Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kentucky - Interesting Places to Visit

Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park

This park located in Dawson Spring is a quiet and peaceful resort which is scenically situated overlooking a small lake and beach. The park has been named for an aromatic wildflower known as Pennyroyal. These wonderful wildflowers blanket hillsides here and begin to burst forth in small lilac-blue blossoms come in May. Here one can find the Pennyrile Lodge which was built from native stone and is surrounded by flowering shrubs along with the fringe tree which gives off a delicate scent. During the summers many swimmers are attracted to the 55-acre lake which has sandy beaches and a bathhouse complex. Visitors can rent both rowboats and paddle boats. For those who enjoy fishing four miles down the road from the park is Lake Beshear which offers crappies, largemouth bass, channel catfish and bluegills.

There are several trails including one for horseback riders, so that visitors to this park can enjoy taking long strolls and can also take a walk through the adjacent 15,000 acre forest. The forest is home to white-tailed deer and wild turkeys which can be seen quite often. Some other residents are bobcats, but they are not seen often. Among the bird population there are cardinals, wrens, and mourning doves that fill the forest with song. Within the park there is also a riding stable, a nine-hole golf course, two tennis courts and two playgrounds. The lovely picnic area overlooks the lake and has tables and grills. In a more remote part, one can find campsites which offer water and electricity hook-ups.

MainStrasse Village

Can be found in Covington. A group of German settlers came to the area at the end of the 18th century and like what they saw, so much that they established the town of Covington on the banks of the Ohio River. Today this peaceful town has become a bustling, modern metropolis. As the years went by, a lot of the older neighborhoods fell into disrepair. Then in the 1970s a plan was set up to restore a 30-block section of town which dated back to the 1830s and at this time the Carroll Chimes Bell Tower was built. This section is now called MainStrasse Village and the tall, narrow, closely built buildings reflect their German origins. This area has many arts, crafts and antique shops and among other restaurants and pubs, the Strasse Haus offers German and American dishes.

The Carroll Chimes Bell Tower is a 100-foot clock tower built of brick in traditional German medieval style. There is an illuminated clock on all four sides of the square top of the tower and is capped off by a peaked roof. The carillon of 43 bells strikes each hour as animated figures step out onto a balcony and you can see the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin reenacted. Opposite the clock tower is a mall which has a center row of linden trees ending at a fountain which has been decorated by a statue of a goose girl. However this village is not a museum, it is an area where residents of Covington live, but has the charm and appearance that is associated with the Old World as it was in the 19th century.

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site

This is in Hodgenville. The Sinking Spring Farm stands on a hill and consists of 300-acres. The farm was purchased by Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln in 1808 and now one can see a Doric-columned marble and granite memorial building with 56 steps which represent each year of Abraham Lincoln’s life. Within the memorial is a single-room log cabin in which the 16th President of the U.S. was born on February 12th, 1809. The cabin had only one window which was covered in the winter by oiled paper or animal skin. On one wall of the memorial building, visitors can see photos of President Lincoln in the office. It was in 1900 that the Lincoln Farm Association was formed by such prominent Americans as Mark Twain and William Jennings Bryan in order to preserve Lincoln’s birthplace. It was ten years later that President Theodore Roosevelt put down the cornerstone for the memorial building and the cabin finally had a permanent home. Around the area are several hiking trails winding through fields, and forests within the park and picnic facilities are also available.

Mill Springs, Grist Mill

This mill has been part of this steep and wooded hillside since the early 1800s. However the present mill found here dates back from 1877 and in 1912. A 40-foot iron overshot waterwheel was added and is thought to be one of the largest in the world. Thirteen springs provide power for the mill as they come together to form a stream which then runs down the hillside into a large pipe that leads on to the waterwheel. The mill building itself is a large, white clapboard structure which has a stone foundation and it overlooks Lake Cumberland. By way of a walkway you can get under the mill to take a look at the wheel and the main drive shaft. The belts go running to the upper floor where the corn gets ground and you can purchase the ground cornmeal at the gift shop.

