From cars to history to museums and much more, Bowling Green, Kentucky
has it covered.
Conveniently located off Interstate 65, about 60 miles north of Nashville, Tenn., Kentucky's third largest city presents itself as a great weekend (or longer) getaway.
Regardless of where you interest may lay, you won't be at a loss for finding things to do, beginning with these nine experiences you can enjoy in Bowling Green.
1. Gearheads and non-gearheads can find plenty to like while touring either (or both) the GM Corvette Assembly Plant
and the National Corvette Museum
Heralded as "the world's longest-running, continuously produced passenger car with more than 1.6 million produced," every Corvette in the world today has come from the GM Corvette Assembly Plant since 1981.
Take the plant's guided one-hour tour
for a behind-the-scenes look at the step-by-step assembly process of America's sports car.
Delve further into the Corvette culture at The National Corvette Museum. Over 50 cars are displayed in related period settings, highlighting the style and craftsmanship of the each one. View one-of-a-kinds, prototypes and more as you make your way through the museum. There are also visiting exhibits and special exhibits as well as a dedicated exhibit
detailing the February 2014 sinkhole that swallowed eight Corvettes.
2. Satisfy your need for speed by taking in a race at the Beech Bend Raceway
. Not your typical quarter-mile strip, it's one of America's oldest, continuously operating drag strip.
Want more? Check out the events happening at NCM Motorsports Park
3. Home to the state's only underground boat tour, Lost River Cave
has its share of stories and lore. During the 45-minute tour, which includes a 20-
minute walk to the cave entrance, learn about the Blue Hole, the cave's and the surrounding's role in the Civil War, the cave's possible connection to Jessie James and how Lost Cave was a popular nightclub spot from the 1930s-1950s.
After the boat tour, explore above-ground
along the natural trails and check out the seasonal butterfly habitat, natural spring and much more.
4. Enjoy a catfish po'boy or another New Orleans-style dish at Tea Bayou
. Indulge with a slice (or two) of pie from the Pie Queen of BG
. Grab a cup of coffee at Spencer's Coffee
. Smell the candles at Candle Makers on the Square
. Grab a sweet treat for later from JD Bakery & Cafe
. Tour Corsair Distillery
and follow up with a tasting of their spirits and whiskey
These are some of the things you can do in downtown Bowling Green.
Filled with various shops and eateries, one can easily spend a couple of hours exploring. Afterward, relax and reflect at Fountain Square Park
Not to miss is the 1921 Standard Oil Station
. Located a few blocks away on
the corner of College Street and 7th, it was among the first gas stations in Kentucky that serviced cars traveling along Dixie Highway until the mid-1950s. In 2008, the facade was restored, and the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The one-room building now houses public restrooms for the nearby Circus Square Park.
5. Bring your appetite when visiting Bowling Green. It's not a complete visit without trying the "Firebread" (cornbread with jalapenos) at Montana Grille
Make it a point to eat either lunch or dinner at The Bistro
and enjoy either their crabmeat beignets or bacon-wrapped dates or both before the main course.
Located about 10 miles outside of the city in Alvaton is Boyce General Store
, LLC. Rustic and welcoming, you have to stop in one morning for a biscuit.
6. Bowling Green doesn't disappoint when it comes to museums. There is something for everyone to enjoy.
Situated on the Western Kentucky University (WKU) is the Kentucky Museum
. Various exhibits highlight the history of the state. Among the collections/galleries/rooms is the Civil War Exhibition, Snell-Franklin Decorative Art Gallery and Richardson Quilt Gallery. The "Recommended by Duncan Hines" exhibit plays tribute to the city's native son. See various artifacts from Hines and learn about his writing career and how he became a "name brand" icon.
Located a few miles from WKU's main campus is Downing Museum at The Baker Arboretum
. The museum features pieces of art by Joe Downing, a Horse Cave-Ky. native, WKU alumnus and brother of the late WKU President, Dero Downing. Among the items within the collection include Downing's works in various media such as leather, linen, metal, found objects and more.
The Baker Arboretum
highlights over 600 species and 1200 varieties of plants that can grow in western Kentucky. Open year-round; something is always growing or blooming.
The Historic RailPark and Train Museum
provides a look at Bowling Green's
railroad history. The depot (third in the city that served the area until 1979) houses a two-story museum that details of the rails through exhibits and items. You can also see one of the region's largest model railroad displays, located on the first level. Located outside are five restored railcars that include a Railroad Post Office Car and the Presidential Office Car L&N #353, the oldest surviving intact car of L&N.
Listed on the National Register and a site along the Civil War Discovery Trail
, Riverview at Hobson Grove
took around 14 years to complete because of the Civil War. Situated on a hill, once overlooking the Barren River, its features represent Italianate architecture. Inside provides insight into the Victorian Period in south central Kentucky.
7. Go ahead and get that triple scoop of Wow Now Brownie Cow or Big Red Rumble at Chaney's Dairy Barn
. Recognized as the "number 1 ice cream in Kentucky" by USA Today's The USA's Best Ice Cream: Top Parlor's in 50 States
, you can't go wrong with any of the over 30 flavors. Enjoy lunch or dinner at their restaurant, too. Don't forget about the farm tours and other fun.
8. Nothing tastes better than homemade local and state products, homegrown vegetables and seasonal fruits like apples and peaches found at Jackson's Orchard
. Bring the entire family to shop and enjoy fresh goodies from the concession stand while the younger ones release some energy on the playground.
9. The Aviation Heritage Park
brings to life the stories of the area's distinguished aviators. Hear about them while viewing the five restored birds that include an Air Force F-4D Phantom that downed a North Vietnamese MiG021 and a Blue Angels Navy F9F-5 Panther.
photos from personal collection