The capital of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Frankfort is nestled in a valley between the much larger city of Louisville and the much more progressive town of Lexington. Frankfort itself has only about 25,000 people, with many of the people who work in the small city leaving at night for nearby places.
That does not mean that there is nothing to do in Frankfort, however. There are two major attractions that all visitors to Frankfort should see. The first is the state Capitol building. Nestled in the residential section of old downtown on the east side of Frankfort, where there is little residential development, the Capital is open for tours. You can visit the Capitol for a tour. The Capitol, completed in 1910, has 70 columns that are its distinguishing feature. The first floor is open to tourists and houses the First Lady of Kentucky’s doll collection as well as rotating historical and cultural exhibits. If you travel to Highway 127, you can see a scenic overview of the Capitol, which will give you the best view of the building.
The next place you have to visit is the gravesite of Daniel Boone. Frankfort’s city cemetery is home to a number of well-known gravesites, particularly of former governors, but it is this outdoorsman and senator who has the best view. The people of Kentucky moved the Boone grave to Frankfort after it originally rested elsewhere in Kentucky. There are rumors about the true remains the grave, but Frankfortians have no comparison for Boone’s DNA. Still, the monument that sits atop the gravesite pays homage to the leader and gives a beautiful view of the city and the Kentucky River.
While you are in the area, you should stop by the Berry Hill Mansion. This beautiful house, built in 1900, sits on Louisville Road behind the state Capitol. George Franklin Berry built the Georgian mansion after making a fortune in the distillery business. The home is open to tours for free during the week. It is closed on weekends and holidays.
Another historic home in the Frankfort area is the Orlando Brown House. Used primarily for meetings and social events, the home is sometimes available for guided tours. Located in downtown Frankfort, this Gothic-Revival is was the home to the Brown family until 1954. Gideon Shryock designed the home, and it is the place to find a number of collection of local artistry.
The Frankfort Chamber of Commerce has its own historic building, the Queen Anne Gooch House. There are no tours available although there is plenty to see just by visit the chamber’s offices. While you are there, you will be able to pick up brochures on all of Frankfort’s attractions.
As the commonwealth’s, Frankfort stands as the beacon of history for the area. One of these exhibits is the Kentucky River exhibit, located on Broadway. This exhibit, which is self-guided, is available in the afternoons Monday through Saturday. People who would like to see it are welcomed in for free.
Another popular choice is the Kentucky Military History Museum. This museum is home to firearms and other remnants of battle from a number of national wars. There is a small fee for tickets, and there are guided tours available if you make arrangements in advance. Otherwise you can guide yourself through this wonderful museum, which will introduce you to centuries of military history.
If you want a divine local treat, check out Rebecca Ruth’s Candy Factory. You can get bourbon-flavored candy, a Kentucky trademark, as well as taking a tour of the factory facilities. You will be able to get a video, check out antique stirring methods, and even sample some candy. The factory also sits adjacent to the Rebecca Ruth Store, so you can purchase some candy to take home with you.
These options are only a few of the offerings Frankfort has in store for its visitors. If you are looking for something to do while you are passing through Kentucky or if you live nearby and have never explored your capital, then you should consider visiting some of these great locations. There are museums, walking tours, and many other attractions awaiting your visit to Frankfort. You never know what you might learn!
By Julia Mercer