Bluegrass bucket lists: Enjoy ours, or make your own

Every once in a while, the reaction to a story in the newspaper takes us by surprise.

Such was the case in June, when we ran our first "Kentucky Bucket List" of 50 things to see, do or eat in Kentucky before you die.

When the list was published in the Herald-Leader and on Kentucky.com, you responded in ways we hadn't expected.

By email, in Kentucky.com comments and on our Facebook page, you sent us lots and lots of suggestions to add to the list. So many, we had to run a follow-up list a few weeks later.

The original story was the most-clicked item on Kentucky.com for several days running (which usually happens only for UK sports around here). And people still send us stories of how they're trying to hit all the items on the bucket list, using it as a guide to find their way around Kentucky.

That reaction inspired the publication you're reading: The Bluegrass Bucket List and Beyond.

The original bucket list is the centerpiece of this section, reprinted in a way that we hope will serve as a handy guide for longtime residents and new visitors to the area.

But we've also added to the concept, with similar, more specialized lists on things to do, see, experience and know about Kentucky and the Bluegrass. On these pages, you'll find horses and history, politics and sports, shopping and business, food, arts and music — all organized into list form to help you track the things you've done and the ones you still want to do.

As residents of Central Kentucky, we know this region and this state are rich with history, fascinating people and interesting places. The Bluegrass Bucket List and Beyond is intended to reflect that intriguing diversity.

At the same time, we know everyone has their own intensely personal list of things they hope to do. Mine is usually full of history, sports and things to experience with my kids. In the spirit of the list, here are a few things on mine for the coming months.

Experience an anniversary and a world record. Keeneland's fall meet will be turned into a celebration of the venerable track's 75th anniversary. Rumor has it that one day will include an attempt for a world record-size bread pudding. Gotta see (and taste) that.

See a clash of royalty. Dec. 3 will bring the University of North Carolina to town for a game between arguably the two best college basketball teams in America. The state will stand still.

Go pink. For the first time, the Herald-Leader will be printed on pink newsprint to help raise money and awareness of the fight against breast cancer. The pink paper will come out on Oct. 15, the same day as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Spend a quiet day at The Arboretum. Already a lovely spot, The Arboretum gained two important additions in 2011. The first is a stunning and contemplative memorial to the victims of Comair Flight 5191, a place for contemplation and serenity and remembrance of the 2006 disaster that still affects this community.

Spend a busy day at The Arboretum. The second addition is the Children's Garden, an enclosed hive of kids' activities with streams and gardens, caves and wigwams. It's a special spot and a nice addition to the long list of kid-friendly spots in Lexington.

Sit Down, Lexington. Oct. 9 will bring the first-ever Sedentary Parade to downtown Lexington, a wink-wink acknowledgment of Men's Health magazine ranking our fair town as the most sedentary city in America. It should be fun to see our friends and neighbors sitting around in the street, doing not much of anything. The parade will be held along with Second Sunday, a serious attempt to get people moving, active and fit.

Stand Up, Lexington. Since the Men's Health article, the Herald-Leader has written dozens of stories about ordinary Lexingtonians staying fit in a variety of ways. The city and others will be putting an extra push behind Run the Bluegrass, a half-marathon through horse country, scheduled for March. If you watch closely, you might see a Herald-Leader team running, in the spirit of staying active and fit.

You might even see the editor.

Enjoy this section. We hope it helps you check a few things off your list — and maybe add a few more.

More Central Kentucky bucket lists:

  • The Bucket List: 38 things to do or see that are quintessentially Kentucky
  • 3 ways to get an inside look at the Thoroughbred industry
  • Campus scholars are experts in unusual subjects
  • Options for diverse dining in Lexington
  • 11 places to walk your dog
  • 5 smaller venues offer big musical treats
  • 14 places to eat breakfast in the Bluegrass
  • 12 reasons to see a UK women's game at Memorial Coliseum
  • 5 top spots for horse lovers
  • 5 children's books about Kentucky
  • Top 10 list highlights the best of Kentucky's best
  • 7 suggestions for UK sports fans
  • 5 top hangouts for nerds
  • 4 places to get away in the great outdoors
  • 7 areas crucial to Lexington's black history
  • The best way to enjoy 10 sports at small colleges
  • 8 historical and natural places to explore
  • 7 places to see in Frankfort (without seeing a politician)
  • 7 notorious crimes
  • 10 unique shopping opportunities
  • 10 top buildings to see in Central Kentucky
  • 18 of the best holes at Lexington's municipal golf courses
  • 7 sites reveal Kentucky's rich religious history
  • 7 key arts organizations in Lexington
  • 5 rich, colorful Central Kentucky historical sites
  • 9 classic works by Central and Eastern Kentucky writers
  • 7 bourbon recipes that spice up Kentucky's signature drink
  • 11 people worth getting to know
  • 7 lesser-known businesses that have a big impact
  • Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader