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Exploring the state of Kentucky

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There is nothing better than the open road, to explore and discover new and fascinating places about your home state. To get out and enjoy the bright, sunny days, and experience it all. To start, one of my interests is in history, so why not start a trip out to the Isaac Shelby Cemetery State Historic Site just east of Junction City? Isaac Shelby, Kentucky's first and fifth governor, was a highly esteemed military, political, and educational individual whose accomplishments and influence were felt in nine states -- including Ohio, whose Shelby County was named for the governor. Upon his death in 1826, he was buried in the cemetery of his estate, known as Traveller's Rest.

1. Cemetery


2. Kentucky Route 300


Kentucky Route 300, which runs past Traveller's Rest, is a quiet two-lane highway between Junction City and Stanford.

A bit more local to Lexington, where I am residing at currently, is Boone Station State Historic Site. Seeking new frontiers, Daniel Boone departed from Fort Boonesborough in 1779 and established a pioneer station at what is now Boone Station, located north of the Kentucky River. It is near the present site of Athens in Fayette County, and was home to 15 to 20 families in the early 1780s.

3. Cemetery


Of course, there is nothing I like to do more than mountain bike! And what better place than Capitol View Park in Frankfort! Offering numerous mountain biking trails, basketball courts, softball and soccer fields and meandering paths, this city park in Kentucky's capital city is one that is unique!





Natural sinkholes provide a unique challenge and opportunity.

And finally, I end with Natural Bridge State Resort Park, adjacent to the Red River Gorge Geological Area. Natural Bridge offers a spectacular natural sandstone arch that is 78 feet long and 65 feet high. Besides the namesake arch, there are a variety of high limestone cliffs, smaller arches and other natural wonders. A sky lift is unique to this Kentucky park, along with unique water features such as Hoedown Island. (The guide has not fully been written at the time of this posting.)

6. Natural Bridge


7. Narrow trail


Yes, this is a trail that leads up to Natural Bridge. Let's just say that I am very skinny, and my backpack barely squeezed through this!

8. No comment


9. The Skylift


Since 1967, the Skylift has provided visitors the opportunity to see the top of the natural sandstone arch without the hike! The trek is only 1/2 mile but provides spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and flora.

10. Balanced rock


Hope you enjoyed this photo set from my home state of Kentucky!

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I like the idea behind this thread a lot! I'm looking forward to more additions in the future. Any ideas of where future additions may come from?

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^ Anywhere! Abandonments, travel-related guides, recreation... Here are some more from Friday. I have yet to put these on any of my web-sites.


L&N Mt. Vernon subdivision, near Sinks, Kentucky. (I believe that is the correct name of the subdivision.)


L&N (now CSX) rail tunnel at Mullins, Kentucky.



Quarry at Mullins, Kentucky.


Stuart and myself at the quarry.


Golden hay awaits harvesting along Kentucky Route 1910 near Berea, Kentucky.

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The hike is well worth it, via the several trails that go up towards the top. Did you venture into the cave?

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Located in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky, the Paris Pike is a 12.5 mile highway between Lexington and Paris travels along some world-renowned horse farms, pasture and agricultural fields, broad tree canopies and miles of stone fences. The route dates back to 1829, when the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky incorporated the 'Maysville and Washington Turnpike Road Company.' The Maysville and Lexington Turnpike was established in 1830 as a private toll road linking the Maysville and Lexington.

1. A view inside the median at an original dry-laid stone fence along the Paris Pike. The original two-lane pike is to the right -- today's southbound lanes for this stretch.


Construction of the new road followed established trade routes set forth by the Native Americans or 'buffalo trace'. It soon became a major thoroughfare for stagecoach travelers and U.S. mail

distribution. There were several tollgates, but the road was so poorly maintained and the tolls were so high that many revolted. Angry citizens revolted against the gatekeepers, raiding, burning, and even dynamiting tollgates. The warring began to cease by the late-1800s as counties began to purchase the tolled facilities and make them free of charge. By 1905, there were no private toll roads in the state.

In 1920, Kentucky established the Department of Highways, and seven years later, it designated the road from Maysville south to Tennessee US 68, part of the United States Highway System.

2. The Paris Pike features a variable median, referred to as "land between the roads." It often contains various natural flora known only to Kentucky, or stone fences or other remnants from the old highway.


By the 1960s, the Paris Pike was becoming known as a death trap. There were many fatal accidents per year, and the route had essentially been unchanged since the 1920s, with many parts having remnants dating back to the Civil War. Narrow 10' lanes carried an increasing amount of traffic. Shoulders and turn lanes were non-existent. Civil War-era stone walls were holding up portions of the roadway. The state originally wanted to widen the road with a uniform median, thereby destroying most of the scenery that made the Paris Pike a pleasure to drive -- when there was light traffic. Historic stone walls were to be bulldozed over, along with hundreds of mature, native trees. Lawsuits and complaints from across America poured in and halted the project for over 30 years. But the end result was well worth it.

