Sunday, September 19, 2010

Beautiful Lexington

Bluegrass Country around Lexington, Kentucky

I love to travel, and Lexington, Kentucky is one of my favorite cities. This city is full of history, famous Americans, and is the horse capital of the world.

I fell in love with beautiful horses when I worked for Winthrop Rockefeller on Petit Jean Mountain in Arkansas each summer.

Many times on a long weekend while living in Columbus, Ohio, we would drive down to Lexington to visit the many horse farms in the area. To view the many thoroughbreds in the area was a breathtaking surrounded by the beautiful fences and barns were a real enjoyment.

Lexington is listed in the National Geographic Traveler's "50 Best Places of a Lifetime", and I can see why, because it is in Kentucky's famed Bluegrass Region is at the heart of this region of rare beauty, but the region is dotted with charming small towns to explore.

A number of years ago, a Doctor, who was a close friend of mine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, had the opportunity to join the staff at the medical school at the University of Kentucky. Since he knew I was a traveler asked me what I thought of the town and the area, and I suppose he liked my answer because he now is a professor of his specialty at this well known medical school.

I am especially interested in Civil War sites, historic homes, folk arts and crafts, hiking, bird watching, antiques, horse farms, museums, art galleries or memorable dining, and this Bluegrass area has a wealth of attractions to discover.

When we visited Lexington In the early spring, there is a hint of blue in the grass which prompted the early settlers to call the area, "the Bluegrass".

Lexington it’s far from being a rural community because this region is the second-largest city in Kentucky and the 65th largest in the United States with a Combined Statistical Area of 666,707 people. The city also ranks 10th among US cities in college education rate, with 39.5% of residents having at least a Bachelor's Degree. The major colleges here are Transylvania University, the University of Kentucky and Bluegrass Community & Technical College.

And for us computer lovers it is home to the headquarters of Lexmark International.

And we seldom visit this area of Kentucky without visiting the Kentucky Horse Park where there are a number of horse sculptures in the Kentucky Horse Park including the Man o' War statue on a pedestal near the entrance. There is also a life-size statue of the 1973 U.S. Triple Crown winner Secretariat with jockey Ron Turcotte aboard. The equestrian facility is a 1,224-acre park dedicated to "man's relationship with the horse." Open to the public, the Park has a twice daily Parade of Breeds, showcasing both common and rare horses from across the globe.

Lexington was founded in June 1775 in what was then Virginia and 17 years before Kentucky became a state in 1792. The town was grounded by frontiersmen, led by William McConnell, camped on the Middle Fork of Elkhorn Creek . Upon hearing of the colonists' victory in the Battles of Lexington and Concord, on April 19, 1775, they named their campsite Lexington after Lexington, Massachusetts. Colonists defended it against a British and American Indian attack in 1782, during the last part of the American Revolution. The town of Lexington was established on May 6, 1782, by an act of the Virginia General Assembly.

Another reason I like to visit Lexington is because many of 19th-century America's most important people spent part of their lives in the city, including both American president Abraham Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davis (who attended Transylvania University in 1823 and 1824), Civil War General John Hunt Morgan, US senator and vice president John C. Breckinridge, and US Senator and presidential candidate Henry Clay, who had a plantation nearby. Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, was born and raised in Lexington; the couple visited the city several times after their marriage in 1842.

The home where Mary Todd lived still exists and the gravesites of many 52 notable leaders are buried in the beautiful Lexington cemetery.

I returned and saw under the sun that-- The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all.”-- Ecclesiastes 9:11

Dr. Alton Loveless is the former CEO/President of Randall House Publications, Nashville, Tn., He is a freelance writer has written for assorted publications printed both nationally and internationally. To see photos and read other stories click on

From my weekly Column.

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