Kentucky’s McCracken Pike in Woodford County might just be the most stunning stretch of road I have ever seen. Heading to the Woodford Reserve Distillery, we had come in from one direction of McCracken Pike. While it wasn’t unpleasant scenery, it just wasn’t that memorable, although we did literally stop in our tracks (well, the car did) when we happened upon two what looked like a cross between a duck and a goose starting to cross the road. But after finishing up at the distillery, our directions had us headed towards Lawrenceburg, requiring us to turn in the other direction from where we had entered. The ensuing drive offered views that any painter would have enjoyed capturing on canvas.
The scenery at Woodford was gorgeous and it should have come as no surprise that the views further down would be equally enchanting. Woodford County is home to many horse farms, although the term farm seems like an understatement as we passed by what appeared to be palatial estates, all with estate names to boot. I’m not sure how but for a period of time we were the only car headed in our direction. A few came from opposing traffic but for the most part, this area of McCracken Pike was empty of life save for the many striking horses we passed by, they of course oblivious to the majestic scenery around them.
This is the land of Bluegrass after all, which gives the state of Kentucky its popular nickname. The term bluegrass stems from the Europeans who named it such after seeing the blue flowered Poa grass that grew there. In the 19th century, farms took notice of the fact that horses who grazed in the Bluegrass region were more durable than those from other regions, this being due to the high content of calcium in the soil. Later on, herds of bison would be eradicated and replaced with a multitude of Thoroughbred horse farms. To this day, the Bluegrass region remains a center for breeding quality livestock.
I had hoped to visit a horse farm while we were there, specifically Claiborne Farm, most famous for being the final resting place of the famous horse, Secretariat, and also home to Orb, the 2013 Kentucky Derby winner. But time didn’t permit. However, I can only imagine how exciting it would be to go through any number of the gates we had passed by. Maybe on our next trip.
McCracken Pike is truly one of the prettiest roads you could ever drive on in your lifetime. Unfortunately I was so concerned with not wanting to miss our turn that I only ended up taking one picture and it wasn’t even that good. Until next time…
Tips for visiting the Kentucky Bourbon Trail