In 1998, work began to widen the Paris Pike. The highway was widened to four-lanes divided, however, due process was carried out to ensure that the surrounding beauty would be preserved and even enhanced. The opposing roadways diverge for most of the length by "land between the roads." Three new trees planted per one tree removed; a savanna was created; and stone walls were either reconstructed or left in-place. Other design elements included sweeping curves, native grass plantings, and "rustic" guardrails and railings.

3. This was a limestone waiting station for the interurban line for the farm workers who were employed at the Elmendorf Farm in Fayette County. The electric interurbans connected Lexington to Paris, Versailles, Nicholasville, and Georgetown.


The highway has won many awards since its completion. The National Trust for Historic Preservation honored the state of Kentucky. The Kentucky Transportation Historic Preservation Partnership was founded under Governor Patton's administration as a direct result of the Paris Pike project. It later won an environmental excellence award from the Federal Highway Administration and a Public Service to Preservation Award from the Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation, Inc. Even the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Sierra Club, not known for their praise of road construction, especially those through scenic areas, have hailed the new Paris Pike as a premier example in the nation of 'context-sensitive' design.

See more on the Paris Pike at American Byways! I recently added many new photographs and information to the article, including its complex history.


A sunflower field was adjacent to the pike, so I decided to ask the owner for permission to wander into it. While I was shooting, I noted about 4 vehicles that had pulled off onto the shoulder to grab photos from a far! See the entire gallery of 32 images here.

4. A hue of golden sunflowers adds a splash of color, set amongst the horse farms and pastures of the Bluegrass region.

5. Showoff


6. Achoooo!


7. Still life


8. June bug


9. Exiguous motif


10. Feeding


11. Journey



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1. Nada Tunnel is often considered one of the best ways to enter the Red River Gorge and Clifty Wilderness areas in the Daniel Boone National Forest. The 900-foot Nada Tunnel carries KY 77 under the aptly named Tunnel Ridge.



2. Former KY 34 Truss built in 1924.


3. Valley Pike Covered Bridge is the shortest covered span in the state of Kentucky.


4. Dover Covered Bridge, although bypassed in 2005, this covered span in Kentucky is still drivable and is in great condition.


5. A view of the Roebling Bridge on one foggy night.


6. A view of the former US 68 Blue Lick Springs Bridge, now closed to traffic.


7. In Frankfort, there exists the Singing Bridge. Constructed in 1893, it is still used by traffic today and is only blocks from the capitol.


Enjoy these photographs and updates!

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Still digging through my 2007 pile...

1. Here are some photographs from my recent mountain biking trip at Greenbo Lake State Resort Park. There are more on the site.



2. Quiet Trails State Nature Preserve: Pretty self explainatory.



3. Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill: A visit to one of the largest restored historical communities in the United States will leave you with a sense of enlightenment and a newfound sense of history. From numerous historical and agricultural tours to river excursions to marvelous dining options, there is much to see and do!



4. Iron Works Pike: I've added a few photographs, but more will be coming, along with a driving guide.

a. Mt. Horeb Presbyterian Church: The Mt. Horeb Presbyterian Church was organized on April 21, 1827 at nearby "Cabell's Dale," home of Mary Cabell Breckinridge who was widow of John Breckinridge. He was a U.S. Senator and Attorney General in Thomas Jefferson's cabinet. The original brick church that was constructed in 1828 on this site burned in 1925. The present building of similar design was constructed in 1926.


b. Mt. Horeb Pike


c. Iron Works Pike, which leads by the Kentucky Horse Park -- home to the 2010 World Equestrian Games!


More photographs and updates coming soon, from Pilot Knob to Natural Bridge!

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Excellent photos of the Bluegrass State seicer :thumbsup: Kentucky sure is a beautiful place! I have never been there, these photos are the closest thing so far. Nice variety too; I think the caves/tunnels and bridges are cool.

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Or at least the northern 1/3 of the trip... more will be coming as I meander down the remaining 144 miles!

BTW -- This is a departure for me in terms of writing. I was unsure on how to approach a "living, breathing" highway -- which is different than something than a recreational guide. Comments appreciated.


The Country Music Highway strays through the hills and mountains of eastern Kentucky, connecting the industrial Ohio River towns of the north to the coal mining communities of the south. Also known as U.S. Route 23, this four-lane highway extends for 144 miles, serving 14 communities, a hardy collection of museums, cultural centers, and historic Civil War sites, and an assortment of naturalized and recreational areas. The highway is part of the America's Byways network and is a designated Kentucky Scenic Byway.

