I've always been a proponent for "being a tourist in your own state", and as autumn is my favorite season, this year I was excited to experience it from start to finish at home, in the Kentucky area. Since moving back to Louisville, I've had a goal to see more of my state-- revisiting old favorites, yes, but also experiencing new parts of Kentucky. So, get ready for an image-heavy blog about the 5 places I visited this fall (so far) in Kentuckiana.
1. Maker's Mark Distillery, Loretto, KY
We began the season with a trip out to Maker's Mark to see the Chihuly glass art installation. I'd never been out to Maker's Mark before-- I'd done a distillery tour or two in the past, but the iconic and historic bourbon distillery was a head above the rest, I thought. The Chihuly pieces only added to the beauty of the place. We did a guided tour of the grounds and buildings, taking in all the sights, smells, and tastes of Maker's Mark.
2. Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Clermont, KY
I try to get out to Bernheim as often as possible, so on our way back from Loretto, we stopped by Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest for a quick hike, and I could see the leaves just barely beginning to turn-- early harbingers of fall. Bernheim has a multitude of options for walking, hiking, and strolling, depending on what you feel like doing that day. You can walk around one of the lakes, or hike up and over a creek in the woods. We did the latter, on this particular day.
3. Nolin Lake, Mammoth Cave, KY
Skipping ahead to the weekend of October 1st, I went with a friend to her family's house on Nolin Lake-- another new place for me. Most lakes in Kentucky are man made, dammed up rivers turned into recreational lakes, which make them quite different than what I am used to having grown up spending summers on the lakes in Minnesota. From the Nolin Lake State Park website, "The 5,795-acre lake created from the impoundment of the Nolin River in 1963 and the 333-acre park are located along the northern edge of Mammoth Cave National Park in Edmonson County".
4. Natural Bridge State Park, Daniel Boone National Forest, and Red River Gorge, Stanton, KY
People always gaped at me when I told them I'd never been to Red River Gorge or Natural Bridge State Park, both special areas in the Daniel Boone National Forest, which stretches across a huge swath of Kentucky. So this fall, I finally got to visit these amazing places! The natural stone arches in the area reminded me of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah, and I was happily surprised to find them in my own state. The leaves had also just started to really get colorful, which is always a thrill.
5. Huber's Orchard, Winery, and Vineyard, Starlight, IN
As it was getting closer to Halloween, I started to feel the need to visit an apple orchard and pumpkin patch-- you know... like you do this time of year. My favorite in the area is Huber's, in Starlight, Indiana (the only Indiana location on this list, sorry! I need to get up there more but Kentucky is just so fascinating). Surprisingly, I had never gone apple-picking in their orchard, I usually only spent time at their farm market and winery, so I was determined to do so. I ended up letting my mom pick most of the apples while I took photos!