Four months ago, I packed all my things from my undergrad apartment in South Carolina into a 10 foot U-Haul and drove the 9 hours from the beautiful Palmetto State into the Bluegrass State. I dropped my stuff off then went back home to Chicago for the summer and Kentucky didn't cross my mind all that much. I honestly didn't know much about Kentucky even though for 18 years of my life I grew up just a state above. Surprisingly, there is more to Kentucky than KFC.
So, here are 10 things I've learned since living here full-time.
1. Horse races are not just a once-a-year thing at the Kentucky Derby and apparently you don't wear fancy hats every time. Horse racing happens at Churchill Downs almost all year round and you can catch people there on the reg. But if you know nothing about horse races you actually don't wear a fancy hat other than during the big event in the spring.
2. You're Either UK or UofL. It's one of the first questions people ask you and there's no in between.
3. There's like 50 ways to say Louisville.
4. People take pride in their Bourbon and drink lots of it. Pretty much Kentucky's claim to fame as around 95% of the Bourbon is made here. Be sure to check off some stops on the Bourbon trail out here.
5. There's such thing as a Kentucky Mule. Taking a spin on the classic moscow mule, the Kentucky Mule adds Bourbon (duh) and one of the main cocktails along with Mint Juleps sipped classy during Derby.
6. Indiana is literally a bridge away. Well, maybe 4 considering there are 4 main bridges offering a way into Indiana.
8. It Gets Cold Real Fast. Thought it was gonna be warmer since it's further south than Illinois. But nooo. It's October and I already broke out the North Face.
9. Bluegrass not just a kind of music but it is actually a plant and not literal blue grass. Not sure if this is a common confusion or just me.
10. There's more than KFC. While Kentucky Fried Chicken is another state claim to fame, I actually haven't seen that many around. Plus Louisville has so many amazing food places, almost like a mini Nashville why would I waste my time at KFC.
While people are quick to stereotype it as a place full of rednecks and hillbillies that is not my perception of this state at all. Pretty happy with my decision to move here. There's a lot more to Kentucky than meets the eye and at some point in your life you should definitely visit!