1. McConnell Estate near Greenup.


The new travel guide covers the segment of U.S. Route 23 from the northernmost tip at the community of South Shore to the Boyd County seat of Catlettsburg. Throughout this two county journey, there is a copious amount of places to see and an endless amount of places to experience. South Shore and Greenup both offer the small town charm that is more reminiscent of the deep South, where its time-weathered feel provide that Mayberry town characteristic that is only exemplified in the festival "Old Fashioned Days" held around the Greenup County Courthouse every year. Railroading heritage bleeds deep in Russell, home to one of the largest rail yards in the United States, and Raceland, where the "Million Dollar Oval" horse racetrack was once located at. A "super dam" project -- the Greenup Locks and Dam -- is an engineering feat in itself in Lloyd, and was considered a model for other dams throughout the United States. Nearby Flatwoods is the home of country music star Billy Ray Cyrus, and Ashland provides the modern city guise, with its restored storefronts and restaurants that host art galleries, restaurants, and markets.

While only two counties are complete along this 144 mile journey, more will be added in the future. read on!

2. Greenup Locks and Dam near Lloyd, viewed from the Ohio side.


3. Floodwall mural in Ashland.


4. An old caboose in Russell.


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I've been told by folks that Ashland is a lot like Paducah. I would like to make it up that way sometime to make the comparision myself, the floodwall murals are one similarity, and the mural depicting downtown shows Ashland's downtown to be similar to Paducah's as well. Both are Ohio rivertowns to boot, plus I think both are similar is size. Lots of common traits.

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^ Ashland has been taking notes from other cities, and is part of the Kentucky Main Street Program. They are attempting to attract more artists, and the Pendleton Arts Center on Winchester features 38 artists or galleries. They have also placed numerous dog statues throughout the city, especially in the downtown and around Central Park, to attract curiosity and tourism. The riverfront, which is quite barren at the moment, will soon undergo Phase I, and will eventually include a marina, a restaurant, and park space.

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Blue Licks State Park was the fifth state park in Kentucky, opening on January 25, 1927. Judge Samuel Wilson of Fayette County was chairman of the Blue Licks Battlefield Monument Commission at the time, and had presented a deed for 32 acres to the Kentucky State Park Commission on behalf of local citizens who had donated the land for the park. The reserve was to be a monument to the Battle of Blue Licks, considered one of the worst military defeats in the American Revolution.

Although the barrage occurred after Lord Cornwallis had renounced British forces at Yorktown, Virginia on October 19, 1781, resulting in a close to major hostilities that sparked the American Revolution, isolated conflicts between the Americans, British, and the American Indians still occurred, especially on the western fringes. Kentucky was one such state, a witness to many bloody conflicts and raids upon homesteads and settlements. After the surrender at Yorktown, many Kentuckians had hoped that the attacks would conclude.


I attended the Blue Licks Battle re-enactment on August 18. I arrived at 10 AM, although the 15 minute battle began at 3 PM, so I wandered about into Tanner's Station. Tanner's Station was recently constructed to an approximation of what would have been there in the 1780s. I also visited the Pioneer Museum, which was recently renovated with more exhibits and more interactivity, and is much more improved. I will be getting interior photographs of that later.

On that trip, I will also aim to get some photographs of the Short's Goldenrod, one of the rarest plants in the United States. It was historically known in just two locations: along the banks near the Falls of the Ohio at present-day Louisville, and within a 2 square-mile radius of Blue Licks. The plants at the Falls of the Ohio were destroyed when the ground was flooded as part of the dam project. Later, however, the plant was discovered in Indiana and in what is now Short's Goldenrod State Nature Preserve.

This is the first time I've photographed a battlefield re-enactment, although it has gotten me addicted for more! I do realize that I need a sharper and faster lens. If anyone is in the area, Camp Nelson, south of Nicholasville, Kentucky, will be hosting a re-enactment on September 8.


1. Steven Y. Caudill (left), a retired Winchester police officer, staged Daniel Boone in the battlefield reenactment. He has starred as Daniel Boone in numerous reenactments in other states. His son, on the right, also starred in the activities.


2. An Northern Kentucky aviation employee spends his time at Blue Licks demonstrating a time-saving feature that frontiersmen, like Daniel Boone, used while loading gun powder into their muskets.


3. An Northern Kentucky aviation employee spends his time at Blue Licks demonstrating a time-saving feature that frontiersmen, like Daniel Boone, used while loading gun powder into their muskets. Powder was poured into paper cups and were sealed and placed into their pouch. It could be easily opened during battle and poured into the musket, saving crucial time.


4. A frontierswoman knits sashes for use in the battle. Sashes were used to hold up pouches of powder, among many other uses.


5. The British gather around before the Battle of Blue Licks for further instruction.


6. Pioneers at the Battle of Blue Licks.






9. The British and the American Indians worked together to defeat the Pioneers.


10. The Blue Licks Battlefield Monument, a memorial to the short battle between the American colonists, and the British and Indian forces.


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