No Destination: Jessamine (Aug. 16, 2009)

With thirty minutes to kill, I went for a quick drive today in my home county of Jessamine. I picked a couple of roads I had never before traveled – and, as always, was amazed at what I saw.

Corn fields to the left and right, access to a beautiful creek with rapidly moving water (I love the sound of moving water) and a small, country Baptist church. Even standing outside, I could imagine earlier in the day the Bible-preaching going on in that small country church. Here are a selection of the few pictures taken from the trek:

Also, I realized something really cool. My new iPhone knew exactly where I was when I took the pictures so they were automatically geotagged. Pretty cool.

A No Destination Map

Filling in the map for the Kentucky120 Project is much more definite than doing so for No Destination. Of course, that’s because the Project has a specific goal in mind – the courthouse of each county.

No Destination meanders, wanders down Kentucky paths – beaten or otherwise. I’ve been to many of Kentucky’s other counties, but I won’t claim it as a No Destination unless it gets at least a mention here.

No Destination: 5-6-09

I just realized that I never wrote about my first “No Destination” drive. It occurred in early May – immediately after my last law school exam. I picked up two Pepsis and a bag of Fritos and hit the road. The purpose of the drive was simply that – to drive. Consequently, I didn’t take as many pictures as I have on more recent No Destination sojourns.

I traveled down U.S. 27 from Nicholasville past Camp Nelson and across the Kentucky River in order to take KY-152 over Lake Herrington and to Burgin and even further, to Harrodsburg. While I gloss over the drive down 152, one cannot easily forget the beautiful topography of this part of the Commonwealth – rolling hills and seemingly endless praries, streams and rivers.

Once in Harrodsburg, I drove down a busy Main Street with its many shops. The most fun of my trip came up US-127 from Harrodsburg. With an eye open for historical markers, I finally decided to take breaks with my camera. In the small Mercer County ville of McAfee (est. 1779), I saw a nice little church. New Providence Presbyterian – so named because during a 1773 exploration of the area, the McAfee Company neared starvation until a deer was found, killed and eaten. The current church was built from 1861-1864 and the church cemetery was amazing – truly calming.

Down one small road, I saw a farmer using his horses to prepare the soil for tilling. Down another small road, I meandered down to the Kentucky River (and saw a wild turkey!). I’m not sure if I met the river at Warwick or Oregon – each was a ‘major’ shipping port for flatboats and steamboats destined for New Orleans. I sat down a few feet away from the river and watched it pass by. It was exactly the calm I needed. After leaving my spot by the river, I worked my way up a different road (Cummins Ferry) to make my way back to US-127 – then to Lawrenceburg. US-60 to Versailles and then my usual path home to Nicholasville.

I did manage to snap a few pictures:

No Destination 8-8-09

It might be a stretch to call this post a “no destination.” I was in Bardstown, Kentucky for a wedding this past Saturday and I had about an hour-and-a-half to kill. I headed into downtown, parked the car and began to explore.

Bardstown is best known as the site of Federal Hill, a/k/a My Old Kentucky Home. Relaxing on the grounds of this property, composer Stephen Foster wrote the words and music of the song that would become Kentucky’s state anthem.

Downtown is marked by a large rotary with the old courthouse in the middle. Bardstown, a ville strongly focused on historical preservation, now uses its old courthouse as a visitors center. (The new courthouse is not downtown; it’s next to the Bluegrass Parkway.)

The focus on historical preservation is everywhere – older homes and business are marked with plaques indicating the history of the structures. All in all, Bardstown is a great little ville. I hope to return to see the proto-cathedral of St. Joseph; apparently Bardstown was an important center of American Catholic life.

Without adieu…the pictures (be sure to read the captions):

Oh, and one more interesting fact. The first successful leg amputation (at the hip joint) was performed on a 17-year-old patient in Bardstown in 1806.


I have narrowed the scope of this site to focus solely on travels throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. I have asked my good friend, Nate, to join me in developing this blog.

Nate is on a quest to visit the courthouse in each of Kentucky’s 120 counties and has agreed to share his journey here. In the menu bar on the right is a button – click there to see only his Courthouse posts.

For those that are disappointed in the changes, weep no more my lady. The new blog will be much better!

The Kentucky 120 Project

Hello to all of Kaintuckeean’s readers (if they exist). My name is Nate, and Peter asked me to make a little project I’ve started this summer a feature of his blog.

So a few things first:

A few years ago, I was working for a weekly newspaper in Oldham County, Kentucky, and I stumbled on a web site. Somewhere in the Commonwealth, this guy was running a site where he posted pictures of all of the county courthouses in Kentucky that he had visited. I found this web site fascinating – one, because Kentucky has a TON of counties, and two, because I this is where I first began to see how amazing some of these courthouses were. The aforementioned web site has since disappeared, and before he quit, I think this guy got up to 50 or something which is actually pretty impressive. I mean, have you seen how some of these counties are shaped? Counties are crammed up in corners of the state with rivers and mountains restricting access by only a few state or U.S. roads.
But I’m a big history buff, and I love to drive, so the idea was intriguing.
Anyway, the other day a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook about an older couple that has been to every county in the state, and I thought to myself how awesome such a trip would be. But I wanted to do more than just visit each county – I needed something to remember each of them, something that would help define these little county seats in my mind. And so I decided to attempt to complete the courthouse project. For those unfamiliar with Kentucky, it has 120 counties, many of which are tucked away in tiny little corners of the state. And many of these courthouses are astounding. In the middle of a small town that maybe boasts one flashing red light will be this gigantic Greek revival courthouse.
So here I sit, post Kentucky Bar Exam with a month of time to kill and nothing to do. In the last few months leading up to the Bar I started making random drives into the Bluegrass to relieve stress, and I decided that it was about time I started having a point to all of this randomness.
So whenever I get the chance, I’ll be out in the Bluegrass with my camera, and instead of being embarassed by having to start my own blog, I’ll just post these random asides on Peter’s blog.
Hope you enjoy.


No Destination – June 5, 2009

Starting out in Nicholasville, we journeyed through Jessamine, Madison, Garrard, Mercer and Boyle counties. Here are some pictures from yesterday’s journey:

As always, there is a lot to learn in central Kentucky.

  • Tates Creek Road in Lexington is the border – for several miles – between Jessamine and Fayette counties.
  • The Valley View Ferry has a “perpetual and irrevocable” franchise issued by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1785 (that’s why the Virginia flag also flies on the ferry). It has not since ceased operation. It has been operated by Madison, Fayette and Jessamine counties since 1991.
  • “C6, H0” remains visible in Danville to remember when Centre College’s football team (in an undefeated season) beat Harvard, 6-0. It is the only graffiti that the Centre trustees permit on campus.
  • What do they do with the dead? After the October 1862 Battle of Perryville, the Confederate forces quickly fled the area and a mass grave was constructed for the deceased rebel soldiers.

No Destinations – May 27, 2009

On May 27, we started in Fayette County and drove through Woodford, Franklin and Scott counties. It was a fun drive with an in-depth exploration of downtown Frankfort – the state’s capital. Learned:

  • Bibb lettuce was developed in Kentucky
  • Kentucky has an “official” covered bridge; it is the Switzer covered bridge in Franklin County
  • Justice John M. Harlan, the lone dissenter in Plessy v. Ferguson (the case established the “separate but equal” doctrine, which was repudiated in Brown v. Board of Education; ) , lived for a time in Frankfort. In his famous dissent, Harlan wrote: “But in view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law.”