Western Kentucky

Hardin and surrounding counties are perfectly positioned at the juncture of the Bluegrass and the Pennyroyal Plateau, making it the perfect place to see the differences in geography, culture, and recreation available in the state. Western Kentucky, much of which is located in the Central time zone, has a lot to offer. Along with agricultural opportunities and the western coal fields, the natural beauty of the region and skyscapes add to this area's value. On the surface, the area has several lakes which are excellent opportunities for adventure. While the largest of these is the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, there are countless other resort and recreation parks as part of Kentucky's nationally celebrated system of parks. Several of these parks also offer glimpses into the history of the area or the lives of its celebrated citizens, such as John James Audubon State Park. Additionally, several towns and cities in the area feature riverwalks along the banks of the Ohio. The most nationally recognized natural wonder, however, lies below the surface, heavily shaping the landscape above. Mammoth Cave is the most well-known subterranean wonder, but other, smaller parts of the largest cave system in the world run around the region.

Western Kentucky is also home to many fun towns and cities full of things to do. Owensboro is the seat of Daviess County, and it hosts many events and festivals. Sometimes called the "Bluegrass Capital of the World," is is home to the annual ROMP Festival, which is hosted by the Internation Bluegrass Music Museum located in Owensboro. The town is also known for its barbecue, both at local eateries such as Old Hickory and Moonlite, as well as through the International Bar-B-Q Festival which the city hosts in May. Further down the road is Bowling Green, home to the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers, Duncan Hines, Corvettes and more. As a college town, Bowling Green has several cafes and opportunites to have fun, both indoors and outdoors.

Paducah lies in the far west of the state. Across the Ohio River from Illinois, this town is known for its celebration of folk art. After a stop at the National Quilt Museum, visit the River Discovery Center before grabbing an ice cream to take a stroll along the riverwalk to enjoy the area's beauty and floodwall murals. Additionally, one of the highest-ranked wineries in Kentucky and the largest in the state, Purple Toad Winery, is located just to the southwest of Paducah. Popular since it opened in 2009, it offers a wide selection of wines, free tours and tastings, options for those under the age of 21 or who don't like wine, and branded merchandise.

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