The scenic states of Kentucky and Tennessee have given us the ultimate American athlete, a truly distinctive drink and one of the country’s blues landmarks. This spring, get acquainted with the special places of the region.
While many Kentuckians have made their marks in the world, one has touched the lives of millions through his sport and activism—boxing phenomenon and Louisville native Muhammad Ali. The Muhammad Ali Center
, located in Ali’s hometown, draws its inspiration from the legend’s strong principles and unwavering courage. The center commemorates his achievements with a closer look into his world through captivating sports photography, quotes, mixed media and other interactive exhibits. Highlights include the Train with Ali
exhibit where you can get hands-on shadowboxing experience, find your rhythm on speed or heavy bags and brush up on your technique with boxing champion (and Ali’s daughter) Laila Ali. The Walk with Ali
exhibit explores the athlete’s six core values – dedication, respect, confidence, conviction, spirituality and giving – and will embolden you to realize your own personal strength. His masterful boxing career is celebrated in The Greatest
, an award-winning media presentation displayed on a canvas boxing ring. You’ll also learn about Ali’s lesser-known accomplishments as a poet and sketch artist. Ali’s personal life is detailed in the "Orientation" and “Lighting the Way” theaters, which feature information about his Louisville background and footage of crowning moments like the carrying of the torch in the 1996 Summer Olympic Opening Games. Visit www.alicenter.org for more information.
Then there’s one of Kentucky’s most extraordinary flavors: Bourbon! It's something Kentucky does best. Its production is deeply interwoven into the history of the state with the first distilleries located in namesake Bourbon County. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail pays tribute to this famous export—it is estimated that bourbon distilled and aged in Kentucky makes up 95 percent of the world’s supply. This is the home of the biggest names in bourbon, and here, you have a chance to explore the blend of art and science that goes into a distillery. Kentucky's ideal weather conditions and pure limestone water make for the perfect amber color and classic taste. The Trail program features six unique locations: Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Wild Turkey Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Heaven Hill Visitors Center in Bardstown, Woodford Reserve Distillery near Versailles and Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg. Visit www.kybourbontrail.com for distillery hours and more information.
Of course, it’s not just the tastes of the region that will get you excited, it's the sounds as well. Memphis, Tennessee is home to Beale Street, a national treasure declared by Congress to be the “Home of the Blues.” Famous restaurants and blues clubs line this landmark district, which has been referenced in countless songs such as B.B. King’s Why I Sing the Blues, and Cab Calloway’s Beale Street Mama. In the last days of May, Beale Street is the prime location of Memphis in May, an outdoorfestival featuring all the barbecue you can eat and the best music Tennessee has to offer. Visit www.bealestreet.com for upcoming events and a comprehensive list of attractions. A walk down Beale Street is sure to hit the right note.
This spring, revel in the remarkable people, places and things that Kentucky and Tennessee call home. The adventure you’re looking for might be right in your backyard.