Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lincoln in Kentucky

There are two national sites very close to Bardstown, KY  These are the national monuments which  mark the location of Abraham Lincoln's birthplace and his boyhood home in Kentucky.  The Lincoln family had a very interesting history before Abraham's father and family found its way to the farm at Sinking Creek Kentucky.  But that was just the beginning for a now famous son and American legend.  Most of what is known about his youth was provided by recollections from Lincoln himself.  His childhood was to be a precursor for a difficult and troubled life, but it was also what gave him the convictions that would carry him through the Civil War struggles.

Nearly 100 years after Lincoln moved from Sinking Springs, the cabin that is generally accepted as his log cabin home there was placed in a memorial building and preserved for future generations.  The grounds contain the Sinking Spring where Lincoln would have gathered water for the family and the grounds provide walking trails with markers describing historical information. 

Just a short distance down the road is the farm at Knob Creek, where the Lincoln's moved after a dispute over ownership of Sinking Creek.  Here Lincoln lived until 1816. Lincoln commented while he was President that Knob Creek was his first real memories of his childhood. The site of the historical park sits on the land that the Lincoln's farmed and displays the crops and other artifacts that provides some idea of the life he lived on the farm.  The log cabin on the site dates to the period of their occupation but did not belong to the Lincoln's.  It is a quiet setting to feel and think about this now long past time.  

Our last stop on this trip was the Seven Points COE campground just east of Nashville, TN.  It was a bit out of the way for an overnight, but it was a beautiful location.  It was the perfect final stop before heading home.

Our plans for our next trip in a week or so are pretty well set.  We will be first heading to Blairsville, GA where we hope to meet Karen and AL and check out the local sites.  Then a quick visit with our grandson and family and finally we will be attending the Good Sam Rally in Hampton, GA at the speedway.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Bourbon capital of the world

It has taken  me awhile to start to catch up on the places we visited on our recent trip.  This is mainly due to the time we have devoted to our new Grandson -Nico since our return.  While three weeks is not a long time, it is nearly half of his life so far, so we wanted to make up for lost time.

We decided that we would stay an extra day in Bardstown, KY to see some additional sites. Bardstown has several claims to fame.  They consider themselves to be the bourbon capital of the world and have been voted to be the most attractive small town in American. I was not able to determine just who did the voting for the latter, but we did find it to be a very pleasant place.  There are several historic buildings in town as well as some very well preserved homes.  You cannot not help but notice, as you stroll around town, that nearly every shop, no matter what they sell, have bourbon products displayed in their windows.  Even the family diner where we enjoyed a breakfast had a large bourbon display.

The first thing we did after exploring the downtown area, was checkout a new campground for our second night.  Staying at the state park was not an option.  We found the White Acres campground  just a few miles west of town .  The owner was very friendly and also provided us with several suggestions of other things we might like to explore.  The sites were full hookups with level ground and some shade.  If we ever are here again, this will be our home base.

We visited the Jim Bean Distillery, as we had heard that they had a new and interesting tour.  We were here in 1988 and the tour consisted largely of looking at the outside of some of the warehouse and some static displays on how the bourbon was made.  This time the tour was very detailed and at the end there was free sampling. In 1988, samples were not allowed since it was a dry county.  During the tour, we were able to see every part of the production and storage operation and given a very good explanation of how each  type of bourbon is produced.  Some of the fun facts mentioned was that 90% of all bourbon made in the world is made in Kentucky and that Jim Beam  is the largest producer. We have been through several distillery tours and I would have to say this was the most extensive.  During the tasting portion of the tour, the samples were dispensed by a electronic bartender. You were given a kind of debit card good for two shots. It was well worth the visit.

After the tour, we made one final visit of the day to the Bernheim park and  garden that was recommended by the campground owner. This was a very large private nature and art park that is open to the public free during the weekdays.  On weekends, it regularly has special nature and or art events on the extensive grounds.  It was a very relaxing place to spend some time.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Reconnected to the virtual world

 Once we arrived in Bardstown, KY , we unknowingly entered an internet free world for the rest of our three week trip. Normally, one of the advantages of coming home is the fast internet available, but  on our return Tuesday, the service was out and remained so until late yesterday evening.  Sometimes you cannot catch a break.

 Our stay at the Old  Kentucky  Home State Park was short lived.  We could not handle the crazy campground sites.  Besides the complete lack of level ground, the placement of the utilities was designed by a sadist.  The pictures do not do justice  to how bad it really was.

We did manage to revisit the Old Kentucky home grounds that was originally called Federal Hill. This plantation style farm was originally founded by Judge Rowan  in 1795.  Like our last visit in 1988, no pictures are allowed inside the home.  The property included over 1300 acres at its peak.  The Rowan family lived in the home until the great Granddaughter of Mr. Rowan left the property to the state in her will.  She lived in the home until 1924.

Why the home has become important was principally because a cousin of the Rowan family was Stephen Foster, who was prolific song writer, who penned the state song-My Old Kentucky home.  Mr. Foster only visited the home on one occasion.  Foster wrote many well known songs before his death at the age of 37.  Because the home was occupied by the same family for so long, there are many original pieces in the home.  The state has done an excellent job of maintaining the property over the years.  It is well worth a visit despite the photo restrictions.  Also on the property is Mr. Rowans original log cabin law office and a private family cemetery.