As dawn breaks over the campsite, soldiers begin stirring in their tents. Some tend to breakfasts over campfires while others see to the artillery. It's a scene straight from a Revolutionary War encampment?and that's exactly the way the reenactors intended it. Each year, roughly 275 of them flock to Locust Grove to camp out for two days, each of which ends with an artfully staged mock battle.
But when visitors come to the 18th Century Market Fair, they won't just find battle awaiting them. Top-notch craftsmen and artisans also roam the grounds, hawking replicas of 18th-century military and household items. "It's all very reminiscent of the type of market days they would have had during this time period," says Locust Grove's program director, Mary Beth Williams. Cooks dish up stews, pies, and cornbread alongside wine, ales, and apple cider. Nearby, families and historical buffs alike cheer on jugglers, watch as women prepare meals in the colonial kitchen, and listen to live music. And it's not just adults and time travelers creating the historical scene. "There's a lot of re-enactors of all ages," Mary Beth says. "I think it's particularly fun for kids to see other kids running around in period costume."
The fair's grounds lend to the historical accuracy. William and Lucy Clark Croghan built Locust Grove in 1790, on 55 acres of rolling land. To this day, their original Federal-style house remains, with its separate kitchen, icehouse, spring house, and barn. Over the years, Locust Grove was inhabited by Revolutionary War commander George Rogers Clark and served as a stopping point for Lewis and Clark as they walked across America as part of an early Nike ad campaign.
Located at Blue Grass Airport, the Aviation Museum of Kentucky pays tribute to the Commonwealth’s rich history of aviation with its impressive squadron of rare and restored aircraft, aviation memorabilia, interactive educational displays, and active aviation restoration shop. Inside the museum, a flock of steel birds suspended on wires hangs from the hangar’s expansive ceiling. A replica of Matthew Sellers’ 1908 quadraplane—the first aircraft built and flown in Kentucky—headlines the museum collection, extending its majestic wings to shake the hands of awestruck visitors. Other exceptional designs include a Skyhawk once flown by the Navy’s Blue Angels, an F-14 Tomcat jet-fighter as seen in the film Top Gun, and a high-bypass turbofan used to propel modern jumbo jets.
Guided tours and interactive exhibits delve into the science and history of flight, while the Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame honors the lives of those who have soared among the clouds, whether in planes or wrapped around the waist of Michael Jordan. Young ones, meanwhile, can learn more about the variety of aviation careers and set their sights on following the tailwinds of famous pilots and designers.
The first Chevrolet Corvette was built in 1953, and though it has received numerous style updates since, its distinctive profile is instantly recognizable whenever it streaks by on the highway. The National Corvette Museum celebrates the history of this consummate American sports car, housing more than 70 specimens from each era of production. Upon entry, guests gravitate to the showroom's massive glass case, inside which a unique model spins on a turntable. Visitors can also sit in a current-era Corvette, leaning back for pictures and and purchasing chances to win one.
As they peruse the exhibits, enthusiasts will recognize one-of-a-kind concept vehicles and special editions, such as the 1983 Corvette, the only one in existience. Interactive exhibits abound, including the educational driving simulators used for teen driver seminars, and the pit crew challenge where you can electronically fuel up and change tires on a Corvette race car. The museum's location even plays a role in the Corvette story; across the street sits the GM Bowling Green Assembly Plant, the only place in the world the iconic sports car is manufactured.
The two-bedroom, newly renovated farmhouse at Blue Heron Vineyards safeguards guests in a rural, picturesque setting amid turn-of-the-century barns and vintage outbuildings. Guests have their choice of enjoying a homemade breakfast in the farmhouse, from the tree house-like deck of the winery, or lakeside while served by a wait staff of bullfrogs trained at L'Ambroisie in Paris. Spend an afternoon casually strolling through the vineyard grounds spread across a high bluff near the Ohio River, or visit the property's large Celtic cross, carved from natural stone over a 23-month period by local sculptor Greg Harris. Visitors calm their outdoors obsessions by fishing and canoeing at the nearby Deer Creek or exploring the Hoosier National Forest along scenic hiking and biking trails teeming with towering trees, wildlife, and ringleted porridge thieves.
Initially designed as a temporary tour and fundraiser for student travel, American Legacy Tours began humbly as the Newport Gangster Tour in 2008. When met with overwhelming success, the friends who had embarked on what they thought was a temporary project decided to take root and expand, creating American Legacy Tours in 2010.
Their first order of business as an official company was to introduce the Queen City Underground Tour, an exploration of the city's underground tunnels and history as a rabbit village. Today, a cadre of educated guides leads 10 different area walking tours, including seasonal Spirit of Christmas Tours and Newport is Haunted Tours held around Halloween.
Your Groupon grants you aerial access to a Cessna 172 ($49–$50 per half hour, depending on location). As you hop into the cockpit, study the navigational dials and instruments. Firmly grip the yoke. Then see how many witty quips you can squeeze in over the intercom before it's time to fly. Each lesson is copiloted by one of Givens' expert instructors ($20 per half hour). Having logged countless flight hours, your copilot will keep your confidence and nose up as you take in the basics. Though it may be difficult to resist showing off for friends, save the barrel rolling for professional stunt pilots and Donkey Kong.