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Featured Events

Sep4

7th Annual Lexington Fest-of-Ales

The 7th Annual Lexington Fest of Ales will feature 200 craft beers from around the US and... more
Sep4

Free Friday Night Concert Series "Summer

Enjoy CoraLee & the Townies!  Grab those lawn chairs and come enjoy the music... more
Sep5

Bluegrass Archery Tournament

Yourth 10 + and adults are invited to compete in the inaugural Bluegrass Archery... more
Mar21

Bluegrass Farmers' Market, Inc.

The Bluegrass Farmers' Market is the largest 100% homegrown/produced farmers' market... more
Jul26

The Red Mile 2015 Standardbred Meet

The First part of the racing meet features the Kentucky Sire Stakes racing series... more
Sep6

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  D Jay Rice!  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your friends... more
Sep9

Red Barn Radio

Featuring:  Joe LaMay & Sherri Reese & Friends  Enjoy traditional... more
Sep10

Thursday Night Live

Featuring Big Black Cadillac!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and great... more
Sep11

Kentucky Cork & Tap

Featuring Kentucky wineries and vineyards, local beers from Lexington's own breweries,... more
Sep11

Lexington Roots & Heritage Festival

Honoring the Past.  Celebrating the Present.  Embracing the future.  Enjoy... more
Sep12

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Gene Watson!  Enjoy great classic country, southern... more
Sep12

Stargazing

Enjoy an astromomy presentation and view the night sky through a variety of... more
Sep12

The Art Museum at the University of Kentucky

Wayne Koestenbaum:  Unfamiliar Grammer, Paintings from 2010-2015.  Bottoms... more
Sep12

Waveland Art Fair

Featuring Kentucky artists offering fine handmade crafts in a uniquely historic... more
Sep13

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  Jeff Barnes Duo!  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your... more
Sep14

Keeneland September Yearling Sales

This sale attracts buyers from all over the world.  Spectators welcome!... more
Sep16

Jefferson Street Soiree

The Jefferson Street Soiree is back after the success of its inaugural year and is sure... more
Sep16

Red Barn Radio

Featuring:  Alex Smith!  Enjoy traditional Bluegrass and Bluegrass Gospel with... more
Sep17

Thursday Night Live

Featuring Girls Guns & Glory!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and... more
Sep18

Festival Latino de Lexington

Friday night is tropical night and will include authentic Latino foods, fireworks... more
Sep19

Jim Belushi & the Board of Comedy

An alumnus of Saturday Night Live and Chicago’s famed Second City, Jim Belushi... more
Sep19

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guests, Joey and Rory!  Enjoy great classic country,... more
Sep20

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  Beyond Apple!  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your... more
Sep23

Red Barn Radio

Featuring:  Mountain Music Ambassadors!  Enjoy traditional Bluegrass and... more
Sep24

Thursday Night Live

Featuring The Barrows!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and great music by... more
Sep25

Anderson County Burgoo Festival

Lots of burgoo, music, entertainment and vendors of all kinds.    Held in... more
Sep26

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Mickey Gilley!  Enjoy great classic country,... more
Sep27

Troubadour Concert Series - Exile in The

Enjoy Kentucky's legendary rock and country heroes, EXILE, for a full concert inside the... more
Sep27

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  The Habit!  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your friends... more
Sep30

The Red Mile 2015 Grand Circuit

The Grand Circuit is the elite in Standardbred Racing such as the Kentucky Futurity,... more
Oct1

35th Annual Festival of the Horse

Exhibits, concessions, parades, carnival, arts and crafts and 5K run. ... more
Oct1

Thursday Night Live

Featuring Five Below Band!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and great music... more
Oct2

A Night Celebrating The Lyric

Help celebrate the 5th Anniversary of The Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center!... more
Oct2

Keeneland Thoroughbred Racing

No racing on Mondays or Tuesdays. See live Thoroughbred racing at the most elegant race... more
Oct2

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Jimmy Fortune!  Enjoy great classic country,... more
Oct3

Perryville Battlefield Commemoration

Battle re-enactments, living history, parade, food and crafts.... more
Oct3

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Bobby Bare!  Enjoy great classic country, southern... more
Oct4

