip to (or within) the U.S. goes without a glitch. But what if an unexpected situation arises? Will you lose the money you invested in the trip? Will you need quick cash to cover sudden costs?

Travel insurance policies are meant to cover these unexpected costs and assist you when problems arise. The fee is typically based on the cost of the trip and the age of the traveler.

Most travel insurance providers offer comprehensive coverage that usually includes protection for the following common events:

Trip Cancellation: About 40 percent of all claims fall in this category.

Medical: Health services in the U.S. are expensive for the uninsured. This is a major reason to consider purchasing insurance. Whether you break a leg or need a blood transfusion, you will likely incur costs far higher than you might pay in other nations. And what if you have an accident that requires transport to a major medical center? Air ambulances alone could set you back $15,000 to $30,000.

Trip Interruption: For example, if you become ill during your trip or if someone at home gets sick, and you have to get off the cruise ship or abandon a tour. The insurer will often pay up to 150% of the cost of your trip to get you home.

Travel Delay: Insurance usually covers incidentals like meals and overnight lodging while you wait to travel home.

Baggage: Insurance will typically cover lost and mishandled baggage.

Some insurance companies allow you to purchase a policy that allows you to cancel for any reason. This may cost more (often 10% or more), but it is worthwhile for certain travelers.

Do I need travel insurance?

If your trip costs $4,000 to $6,000 (or more), it’s probably a good idea. Your age and health are important factors. So is your destination. If you’re traveling to a hurricane-prone area during hurricane season, for example, you’ll probably want some coverage “just in case” … no matter what.

Your English language skills are also an important factor. Insurance policies often include concierge services with 24-hour hotlines that can connect you quickly with someone who speaks your language.

How do I choose an insurance provider?

Do your homework; check around.

The largest insurers in the U.S. include Travel Guard, Allianz and CSA Travel Protection. Smaller reputable companies include Berkley, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, Travel Insured International and Travelex. You may also find deals through aggregator sites like Squaremouth and InsureMyTrip.

Many airlines and travel companies also offer travel insurance when you book your flight (often contracted with the above major players).

If you have pre-existing health conditions: Many policies have exclusion policies if you have a pre-existing medical condition. But companies also offer waivers that overwrite the exclusion if you purchase the policy within a certain time frame of paying for your trip (e.g., within 24 hours of buying your cruise package). Again, it’s best to check the fine print.

Credit card insurance: If you buy your airfare or trip with a credit card, you may be partially covered by the credit card’s issuing bank. Check directly with the company to find out exactly what’s covered, as many have “stripped down” coverage and restrictions.

The travel insurance business is expanding and evolving rapidly. As “shared space” lodging options like VRBO, Airbnb and Homeaway become more popular in the travel and leisure market, so does the need for insurance for both property owners and travelers.

For more information, visit the US Travel Insurance Association.

Exchange Rates and Currency

Currency

U.S. dollars come in $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. They are all the same size and color, so non-Americans have an understandably tricky time telling them apart. The $2 bill is in circulation but rarely seen.

Coins in wide circulation include the penny (one cent), nickel (five cents), dime (ten cents) and quarter (25 cents). The 50-cent and one-dollar coins are seen occasionally.

Smaller businesses may not accept $50 or $100 bills, so have twenties or smaller bills in hand. ATMs usually dispense $20 bills.

Money, ATMs, Credit Cards

The US dollar is welcome through out Kentucky and generally, most businesses take credit cards.

Obviously, if you wander into a Mom-and-Pop diner or visit a craft fair, there is a chance that the proprietor accepts cash only. So plan ahead if something like this is on your agenda.

In most Kentucky cities you will find banks and ATMs, but there are those small places in between that might not be so well-equipped. So cash in your pocket is a good thing.

Also if you are? driving in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, some of the cities are remote and located high atop mountains and down in the valleys, so fill your tank and keep it full, as you might not know where the next gas station will be.

ATMs

If you get money from an ATM machine, you may incur charges (often $2 or $3 per transaction). Check with your bank before you leave home to find out which, if any, U.S. banks will allow you to get cash without an extra charge. Many grocery stores, gas stations and major retail outlets let you get a limited amount of “cash back” when paying for your goods — this is an easy way to get cash while on the go.

