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Guest Post: Staycations in Kentucky

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staycation pic

This week we are excited to have a guest post by Deborah Kohl Kremer. Deborah is a local freelance reporter and author of An Explorer’s Guide; Kentucky. We also have an awesome giveaway at the end of the post.

As the summer season approaches, we tend to look forward to the longer days, warmer temperatures and finding an answer to the familiar question, where are you going on vacation?   One way to end the monotony of looking for hotel deals from the former commander of the Space Ship Enterprise, counting up for credit card points for a stand-by airline seat, and trying to figure out if your family can fit in a compact or an economy rental car, is to cast it all aside and put your efforts into a Staycation.

Sleep in your own bed, make breakfast in your own kitchen then hit the open road, finding destinations full of outdoor fun, history lessons, and even….. right here in Kentucky, all  take about a two hour drive or less from Kenton County.

3rd Street in Maysville

3rd Street in Maysville

Head east to the darling river city of Maysville. In addition to their walkable downtown with cute shops, restaurants and art galleries, Maysville is home to the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center a fabulous place to learn about the area. Actually three museums in one, they host a historical reference library, a regional history museum and a miniatures museum.  The first two are a history-lovers paradise, but if you have anyone in your party who is not all that into history, it is hard to not be captivated by the Kathleen Savage Browning Miniatures Collection. The collection is giant but each scene, house and room is a recreation created on a 1/12 scale. Think teeny, tiny.

Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge

If outdoorsy activities are on the agenda, hiking trails of all levels can be found in all parts of the Bluegrass State.  Some as close asinside Highland Cemetery in Ft. Mitchell, and the 2 mile walking path through the Boone County Arboretum at Central Park in Union or you can head for some heavy-duty hiking at the Red River Gorge and adjacent Natural Bridge State Park.  Situated in the heart of the Daniel Boone National Forest, the gorge features limestone arches, rugged terrain, scenic vistas and looks much the same as it did back when Daniel first paid a visit in the late 1700s. Many of these attractions are the destination of hiking trails, but several are situated near roads and parking areas so if you really are not into hiking, you can still get there. At the Natural Bridge, they offer another attraction to get to the top: an unexpected ski lift. This lift travels the ½ mile up the mountain and drops you off within walking distance of the bridge. It is a scenic way to get to the top, but only recommended for those who are not afraid of heights.horsesWhat’s a Kentucky Staycation without some horses?  Head down I-75 to Louisville and set your sites on Churchill Downs. Not only the home to the famous Kentucky Derby for more than 100 years, Churchill is also home to the Kentucky Derby Museum. This interactive museum lets you climb into an actual starting gate, see trophies the equally-famous ladies hats from past derbies,  and watch the 360-degree high-definition presentation called The Greatest Race, taking viewers through the process of what it takes to win the Kentucky Derby.  Don’t forget to sign up for a backside tour of Churchill while you are there. The van-tour gives a fantastic perspective into the world of horse racing. And, of course, if Churchill has live racing going on, go ahead and plunk $2 down on the longshot. Who knows? Your winnings might pay for your lunch.

All of these Staycation tips can be beefed up or scaled back. Pack your lunch and eat at a nearby park or rest area or do a little research and look for a nearby mom and pop restaurant.  If you don’t want to spend money on a meal, maybe just a little treat from a locals-favorite bakery or candy store.  Kentucky offers a myriad of things to do and places to see. Sometimes the best part of any of these destinations is the journey to get there.  Enjoy your travels as well as your companions.

The Staycation Prize Pack

The Staycation Prize Pack

Staycation Giveaway:

We are giving away an autographed first edition copy of “An Explorer’s Guide; Kentucky” by Deborah Kohl Kremer, an autographed copy of “Adventures Around Cincinnati” by Laura Hoevener and Terri Weeks, a Kenton County Public Library water bottle, a KCPL backpack and a KCPL key chain card holder.

You can enter several ways. Be sure to comment separately for more chances to win. Enter by noon on Monday, May 13. We will randomly choose a winner through, who will be announced on our Facebook page and emailed.

