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Monday, 25 April 2011

Louisville: Kentucky’s Heavyweight City - Page 2

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21C Museum Hotel RoomAfter enjoying the city’s attractions, a comfortable rest is essential. The best place to find it is the 21C Museum Hotel at 700 West Main Street. Opened in 2006 by modern art collectors and philanthropists Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, this stylish fusion of art and contemporary luxury has been voted number 1 Hotel in the U.S. and number 6 in the world in the 2009 and 2010 Condé Nast Traveler Reader's Choice Awards. Surprisingly, the cost of a room is relatively inexpensive and its ranking is well deserved. Apart from the superb collection of art in the rooms and downstairs gallery, the hotel’s signature feature is its restaurant, Proof on Main. Local and exotic dishes are creatively prepared and served with impeccable attention to detail. To miss the 21C is to miss out on one of Louisville’s treasures.

Other treasures to be found only a short drive from the city are Kentucky’s state parks. If you have a few days to spare, they are areas rich in scenery, and accommodation is available in each one. A little over two hours away from Louisville is Cumberland Falls State Resort Park. The river is pristine and the falls are spectacular, cascading over rocks and exploding into a glistening spray. The rumbling water echoes down the valley, and through the trees, birds call, clear as bells. For the fortunate few who are there a few nights before or after a full moon, with a cloudless sky and clear visibility, there is an excellent chance to see the world famous moonbow as the light catches the diamond bright spray. Accommodation to suit all types of travelers is available within the park, and the Du Pont Lodge is perfect for those wanting a touch of luxury after a day’s hiking or sightseeing.

Lake Cumberland 2About an hour’s drive from Cumberland Falls is Lake Cumberland, a man-made aquatic playground over 100 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. It is ranked 9th in the United States and was formed in 1950 when the Wolf Creek Dam finally enclosed the reservoir. If, like Ratty in Wind in the Willows, you like messing about in boats, then Lake Cumberland is messing about at its best. Groups and families have a choice of activities; overnight houseboat rental, fishing, water skiing, rafting, camping and hiking. For those wanting a little more luxury, Lure Lodge is a 63-room complex overlooking the lake. The rooms are comfortable and include cable television and internet access. Cottages suitable for family groups can also be rented for short or extended stays. Another feature of this picturesque resort park is the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery. Guided tours are available to show the work carried out and visitors can also exchange pleasantries with the hatchery’s resident skunk, Squirt. Contrary to his name, Squirt doesn’t, so the impression he leaves is aesthetic, not aromatic.

Away from water and buried deep beneath the hilly country of south central Kentucky are the caves that make the Mammoth Cave National Park such a unique experience. With more than 300 miles of explored caves, it is the world’s longest recorded cave system. Spectacular heights and gloomy depths cast eerie shadows along the guide path, and the area’s history is illuminated by rangers who lead groups into this fascinating world. Facilities available include camp sites, cottages and the Mammoth Cave Hotel.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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