If you want to learn about Kentucky's past, present and future, Frankfort, Kentucky, is the place to do it. The state capital is home to numerous museums and historic landmarks that tell the story of how Kentucky became an important agricultural and coal energy source for the nation. Even if you are not a history buff, plenty of restaurants and outdoor activities are in Frankfort, Kentucky.
The state's bicameral legislative body meets every winter in Frankfort at the state capitol building. The executive branch, headed by the state's governor, is also housed in the capitol building at 700 Capital Ave. The domed building's architect was heavily influenced by French interior design. Guided and self-guided tours are available. Next door is the Governor's Mansion. Modeled after one of Marie Antoinette's homes, the historic home is also open to tours. If you visit the capitol or the Governor's Mansion in summer or spring, you will see the famous floral clock on the lawn. It is 34 feet wide, and is made up of thousands of flowers. Before you're done visiting the state capitol campus, make a trip over to Broadway and St. Clair streets to tour the Old State Capitol. Built in the Greek Revival style, it has an unusual, self-supporting staircase. It is also where the only governor in U.S. history was assassinated.
Museums and Historic Sites
No trip to Frankfort is complete without visiting the grave of Daniel Boone at the Frankfort Cemetery, 215 E. Main St. Boone, a rugged pioneer who explored Kentucky in the 18th century, founded several of the state's first settlements. Next, the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, 100 W. Broadway St., has numerous displays and exhibits about Kentucky's diverse heritage. The center offers programs and events for people of all ages. Across from the Clark Center is the Capital City Museum. This museum focuses on the rich history behind the small town of Frankfort. The Kentucky Military Museum, 125 E. Main St., and the Kentucky State Police Museum, 633 Chamberlin Ave., are niche history museums. Finally, tour the Buffalo Trace Distillery, 113 Great Buffalo Trace, to learn about Kentucky's history of creating strong spirits, both the liquid and the individual kinds.
To take a break from visiting museums and other historic locations, take time to experience the outdoors in Frankfort. Canoe Kentucky, 7323 Peaks Mill Road, offers raft, canoe and kayak rentals and guided tours down the Kentucky River and Elkhorn Creek. To experience the water without the work of paddling, Kentucky River Boat Tours are available at Riverview Park on Wilkinson Boulevard. The riverboat tours run April 1 through Oct. 31. Clyde E. Buckley Wildlife Sanctuary and Audubon Center has 374 acres with self-guided trails and a limestone gorge with exposed fossils. If you're in the mood for golf, Lakeview Park at 118 Park Ave. has a nine-hole course, and Juniper Hill Park and Golf Course at 800 Louisville Road has an 18-hole course.
Frankfort has plenty of places to chow down that range from casual to elegant. Downtown, the Kentucky Coffeetree, 235 Broadway St., has soups, drinks, sandwiches and desserts, along with wines and microbrews. On weekends, the restaurant has live music. Also downtown is Serafini Italian Restaurant and Bar. An upscale restaurant at Broadway and Saint Clair streets, it is listed on the city's tourism website as an "unforgettable culinary experience." Both the east and west sides of town offer dozens of fast food options, chain American-style cuisine restaurants, steakhouses, sit-down Mexican restaurants and Chinese buffets.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images