Richmond

Overview

Introduction

We think you'll find plenty to do in Richmond, and you'll certainly find plenty of Kentucky's history. Fort Boonesborough State Park is a reconstruction of Daniel Boone's fort, Kentucky's second settlement. Craftspeople at the fort demonstrate their techniques with tools from the 1700s—it's a living-history experience that's quite well-done. In the fall, the fort hosts an annual re-enactment of a Native American attack.

We also recommend the walking tour of the fine old homes in downtown Richmond. Begin with the Irvinton House Museum, an opulent mansion built in 1820 with its original furnishings and displays of local history. The city's visitors center is located in a back wing of the house, and its staff can provide a walking-tour booklet listing more than 100 other historic homes downtown.

The visitors center also has a brochure and an audio guide that outlines sites related to the Civil War Battle of Richmond. Unless you're a die-hard Civil War buff, your curiosity will probably be satisfied by the shorter driving tour described in the brochure.

Be sure to visit White Hall State Historic Site, home of emancipationist and publisher Cassius Marcellus Clay. A fascinating character given to bare-knuckled defense of his views, Clay was also the U.S. minister to Russia and a close friend of Abraham Lincoln. (He may have been a distant relation of heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali and most certainly inspired the boxer's original name.)

Also in Richmond is the Hummel Space Theater at Eastern Kentucky University. This big planetarium will take you almost 10 billion miles from home and back again.

Craft lovers will enjoy a visit to Bybee Pottery, east of Richmond. It's been in business since 1809, and the ancient sloping building looks every minute of its age. The potters are happy to chat with you as you watch them work at their wheels, but if you actually want to buy their products, get there early and save your questions until later. Salesroom shelves are restocked every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 am and are stripped bare within minutes.

In Winchester, be sure to see the Holly Rood Clark Mansion, built by Kentucky's 12th governor, James Clark. Winchester's Thomson subdivision has a large collection of Queen Anne homes that is worth seeing. And October-March you're likely to hear cries of "Tally ho!" as the famous Iroquois Hunt Club descends on the area in traditional hunting garb. Richmond is 25 mi/40 km southeast of Lexington.

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