Welcome to Kentucky, the Bluegrass State
We already told you about some of our Kentucky adventures in your travel journal, and now I have another story for you. It started when Sofia and I made a new friend.
We met a boy named Jeffrey in Louisville, which is a city at the northern border of the state. We came to watch the Kentucky Derby and became friends with Jeffrey right away. We met him outside of Churchill Downs, the Derby’s racetrack, and were introduced to his family. His father was wearing cowboy boots. His mother wore a big, floppy hat.
“We raise horses,” Jeffrey told us. “We have a ranch outside the city.” His parents asked us about our trip and invited us to visit the ranch after the race.
The Kentucky Derby was amazing! (Read about it in your journal.) After the race, Sofia and I hopped on our scooter and drove out of Louisville and down some beautiful country roads. We parked outside of Jeffrey’s house and met his family on the porch.
We toured the ranch and walked the big grassy range where the horses roam and run. We learned how to saddle horses and even got to ride a pair of ponies around a small track on the ranch. I rode a pony named Sky, and Sofia rode a pony named Dusty. It was such a great afternoon.
Jeffrey and his parents were so nice. His mom even made us Kentucky jam cake as a treat. Scroll down to the Activity section to learn her recipe and make Kentucky jam cake for you and your family.
Don’t forget to keep scrolling to see our Favorites and Photos.
Have fun and keep exploring!
Sam and Sofia
River: Cumberland River
The Cumberland River curves across Kentucky’s southern border. Large ships called barges travel the Cumberland to transport items for trading. Flip through your journal to learn about our visit to Cumberland Falls, a popular spot along the river.
Historical Site: Frankfort Capitol Building
The Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort is one of the most beautiful buildings in the state. The building’s roof curves into a huge dome that lights up at night. I loved walking the gardens along the outside of the building.
Scenic Spot: Sloan’s Crossing Pond
Sloan’s Crossing Pond is a serene spot along the Green River in Mammoth Cave National Park. The park is famous for having one of the longest cave systems in the entire world. Sofia and I walked Sloan’s Crossing Pond Trail.
River: Ohio River
President Thomas Jefferson once called the Ohio River the most beautiful river on Earth. I can see why! We walked along the river during our visit to Louisville. The waters of the Ohio were smooth, glassy and calm.
Historical Site: Lincoln’s Birthplace
President Abraham Lincoln was born in a log cabin in Hodgenville. Today, at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park, you can visit the site. Though the log cabin no longer exists, we saw the marble monument dedicated to Lincoln. The 56 stairs represent the years of the president’s life.
Scenic Spot: Red River Gorge
The Daniel Boone National Forest is a section of rugged terrain to the west of the Appalachian Mountains. It was there that we saw the Red River Gorge, a series of canyons along Kentucky’s Red River.
Recipe: Kentucky Jam Cake
While visiting their friend’s horse ranch in Kentucky, Sam and Sofia tasted Kentucky jam cake for the first time. It’s a popular treat in the South and one of Sam and Sofia’s new favorites. The cake is flavored with warm spices and made extra moist by the jam. Follow the recipe below to make your own Kentucky jam cake!
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
- 1½ cups sugar
- 5 eggs, beaten
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup chopped raisins
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup seedless blackberry jam
- 5 cups caramel icing*
- Cream butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the eggs to the butter mixture and stir well.
- In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, allspice, cloves, cinnamon and salt.
- In a third bowl, mix the baking soda with the buttermilk.
- Alternate adding portions of the flour mixture and portions of the buttermilk mixture to the large bowl, stirring well each time. Continue until the flour and buttermilk mixtures are completely mixed in.
- Add the raisins, pecans and jam. Stir well.
- Grease two round, 9-inch cake pans. Pour equal amounts of batter into each pan.
- Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes away clean after being inserted into the center of the cake.
- After the cake has cooled, remove one of the cake layers from its pan and place it on a cake plate, bottom up. Frost the top with caramel icing.
- Top the cake with the second layer, bottom down. Frost the top and sides of the cake with more caramel icing.
- Garnish with extra nuts and sprinkled cinnamon. Enjoy!
*Use your favorite store-bought caramel icing.