The Somerset community is celebrating the official groundbreaking of a new distillery with strong ties to the U.S military.

Horse Soldier Bourbon was founded by retired members of the U.S Special Forces who were among the first soldiers to enter Afghanistan after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Tuesday’s groundbreaking ceremony took place on the 20th anniversary of the day those soldiers crossed into Afghanistan.

According to Horse Soldier Bourbon Chief Operating Officer Scott Neil, Somerset Mayor Alan Keck reached out to them two years ago about starting a distillery in Pulaski County.

Neil said when he and his fellow soldiers looked at a map to see where Somerset was located, they realized they already had a connection to the region.

“What made it especially interesting, it was on Lake Cumberland, and when 9/11 happened, we were on the Cumberland doing a training exercise,” Neil said. “So it kind of spoke to us as probably the right place for the rest of our lives, so we decided to pursue building in Somerset.”

Alana Watson

Mammoth Cave National Park is anticipating a busy summer season as COVID-19 restrictions are coming to an end. Park officials are encouraging people to plan ahead before they visit.

Ranger guided cave tours are already back up and running for the 2021 summer season. Mammoth Cave had opted out of the ranger tours and offered self-guided tours during the worst times of the pandemic.

The National Park in south-central Kentucky also offers activities outside of the caves, like horseback riding, kayaking, canoeing, and ziplining. 

“We always like to say that Mammoth Cave is two parks in one," said Molly Schroer, public information officer for Mammoth Cave National Park.

Virtual Location

A major geocaching event in its 18th year is set to be held in Daviess County for the first time. Owensboro is hosting the event in parks and along the riverfront beginning Friday evening.

The Midwest Open Geocaching Adventure, or MOGA, will send visitors on a high-tech treasure hunt to find small containers using a GPS device, or a GPS-enabled mobile phone. 

President and CEO of Visit Owensboro, Mark Calitri, said the event was already planned to meet COVID-19 safety guidelines using the outdoor venues of the Rudy Mine Trail, Yellow Creek Park, and the Riverwalk. 

American Queen Steamboat Company

One promising sign that life may be returning to “more normal” will be at the  Henderson waterfront this spring. It’s the return of the riverboats.

The first riverboat to arrive in Henderson this spring will be the American Duchess on April 22.

It’s the first of at least 20 scheduled stops by riverboats this season after the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of 15 stops in Henderson last year.

The Gleaner reports that when the luxury paddlewheeler docks it will bring more than 100 visitors to shop, eat and enjoy Henderson.

Rhonda J. Miller

Small museums across Kentucky are a vital part of the state's tourism industry. Like so many other institutions, these specialized museums are facing the challenges of remaining open and serving the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Small museums across the commonwealth spotlight a numbers of Kentucky’s favorite activities, such as motorsports, basketball, and music. 

On a recent morning at the Muhlenberg Music Museum in Central City, Freddie Mayes played some of the most popular songs of Everly Brothers on the jukebox, including Wake Up Little Susie and Dream.

"This is a 1953 model jukebox that’s been restored," said Mayes. "It’s loaded with the 45s of the Everly Brothers music, all of their gold records are there." 

National Corvette Museum Primed for Growth in 2020

Dec 26, 2019
National Corvette Museum

The National Corvette Museum is capitalizing on a wave of adventure tourism in Kentucky. 

The Bowling Green facility welcomed more than a 250,000 visitors to the museum in 2018. President and C.E.O. Sean Preston said the Corvette is perfect for those seeking something out of the ordinary.

"Adventure tourists are people that want to see something they don't see in their everyday life.  They want to be whisked away from the daily grind of life, the Monday-through-Friday of work, and come to a place where they can just forget about that, and pay attention to, or focus on something that's so unique and so different."

Meet The Coal Town Betting Big On Outdoor Recreation

Sep 30, 2019
Brittany Patterson I Ohio Valley ReSource

Standing on the breezy outlook at Flag Rock Recreation Area, Norton City Manager Fred Ramey is taking in the panoramic view of downtown Norton, Virginia. The brick building-lined streets are framed by the verdant, rolling Appalachian mountains. Jagged, brown scars from mountaintop mining operations can be seen in the distance, reminders of the region’s history of coal production.