The Bourbon Social/Bourbon Brunch

Located in the heart of downtown Lexington at the Bodley Bullock House, enjoy a Kentucky... more
Oct4

The Raven 10K Trail Run

Join the Friends of Raven Run and Lexington Park and Recreation for the inaugural 10 K... more
Oct4

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  Midlife Harmony!  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your... more
Oct5

The Bourbon Social/VIP Progressive Dinner

This exclusive dinner will only support 50 guests.  Five groups of ten, start times... more
Oct6

The Bourbon Social/Beer, Bourbon & Bacon

Enjoy an eclectic menu and pairing in the historic gardens and lawns of Ashland, The... more
Oct8

Thursday Night Live

Featuring Blind Corn Liquor Pickets!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and... more
Oct9

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Will Reynolds!  Enjoy great classic country,... more
Oct9

The Bourbon Social/Keeneland Tailgate

Enjoy the traditional Keeneland Tailgate in a format unlike any other.  In a private... more
Oct9

The Bourbon Social/VIP Pre Event & Cocktail

The Celebrity Guest Chef Ed Lee will create Kentucky Proud hors d'oeuvres alongside a... more
Oct10

Kentucky Guild of Artists & Craftsmen Fall Fair

The Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen’s Fall Fair is an event you cannot... more
Oct10

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Marty Stuart & Connie Smith!  Enjoy great... more
Oct10

The Bourbon Social/Main Event

The 2015 Main Event is an event not to miss!  The celebration will host the best of... more
Oct10

The Bourbon Social/Seminar Series

The 2015 seminar series will host 6 classes teaching, tasting and talking all things... more
Oct11

The Bourbon Social/Distillery Brunch

Located in the heart of the Jim Beam Distillery, guests will enjoy a Kentucky themed menu... more
Oct11

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  Keeton Zane Hilton!  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your... more
Oct13

Parson Dance Company

Exuberant. Virtuosic. Sensual. These words barely begin to describe the Parsons Dance... more
Oct15

Thursday Night Live

Featuring The Twiggenbury's!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and great... more
Oct16

Liberty Hall - Our Beloved Ghost Tour

Liberty Hall is famous for its Gray Lady and other ghosts said to haunt the house and... more
Oct16

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, IIIrd Tyme Out!  Enjoy great classic country,... more
Oct16

The Bourbon Chase

An overnight relay adventure.  Teams of runners cover 200 miles of scenic byways... more
Oct16

The Camp Nelson Ghost Hunting Experience

This fundraising event will lead you on an actual ghost hunt on the Camp Nelson Civil War... more
Oct17

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Ronnie Dailey & Vincent!  Enjoy great classic... more
Oct18

Tunes in the Vines

Featuring:  The Twiggenburys.  Bring excitement to your Sunday and meet your... more
Oct22

Thursday Night Live

Featuring Tony and the Tanlines!  Beverages, food from local restaurants and great... more
Oct24

7th Annual Kentucky Proud Incredible Food Show

Featuring Celebrity Chef Carla Hall.  Now in its seventh year, the Incredible Food... more
Oct24

Breeders’ Cup Festival Week

Come experience a multi-venue festival spotlighting live music, art, food and other... more
Oct24

Renfro Valley Entertainment Center

Featuring:  Special Guest, Tanya Tucker!  Enjoy great classic country, southern... more
Oct27

Alltech National Horse Show

The National Horse Show is America’s oldest indoor horse show, firmly established... more
Oct27

CP National Horse Show

A week-long championship event held indoors at the Alltech Arena, Featuring... more
Oct27

PumpkinMania

Join Transylvania University for their 5th Annual event as they light hundreds of jack... more
Oct30

Liberty Hall - Our Beloved Ghost Tour

Liberty Hall is famous for its Gray Lady and other ghosts said to haunt the house and... more
Nov2

Ice Skating in Triangle Park

Tis the season for ice skating!  Enjoy 90 minutes on the ice!  Monday-Friday 4... more

Visiting WinStar Farm

by Margaret, Horse Blogger

HORSES, HORSES This is a great time of year to visit a horse farmand WinStar is a great farm to visit!

