It became America’s 15th state on June 1, 1792. Home of the longest cave system in the world. Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. Home of the only predictable lunar rainbow in the western hemisphere, one of only two places on Earth one can see one. Birthplace of Mildred and Patty Hill, who composed the tune for ‘Happy Birthday to You’. Home of the city of Middlesboro, the only city in America built inside a meteor crater, a city, coincidentally, named after my hometown here in England. And the state is the birthplace of Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of KFC. Today, we’re in the Bluegrass State, Kentucky.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a landlocked state in east south-central America, bordered by Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. It is the 47th largest state at 40,000 square miles, with the 26th largest population with nearly five million people. The motto of the state is, ‘United We Stand, Divided We Fall.’
Kentuckians are a proud people who enjoy a slower pace of life. They are, in general, friendly, generous, hardworking, interesting and warm people, who love their food, music, basketball and horse racing. It is an extremely diverse place, perhaps best known as an agricultural and traditional state.
The picturesque natural and manmade beauty of the state is colourful and rich, a place of farmland, mountains, pastures and rolling hills. All extremely gorgeous, all immensely popular with tourists.
There are sights to see such as Black Mountain, the highest mountain peak in the state, rising to a colossal 4,145 feet. Striking and domineering, wild, raw and untamed. An empyrean and prelapsarian vista. Then there’s Daniel Boone National Forest, established in 1937, covering over two million acres. It was named after frontiersman and explorer Daniel Boone and it is amazing. Acre after acre of wonderful green, creating a supernaculum canvas of awesome splendour and delight. A landscape dotted with fascinating and quirky rock formations, plus stunningly beautiful water features. An area as diverse as the state itself. And then there’s Cumberland Falls on the Cumberland River, 68 feet high and 125 feet wide. It really is like something out of South America, a raging white torrent of water nestled between two banks of luscious and full trees. The staggered rock faces are brutal yet calmed by the dramatic tumble of each droplet of the majestic water. It is also the home of the aforementioned lunar rainbow, a rare and almost supernatural sight caused by the glistening moonlight high in the evening sky.
But I think the greatest sight of the state is the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, in the city of Covington. It was obviously inspired by Notre Dame in Paris, but very much stands on its own two feet as an outstanding and sumptuous piece of art, not at all what one would expect to find in the heart of America. Its striking grey facade screams an elegant and raimentless poetry in quiet whisper, whilst on the inside, one is draped and enriched in an ethereal and otherworldly aura. The soft lighting and finishes combined with perfect craftsmanship, catapult one into a place of the utmost incicurable wonder.
Kentucky. The state of bluegrass, agriculture and KFC.
1) The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption [exterior] (credit: wikipedia.org)
2) The Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption [interior] (credit: wikimedia.org)
3) The lunar rainbow at Cumberland Falls; the falls can be seen on the left, the darkening evening sky on the right, and in the middle, the ‘moonbow’ (credit: eyefetch.com)
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