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The Eastern 26 trip leads to “Best 25 Places to see in Kentucky,” which has not been “my Old Kentucky Home,” but I have been here before! But Kentucky follows Indiana on this Eastern 26 trip. Evidently, the logical path ended on the first day in Louisville for some sightseeing. After this introduction, we’ll visit the following: The Louisville Slugger factory and museum. The Muhammad Ali Center. Churchill Downs. The Zachary Taylor home. But then the day ends. However, if you want to see the entire Eastern 26 trip overview, follow this link to check it out.
And more about Kentucky
As you see above, the trip included two sections of Kentucky. First, into Kentucky from Indiana and visited Louisville. So, working on the best 25 places to see. Then visited Frankfort and Big Bone Lick State Park before crossing into Cincinnati across the Ohio River. So, still near the beginning of the trip.
On my way back home, I came back through here for more of the Best 25 Places to see in Kentucky. Following Kentucky (the second pass through the state), the trip went up into Illinois. So, Illinois became the 26th (and last) state east of the Mississippi River on the trip. But, you ask, how can someone from Minnesota visit Illinois last of all 26 eastern states? Easy, took a ferry across Lake Michigan from Milwaukee to Muskegon!
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- And more about Kentucky
- Louisville: Among the Best 25 Places to see in Kentucky!
- More of the Best 25 Places to see in Kentucky
- Frankfort, Kentucky – State Capital
- Big Bone Lick State Park in My Old Kentucky Home
- Around Bowling Green, more of the Best 25 Places to see in Kentucky
- “Last Train to Clarksville”
- Trail of Tears Commemorative Park
- 4 Quirky places among the 26 Best places to see in Kentucky
Louisville: Among the Best 25 Places to see in Kentucky!
Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum
and here’s a Link to Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum. The business was formed here in Louisville in 1855 as the J. F. Hillerich & Sons. The first bat made happened when “Bud,” the original founder’s son, attended a minor league game in 1884, and the star player broke his bat. Bud asked his father to make him a new bat. Although the father wasn’t interested, he did so. The player broke out of a slump the next day and got three hits! And Louisville Slugger was born! But don’t you think it’s one of the Best 25 places to see in Louisville?
However, the transition from general woodworking to bat-making took about ten years. In 1894, when Bud took over, the focus on bats happened quickly. In 1905, major league player Honus Wagner signed a deal with the company. He became the first American athlete to endorse a sports item!
More about the Best 25 Places to see
This one’s a great place to see, especially for a baseball fan. Above are pictures of three autographs. Hank Aaron and Ed Matthews became my first favorite players. At the time, the Milwaukee Braves (yes, the Braves were in Milwaukee then) became my first favorite team.
Of course, I quickly abandoned them when the Twins came to Minnesota in 1961. Harmon Killebrew is my all-time favorite baseball player! For many years, Killebrew “was” the Twins!
The last picture shows Jim Thorpe, a Native American who’s sometimes called “The Greatest Athlete Who Ever Lived.” In addition to winning two Gold Medals at the Olympics, he played Major League Baseball and played in the NFL. He even tried his hand at hockey!
While in Louisville, this place becomes a “must-see” if you are a sports fan or have an interest in American culture dating back to the 1880s. However, it’s a short walk to the Muhammad Ali Center! Of course, it’s among the Best 25 places to see!
Muhammad Ali Center
Unfortunately, the day I visited was the only day of the week the museum closed! While on a trip of this magnitude, it’s impossible to plan for every place you have on your list. However, do the best you can! Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Clay in 1942, became an iconic figure in the sports world. For example, he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated then-record 40 times. But, the record now belongs to Michael Jordan.
The center opened in 2005. Interestingly, the center incorporates exhibitions featuring Ali’s six core principles of confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, respect, and spirituality. In 2020, the Center became a part of the U.S. Civil Rights Trail. So, it likely is one of the best 25 places to see.
Churchill Downs – More of the Best 25 Places to see in Kentucky
The world’s most famous horse race occurs here every year, as it has since 1875! Louisville becomes the “capital of the world” on Derby Day! Many who never pay attention to horse racing watch or at least read about and follow this race.
The Derby became known as the “Run for the Roses” since the winner receives a blanket sown from over 400 roses. And it weighs around 40 pounds! Of course, I’m sure that seeing the Derby is one of the best 25 places to see in Kentucky!
Of course, Churchill Downs also features a museum displaying Derby’s history. If you can’t be there on Derby Day, be sure to stop by and visit this museum! Look here for more information about the museum.
Zachary Taylor Home
Above stands the only remaining house lived in by President Zachary Taylor (other than the White House!) Here’s a link to a post about his presidency. For him, this is about My Old Kentucky Home!
7 more reasons to visit Louisville as part of Best 25 Places to see in Kentucky
(More places listed on “great to see” lists.)
- Classic Bourbon Distillery – Louisville
- Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery
- Conrad-Caldwell House Museum
- Old Louisville Walking Tour
- Louisville Historic Tours
- The Walking Bridge
- Louisville Zoo
More of the Best 25 Places to see in Kentucky
After leaving Louisville, the route leads me to Cincinnati with a few intermediate stops. Following those stops, I leave Kentucky for many days. I am finally returning about five weeks later as I finish the journey. My stops include the Kentucky State Capital city of Frankfort and Big Bone Lick State Park. The Park’s portrayal includes it as a quirky place. And, in some ways, maybe it is. However, the park remains a serious architectural “dig” with new prehistoric skeletons found regularly.
