Get Out There: Where to Explore Northern Kentucky

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You’ll find many hidden gems in Northern Kentucky along and beyond I-275, so start exploring.

Bobby Mackey’s Music World

Whether you’re looking for a supernatural experience, a mechanical bull ride, or some good old honky-tonk music, Bobby Mackey’s in Wilder is the place. On Saturday nights, Mackey takes the stage with his Best Damn Band.

44 Licking Pike, Wilder, (859) 431-5588, bobbymackeys.com

Vent Haven Museum

Next month is the grand opening of the new facility for this museum dedicated to ventriloquist’s dummies and the art of ventriloquism itself. Founder W.S. Berger established the collection, and today it’s at least 1,000 vents strong.

33 W. Maple Ave., Ft. Mitchell, (859) 341-0461, venthaven.org

Photograph courtesy Big Bone Lick State Historic Site

Big Bone Lick State Historic Site

While the name sounds like a joke, the science is serious: A natural salt lick here drew untold numbers of large prehistoric animals, and their (ahem) big bones were found at the site as early as the 18th century.

3380 Beaver Rd., Union, (859) 384-3522, parks.ky.gov

Elk Creek Vineyards

With a winery, café, bed and breakfast, and live entertainment, Elk Creek is a one-stop shop for a great weekend getaway. The nearby Elk Creek Hunt Club offers three shooting clays courses where you can test your marksmanship.

150 Highway 330, Owenton, (502) 484-5319, elkcreekvineyards.com; 1860 Georgetown Rd., Owenton, (502) 484-4569, elkcreekhuntclub.com

The B-Line (series of bars)

Five craft distilleries, seven bourbon bars, and six “bourbon-centric” restaurants from Sparta to Maysville to Covington celebrate the bluegrass’s signature spirit. Make sure you download the B-Line Line Guide for special deals.

Rabbit Hash

Along the Ohio River in Boone County lies the charming Rabbit Hash General Store, the beating heart of a tiny community. It hosts Sunday night concerts during the winter and monthly barn dances in the summer. Stay at the “Old Hashienda” across the street, and you might run into the mayor—a French bulldog named Wilbur.

10021 Lower River Rd., Rabbit Hash, (859) 586-7744, rabbithash.com

Photograph courtesy Old Pogue Distilling

Old Pogue

This tiny distillery—where the fifth and sixth generations of Pogues man the still—produces only about 200 barrels a year. But the intimate tours and gorgeous setting along the Ohio River make it worth your time.

705 Germantown Rd., Maysville, oldpogue.com

The Rosemary Clooney House

The star of White Christmas (and aunt of George) grew up in Maysville, and today her home in nearby Augusta is a museum devoted to her life and career. Closed since November, it reopens to the public for tours this month.

106 E. Riverside Dr., Augusta, (502) 383-9911, rosemaryclooney.org

Keeneland

Twice a year, in spring and fall, the call to the post echoes across the pastures in Lexington. The storied track dishes out burgoo, fancy patrons, and fast ponies—get in line and place your bets.

4201 Versailles Rd., Lexington, (859) 254-3412, keeneland.com

EarthJOY Village

Bill and Shelly Byrne started out offering guided tree climbing and now own 285 acres where you can rent one of three treehouses, a tiny house in a converted school bus, or the main farmhouse. Explore 20 miles of themed hiking trails or just climb a tree and enjoy the breeze.

3400 Bridgeville Rd., Brooksville, (859) 380-1945, earthjoyvillage.org

Creation Museum/Ark Encounter

These sister attractions from Christian organization Answers in Genesis portray that group’s take on creation science and Noah’s ark, respectively. They also each have zipline courses, restaurants, and animal encounters.

2800 Bullittsburg Church Rd., Petersburg, (888) 582-4253, creationmuseum.org; 1 Ark Encounter Dr., Williamstown, (855) 284-3275, arkencounter.com

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