The farm itself is impressive, and you'll have some pretty scenery onthe drive there. When you ...

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Horses and Dogs

by Margaret, Horse Blogger

HORSES, HORSES Things have gone to the dogs this week at the Kentucky Horse Park. Of course there are still plenty of horses of various breeds to see (don't missthe Breeds Barn show),but just now ...

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Camp Nelson

by Stuart, History Blogger

One of Kentucky's most unique--and important--Civil War sites is located just south of Lexington in Jessamine County.

Camp Nelson, established in 1863 on the Kentucky River, was founded as a supply ...

more

Western Dreamer

by Margaret, Horse Blogger

HORSES HORSES Standardbred pacer Western Dreamer is one of a special group of horses at the Kentucky Horse Park.

The Bay gelding--barn name Dreamer--is one of theretired champions in the Horse Park's ...

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Lots of Ponies

by Margaret, Horse Blogger

HORSES, HORSES Ponies are taking plenty of jumps this week atthe Kentucky Horse Park. They and their riders are participatingin the U.S. Equestrian Federation Pony Finals Championships.

Pony Finals ...

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Covered Bridges

Kentucky's "Timbered Tunnels" Are Rare and Scenic Connections to the Past

Covered bridges are fascinations of engineering and architecture, weathered reminders of days gone by, star attractions in scenic snapshots. Nestled along back roads like hidden jewels, they are the perfect excuse for a leisurely drive in the country.

PDF Box In Kentucky, 13 of these "timbered tunnels" remain. Though just a sampling of the more than 400 covered bridges that spanned the state's waterways in the 1800s, the peak of covered bridge development in America, Kentucky's surviving covered bridges represent a variety of construction techniques and sizes. And most are within an easy drive of Lexington.

Four of Kentucky's covered bridges are still open to traffic; you can walk through the others. As you rumble across in your car, or pass your hand across the heavy wooden pegs and timbers - rough-hewn to the eye, but worn smooth by the years - you'll experience the living sensations of another era.

These charming passages through time combine with other Bluegrass-area attractions to create memorable day excursions from Lexington. Here are some suggested itineraries.

Bluegrass Note: Covered bridges began to be built across Kentucky rivers and creeks in the late 1700s. Some were the work of nationally known bridge architect Lewis Wernwag. Constructed with often-elaborate trusses made of wood, they were covered to keep the main timbers dry and protected from the elements, a service they also provided for travelers, their horses and their cargo in the days before automobiles and trucks.

A "Capital" Project

In Franklin County, about a 40-minute drive from Lexington, near our state's capital city of Frankfort, stands the Switzer Bridge which spans the North Fork of Elkhorn Creek. Built in 1855 by George Hockensmith and restored in 1906 by Louis Bower, the bridge has long been lovingly tended to by the community. Despite these efforts, in March of 1997 devastating floods swept the bridge off of its foundation. Fortunately, the bridge itself was salvageable and was restored with the help of state and federal agencies. Its Howe truss structure (closed to traffic) stands 12 feet high and 120 feet long.

To reach Switzer Bridge from Lexington, take US 60 to Frankfort, turning right onto US 460. At Forks of Elkhorn, turn left onto KY 1689. About five miles down this road turn right on to SR 1262.

Bluegrass Note: The longest wooden covered bridge in the world once stood near the town of Butler, 7.5 miles north of Falmouth in Pendleton County, Kentucky. The Butler Station Bridge over Licking River consisted of three spans of 152 feet each, for a total length of 456 feet. The bridge was built in 1870 and 1871 at a total cost of $18,450. Severely damaged by winds and flood waters in 1937, it was torn down in September of that year.

The Bridges of Fleming County

In Fleming County, northeast of Lexington, you can admire not just one, but three, lovely old covered bridges.

Goddard Bridge, off KY 32, about nine miles southeast of Flemingsburg, is a favorite with photographers because when viewed from the east side, it perfectly frames tiny Goddard United Methodist Church. The bridge is still open to traffic. Although the date of original construction has been lost, this 60-foot bridge spanning Sand Lick Creek was built using an 1820 patent design and is the only "town lattice truss" type bridge remaining in Kentucky. The phrase reflects the criss-crossing lattice of timbers you can see inside the bridge.

