Lottie Davies


Horses thunder around race tracks, bourbon pours from distilleries and banjos twang in Kentucky, a geographical and cultural crossroads that's part North, part South, part genteel and part country cousin. Every corner is easy on the eye, but there are few sights more beautiful than the rolling limestone hills around Lexington, where long-legged steeds nibble under poplar trees on multi-million dollar farms that you can visit. Bourbon distilleries also speckle the countryside, prime for scenic road tripping to swirl and sniff a dram at the source. It's like an offbeat version of California's Napa Valley, but with fewer crowds and headier alcohol. Caving, rock climbing and hiking prevail in the unspoiled parks and forests. And while big cities Louisville and Lexington have farm-to-table restaurants, cocktail bars and all of the other hipster requirements, most of Kentucky is made up of small towns with quiet scenes.

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These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Kentucky.

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