Monday, April 25, 2016

6 surprising things we learned about Kentucky

Kentucky welcome center on I65
1. Like Tennessee, Kentucky falls within two time zones, the Eastern and Central. Unlike Tennessee, where the line is fairly straight and generally runs north/south, Kentucky's line follows county borders, wriggling and angling across the state. In one twenty-four hour period, as we traveled from Elizabethtown, south of Louisville to Mammoth Cave National Park, then east toward Daniel Boone National Forest, I think we crossed back and forth three times.

inside mammoth cave
2. Kentucky is home to the world's longest cave system, Mammoth Cave, which has connecting passages covering over 400 miles on three levels. Kentucky also has the second greatest length of navigable waterways in the US (Alaska has more), and the two largest manmade lakes east of the Mississippi River.

cumberland falls
3. Only Missouri and Tennessee border more states than Kentucky, and while the borders are based on river courses, time has played tricks. Several of the borders have remained the same since 1792, when they were first determinied, while the rivers have changed course (leaving a mile or two of Kentucky on the opposite side of a river from the rest of the state. In one case, a surveying error rather than changes in the river has left an area called Kentucky Bend completely surrounded by Missouri and Tennessee. Cumberland Falls, in the southeastern part of the state, is the only place in the western (and northern) hemisphere where a moonbow, formed by the light of a full moon shining through mist at the base of the falls, can predictably be seen.

5. Kentucky was officially neutral during the Civil War. Both Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln were born in Kentucky.

little red corvette
6. 95% of the world's bourbon is produced in Kentucky. In addition, Chevrolet Corvettes are only made in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Corvette is the state's official automobile, but the state's official beverage is milk. Not surprisingly, given the Kentucky Derby and all the horses raised in the bluegrass region, the thoroughbred is the official state horse.
mare and foal near Lexington