Make the Most of Your Alabama Away Game Weekend with My Kentucky Travel Guide
The University of Alabama Football Team hits the road this weekend to take on the Kentucky Wildcats in Commonwealth Stadium. Planning on travelling to the Bluegrass State to see the game? I’ve got you covered–check out some of the places and spaces you’ve got to see in Kentucky. I lived in Kentucky for ten years, so TRUST ME on this one.
More than likely, you’re going to take I-59 to I-65 in Birmingham and then continue on 65 until you get to Elizabethtown, Kentucky–there you’ll take the Bluegrass Parkway into the Big L-E-X. Let me suggest a few detours.
First and foremost is my beloved Bowling Green. In BG, you can tour the GM Corvette Assembly Plant and the Corvette Musuem. You can also take a tour of Lost River Cave–that’s right: A CAVE WITH A RIVER INSIDE IT. You can seriously take a boat tour in a cave. How rad is that? Take a tour of Corsair Artisan Distillery just off the town square–you’ll want to walk around Fountain Square and Circus Square Parks, too. For food, I recommend Mariah’s (WHATEVER YOU DO, YOU HAVE TO GET THE BREAD PUDDING) or Yuki Japanese (literally the BEST Japanese food I have ever eaten).
A few miles north of Bowling Green, you’ll be driving on I-65 and do a double-take when you see a GINORMOUS T-Rex off the Cave City Exit. You’re going to want to take that exit, especially if you’ve got kids. The T-Rex belongs to Dinosaur World, a paleontology playground. Tour the park and check out life-size replicas of dinosaurs. Serious photo ops here.
Cave City is also home to Mammoth Cave Natural Park. There you can tour Mammoth Cave, the largest natural cave in the world. There are no words for the awe you feel when touring this cave. The park is also home to miles of beautiful nature trails. I am getting a bit homesick envisioning the River Styx trail this time of year–the autumn colors and crisp air are nothing short of perfection. Then again, the park is closed until further notice thanks to the government shutdown, so… I guess jokes on us? Whatever.
You drive up 65 until you get to E-town. Once you’re on the Bluegrass Parkway, you’re going to want to take a detour in Bardstown, Kentucky. It’s a picturesque little town, but it is also BOURBON CAPITAL OF THE WORD. There are more distilleries in or near Bardstown than anywhere else in the state, so I don’t really need to explain this one, do I? If you tour the Maker’s Mark distillery, you get to dip your own bottle. Y’all don’t want to skip this one, though heads-up, Loretto (home of Maker’s) is a bit off the grid.
Enjoy your stay in Lexington. If you’re hitting up the grocery store to stock up on tailgating supplies, you may see a soft drink labeled ‘Ale-8-One.’ You’re going to want to buy it. A LOT OF IT. It is the most delicious ginger ale in the world and will pair perfectly with the sweet bourbon you scored in Bardstown.
My last Bluegrass State Pro Tip: Take US 31-W home. You can easily get on 31 in Elizabethtown and take 31 until you reach Bowling Green (or even Nashville) and get back on I-65. Before the construction of the interstate system, 31 was the main artery through which people drove north and south. Taking the highway is my favorite way to see Kentucky. Roll the windows down. Crank up your favorite music, breathe in the fall air, and check out how beautiful the Bluegrass State is this time of year.
Driving on US 31-W will also allow you an opportunity to see one of the coolest motels in the United States: The Wigwam Village Inn #2 in Cave City, Kentucky. I’d suggest a night’s stay if you can afford the extra time; call in advance, as their legendary teepees fill up fast.