Holidaying in the States is great, there’s such a variety of places to see and you don’t have to bother with the hassle of a plane to get there. You can just hop in the car and set off to any number of great cities. If you’re looking for an adventure in the South, then you can’t go far wrong with a visit to Kentucky. This naturally beautiful state has a lot going for it in terms of culture, sports and, of course, landscape. So pack your bags and get ready for an action-packed weekend in Kentucky.
Catch the Action at Churchill Downs
Kentucky is perhaps most famous for being the host of the Kentucky Derby. Although we’ve missed it this year (it’s on the 1st Sunday of May every year), that’s not to say you shouldn’t visit the racetrack.
There are regular race days at Churchill Downs and being in the presence of such powerful animals is always special, regardless of the race they’re in. Not only that, but Churchill Downs is a particularly well thought out racetrack, with lots of different viewing areas as well as plenty of places for refreshments. If you’re looking to place a bet whilst you’re at Churchill Downs then it’s possible to use the bookmakers on course, but often there’s better value to be found online. At the moment DraftKings are offering a deposit bonus to all new sign-ups which will ensure you get the best deal possible on your bet. Whether you back a winner or a loser, get down to the winning post to watch the horses thundering past. It’s an experience you won’t forget.
Visit the Louisville Slugger Museum
If you’ve even the slightest interest in baseball, and if it’s a bachelor’s holiday then you surely do, it’s well worth heading to Louisville to visit the Louisville Slugger Museum. You certainly won’t miss the building as right outside is a 120-foot replica of Babe Ruth’s Louisville Slugger, which isn’t only a great landmark but an even better Instagram selfie backdrop. The museum is adjoined with the factory that makes the bats, so once you’re finished looking around you can take a peek at how the bats are turned from a single piece of wood. Although the factory has been brought up to date, the actual process for making the bats has changed very little since 1884. In the museum itself, you’ll find a number of bats wielded by famous sportspeople, including Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio and, of course, Babe Ruth. If you’re feeling inspired after seeing such a famous selection of bats then you can have a go in the batting cages on your way out. Don’t forget to pick up a miniature bat as a souvenir of your visit.
Get Lost in the Mammoth Cave
Kentucky has a fascinating landscape and one of the most diverse in The States. Underneath it lies hundreds and hundreds of caves, sinkholes and chasms, waiting to be explored. Thankfully, some of them have already been thoroughly explored and are totally safe for you to discover in your own time. The Mammoth Cave can be found in an area known as the “Land of 10,000 Sinks”. This cave has more than 400 miles of navigable passageways making it one of the largest cave systems in the whole world. It’s been inhabited by humans since 1000 BC so traveling through its dark corridors is a special way to feel in touch with your own history. Be sure to visit the Frozen Niagara and take in its enormous frozen stalactites as well as the breathtaking Crystal Lake below it. Even those who have no interest in geology will be fascinated by the imposing limestone columns, the enormous stalagmites and the huge underground caverns that have been formed over millennia here.
Bill Monroe Museum and Rosine Barn Jamboree
Known as the Bluegrass state, Kentucky has a strong history with country music, so it would be crazy not to indulge in some whilst there. The Bill Monroe Museum and Rosine Barn Jamboree is a Friday night institution. Head down to the old barn for live bluegrass music and whilst you’re at it pay a visit to the museum. It houses all kinds of memorabilia related to the father of bluegrass music, Bill Monroe. Not only that but the building it is housed in is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, something that most barns can’t boast! When it comes to country, Kentucky has more than its fair share of incredible places to visit, but this down to earth spot truly captures the freedom and the spirit of bluegrass music.
With that said, if you’re a real country music connoisseur then you might want to pay a visit to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. This enormous museum covers the lives of not just Bill Monroe but more than fifty famous musical Kentuckians. It is built around the historic riding stables of John Lair, so not only is the architecture itself fascinating, but the memorabilia is amazing too. If you didn’t catch enough live music at the barn then have a look at the calendar here and plan to coincide with one of their performances. Although you won’t catch them every Friday they’re certainly worth checking out if you can.
Do Some Eating
Finally, it’s really important that you eat some good food on your trip. Kentucky is known for its love of soul food and there are so many dishes that are true Kentucky classics. Whilst you’re still in Louisville you’d be crazy not to tuck into some rolled oysters. These moreish bar snacks comprise of oysters rolled in breadcrumbs and fried until golden and crispy. Once they’re done, they’re about the size of a baseball and a deliciously salty accompaniment to a cold beer. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial then you can’t go wrong with a bowl of Burgoo.
This stew is made from slowly cooked meat, often mutton or lamb, with a mixture of vegetables like lima beans, corn, okra and cabbage. The slow cooking allows the starch from the vegetables to slowly thicken the dish until it’s viscous enough to stand a spoon up in. If you like food that sticks to your ribs, then you’ll fall in love with this Kentucky classic.