I-75, KY Glorious weather and an unscheduled day obviously require a day trip. I really had nothing in mind so thought this might be a good time to visit some new counties. I recently started tracking visited counties (Why do you think they call them counties?) and was surprised to see that there are a number of rather near by counties that I can't say for certain I've been in. This new hobby won't stop me from driving around aimlessly from time to time and I hope to never significantly alter a trip to tack on a county but I see no harm in sometimes checking to see if a minor wiggle leads over a county line. And I certainly see no harm in heading directly for an unfamiliar county if nothing more pressing is guiding me.

So today I headed for a cluster of five Kentucky counties that I have no record of having been in. I actually had made some preliminary plans to visit one of them, Woodford, a couple of months back. That was in March when John Nawrocki & I decided to register for the Woodford Reserve Bourbon Academy only to discover that it was already full. I suppose that may have had something to do with my picking today's targets. I headed south on the interstate and even that was rather enjoyable. I-75 through Kentucky is actually one of the prettier stretches of interstate highway and it had been awhile since I'd driven it. It seems that most of my recent south bound interstate outings have been on I-71 so it was a nice change to take the left branch at the 71-75 split.

Cardome Center, KY Cardome Center, KY Cardome Center, KY Cardome Center, KY Cardome Center, KY My rough plan was to catch US 60 at Georgetown and follow it west. Near Louisville, I would take US 31 south then US 62 back east. This little loop would take me through the five counties on my list and probably through an interesting town or two. A few miles north of Georgetown I left the expressway to pick up the first of the US highways that I would be following. That was US 25 and I wasn't on it long before encountering my first bit of luck. The road side was lined with the rock wall that sometimes seem almost endless in this part of the country. I looked for a pull off where I could get a picture and soon found myself in a wide empty driveway leading to a parking lot with large buildings beyond. This turned out to be Cardome Centre, a Sisters of Visitation girl's academy from 1896 to 1969 and now owned by the city of Georgetown. It is used for a variety of community functions.

But the real surprise was the five acre Japanese garden, Yuko-En, near the road. A pair of large wooden doors normally stand at the entrance but only one door was in place today. The charred timber over the empty side offers a pretty good clue as to why. Visitors may enjoy the garden without charge during daylight hours. This morning, I had the whole garden to myself and I did get that picture I stopped for.

Georgetown, KY Georgetown, KY Georgetown, KY Georgetown, KY Another half mile or so and I was in the center of Georgetown where older buildings set off the court house. Georgetown College is just a few blocks from downtown. Not every large building in town is a public one. The last photo is an example of the many sizable residences along the main street.

Frankfort, KY Frankfort, KY Frankfort, KY Frankfort, KY Less than 20 miles separate Georgetown from the state capitol in Frankfort. The large floral clock is on the back side of the capitol building. Another pleasant surprise was the short distance between the seat of state government and this quiet tree lined section of US 60.

Shelbyville, KY Shelbyville, KY Shelbyville, KY In Shelbyville, it was this odd looking building that first caught my eye. It sits on west bound US 60 right behind the courthouse. With that location and those looks, it seems a safe bet that this was once the county jail. I walked over to the east bound US 60 to photograph the courthouse and found breakfast. I had seen no mom & pop restaurants in Georgetown or Frankfort or some smaller villages in between. Bistro 535 isn't exactly a mom & pop but it is an independent. Very nice Sunday brunch.

Louisville, KY Louisville, KY Louisville, KY Louisville, KY It was probably the Studebaker that first caught my eye but once I stopped I realized that it was just about the most "normal" item on the premises. I'm not really sure what this place is. Art gallery? Junk shop? A personal display? The name Jerry Lotz appeared on grate work in the windows and on some of the objects outside so I'm guessing that he owns the place and is responsible for its contents. I need to get back here sometime when the place is open. Of course, that assumes that the place is some sort of business and is actually open on occasion. Maybe it's just a single piece of art for folks like me to stop and look at.

