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Kentucky: a road trip through the state - Part 25 - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

Before we set of exploring we read up on a brief history of the area in the hotels library. It seems that when European settlers arrived on the scene, the Bluegrass Region was in use as a hunting ground for many different Native American tribes. A famous person that most people will have heard of is Daniel Boone; he was one of the first pioneers to explore the area. He helped establish Kentucky' s first forts in Harrodsburg and Boonesborough.

Lexington was founded in 1775, seventeen years before Kentucky became a state. William McConnell and a group of pioneer explorers had made camp at a natural spring in the area. At this point word reached them from nearby Fort Boonesborough that the first battle of the American Revolution had been fought in Lexington, Massachusetts. At that point in honour of the battle, the group decided to name their newly setup camping site ' Lexington' . Fifty years further on in 1825, Lexington, Kentucky, was one of the largest and wealthiest towns west of the Allegheny Mountains. In fact it became so big and prosperous that city soon gained the nickname ' Athens of the West. '

The geography Fayette County is almost 300 square miles of gently rolling plateau in the centre of the inner Bluegrass Region. The area is noted for fertile soil, excellent pastureland and horse and stock farms. Poa Pratensis, which is bluegrass, thrives on the limestone beneath the soil' s surface, playing a major role in the development of champion horses. There are numerous small creeks rise in the area and flow into the Kentucky River while providing a great source of water to the distilleries on the way.

We did want to visit some of the horse farms but the area also has a lot more to offer as we found out when we asked for suggestions on things to do from one of our hotel’s Southern ambassadors.

On the horse tour we decided to visit the Kentucky Horse Park, which spreads across 1, 200 acres near Lexington. It’s halfway between a working farm and an equestrian theme park. Visitors can watch farriers and saddle-makers at work, or attend a show-jumping display. The other place we wanted to go was the Old Friends Equine centre which is a rest home for retired thoroughbreds.

On the non-horse front we decided we would pick three things we wanted to do. Some of these could be combined with our other visits so as to make for an easier journey.

Many people will recall a book of a few year ago that was made into a film called ‘The Bridges of Madison County’. The iconic image that was shown on both book and film was of the ' timbered tunnelled bridges' . So it’s interesting to note that there are no such bridges in Madison County. There are however still 13 that remain to this day nearby. They are nestled along backroads and pop up like hidden jewels. They present the perfect excuse for a leisurely drive down side roads rather than the freeway.

On the Arts and Crafts front then a trip to Berea is where you will find Appalachian crafts and folk art while visiting a variety of artist' s studios. While you are in the area then the Shaker Village in Harrodsburg is a good place to stop where you can see 34 surviving buildings. The final thing to do was a trip around the historic homes of Lexington, which included Kentucky' s first millionaire, one of America' s most famous statesmen, a Civil War general, and a controversial First Lady.

The next section of our trip continues in part 26

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