I love horse riding, horse farms, watching wild horses and pretty much anything horse-related, so a trip to Kentucky was definitely on my bucket list.
What I didn’t expect, though, was finding vibrant cities nestled in the midst of stunning surroundings that offer great nightlife, restaurants and plenty of family fun to enjoy during the day. The three areas I’m referring to are Lexington, Louisville and Northern Kentucky, and they are known as the “Golden Triangle.”
Lexington: An Urban Delight
After a long drive, I checked into a fabulous old hotel in Lexington. Hungry and in need of a nice glass of wine, I wandered downtown and was amazed by the array of restaurants, bars, galleries and boutiques. After picking out an eatery on Jefferson Street, an area well-known for its good dining, I was surrounded by friendly locals who started telling me about all of the cool things to do and places to see.
Meg C Gallery, a local jewelry boutique, was recommended and I can see why. The owner took the time to tell me all about her unique designs and the gallery was gorgeous. Another local favorite is a casual café called Windy Corner Market. With its delightful menu, including po’ boys, juicy burgers, salads and seafood, plus a homestyle vibe, Windy Corner is a lovely spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Shopping for jewelry at Meg C Gallery in Lexington
Louisville Lifestyle via the ‘Urban Bourbon Trail’
My next city to visit was Louisville, where I couldn’t wait to experience the “Urban Bourbon Trail,” a series of bars and restaurants that make specialty bourbon-influenced cocktails and meals. You can get a "passport book" and with each place you stop to buy a drink or something to eat, you will get a stamp in the book. After you get six stamps, you receive a free T-shirt.
My first stop was Harvest, where the Old-Fashioned cocktail was one of the best I’ve ever had. Next was Proof on Main. The mixologist came up with some truly unique and outstanding bourbon drinks. At the luxurious Brown Hotel Lobby bar, the Manhattan and the Old-Fashioned were as opulent as the décor. That evening, I stopped by Haymarket Whiskey Bar, sampled their bourbon recipes and listened to some great music by local band the Monoliths. What a super fun day in Louisville.
Sampling cocktails on the "Urban Bourbon Trail"
So Much to Do in Newport
My final destination on my urban tour of Kentucky was Covington and Newport, two border cities situated right across the Southbank Bridge, more popularly known as the "purple people bridge," from Cincinnati, Ohio. There really are so many things to do in Covington and Newport, and I decided to start with the MainStrasse Village. The authentic-feeling German town is great to wander around, offering a unique selection of 19th century shops. I was very happy to pop into a bar, where I got to drink an excellent beer with a delicious pretzel and beer cheese on the side. Yum!
Next was the Newport Aquarium, a great family option where you can spy shark rays, alligators and penguins. I didn’t get to do the sightseeing cruise you can take along the riverfront, but it’s on my radar for next time. At Newport on the Levee, you will find tons of restaurants and bars. That night, I ate at Bouquet, a very nice restaurant with an excellent menu. I ordered the Motherboard, a charcuterie selection, and the Fenlay salad, and both were divine.
After all of the incredible food that I’ve eaten, the amazing drinks I’ve sampled, and the vibrant cities I’ve wandered around, Kentucky is one state that I plan to return to sooner rather than later.
Dining out with friends in Newport