This week, I welcome the Sunkissed book and all of you gentle readers to Lawrenceburg, a little slice of nowhere in the middle of Kentucky’s somewheres!
Kentucky is often called the Bluegrass State, and the Central Kentucky region is the Bluegrass-iest of them all, home to several stops that represent Kentucky to the rest of the world. The book was a real trooper about our humid summer weather, and managed to tour with nary a page wilted in the heat.
One of Kentucky’s most famous exports is bourbon whiskey, and central Kentucky is to bourbon what Napa Valley is to wine. Here’s some history of “America’s Original Native Spirit” from the Kentucky Bourbon Trail website:
It began in the 1700s with the first settlers of Kentucky. Like most farmers and frontiersmen, they found that getting crops to market over narrow trails and steep mountains was a daunting task.
They soon learned that converting corn and other grains to whiskey made them easily transportable, prevented the excess grain from simply rotting, and gave them some welcome diversion from the rough life of the frontier.
Since then, generations of Kentuckians have continued the heritage and time-honored tradition of making fine Bourbon, unchanged from the process used by their ancestors centuries before.
So how did it get the name Bourbon? Well, one of Kentucky’s original counties was Bourbon County, established in 1785 when Kentucky was still part of Virginia.
Farmers shipped their whiskey in oak barrels — stamped from Bourbon County — down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. The long trip aged the whiskey, with the oak wood giving it the distinct mellow flavor and amber color.
Pretty soon, whiskey from Bourbon County grew in popularity and became known as Bourbon whiskey.
In 1964, Congress officially recognized Bourbon’s place in our history — and our future — by declaring it a distinctive product of the United States.
Kentucky is also famous for horse racing. About an hour to the northwest of Lawrenceburg, Louisville is home to Churchill Downs, which hosts the longest running annual horse race in America, the Kentucky Derby. It’s run on the first Saturday in May, and is the backdrop for my very first story “D-Day: D is for…” , still posted on A Happy Assembly.
Forty-five minutes to the east of Lawrenceburg, Lexington is the center of Kentucky’s horse industry, home to the lesser-known (but more charming, in my opinion) Keeneland Racetrack and the Kentucky Horse Park. Horses are part of the history here. Bucolic scenery with horses grazing in fenced fields can be seen from tree-lined, two-lane highways. Streets around these parts have names like Man-O-War Boulevard, and Citation Way.
And in the middle of these two relatively large towns, Lawrenceburg is nestled next to the Kentucky River—quiet and humble, a historically rural community about twenty minutes south of the state’s capital, Frankfort.
Lawrenceburg is home to not one, but two distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a tour of bourbon craft sites dotting the central portion of the state. Wild Turkey, arguably the more well-known of the two, sits on the banks of the Kentucky River. Four Roses is the other, built in 1910 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The book was interested in seeing the “real” Lawrenceburg, so I took it to Four Roses, the smaller, more picturesque of the distilleries.
Then, we toured downtown:
I let the book sit on the horse statue located on Main Street (these are all over—Lexington has some funky, modern art ones scattered about town).
So after the complete downtown tour, which took all of about fifteen minutes, including stops for pictures, the book expressed an interest in seeing the state capital, so, back in the car we went and wound our way north to Frankfort.
Here the book enjoyed the landscaping around the Capitol.
The book topped off the afternoon by quoting Mrs. Elton’s opinion on the gardens:
People who have extensive grounds themselves are always pleased with any thing in the same style.
After collecting some souvenirs: a pen, some postcards and a recipe for bourbon balls, the book was satisfied that it had seen what it came to see, and was ready to push on to the next stop: all the way across the country!
While I couldn’t take the book to a concert while it was here, I did want to share our very beautiful state song, “My Old Kentucky Home”, sung by the acoUstiKats (University of Kentucky Men’s Choir Acapella group – trust me, they’re really good):
Will you be the book’s final stop on the #SunkissedRoadTrip ? Follow the trail and enter the giveaway to win the book, signed by all 8 Sunkissed authors and any loot the book collects along the way.