If you’re looking to travel to Bowling Green, Kentucky, here are some things you should know and some attractions you definitely shouldn’t miss. First, a little history. Though it might not be the most well known city in Kentucky, Bowling Green actually has the third largest population, second only to Louisville and Lexington.
Founded by settlers in the late 1790’s, Bowling Green was originally quite a small village. However, due to its proximity to the Barren River, it became increasingly important as steamboat shipping and travel grew as an industry. During the Civil War, Bowling Green initially declared itself neutral, but the city was eventually occupied by Confederate troops, and became the provisional capital of Confederate Kentucky.
After the War, Bowling Green became increasingly industrial, and manufacturers including General Motors and Fruit of the Loom set up factories there. To this day, all Chevrolet Corvettes come from the Bowling Green Assembly Plant.
Bowling Green is also the home to several natural attractions, as the seat of Kentucky’s Cave Country. The Lost Valley Cave and River, which formed over 10,000 years ago, is a sight to behold, and can be toured via boat. Mammoth Cave National Park has several other caves and rivers, where visitors can take a cave tour, canoe, kayak, or hike. In addition to caves, Bowling Green has many parks and preserves, such as Basil Griffin Park and the Shanty Hollow Hiking Trail, where the beauty of the signature rolling hills of Kentucky are on full display.
If you’re looking for something more history oriented, Bowling Green also has a lot to offer. Because of its unique history, the city is home to many historic Civil War landmarks, including Fort Lytle, a Civil War era fort that housed both Union and Confederate soldiers, and Mt. Moriah Cemetery, which has many historic graves from the era. Sites of significant battles and Civil War moments surround the city, and can be viewed on walking, driving, or tram tours.
Bowling Green also has several exquisitely preserved antebellum homes, many of which are also available to tour. Riverview at Hobson Grove, a historic Victorian era home, offers visitors a glimpse at life through various eras in Bowling Green, and the Historic Railpark and Train Museum pays tribute to the many ways in which the railroad helped shape the city, and American life in general.
Of course, no visit to Bowling Green would be complete without a stop at the Corvette Museum. Since the General Motors Corvette Assembly Plant has the distinction of being the sole US manufacturer of Corvettes, guests can come there to learn about how America’s classic sports car is made.
Car aficionados shouldn’t miss this museum, since it gives the average layperson access to one-of-a-kind Corvette memorabilia, immaculate classic Corvette cars on display, and behind the scenes details about Corvette history and design.
Bowling Green is also an excellent stop for wine and beer lovers, who can visit the city’s many craft breweries and small batch vineyards. For arts lovers, the city has many attractions, including the Capitol Arts Center and the Downing Museum. If music is your thing, you’re also in luck. Bowling Green is an hour north of Nashville, creating a vibrant music scene for up and coming artists and Nashville vets alike. As the Everly Brothers sang, “A man in Kentucky sure is lucky to live down in Bowling Green,” and the same goes for visitors!