This place has its own bit of history as well. On January 19, 1862 here at Mill Springs began the battle of the Kentucky-Tennessee campaign during the Civil War. It was a conflict which ended with a victory for the Union troops. Here you can still see upon a hillside overlooking the mill the Brown-Lanier house which was once the home of the early mill owner and served as Confederate headquarters. It is listed on the Register of National Historic Places. You’ll find a path which leads from the mill to the Mill Springs Park on Cumberland Lake where you’ll find picnic areas and a boat dock. Throughout the park are several scenic hiking trails.

Yahoo Falls Scenic Area

Located in McCreary County, Kentucky. It was during the American Revolution that a man known as "Big Jake" Troxell was sent by George Washington’s staff to live among the Indians of Kentucky in order to prevent them from supporting the British. He was welcomed by the Cherokees (Tsa-Waagan) and lived in the village eventually marrying the chief’s daughter, Princess Cornblossom. Together they had a son who they named Little Jake. It was in 1810 when Princess Cornblossom saw how difficult times were for her people that she moved the tribe to Tennessee. To begin the trip the tribe gathered near Yahoo Falls and at this point were massacred by a group of settlers. Princess Cornblossom and her son arrived toward the end of the attack and shot three of the surviving white people. Princess Cornblossom was so grief-stricken that she died soon afterwards and Big Jake died two days after her. Losing his parents Little Jake terrorized settlers in the area for several years and then finally surrendered.

The Yahoo Falls Scenic Area is located within the Daniel Boone National Forest. Here there is a picnic ground and shelter at the parking area. There are several hiking trails including 250-mile Sheltowee Trace meant for backpackers. The falls can be reached by a signed ¼ mile path which leads through the forest to the head of a deep gorge. Here there is a walled observation platform from which one can look down on Yahoo Falls as it plunges down 113 feet from the Cumberland Plateau into the gorge below. The best seasons for viewing the falls are spring and autumn.

Duncan Tavern

This is located at Paris, Kentucky. The tavern stands three stories high and is made of gray Kentucky limestone. It faces the Paris public square which dates back to the days when this area was still a part of Virginia. This tavern was built in 1788 by Major Joseph Duncan. When the major died he left behind his wife Anne Duncan and six small children. His wife being unable to take care of the 20 room tavern leased it and built an adjoining log and clapboard structure which is now known as the Anne Duncan House. Since the tavern was located near the Bourbon County Courthouse where many lawsuits over land claims were presented. Duncan Tavern became a place for gatherings of distinguished early Americans such as Daniel Boone and Michael Stoner. Then in 1940 the tavern and the adjoining house were taken in trust by the Kentucky Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. All the buildings were restored and furnished with antiques. All the carpets, silver, china, paintings, carvings and furniture date before 1820.

Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

Located in Millsboro, Kentucky. A creek flowed north toward the Cumberland River which first showed the war through this section of the Appalachian Range. Here you could see herds of buffalo wandering along Yellow Creek soon to be followed by the Indians who created what was known as the Warrior Path, which linked the Cherokees of the east with the Shawnees to the northwest. This route was traveled by fur traders, hunters and pioneer farmers. It was in 1775 that Daniel Boone and a crew of axmen came along the Wilderness Road and opened up a corridor which led to the first migration to the west. In the early 1800s as more and more westward routes developed, the Cumberland Gap lost its significance. However it remained as an interesting piece of history.

Today road winds up from the visitor center up to the 2,500 foot Pinnacle. There is a short footpath which is bordered by wild phlox and mountain laurel and leads from the parking area to an overlook which offers an amazing view of the gap, the valleys and peaks of three states. One can draw everything in closer through a mounted telescope. One can find in the park the Hensley Settlement which is a wilderness community of 12 farmsteads, established on Brush Mountain in the early 1900s by the Hensley and Gibbons families. It was finally abandoned in the 1950s. It has now been restored and people can take a look at this area reaching it with four-wheel drive vehicles or a four-mile hike over rough terrain. There are four primitive campsites which are accessible only by foot located on the Ridge Trail which is a route along the Kentucky-Virginia border. Throughout the park are picnic areas and hiking trails. One can get information and maps at the visitor center in Millsboro.
By Rasma Raisters
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