Kentucky might be one of the most underrated states in the country. It’s a great place to live, work, and raise a family, and we have our own unique culture here. However, most of the country doesn’t know much about Kentucky. They only know the stereotypes they’ve heard. If you’re a Kentuckian, you know what an awesome place to live this state is, so here are 15 things we want the rest of the country to know about us.
1. We're not just a state full of rural farmland.
If you've ever been to Louisville, you know that it's a vibrant, booming city that is getting more and more national attention as a great place to live, and as a travel destination. With a population of 615,366, it is the 30th largest city in the country. That may not seem like much compared to New York City or Los Angeles, but to put it in perspective, Louisville is larger than Milwaukee, Tucson, and Sacramento.
2. But the farms we do have are gorgeous.
And farms are important. If you don't believe it, just ask Kentucky native Wendell Berry.
3. And we have a variety of different landscapes.
There's a landscape for pretty much everyone in Kentucky. Like mountains? Head to the east. Caves more your thing? Go west. More into water activities? Our entire northern border is the Ohio River, not to mention our lakes: Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley, Lake Cumberland, and Nolin Lake, to name just a few.
4. KFC isn’t the only thing we eat. We are players in the culinary world, both in high-end, gourmet restaurants...
We're home to many celebrated chefs who are household names in the culinary world, like Kathy Cary, Ed Lee, and Anthony Lamas. All of the above have been nominated for various James Beard Foundation awards.
5... And with our authentic Southern cooking.
The food doesn't have to be arranged into a fancy work of art to taste good. Kentucky's Southern cooking, particularly its barbecue, is out of this world. Western Kentucky has its own style of barbecue that is to die for. If you've never eaten mutton or burgoo, go to Owensboro and try some.
6. And if you haven’t tried a hot brown, you haven’t lived.
Kentucky's favorite dish consists of turkey, bacon, mornay sauce, and Texas Toast. Instead of making a boring old turkey sandwich with your Thanksgiving leftovers, make a Hot Brown instead.
7. You can do so much more with bourbon than just drink it.
Bourbon and chocolate were meant to go together. So were bourbon and steak. And bourbon and barbecue sauce.
8. But when you do drink it, it’s best to sip it slowly and appreciatively.
If you order a nice bourbon, please don't mix it with Coke. You might as well just throw it in the garbage. Coke is meant for cheap, foreign whiskeys. The best way to enjoy a fine Kentucky bourbon is by sipping it slowly, preferably on the rocks.
9. While horses are hailed as heroes and crowned champions...
In 2015, American Pharoah was the first horse to capture the Triple Crown (winning the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont) since Affirmed in 1978, and only the 12th in history. Later that year, he won the Breeders' Cup, becoming the first horse to ever win the "Grand Slam" of horse racing (winning both the Triple Crown and the Breeders' Cup).
10. We have some human heroes that we’re proud to say are Kentuckians.
Some of our favorite hometown heroes include Muhammad Ali, Abraham Lincoln, Wendell Berry, George Clooney, The Judds, Johnny Depp, Jennifer Lawrence, Diane Sawyer, and Darrell Griffith.
11. Depending on who you ask, Kentucky is either “the most southern northern state” or “the most northern southern state.” Or neither. Some consider it to be the Midwest.
This question is unanswerable.
12. And our weather matches this confusion
It's December, but instead of a White Christmas, here's a tornado. Don't worry, tomorrow it'll be sunny and 75 before plunging to single digits. And just when you think spring has arrived, just kidding! Surprise blizzard in April!
13. Derby is treated like a holiday. It’s not uncommon to hear people say “Happy Derby.”
Not to mention many businesses and schools are closed the day before Derby for the Kentucky Oaks.
14. But we like more sports other than just horse racing.
We have minor league baseball team the Louisville Bats, and USL soccer team Louisville City FC. However, University of Louisville and University of Kentucky athletics are like pro teams in the state. Your allegiance lies with either one or the other, and that is a line you do not cross.
15. Every Kentuckian is proud to call the Bluegrass State their Old Kentucky Home.
Even if you've moved, you'll probably still get goosebumps when "My Old Kentucky Home" plays.
So there you have it, rest of the country. We may not be California, New York, or Texas, but we’re pretty darn happy to be Kentucky.