I just turned 52-years-old. I have lived in Kentucky 90% of my life and it has occurred to me that there are some things my state is famous for that I have never done and some legendary places that I have never visited. In fact, there are a few things on my 'Never Have I Ever' list that nearly all Kentuckians have done except for me. Well, that may be a slight exaggeration, but I have a feeling I would lose my official 'Kentucky' card if people knew some of the experiences I should have had by now, but haven't. Here's what I mean. Here's a list of iconic places in this state I have never visited.


Interior of Mammoth Cave National Park
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The place I am sitting to write this story is exactly 68 miles from Mammoth Cave, which is the longest known cave system in the entire world. I live one hour away from it and have NEVER visited. And the thing is- I'm not claustrophobic or afraid of dark places. Heck! I live for stuff like this. I have swum in an underground river in Mexico. I have scaled natural wonders all over the world. So, why haven't I ever hopped in the car to visit Mammoth Cave?? Who knows? Another fun, but partially shame-inducing fact, I have completely cheated on Kentucky's cave system. I have been to Marengo Cave in southern Indiana. Fellow Kentuckians, I feel you judging me.


149th Kentucky Derby
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Now the fact that I have never been to Churchill Downs for the The Kentucky Derby makes ZERO sense. First of all, the legendary race is hailed as the "Fastest Two Minutes in Sports" and I am a huge sports fan. I also went to undergraduate school in Louisville and lived relatively close to the race track. My friends went to the Derby every year. Why didn't I tag along to experience Kentucky's unmatched horse racing legacy at least once? The suits. The hats. The mint juleps. The infield, where a good friend of mine was once photographed wearing absolutely nothing. So much tradition and I have never been a part of it? How can any self-respecting Kentuckian admit, publicly, the he hasn't witnessed the annual Run for the Roses in person?


Located in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, Patti's Settlement is one of the most famous restaurants in this entire state. I have endless amounts of friends who've been there and raved about the atmosphere and the food. And here's the thing. I am a foodie. I love to eat and I appreciate any opportunity I get to sink these teeth into a famous 2-inch pork chop.

Patti's may not be as close to me as Mammoth Cave, but it's less than a two hour drive away from my hometown of Owensboro. Plus, they host all kinds of really fun, themed weekends. Later this year, Patti's is hosting Prairie Days, which is basically a three-day reunion of cast members from the classic/iconic TV show Little House on the Prairie. Again, Patti's sounds right up my alley. Why on Earth have I never been?


UNC Wilmington v Kentucky
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It would be very easy to explain away this one. See, I am a graduate of the University of Louisville. Yes, I am a Louisville Cardinal and there's no doubt that Cardinals and Wildcats have a long history of heated rivalry. But the truth is- I've never been to a Louisville game either. But, over the last five decades, I should have attended a UK game. My grandfather was OBSESSED with UK. Anytime the Wildcats were on the court, that man was in front of the television, either cheering them on like the rapid fan he was or cussing them out like the rabid fan he was. How I've never made it to a UK game in person is beyond me.


I have been to the actual Grand Canyon, but why have I never visited what's considered to be "The Grand Canyon of Kentucky"? The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is basically a three-day drive away (it's 1300 miles away from where I am sitting). I made that drive. Red River Gorge is just 189 miles away from where I am sitting at this minute. Why haven't I made that one? It's beautiful and majestic and freaking Daniel Boone was there. But I haven't been??? Daniel Boone didn't have a car. I do. Fred the Fusion could have me there in about three hours and I'd be able to do things I love to do- hike, climb, and kayak. What is my problem?

Are there any particularly 'Kentucky' experiences that, as a Kentuckian, you've never had?

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