Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday States: Kentucky!!!


State Nickname: The Bluegrass State

Year of Family Trip: HOME!!
Bicentennial Tour of all Kentucky Counties from 1992-1996

Cities Visited: ALL!!

Can't Miss Tourist Attractions:
Floral Clock at State Capitol, My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown, Churchill Downs in Louisville, Georgetown College, Old Hickory BBQ in Owensboro, UK Basketball at Rupp Arena, and the list goes on...

Each square represents one of the 120 Kentucky counties.

Take it from an expert, Kentucky is the BEST state in the country!  Honestly, even if I wasn't a born and bred Kentuckian, I'd still have to admit it is a pretty great state!  It's mostly peaceful and serene.  There are cities...a couple decent size ones...but mostly things are spread out.  I could probably talk forever about Kentucky and all the things to do there so today I'll focus on a few highlights.

A Bicentennial Tour: Kentucky Passport Style

Kentucky turned 200 years old in 1992.  We were at age 8, Jordan at 7, and McKinley just shy of 2.  Mom and Dad decided to make a series of family road trips to collect Kentucky counties over the next few years.  There are 120 counties. We managed to cover them all by 1996.  There were even these fun Kentucky passports that allowed us to gain a stamp at various state park or historical sites.  We sure made some great memories on these trips throughout our state.

Jordan Falls

Our family has made more than one stop at Cumberland Falls over the years.  On a trip when we were a tad older - let's say at least high school age - Jordan provided us all with a memorable family moment.  There are several sets of stairs at Cumberland Falls.  And on one of these staircases Jordan, you guessed it, fell.  Hence Cumberland Falls will forever be known to the Heflin clan as Jordan Falls.  Before you start feeling too bad, let the record state that no one was hurt in the making of this memory...though Jordan probably wanted to hurt me after the new name was born!

"Rigamortis Has Set In"

My only word of advice about visiting Kentucky is be careful in that eastern region.  I grew up in western Kentucky, but spent my fair share of time in the central and northern parts throughout my collegiate years.  And even though I traveled back and forth from Georgetown to Richmond for my graduate courses at Eastern Kentucky University, I didn't really spend a ton of time in that eastern part of the state.  Now, those that grew up there might have a different story to tell, but here's mine.  Way back on one of those collecting KY counties trips in the early 90's, a highly impressionable moment occurred in the backwoods of eastern Kentucky.  We were driving along the crooked roads at a little more than a snail's pace when we noticed a dog in the yard up ahead.  Not just any dog though. This one was lying on its back.  With its legs straight up in the air.  And it wasn't moving.  As we approached, Dad said, "I think rigamortis has set in!"  Someone (maybe or maybe not me...I can't recall) suggested we pull over to get a photo.  I mean, it's not everyday you see something this crazy, right?  We needed evidence.  As we slowed to a stop, we noticed the dog had company.  On the porch sat a rugged old man with a shotgun by his side.  Um. Nevermind about that picture, Mom!!  Let's get the heck outta here!! 

Molly's (Do we really have to go again this year?) Ride

The Civil War re-enactment of The Battle of Sacramento is our home county's claim to fame.  Every May folks from far and wide convene on little ole McLean County to check out the settler's tents and see if the North or South will win the Battle.  At first, it was fun to go.  The kettle corn and cream soda were treats to look forward to each year.  And I always loved Molly's Ride as she went to notify the troops their opposition was near.  But then after year two...and year three...and year lost a little appeal.  If you ever find yourself in McLean County around Battle time though, it's worth a peek for a first time viewer!

"I Love You, Dad"

Working Cincinnati Bengals camp during my undergraduate summers became routine while at Georgetown.  My family usually came up to visit at some point throughout camp.  After a few years of getting to know the coaches and players, I was quite comfortable around this bunch.  Among others, Chad Johnson was always one of my favorites.  And, in true Chad fashion, when I introduced him to my dad he exclaimed "Dad!  I Love You, Dad!" as he embraced and lifted Dad off the ground.'s a family portrait of Dad with all his kids!

A Derby to Remember

The 136th running of the Kentucky Derby is the only one I'll never forget.  It was the year my friend Reba and I completed our own triple crown...and we kicked it off with my family at the Derby!  My dad and I have always enjoyed the track.  We've even won big a few times.  Ok, maybe it was just that once, but we have fun regardless.  The rest of my family wasn't super thrilled about the experience though I recall them enjoying the fried turkey legs!  But, I digress.  We arrived early, brought our chairs and set up shop in the only area that we could see even a sliver of the track.  We were all set.  Or so we thought.  As race after race went by, the infield became more and more crowded.  The day had already begun with a drizzle that turned into full out rain showers that pitter pattered into sunshine so we were prepared for anything.  And by anything I mean drunk frat boys that had been sliding through the mud for hours who thought they could waltz right up in front of our group as soon as the bugle player began his call to post for the biggest race of the day year.  Oh, no they didn't!!  The New Yorker in me came right out and promptly put those folks in their place much to the chagrin of my more mild mannered family.  Minutes later, we saw those horses for the split second they whizzed by our 2 inch viewing window between a fence post and a security station though.  And that made everything worth it!  However, you'll never catch me in the infield again.  If another Derby is in my cards, I'll have a (preferably covered) seat in the grandstands!

Have you ever been to my old Kentucky home?

Literally, My Old Kentucky Home...

Do you have any questions about things to do or places to visit in KY?

Andrea :)

1 comment:

  1. Your house is gorgeous! I've driven through Kentucky quite a few times, and made a few stops here and there, but never really spent a good deal of time there. Looks like we're missing out! I'd love to go to the Derby someday.