1. Comment on this post saying where you would like to visit in Kentucky (required to enter).

2. Tell us what your favorite resource for a Kentucky staycation is.

3. Share this contest through Twitter, Facebook, email or text and comment here that you did.

4. Follow this blog by hitting follow and comment that you did.

Disclaimer: The authors donated the books to the Library for the giveaway.

The winner must pick the prize up at the Covington, Durr, or Erlanger Branch Library. Library employees and those living in their household are not eligibile to win.

Other Books We Suggest for Staycations:

“60 hikes within 60 miles, Cincinnati : including southwest Ohio, southeast Indiana, and northern Kentucky” by Tamara York

“Kentucky Travel Guide”

“50 hikes in Kentucky : from the Appalachian Mountains to the Land Between the Lakes” by Rogers Hiram

“Hiking Kentucky’s Red River Gorge : your definitive guide to the jewel of the southeast” by Sean Patrick Hill.

“Kentucky Bed and Breakfast’s Guide”

“The complete guide to Kentucky state parks” by Susan Reigle

There are hundreds of books about Kentucky at the Library. Stop by any of the locations and ask a member of the reference desk to help find the right book for you.


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  1. Jennie Fischer May 7, 2013 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    I would love to take the kids to the Kentucky Derby Museum! They would love it!

    • Erin Oliver May 13, 2013 at 9:01 am - Reply

      I love the miniatures museum! We’ll be going there this summer. Great blog, great ideas!

  2. Jodi May 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    I would enjoy taking the kids to Natural Bridge to hike.

    • Eden May 11, 2013 at 10:58 am - Reply

      Have you been there before? I’m looking forward to a trip there this summer!

  3. Jodi May 7, 2013 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    I shared this post through email.

  4. Jodi May 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    I follow the blog.

  5. Jodi May 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    I follow this blog.

  6. pamela Matthews May 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    I don’t typically use a specific website. I usually just type in the search engines free things to do in whatever area Im going to. You can usually find something the kids or the family can enjoy .

  7. Emily S. May 7, 2013 at 12:56 pm - Reply

    I want to check out the Kentucky Horse Park.

  8. Heather Johnson May 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm - Reply

    I’d like to go to Mammoth Cave

  9. Amy Quinn May 8, 2013 at 7:57 am - Reply

    I would love to take my kids to Red River Gorge and to Cumberland Falls. I grew up visiting the Falls every year when we visited family in Corbin, Ky. but haven’t taken my kids to see it yet. That’s top of my KY list!

    • Eden May 11, 2013 at 10:59 am - Reply

      That’s definitely at the top of my list too! What is your favorite part of the Red River Gorge area?

  10. Amy Quinn May 8, 2013 at 7:58 am - Reply

    I ask family and friends for recommendations on where and when to go visit spots in KY…I find that first hand experience is a great way to find little out of the way places to explore. We also use…the Library!!! What better place to find info on the amazing things to do in KY than the Kenton Co. library!

  11. Amy Quinn May 8, 2013 at 8:00 am - Reply

    I follow the library’s blog!

  12. Amy Quinn May 8, 2013 at 8:00 am - Reply

    I shared the giveaway on my personal facebook page as well as my blog’s page!

  13. Marianne McGhee May 8, 2013 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    Debbie Kohl Kremer has great staycation ideas! I would love to take my family on some of these day trips!!

  14. Linda S. May 9, 2013 at 8:24 am - Reply

    I always wanted to go to Mammoth Cave.

  15. Linda S. May 9, 2013 at 8:25 am - Reply

    Adventures in Cincinnati book is my favorite resource.

  16. Linda S. May 9, 2013 at 8:25 am - Reply

    I follow the blog.

  17. Matt H. May 9, 2013 at 8:26 am - Reply

    I would like to do the Kentucky Bourbon trail.

  18. Matt H. May 9, 2013 at 8:26 am - Reply

    The library is my favorite resource.

  19. Lisa Collins May 9, 2013 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    Maysville is always my first choice to visit – with Old Washington a close second – the history is amazing and abundant! My typical source for staycations in Kentucky are through friends and family – with follow up on the internet – haha! I think there are still a lot of places in Kentucky that do not have websites – or what they do have are limited. Sharing of Facebook for others to see!