Frankfort, Kentucky – State Capital
Kentucky’s state capital is a beautiful building, but the flower garden leading up to it is spectacular! Following, you will see more pictures and descriptions.
Above stands the Kentucky State Capitol building. It bears a resemblance to other state capitol buildings. The incredible view is from the other side, with the beautiful gardens in the foreground! Like a few other states, the capital city of Frankfort remains a small city of fewer than 30,000 people. Only Vermont’s, South Dakota’s, and Maine’s capital cities are less populated.
More about the capitol
First, you see the dome from the inside. Although I haven’t been able to capture the interior dome of every state capital I’ve visited (some were closed, and some don’t have a dome!), I did the best I could, given the circumstances!
The picture of the hall (the second picture above) shows the beautiful interior of the building. Of course, I had to include a picture of the governor’s office and the Senate chambers. You’d be bored if I included more pictures!
Big Bone Lick State Park in My Old Kentucky Home
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Now, pretend you have seen all about the remaining states. Of course, you can also go over and read the rest of the posts and come back here when I’ve completed Tennessee! Or, you can just read on; it’s not like this is a soap opera!
Ok, now we’re back for more of the Best 25 Places to see in Kentucky
Around Bowling Green, more of the Best 25 Places to see in Kentucky
A local developer decided that Kentucky should have a Stonehenge. So, he hauled in rocks from the area to create this “replica”! I know, he knows, and you know it’s not really a replica. But, it gets your attention! And to think I drove one hour each way just to see it. Although it’s a quirky attraction, it doesn’t match many of the other quirky attractions I visited.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Unquestionably, it’s challenging to get a picture in a cave without a 35mm camera and a tripod! Since carrying a tripod wasn’t going to be approved, I did the best I could with what I had! Nevertheless, the cave became a great viewing experience. Here’s a link to a separate post about the cave.
National Corvette Museum
If you get close to Bowling Green, KY, this place is worth stopping. It’s got “all things Corvette” here. You can even take delivery of your new Corvette if you choose.
..and more about Corvette’s
If you are a car buff or, especially if you are a Corvette lover, don’t miss this one if you get the chance! Corvettes became such an essential part of pop culture over the last 70 years. They are “as American as apple pie!”
The entire museum tells the story about Corvettes over the years, from their first car in 1953 through the years to their current model. The museum opened in 1994 and continues to attract many visitors. As mentioned above, you can schedule delivery of your new Corvette at the museum. Corvette will prepare your car and display it in the lobby until you show up. Upon delivery, a factory representative will walk you through everything you need to know about the new model and patiently answer all your questions.
Although the nearby assembly plant doesn’t have tours, you can “purchase” that right for a VIP museum tour, a plant tour, and even build your own engine in the factory. For a mere $995 added to the purchase price, all of this becomes your experience!
Here’s the link to the Corvette Museum.
By the way, did I mention this museum is a “can’t-miss” if you’re in the area? I enjoyed my time visiting the entire museum.
“Last Train to Clarksville”
Clarksville, TN, got the nod for a stop, so the theme song for the day could be “Last Train to Clarksville” by The Monkees! However, the song, written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, wasn’t even about this Clarksville! Instead, they just looked for a name that would fit the lyrics. Hart went through Clarksdale, Arizona, when he was young, and Clarksville sounded even better in the song! However, there are 26 other Clarksvilles in the US as well.
The song isn’t about them either! (By the way, I spent about 10 minutes here before moving on!) So, maybe it’s not one of the best 25 places to see in Kentucky! But, it’s not in Kentucky!
Trail of Tears Commemorative Park
Above is the story of the Trail of Tears-the forced removal of Cherokee and other tribes from much of the eastern and midwestern US to “Indian Country,” modern-day Oklahoma. So, the story continues below with additional pictures and a story overview.
More about Hopkinsville
Hopkinsville, Kentucky, became a stop on the Trail of Tears forced march of the Cherokees and other tribes. But, Hopkinsville hosts a museum to commemorate this terrible event in our history. Due to my schedule, the museum wasn’t open when I visited. I encourage you to visit if near here. But, it’s one of the best 25 places to see!
Fort Campbell lies near Hopkinsville, KY, and Clarksville, TN. And the base crosses the state border, so you can be in two states every day without leaving the base.
Hopkinsville classifies as part of the Clarksville metropolitan area. But by itself, Hopkinsville boasts a population of about 31,000. However, the metro population currently stands at about 325,000, and Clarksville itself provides a home to about 160,000 people.
4 Quirky places among the 26 Best places to see in Kentucky
(I didn’t visit these places, but they are judged to be quirky places!)
- Colonel Sanders Grave – Louisville
- Dinosaur World – Cave City
- Dixie Cup Water Tower – Lexington
- Mother Goose Inn – Hazard
- Witches Tree – Louisville
Classic Rock Recollection
“All I have to do is Dream” by The Everly Brothers
Dream, dream, dream, dream
Dream, dream, dream, dream
When I want you in my arms
When I want you and all your charms
Whenever I want you, all I have to do is
Dream, dream, dream, dream
When I feel blue in the night
And I need you to hold me tight
Whenever I want you, all I have to do is
Written by: Boudleaux Bryant
(The Everly Brothers are from Kentucky)