The Kentucky Bucket List, Part 2: Reader favorites

June 29, 2011 

Our "Kentucky Bucket List" of 50 experiences every Kentuckian should do, see or have while living in our commonwealth, received tremendous response from readers after it was published June 17.

Inspired by Parade magazine's recent cover story on "America's Bucket List," our list — which was far from exhaustive — spurred readers to suggest ideas that we didn't include.

So today, we share 20 readers' suggestions of experiences to have in Kentucky before you die.

Our original list can be found here.

Oh, and our list was referred to on Myoldkentuckyroadtrip.com, a site devoted to "exploring the Bluegrass State." And the women who run the site created their own list, which they dubbed the "Kentucky Road Trip Bucket List." It includes:

■ Visit the New Madrid Fault line, a major seismic zone that dips in to Western Kentucky and produced an intense earthquake in 1811.

■ Attend any of Kentucky's great food festivals — Tater Days in Benton or the Country Ham Festival in Trigg County, for example.

■ Take a scenic drive along U.S. 68 from Maysville to Paducah "as it weaves its way through dozens and dozens of Kentucky's most interesting towns."

Our hope is that you take our original list, this list and their list and get out into our gorgeous commonwealth and start checking them off.

Reader-submitted Kentucky bucket list

1. Visit Fort Boonesborough State Park, then eat at Hall's on the River in Winchester and enjoy Mrs. Bell's original beer cheese.

2. Drive along Old Frankfort Pike, one of the prettiest roads in the state. You'll pass through six historic districts and by four National Historic Register properties on the drive between Frankfort and Lexington.

3. Visit the Jefferson Davis Monument State Historic Site in Fairview. Davis was the first and only president of the Confederate States. The monument, a 351-foot obelisk, marks his birth site.

4. Go see pioneer Daniel Boone's grave site at the Frankfort Cemetery. From the grave, you get a scenic view of the Kentucky River.

5. Drive over the three covered bridges in Fleming County. While there, you can visit the Fleming County Covered Bridge Museum in Flemingsburg.

6. Enjoy some recreation and wildlife at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. The area is managed by the Forest Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is nestled between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.

7. Read anything by Jesse Stuart. The late poet laureate of Kentucky published 2,000 poems, 460 short stories and more than 60 books.

8. Watch the sunset from the Kentucky Lake jetty at Lighthouse Landing in Grand Rivers. In 2006, Cosmopolitan magazine readers named it one of the 50 most romantic spots.

9. Learn some history at White Hall State Historic Site in Richmond. The estate dates back to 1798 and was Cassius M. Clay's country home. This 44-room Victorian mansion is described by AAA as a crown jewel and a hidden secret among local residents.

10. Bob and weave like boxing's greatest legend, Muhammad Ali. The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville opened in 2005. Nicknamed "The Greatest," the Louisville native described his boxing style as "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." He'll turn 70 in 2012.

11. Attend a production at the outdoor theater in the Jenny Wiley State Resort Park in Prestonsburg. This summer, productions include Annie and The Frog Prince.

12. Ride the Big South Fork Scenic Railroad in Stearns. From April through October, take a 16-mile round trip on the K&T Special aboard enclosed or open-air cars.

13. Take some pictures at Bad Branch Falls State Nature Preserve in Letcher County. In a deep cove on the south side of Pine Mountain off U.S. 119, this hollow is one of the most spectacular pieces of natural beauty left in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky — or anywhere else, probably.

14. Journey to Pine Mountain State Park and hike out to the chain rock hiking trail. The story goes that in 1933, locals formed a committee to chain the rock to the mountain for fear that it would fall on the city of Pineville. The 101-foot-long, 11/2-ton chain was muled to the top of the mountain to attach the rock to the cliff.

15. Join the whitewater fanatics who paddle the Class 5 Breaks Canyon of the Russell Fork. It's near Elkhorn City in the southeast section of Pike County.

16. Go back in time at Adsmore House and Gardens in Princeton. Tours center on events that occurred in the restored home. The decor changes with the seasons.

17. Walk along Bee Rock Trail in Pulaski County. The trail has an elevation of 1,120 feet. Hang a left at the trail's intersection with Forest Road 5063 and rest awhile at the overlook where Rockcastle River flows.

18. Admire the stained glass at St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington. According to the cathedral's Web site: "The Cathedral's north transept window is the world's largest church stained-glass window, measuring 67 feet in length by 24 feet wide. It presents the early fifth-century Ecumenical Council of Ephesus that proclaimed Mary as the Mother of God."

19. Tour Whitehaven Mansion in Paducah. The Classical Revival Victorian house is home of Paducah native Alben W. Barkley, vice president during Harry Truman's second presidential term.

20. "Like" Kentucky for Kentucky on Facebook. Devoted to Kentucky and the cultural influences of the state, the page describes itself like this: "Kentucky is an awesome state. We first sung Happy Birthday, we first fried chicken, we first slapped high fives. We invented bourbon, bluegrass music, and the ... Kentucky Derby. We birthed cool with Clooney, Depp and Hunter S. Thompson. We championed sport with Ali, Seabiscuit and Rondo. We are the real deal. We're Kentucky."

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