“It’s a great overlook of the city, and people really are surprised when they get up here at the view,” he says. “It's truly beautiful, and it's unique. It's something that we have that not everyone else has.”

National Park Service

National parks in Kentucky have repair bills exceeding $111 million.

That figure comes from new data published by the Restore America’s Parks Project at the Pew Charitable Trusts. Marcia Argust, the project’s director, said federal parks in Kentucky have a lot of needs.

“We’re talking about things like taking care of buildings, maintaining roads, trails, water and sewage systems, visitor’s centers, campgrounds, and memorials and backgrounds. Sometimes when people think about national park units, they don’t think about infrastructure, but those are the issues we’re talking about.”

Casey Jones Distillery

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour is welcoming its 20th member.

Casey Jones Distillery in Hopkinsville has been added to the craft tour, which is made up of smaller boutique distilleries across the commonwealth.

Casey Jones President Peg Hays says while her distillery is known for making moonshine, it will also soon sell Kentucky’s signature spirit.

“Actually, we are making bourbon now, and we have bourbon laid up in barrels and racks, and we’ll be having our first bottling and we’ll have it on the market this December.”

Barbara Deeb

Tuesday marks the fifth anniversary of the sinkhole that swallowed a portion of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, along with eight vintage cars.

Fortunately, the earth opened up early in the morning before the museum opened, and no one was injured.

Museum officials have capitalized on the geological anomaly, and have seen a growing number of visitors to the attraction each year.

On February 12, 2014, at 5:30am, officials with the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green received a call from their security company, and arrived on scene to find a 65 foot-by-45 foot hole in the floor of the museum Skydome. 

Kevin Willis

Kentucky distilleries are reporting another record year for bourbon tourism in the state that produces most of the world's bourbon.

The Kentucky Distillers' Association says tourists made a record 1.4 million stops at distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour in 2018. KDA says that represents a 370 percent increase in the past decade.

KDA says the Kentucky Bourbon Trail logged 1 million visits for the first time since its creation in 1999. It says the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour — which includes smaller distilleries — tallied 340,000 distillery stops, the most since its founding in 2012.

Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

A new leader has been named for the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. 

When Sherry Murphy takes the helm, it will be a homecoming of sorts.  Murphy is a Logan County native and graduate of Western Kentucky University.  She says that she’s always had an eye on Bowling Green and what is has to offer.

"The number of attractions there in Bowling Green really makes it a tourism mecca of activity there," Murphy told WKU Public Radio.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Kentucky distillers, wineries and liquor retailers can now ship wine and spirits across state lines after the legislature passed the “bourbon without borders” bill earlier this year.

The new law will allow visitors to Kentucky to ship up to 4.5 liters of spirits or 4 cases of wine back home — as long as their home state allows it.

During a ceremonial bill signing on Friday, Gov. Matt Bevin said the new law will help build the state’s signature bourbon industry.

Report: Kentucky Tourism Generates $15 Billion Impact

May 8, 2018
WKU Public Radio

The economic impact of Kentucky's tourism industry has jumped nearly 4 percent to more than $15 billion.

A report commissioned by the Kentucky Department of Tourism shows the industry supports more than 195,000 jobs across the state and generated $1.5 billion in taxes. Of that tax money, $202 million went to local governments while the rest went to the state government.

The Kentucky Department of Tourism says a national study found the economic impact of outdoor recreation in the state jumped to $12.8 billion last year, up from $8.4 billion in 2012.

The study done by the Outdoor Industry Association also indicates that outdoor recreation in Kentucky directly supports $3.6 billion in wages and salaries from 120,000 jobs and provides $756 million in state and local tax revenue.

The Tourism Department said in a statement that the numbers show Kentucky is starting to position itself as a top-tier destination for travelers seeking outdoor activities. Tourism Commissioner Kristen Branscum says Kentucky offers outdoor recreation opportunities in communities across the state.