Credit Cards

Credit and debit cards are accepted widely throughout the U.S.

Don’t forget to call your debit and/or credit card company before you travel to inform them of your planned itinerary. This goes for U.S. residents traveling out of state. If you don’t do this in advance, you risk having your card denied/declined when you try to use it in a destination far from home. You should also call your company immediately to report loss or theft. The numbers to call are usually on the back of the card — which doesn’t make sense if it is lost or stolen. So make a note of them and store them where you’ll have easy access.

Recently, companies have been issuing cards with embedded chips that prevent counterfeit fraud. Banks and merchants that don’t offer the chip-and-PIN technology are beginning to be held liable for fraud. Check with your bank and credit card company for details on your specific cards.

Tipping and Costs That Add Up

Tipping in Kentucky is similar to other places in the US.

15% is the general amount for decent service, or 20% for exceptional service in a restaurant. If you are with a large group, sometimes the restaurant automatically adds in the gratuity. So check your bill so you don’t end up paying twice.

We also tip the pizza delivery guy, the bellman at hotels and airports and service providers like manicurists, hair stylists and valet parking attendants.

When in doubt, consult our definitive source on etiquette, Emily Post’s Tipping Cheat Sheet

Tipping is a cost you must build into the budget for any U.S. travel experience, whether urban or rural. Tipping is most relevant to dining out and hotel stays, but other costs should also be taken in to consideration. General guidelines include:

Restaurants

For excellent service, plan to tip 20% on the total bill, before taxes. For less-than-stellar service, 10-15% is customary, as an imperfect experience is often not solely the responsibility of the server. In many states, servers work for below minimum wage and live mostly on tips, so consider the ramifications of your tipping decisions.

To complicate matters, many restaurants in the major metropolitan areas — New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco — are moving to a no-tipping model in which service is included. The verdict isn’t yet in on whether this new model will stick, so be sure you understand the tipping policy at each restaurant you visit.

Oh, and one more complication: Sometimes a tip is automatically included, usually for groups of six or more people. But at least it will be itemized in plain sight on the bill, if you look closely for it.

Hotels

Most bell staff receive $1 to $2 per bag they assist with; if someone carts all of your bags up to your room, expect to tip $5 to $10.

Tips for housekeeping are also good form. The rule of thumb is $2 to $3 per day and about $5 per day in higher-end properties.

At properties with concierge services, consider tipping concierge staff who assist you in planning activities, making reservations or acquiring tickets around $10 to $20 per day. Concierge staff do not normally expect a tip for simply orienting you with driving directions or public transportation info. Car valet staff expect $2 when returning your car. Spa employees (massage therapists, aestheticians, etc.) usually see 20% tips on their services, whether performed at the spa or in your room.

Other

Other Costs

Invariably, there are incidental costs associated with being on the road. Make sure to budget between $10 and $40 per day for batteries, lost phone chargers, bug repellent, headache medicine, sunburn relief and other personal items you might have forgotten. If you’re traveling with kids, consider the snack budget. Local grocery and drug stores will be cheaper than tourist shops for all of the above.

Sales Taxes, Lodging Taxes & Resort Fees

In Kentucky the combined total for state and local taxes on all retail goods and services is 6%, depending on where you are. Taxes are not usually included in display prices, unless otherwise stated.

Lodging

This tax applies whether you are staying at a private vacation rental, a bed-and-breakfast, or a full-fledged hotel. Taxes are not usually stated up front in the advertised room rate. Neither are the mandatory nightly “resort fees” being charged by an increasing number of hotels. Sometimes this fee covers internet access, parking, and a few incidentals, while at other times it’s merely a surcharge for amenities that should be free. Beware that third-party booking agents, especially online, often don’t include resort fees in their reservation charges, so you may be unhappily surprised by the final bill when you check out.

Background

Ahhh, Kentucky. Although the Bluegrass State comes across as a calm, folksy, somewhat conservative place. It is actually a very state complicated state.  What you will find is a state that continuously changes as you drive from north to south, from east to west. The Kentucky you are witnessing, depends on where you are standing. The accents, the religions, the society, even the terrain – none of it is consistent. But the one thing that remains constant is that Kentuckians are generally a friendly bunch and they love their home state.