Blue Grass Parkway, KY Elizabethtown, KY Elizabethtown, KY Bardstown, KY Bardstown, KY I followed Route 60 into Louisville to somewhere near the point I had left it two weeks ago on the drive home from Tulsa. From there it was US 31E south to Bardstown. Bardstown is one of the more historic and interesting towns in the area and there is certainly a lot more there than a dinner train. But I've been in Bardstown several times in the past so passed on through with embarrassingly little notice and few pictures. From Bardstown, I added a spur to my loop by driving the 25 miles to Elizabethtown. Like many county seats, the Hardin County court house sits in a circle in the middle of town. Those are automobile parking spaces on both sides of the flag pole. The one on the right provides near the door parking for the handicapped. The left one is "reserved for vehicle inspection". I drove US 62 to Elizabethtown so drove the Blue Grass Parkway back. The BG Parkway is among the more attractive of the country's divided four lanes.

Bloomfield, KY Bloomfield, KY Bloomfield, KY Lawrenceburg, KY Lawrenceburg, KY At Bardstown, I rejoined US 62 and continued east. The drive to Bloomfield, where the first three picture are from, was pleasant and fairly scenic. The other two pictures are from Lawrenceburg. The drive between the two towns was fantastic. The road surface is in good condition, the views are either wooded hills or rolling farmland, and around every curve there is another curve. Someone driving a forty-foot motor home might not be all that pleased but I liked it.

Versailles, KY Versailles, KY Blue Grass Railroad Museum, KY Blue Grass Railroad Museum, KY Beyond Lawrenceburg, Route 62 was tamer but still pleasant. Approaching Versailles, the Blue Grass Railroad Museum, on the highway's north side, is hard to miss. The museum is open on weekends but had already closed for the day when I arrived. That didn't stop a couple of young boys from climbing aboard the locked engines and cars and pretending to drive them down the track. In addition to the static displays, visitors can enjoy a train ride along a portion of the old Louisville Southern Railroad line. The courthouse and building are in downtown Versailles.

Horse Country, KY Horse Country, KY Horse Country, KY Horse Country, KY Horse Country, KY Versailles is the published address of the Woodford Reserve distillery but it turns out to be some distance from town. This is horse country and that is no where more evident than on the drive to the distillery. The Ashford operation, bordering Route 60, seems to occupy a lot of territory but there are plenty of others. Stone gateways mark the entrances to acres of rolling green pasture and miles of wooden fence.

Labrot & Graham distillery , KY Labrot & Graham distillery , KY Labrot & Graham distillery , KY Labrot & Graham distillery , KY Labrot & Graham distillery , KY This marker is at the corner of US 60 and Grassy Spring Road, about six miles from the edge of Versailles. Grassy Spring Road ends at McCracken Pike where a right turn leads to the distillery. Trees and horses all the way. I had just assumed that the distillery would not be open on Sunday but it had been. If I had made my loop in the other direction, I could have been here in time for a tour. The historic Labrot & Graham distillery has been restored and is now home to Woodford Reserve bourbon. This small cemetery, with dates in the middle 1800s, lies just across the road from the visitor center.

US-62, KY US-62, KY US-62, KY US-62, KY From the distillery, I backtracked to US 62 and headed northeast. Almost immediately, there was a begin Kentucky Scenic Byway marker. I kind of got a kick out of this, not because the road wasn't scenic, but because it seemed I had been enjoying unmarked scenery much of the day. The drive was definitely scenic with plenty of green fields and grazing horses plus this tavern, now a garden center, where Jesse James's mother was born. The official scenery ended at Midway but there was still a little of the unofficial sort, including the town and its college. Established in 1833, the town is midway between Lexington and Frankfort by design and midway between Versailles and Georgetown by chance. Midway College dates from 1847 and is Kentucky's only women's college.

I continued on US 62 to Georgetown then caught I-75 north to Cincinnati.

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