OK, let's do our own Kentucky version of Jeopardy!
The category is "State Parks."
Just how well do you think you know your state park system? Ready to find out?
a.) Which Kentucky State Park is located entirely on an island?
b.) Which current state park was once known as the Guardian of the Wilderness Road?
c.) Which park's campground is the busiest in the state system?
d.) Before it became part of the state park system, which park had the Dance Hall, a vast underground room where regular dances were held?
e.) Which state park has the highest elevation of any in Kentucky?
f.) In which park's lodge will you actually get a better view of Tennessee than of Kentucky?
The answers to these questions and many other fascinating facts — did you know that Louisville's E.P. Sawyer State Park is named for Ebron Powers Sawyer, the father of TV journalist Diane Sawyer? — can be found in The Complete Guide to Kentucky State Parks, the latest book by Susan Reigler, a former food and travel writer for the Louisville Courier-Journal. It's published by the University Press of Kentucky,
Reigler and Louisville-based photojournalist Pam Spaulding spent a year crisscrossing the state to visit all 52 of the commonwealth's state parks.
■ The smallest: the one-quarter acre Isaac Shelby Cemetery State Historic Site near Danville.
■ The largest: 3,700-acre Lake Barkley State Resort Park in Cadiz.
■ The oldest: Pine Mountain State Resort Park in Pineville, which opened in 1924.
■ The newest: Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site in Wickliffe, opened in 2004.
■ The most well-known: Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Natural Bridge State Resort Park.
■ The most obscure: OK, how many of you have been to the Old Mulkey Meetinghouse State Historic Site in Tompkinsville?
Reigler and Spaulding visited those parks — along with the others — and Reigler's in-depth knowledge of the state parks is an invaluable asset for anyone looking for a family-friendly, affordable vacation.
She has divided the Guide into four sections — North Central, South Central, Eastern and Western — allowing the reader to easily reference any park by geographic location. The chapter on each park follows the same format — an overview — in which Reigler gives snippets of information as to what makes the park special, followed by practical detailed information that every potential park visitor needs: location, accommodations, recreational and other facilities and activities, as well as special events. Did you know that Greenbo Lake State Resort Park had an Iron Furnace Road Rally every March or that the Glasgow Highland Games aren't just in Scotland but at Barren River Lake State Resort Park every May?
Reigler gives readers the skinny on which parks have the best golf, fishing, swimming, hiking, historical markers, accommodations, dining and almost anything else they want to know. She also throws in a bonus; in the "More to Explore" section at the end of every chapter, Reigler informs readers on what else there is to do in the vicinity of each state park. As a further bonus, in a final chapter she profiles three additional parks: the Kentucky Horse Park, the Falls of the Ohio State Park, and Breaks Interstate Park, which Kentucky jointly administers with Virginia.
Reigler's knowledge and practical advice, coupled with Spaulding's beautiful photography (165 color images), makes for an informative and beautiful travelogue on Kentucky State Parks.
Oh yes, you really didn't think I'd leave you in suspense as to the answers to our quiz, did you?
They are: a.) General Burnside State Park in Burnside; b.) William Whitley House State Historic Site in Stanford; c.) Green River Lake State Park in Campbellsville; d.) Carter Caves State Resort Park in Olive Hill; e.) Kingdom Come State Park in Cumberland, and f.) Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park in Burkesville.