Welcome to Kentucky, or as it’s often nicknamed, the “bluegrass state”. Home to the famed Kentucky horses, Blue Grass music, the longest cave system in the world and of course, Cola’s best friend, Bourbon. Explore this state and you’ll soon find the grass is actually bluer on the other side.
Kentucky horse culture
“The Bluegrass State” is so named because of the specific type of grass that grows up across the region. Cultivated by the area’s unique soil properties, this is not only a state hallmark, but also the secret ingredient behind breeding high-quality thoroughbred racing horses. Discover these celebrated creatures in the Kentucky Horse Park which boasts over 50 breeds of horses and a range of pony activities, from horse drawn tours and carriage rides to horse back riding and horse shows. Make sure to swing by the hall of Champions and meet the retired winners of the Kentucky Derby.
It would be irresponsible of us here at Black Tomato if we didn’t point you in the direction of the famous Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Join the trail and visit the birthplace of fine tipples such as Makers Mark, Jim Beam and Woodford Reserve. Learning about the bourbon making process in the heart of the picturesque bourbon country is a fascinating experience, however the real highlight is the after-tour bourbon tasting where you’ll get the chance to sample a range of different bourbons…or as they’re affectionately nicknamed, ‘America’s Native Spirit’ .
For those of you who are less concerned with the distilling process and more into the tasting and recreation side of bourbon (surely that’s most of us then), this is the tour to go for. Expect to visit the world’s best bourbon bars, most of which are in Louisville and have a prerequisite of 50 different types of Bourbon on offer. And if you were still somehow in doubt of their Bourbon credentials, many of these drinking dens also specialise in bourbon- related dishes.Read more
Not only is Kentucky home to many of the world’s leading country music stars – such as Billy Ray Cyrus, The Judds and Loretta Lynn (to name just a few) but it’s also the birthplace of bluegrass music. A sub-genre of country music, bluegrass first emerged post WWII and has since gone on to inspire musicians the world over. Visit the International bluegrass music museum and discover the tunes that set the world humming. Still not convinced, listen to the bluegrass soundtrack to Coen Brothers movie ‘O brother, Where Art Thou?’ (2000) and discover for yourself why it picked up a Grammy for best album of the year.
Cival war trails
For the history buff, take a tour of Kentucky’s Civil War Heritage Trail and access the sites of America’s most contentious war and historical event. Learn about the Civil war with an in-depth commentary and make sure to stop at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park for a sneak peak into one of America’s most celebrated presidents.
Delve beneath the surface of Kentucky’s Bourbon and Bluegrass façade and discover the complex labyrinth of Mammoth Cave National Park. A World Heritage listed site and part of the Green River Valley and hilly country of South Central Kentucky, make sure to spare an hour or two for a spot of exploration – whether that be by cave tour, surface hiking, canoeing, picnicking, or of course the Kentuckians’ favourite mode of transport, horseback riding.
Think 60 foot waterfalls, wild rivers, sandstone cliffs and rare, endangered species and you’ll be close to conjuring up an image of Bad Branch Falls Nature Preserve. This spectacular site is situated on the southern slope of Pine Mountain in Letcher County. Slip on your hiking boots and explore the wild side of Kentucky via 7.4 miles of foot trails, bridges and mountains. Easy.