You don't have to be horse crazy to fall in love with Lexington, KY, and the charming towns surrounding it.
Non-equestrian activities range from spending a day in a Shaker village to sipping your way along the Bourbon Trail.
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill is America's largest restored Shaker community. April through October costumed interpreters and crafts people bring the original back to life, complete with horse and wagon rides. May through October, you can take a ride on a riverboat.
Tip: There are a dozen hiking trails ranging from 1-mile to 6-mile loops, easy to strenuous, if you feel up to it. Otherwise, tour, shop, eat, even stay overnight. The seed-to-table restaurant is a destination must-do for many locals.
Historic homes abound, including
Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate;
Latrobe's Pope Villa, one of the few remaining examples by an architect of the U. S. Capitol;
Mary Todd Lincoln House, the nation's first shrine to a First Lady;
Waveland State Historic Site, a Greek Revival built by a grand-nephew of Daniel Boone.
Warning: When it's historic, you are going to encounter stairs with no alternatives.
The eight historic distilleries - Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve, Wild Turkey, Four Roses, Maker's Mark, Heaven Hill, Tom Moore and Jim Beam - that make up the trail are in the Lexington Bluegrass area. Both Buffalo Trace and Woodford are local favorites. All offer tours and tastings, many require reservations and all have gift shops and historic photographs and memorabilia.
Warning: Hills and stairs are a given but a few, such as Heaven Hill in Bardstown makes a tour of the 50-acre property easier with a trolley.
Best of all, the drives between them will take you through some of the Bluegrass' most beautiful countryside. Even National Geographic says so.
Revolutionary and Civil War sites abound in these hills and dales if that's what pulls your gotta-go cord.
For book worms, Joseph-Beth Booksellers has been named by Publisher's Weekly as North America's best bookstore.
And wherever you go, prepare for residents to treat you like a favorite new member of the family. Stay here more than 24 hours and you'll wish you were.
For all the information you need for a memorable stay, go to www.visitlex.com.