What the heck is "Bluegrass?!"
Kentucky is known for many things. Horses, bourbon, horse-related things, baseball bats, fried chicken, and bluegrass. In Lexington, KY, its horses, bourbon, and bluegrass everywhere. Everything is named after this "bluegrass." The local community college, highways, distilleries (more on that one a little later), offices, everything! But what the heck is it? You won't find fields of blue anywhere. It's just a species of grass. Meadow-grass if you're in Europe. Only the seedhead is blue and you'll only see that if you let it grow to its full 2 feet. But enough about grass. We're back on the road for the first time in over a year! And it feels so good.
Over the last few months, we've been mulling over where we want to settle down and set up a home base. An extremely difficult decision for us apparently. There are so many awesome places in this country. One of the biggest pros of living in the travel trailer, getting to see all these places. However, no matter where we looked, we kept getting drawn back to Frederick, MD so it was decided. So we've begun our pilgrimage back east.
We decided to swoop a little south to try to stay with warmer weather as we creep further and further into the fall months. So Lexington, KY it is.
Staple foods of Kentucky:
-Bourbon Balls - check - Verdict: eh
-Burgoo - check - Verdict: delicious - Place to go: Stella's Kentucky Deli
-Hot Brown - check - Verdict: delicious - Place to go: Brown Hotel (Louisville, KY), the original
-Beer Cheese - check - Verdict- delicious - Place to go: Fava's
-Bourbon - check - Verdict - If you like bourbon, of course it's good - Place to go: Distilleries that have solid roots
We'll have to go back to try benedictine, derby pie, spoon bread, goetta, chow chow, and fried chicken/BBQ.
Now speaking on distilleries, I was able to check out Bluegrass Distilleries (told you we'd get back to it). This is one of the newer distilleries but their knowledge of the process is there. For bourbon, everything offered during their tasting was super smooth and full of flavor. You could tell from the taste and the description of each blend that love goes into each and every batch. They even give back to the community by having a new charity each month pick out a barrel and proceeds from each bottle sold from that batch goes to that charity. They even get their logo on the label. Very cool set up.
But we're still distancing ourselves and not doing too many indoor things so we explore the outdoors. No complaints there! Let's go to the parks! Unfortunately, we did not make it to the Lexington Horse Park but we did see some other unique spots.
First stop, Yuko-En Japanese Garden. A community garden bringing the citizens of Georgetown, KY and their sister city Tahara in Japan together. It's the official Kentucky-Japan friendship garden. Pretty neat. It has Tokugawa gates to enter the park, a koi pond with limestone waterfalls, Tahara Snow Lantern and Maple Groves straight from Tahara and and water and zen rock garden. Nice place to take a little stroll and decompress.
The next stop was to McConnell Springs. The location seemed a little questionable, it was hidden in the area's industrial district, but it has quite the history. In 1775, William McConnell set up camp here from some other explorers, surveyors, and settlers. They named their camp after the Battle of Lexington that was just won in Massachusetts as part of the American Revolution. Cut to 4 years later, it became the whole town's name. The springs on this land haven't changed too much over the years but the area around them definitely has. There are signs that a creamery use to be here, a barn, a rock quarry (Limestone), and even a dam. But now, it's just a park with 2 miles of trails throughout to see The Blue Hole, The Boils, and The Final Sink.
Other notable places in the area, Third Street Stuff & Coffee (super progress forward and artsy), School Sushi (this place is in a former bank! You can have a private party in the vault!), Mary Todd Lincoln's Childhood home (Now a museum and next to the Rupp Arena where the Wildcats play but currently under construction)
Lastly, a little shout out to the campground. While there are hundreds of spots, we never felt cramped and they had so many amenities to make your stay comfortable. Two bathhouses/Laundry rooms, basketball court, camp store, playground, fishing, and more. Plus, I've never seen more different state license plates in one campground before. It was a big mixing pot of people from all across the country.
Which brings me to my last point: Please, please, please make sure you go out on November 3 (or beforehand) to vote. Every voice matters.