Two covered bridges remain across Fox Creek near Hillsboro, south of Flemingsburg. Grange City Covered Bridge is set amid farmland off KY 111 about four miles south of Hillsboro. The 86-foot span built in the late 1860s features a "multiple kingpost truss," a design in which the bridge is braced with a series of upright timbers all inclined toward the center post.

Of similar design, size and age is the 89-foot Ringo's Mill Bridge. To get to this bridge, turn off KY 111 onto KY 158 south from Hillsboro. The bridge takes its name from a grist mill that operated on the creek during the 1880s. Both the Grange City and Ringo's Mill bridges are closed to cars, but foot traffic is allowed.

With its rolling hills and pastoral dairy farms, Fleming County is especially scenic in fall. Along the routes to the bridges you can stop at antique shops and country grocery stores. If you are downtown  on a Saturday or a Wednesday, see the Covered Bridge Museum on Water Street. It's open March through December from noon to 4:00 p.m.

The bridges of Fleming County are about an hour and a half drive from Lexington. Take US 68 north through Paris, turning right at KY 36 toward Carlisle. If you have time, you may want to explore this small town, chock full of National Register homes and buildings. From Carlisle, take KY 32 to Flemingsburg.

Bluegrass Note: The loss of Kentucky's covered bridges began during the Civil War when many were burned by troops on both sides of the conflict. The number of bridges continued to decline through the 20th century, victims to modern replacements, arson and neglect. All of Kentucky's remaining covered bridges are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A statewide program to repair and preserve Kentucky's covered bridges was announced in fall of 1996.

From Bourbon County to Blue Licks
Spanning Hinkson Creek, the Colville Covered Bridge was built around 1877, and is still open to traffic. It is located on Colville Road off Route 1893, four miles west of Millersburg. To get there take US 68 north from Lexington. On the way, you can stop in Paris to see Duncan Tavern, the restored pioneer stopping place. In Millersburg, north of the bridge along US 68, you'll find lovely restored homes, an antique mall and the old Millersburg Military Institute, now called Forest Hill Military Academy.

To visit nearby Johnson Creek Covered Bridge in Robertson County, continue north on US 68, turning left at KY 165, then right onto KY 1029. The 110-foot bridge, near Burika, has a rustic and weathered appearance. Like the Colville bridge, it was built around 1874. It is open for foot traffic. There's a nice scenic picnic area, making it a great lunch stop.

On your way to or from the Johnson Creek Bridge, you may want to stop at Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park. The park includes a Revolutionary War monument (the last Western battle of the Revolutionary War was fought here in 1782), a nature preserve and a Pioneer Museum featuring artifacts from settlement days through Victorian times. Each August, the park hosts a reenactment of the Battle of Blue Licks. If you can, include an overnight stay at the lodge.

 

Western Wanderings
Kentucky's longest surviving covered bridge is found about 60 miles west of Lexington in Washington County. (Take Bluegrass Parkway west to the Springfield exit.)

Mt. Zion Covered Bridge, also called Beech Fork Covered Bridge because it spans Beech Fork Creek, is the longest multi-span bridge in Kentucky at 211 feet long. The 1865 bridge is located off KY 458 (take KY 55 north from Springfield). The bridge is built of yellow pine and features a "Burr arch truss." This is a great arch of wood sandwiched between two king posts and is named for Theodore Burr who patented the truss design in 1804. The bridge is closed to traffic, but you can stroll through it.

In this part of Kentucky, you can combine covered bridge sighting with tours of such nearby attractions as My Old Kentucky Home in Bardstown, Makers Mark Distillery in Loretto, Lincoln Homestead State Park in Springfield and the Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site in Hodgenville.