  20. Bridget Kaiser May 11, 2013 at 11:17 am - Reply

    I’d really love to go to Natural Bridge!

  21. Alice May 11, 2013 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    I really do want to visit the Boone County Arboretum (been near there several times and missed seeing it!) and go back to Yew Dell Gardens and finally visit Corvette Museum plus many, many more. So many places so little time! My favorite resources are Kentucky travel books and mags from the library and some online sources and travel apps. I plan on sharing this on twitter, facebook and more. I just followed the blog on twitter. I love the library and go every week. It is an awesome resource from books, mags, videos, games, use it for trips, fixing cars chilton manuals, music downloads and more it is a one-stop source for a lot of stuff from personal learning, learning programs for work – manuals, entertainment, furthering our education, classes, job hunting skils and more. Now a lot of it is electronic downloads and can be viewed from home, work on the road with my cell, tablet and laptop. It is awesome!!!

  22. Christa May 12, 2013 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Cave City (Guntown Mountain) and Mammoth Cave and Kentucky Horse Park

  23. abcgriggs May 12, 2013 at 11:29 pm - Reply

    An outdated Kentucky Tourism Guide is our resource and then the website of each destination.

  24. abcgriggs May 12, 2013 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    I am also following the blog:)

  25. abcgriggs May 12, 2013 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    We have chosen a staycation over a vacation a few times in the last 5+ years. During those staycations we took many daytrips in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. We had a great time at all of our destinations.

  26. abcgriggs May 12, 2013 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    During our staycations, it was so nice to not have to pack and be able to return to our beds at home each night!
    It was wonderful to go to a different destination each of the 7 days. We didn’t return worn out and needing a “vacation after our vacation” we felt rested and relaxed at the end of our staycation!

  27. abcgriggs May 12, 2013 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    I highly recommend the Kentucky Horse Park and the Horse Farm Tour you can book through the Horse Park.

  28. abcgriggs May 12, 2013 at 11:32 pm - Reply

    I liked and shared this on Facebook

  29. abcgriggs May 12, 2013 at 11:36 pm - Reply

    I use the library for any research I want to do, no matter what the subject may be!!

  30. MelissaF May 13, 2013 at 8:49 am - Reply

    I’d like to go to Natural Bridge. Haven’t been there in years.

  31. MelissaF May 13, 2013 at 8:50 am - Reply

    Frankly, I’ve never done a staycation but I’m extremely interested in Deborah’s book for that very reason. I’d love for my money to go to Kentucky.

  32. Anna May 13, 2013 at 8:54 am - Reply

    We love to find new places in ky to hike so that’s on our bucket list this year.

  33. Anna May 13, 2013 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Our favorite resource is 60 hikes within 60 miles of Cincinnati. We also are busy marking off our “Kentucky bucket list”.

  34. Anna May 13, 2013 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Shared on fb

  35. Erin Oliver May 13, 2013 at 8:59 am - Reply

    I would love to go camping in Red River Gorge.

  36. Ginger Goetz May 13, 2013 at 9:47 am - Reply

    We’d love to take our kids to Cave Run Lake! And our favorite books are the Kentucky Travel Guide and Room at the Table

    • Ginger Goetz May 13, 2013 at 9:55 am - Reply

      Shared on facebook

  37. anna May 13, 2013 at 9:55 am - Reply

    I happily follow the blog. 😉

  38. Erin Oliver May 13, 2013 at 10:03 am - Reply


  39. Gabreial May 13, 2013 at 10:09 am - Reply

    We would like to go to Carter Caves 🙂

  40. Gabreial May 13, 2013 at 10:09 am - Reply

    I liked your page.

  41. Suzanne Millay May 13, 2013 at 11:27 am - Reply

    Would love to visit the natural bridge area.

  42. Jamie Back May 13, 2013 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    I would love to take my four boys to Natural Bridge.

  43. Jamie Back May 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    I don’t have a fav resource other than Independence Library. They are so helpful. A guide to look over with the family would be awesome.

  44. Jamie Back May 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    I follow!

  45. Jamie Back May 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    I also shared! Thanks

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