Thursday, February 21, 2008

Konichiwa from Georgetown!

Through the comment of a fellow blogger I ran across this geography project from Bloomingwriter (thanks Vonlafin). What a great way to get distracted from the cold and ice outside...and no...we still haven't had any real snow...I'm sitting at home waiting for another evil ice storm to wrap up its machinations.

So - on to my locale - Georgetown, Kentucky! Even though we have lived in the central Kentucky region for about 14 years, we have only been in Georgetown for about 4 years and grow to love it more everyday!

As a point of reference, Georgetown is located about 10 miles north of Lexington and about 75 miles south of Cincinnati Ohio. This means we are south of the Mason-Dixon, but as a border state, we suffer from a slight identity crisis. The central Kentucky region is very southern in so many ways: horses, southern hospitality, sweet tea, slight to extreme southern twang, the occasional rebel flag on a pick-up truck, good ole-boy politics, and cowboy hats. But in recent years, this area has had a large influx of Ohio transplants (our family included). No place demonstrates this mixed culture more than Georgetown. As the home of Toyota's largest U.S. manufacturing plant (people here joke that the plant is actually much larger than the city proper), and training camp of the Cincinnati Bengals, the north and south seems to have morphed into a truly unique place.

Georgetown is a very old city, founded in 1783 with settlements as early as 1774. History is all around and the downtown area is perfectly charming with very well preserved row buildings full of shops right next to a series of southern style historic homes. These homes seem to gravitate around Georgetown College. Originally formed as a Baptist college, they have waxed more into a well known venue for education majors.

Besides the annual horse festival and harboring half of the Kentucky Horse Park, Georgetown is also known for another horse related event: the annual reenactment of Morgan's Raid. For those of you not familiar with American Civil War History, this event celebrates the Confederate raid of the city by General John Hunt Morgan - a very southern and celebrated local historical celebrity. Despite my B.A. being in history, I'm not really a big reenactment fan. I've only attended this event once, but I have to say, it is a fun time! The camp set up and battle that ensues is very impressive and fairly large! To appease the mixed culture I mentioned above, the reenactors play nice and allow the Rebs to win on Saturday and the Yankees to win on Sunday.

What is very unique about this reenactment is the fact that it starts as an early morning raid through the down town area. The photo above shows General Morgan arriving to perform his raid - visiting what used to be the bank but has now been transformed into a wonderful coffee and pastry cafe! Despite the distraction of modern day life (complete with cars along the street), nothing quite prepares you for the opening moments when the gunfire erupts and the galloping horses can be heard coming down the paved street - complete with rebel yell!
If you've never been to a Civil War reenactment, this would be a nice one for the beginner: lots of horses and action. The location of the event is also a nice place with lots of room: the Cardome center which used to be a nun's monastery... complete with old trees and beautiful architecture.

Just inside the entrance to the Cardome Center is a lovely gift from the local community, Toyota and our sister city Taharacho, Japan - one of the largest Japanese gardens in the U.S. and the first in Kentucky: Yuko-En on the Elkhorn. The pictures on their site are not very good, so as soon as Spring arrives, I'll take a trip down there to give you an idea of its layout and attributes.

I also hope to visit other nearby attractions such as Midway in the next county and tour the wine country that has developed in this central Kentucky area. If you're looking for a beautiful and relaxing area to visit, or a great place to garden permanently, look no further than Georgetown!


thepowerguides said...

Our daughter spent a long time trying to decide between Georgetown and another college and my wife and I both loved the town very much , in the end she decided on a different college which was a shame as I think we would have preferred visiting her at Georgetown .

As a side not we found both the people at the college and the people in Georgetown very friendly and loved the area and some of gardens we were lucky enough to see.

We are from WI so anywhere gets longer time in the garden than we do here


vonlafin said...

Your Welcome!!
Your town sounds very nice, and right now anyplace without snow sounds good to me!!

jodi said...

What a fun post. The civil war reenactment sounds almost as interesting as the horse festival and of course the Derby...another interesting part of the world I hope to someday visit. Thanks for participating, and sorry it took me a few hours to get here!

Bluegrass Gardener said...

You have a very interesting and informative blog. There's no place as beautiful as Kentucky in my humble opinion.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Very interesting post! I've been through Kentucky on trips from Chicago to Florida & have always found it beautiful. Is that reenactment in the Summer? The ones around me are, & the poor participants always get so hot & sweaty in those period costumes. Yours looks much more exciting than ours. How fun.