Bluegrass Note: A fourteenth surviving Kentucky covered bridge truly is "covered" - by water. At the bottom of Herrington Lake near the Boyle-Garrard county line is the King's Mill Covered Bridge. When the lake was built in 1925, the old mill and bridge were left in place and were covered by the waters of the lake as they backed up behind the man-made dam. Due to the fact that the bridge has been completely immersed in fresh water, it is likely that this 175-foot span remains intact

River Roads and Back Roads

In Lewis, Mason and Bracken counties - all north of Lexington along the Ohio River- you'll find more beautiful covered bridges. To get to the general area, take US 68 north from Lexington to Maysville, about 67 miles.

At Maysville, take KY 10 east to Tollesboro in Lewis County, then take KY 57 north to KY 984. Cabin Creek Covered Bridge, a 114-foot span built in 1867, is about seven miles west. In poorer condition than many of Kentucky's other bridges, it was among the first to be tagged for repair by the state, and has now been fully renovated. Tollesboro is a charming example of small-town Kentucky.

Returning to Maysville, take KY 8 west along the Ohio River to see Dover Covered Bridge with its unusual queenpost truss design. Just before you get to the town of Dover, turn left on Lee Creek Road (also known as Tuckahoe Road). The road is not marked, but there is a Kentucky highway marker about the bridge at the intersection. The charming 62-foot span over Lees Creek is about 200 yards south of KY 8. Kentucky's oldest covered bridge, built in 1835 as a toll bridge, is still open to traffic.

After viewing the Dover Covered Bridge, return to KY 8 and continue west to KY 1159 in Bracken County. Turn left onto KY 1159 to visit the site of the recently renovated Walcott Covered Bridge , the only covered bridge known to have ever existed within the county. This picturesque 75-foot span across Locust Creek is thought to have been built in the 1880s to replace a similar 1824 structure. Some of the timbers from the earlier bridge may have been retained. It has been closed to traffic for many years, but walkways allowed pedestrian crossing. Since the 1950s, the bridge has been maintained by the Murray family whose property adjoins the bridge. Walcott Bridge is also known as the White bridge because its siding is painted white.

Before or after you visit Walcott Covered Bridge, be sure to take a side trip into Augusta, a charming and historic river town off KY 8. With many restored homes, shops and galleries, Augusta is a delightful place to spend a morning or afternoon. The town is also your gateway to covered bridge explorations in another state. Take the Augusta Ferry (one of only two ferries still operating in Kentucky) across the Ohio River to Brown County, Ohio, which has six covered bridges of its own.

A fourth covered bridge in the area is tiny Valley Pike Covered Bridge of Mason County. Just 23-feet long, this charming bridge is privately owned and still in use. It has served as the driveway to the Bouldin family farm since 1864. The farm is located off KY 10 between Maysville and Germantown.

Bluegrass Note: Blue Note: Kentucky has a Madison County, but it had no bridges until Bob Minerich built one. After the popular movie "The Bridges of Madison County", Bob built a beautiful bridge over Silver Creek and painted it red to match the rest of the buildings on his 1500-plus acre farm near Richmond, Kentucky. It can be viewed from Bogie Mill Road.

Eastern Spans

Greenup County, in far northeastern Kentucky, is home to two covered bridges. From Lexington take I-64 East to the Grayson exit. (It's about a two and a half hour drive.) At the Grayson exit turn left on KY 1. Oldtown Covered Bridge, a 192-foot span across the Little Sandy River, is located off Rt. 1 a few miles north of the Carter-Grayson county line. Open to foot traffic, the bridge is along the route to Greenbo Lake State Resort Park, which features a lodge and an attractive fishing lake. Also nearby is W-Hollow, home place of famed Kentucky poet and author Jesse Stuart.

The 155-foot Bennett's Mill Bridge spans Tygarts Creek at the intersection of KY 7 and KY 1215 in northern Greenup County. This bridge is the sole surviving example in America of the rare "Wheeler truss" style. It was probably built in the mid-1850s to accommodate customers at the nearby mill. It's open to foot and car traffic.

Bluegrass Note: Lexington photographer Jeff Rogers publishes a poster showing all of Kentucky's remaining covered bridges. The poster costs $16. You can order one by emailing him at jeff@jeffrogers.com.

For more information contact VisitLEX, the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, at (800) 845-3959.

By Teresa Day, a freelance travel writer based in Georgetown, KY

Updated August 2015

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