History

It is hard to image a time when Kentucky was the wild west, but in the mid 1700s pioneers, explorers and settlers were beginning to stretch their legs and venture out over the Appalachian Mountains.  Prior to that time, Native Americans used the land for hunting, but Dr. Thomas Walker and Christopher Gist were the first white men recorded to have explored the land.   The first permanent settlement was constructed in 1774 by James Harrod, and it was called Fort Harrod. That very next year Daniel Boone built his permanent settlement, which he named Fort Boonesboro. Both settlements were in the area of current-day Lexington.  The land was considered the western frontier of Virginian, but in 1792, Kentucky became the fifteenth state.

Etiquette

You will find Kentuckians still appreciate manners, etiquette and Southern hospitality.  A ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ is certainly appreciated, if not expected. As is the ‘thank you wave’ if you are in traffic and someone lets you in.  Also, if you are entering or exiting a public building, it is very common to hold the door for the next person, no matter if you or they are male or female, it is just done as a common courtesy.

In Northern Kentucky, there is a custom of saying ‘please?’ if the person cannot hear you.  I think it is short for “Please say again.”

Also you are likely to hear the old standards, “Yes ma’am” or “No sir”, which from people who were raised by a mom that taught them manners, and they still use it, no matter what the age.

So use your manners, if you want to fit right in.

Cuisine

Kentucky cuisine is general associated with southern dishes, like fried catfish, cornbread, and pinto beans, which are always referred to as ‘soup beans’ even if they aren’t in soup. But as the home of Kentucky Fried Chicken, the restaurant chain that was developed by Colonel Sanders himself at a gas station in Corbin, we tend to know our chicken. The Colonel’s nephew, Lee, also started a chain, called Lee’s Famous Recipe, which can be found all over the Midwest. In a nod to these hometown boys, the town of London holds the World Chicken Festival each fall, featuring the largest skillet on the planet.

In the larger cities, you will find restaurants offering cuisine from around the world, as well as little diners where they have daily Blue Plate Specials, the likes of meatloaf, hush puppies and ham biscuits.

Religion

Churches are plentiful in Kentucky. The large cities are home to massive, 100-year old cathedrals and in the medium-sized towns you will find some intersections with a church on each corner. No matter what your religion, all imaginable denominations are represented, and more than half of Kentucky residents identify themselves as affiliated with a religion.

Language

Of course the native language is English, but you will find it in many forms as you travel about the state. Yes, in the mountain counties in the East, you will hear the familiar down-home twang associated with stereo types of Kentucky. But in other parts of the state, those settled by Germans, Scottish, or French, you will still hear small remnants of those languages sneaking into the conversation.

Recommended Reading

To learn about Kentucky from its humble beginnings, read up on Daniel Boone. Much has been written, if you are short on time some of the children’s books cover the basics.

Just to get to know the state, the following books do a great job of making an introduction:
Night Comes to the Cumberlands: A Biography of a Depressed Area, by Harry Caudill
With a Hammer for My Heart, by George Ella Lyon
Clay’s Quilt by Silas House

Movies

Movies – Sometimes Hollywood comes to Kentucky and we are proud to show it off on the silver screen.  Some movies that do a great job of portraying our homeland are:
Rainman
Elizabethtown
Secretariat
Seabiscuit

Music

If you are driving, push the ‘Scan’ button on your radio and you will find stations covering everything from Country, to Oldies, to Pop, to Evangelist Preaching. The only problem is, if you are driving, the mountains and separation of cities tend to make it tough to keep one station tuned in for very long.   You will find all sorts of genres, but Kentucky does get the credit for the invention of Bluegrass music.  Native son, Bill Monroe, who grew up in the western part of the state, created a version of country music that featured folksy songs, harmonized lyrics and acoustic instruments.  This music was first characterized in the 1940s but has remained a constant to the music industry today.

There have been famous songs over the years that mention our fine state: Blue Moon of Kentucky, by Bill Monroe and also Patsy Cline, Kentucky Rain by Elvis Presley and Kentucky Woman by Neil Diamond. But the one song that all Kentuckians all hold dear is our state song, My Old Kentucky Home, by Stephen Foster. Sung at college sporting events and always minutes before The Kentucky Derby is run, it is sure to bring a tear to the eye of everyone who loves this state.

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