En route from the Greenbrier in West Virginia to Louisville, KY, we felt nostalgia drawing us to Lexington, KY, where our youngest son had spent four fun-filled years as a UK Wildcat. We have to admit that these were fun years for us, too: we timed our thrice-yearly visits to coincide with the fall horse races at Keeneland, our son’s winter ice hockey games (held at midnight!), and the spring horse races at Keeneland.
Somehow, between tailgating, placing bets, cheering from the frosty bleachers, and doing both beer and bourbon tours, we missed out on the lovely 24-mile roundtrip Legacy Trail that meanders through the college town.
We started at the northern trailhead in an RV park next to the Kentucky Horse Park on I-75, a major thoroughfare. There’s a parking lot across the highway, but the actual start of the trail is marked by an obelisk within the RV park. We headed on a paved path toward the beautiful fields and paddocks of the Horse Park, only to have it end abruptly two miles later. Oops.
After returning to the RV Park, we realized the trail started across the highway past the sprawling, manicured grounds of the first of a couple of corporate campuses we passed. Affixed to light posts there were banners that read “World Equestrian Games,” which we later learned harkened the “legacy” of the 2010 Alltech FEI games for which the trail was named. We actually thought it was named for the African American jockeys who were featured on plaques beneath flagpole memorials in several areas along the trail. That kind of made more sense, but oddly, we couldn’t find any information about these.
Anyway, we soon came upon field trials cultivated by the UK School of Agricultural, and for the next relatively flat seven miles or so, the well-maintained asphalt trail wound around cornfields and mostly unshaded rural areas. Occasionally, we passed over colorful mosaic artworks embedded in the pavement.
Riding past Griffin Gate golf course and tech park, we crossed another major highway and pedaled past large IBM and Amazon facilities on the outskirts of town. Before long, however, we were riding through traffic on hard-to-follow green bike lanes that zig-zagged through the brick rowhouses of Lexington’s historic African American neighborhoods and the campus of Transylvania University. (We’re sure it’s a fine school, but can you imagine a lifetime of feigning amusement at vampire jokes every single time you mention your alma mater?)
The trail ended at a small urban garden dedicated to Isaac Murphy, who won the Kentucky Derby three times and is considered by many to have been the greatest American jockey of all time. At this southern trailhead, we could see the skyline of downtown Lexington about a mile off.
In hindsight, we should have started and ended at this trailhead because the brewery we intended to revisit was right along the trail about a mile from this end. The last time we were here was on one of those pedal-powered bars during our son’s graduation weekend. (Those are a BLAST, btw!)
West Sixth Brewing’s Taproom is very popular among both townies and college kids. On a sunny August Saturday, few empty tables could be found in either of the large tasting rooms or on the sidewalk outside. As is customary, Jim ordered an IPA and Kellie got a flight of sours and wheat beers. Jim thought the house IPA was as solid as he remembered and Kellie’s favorites were the Berliner Weisse Sour and the Lemongrass American Wheat.
Please weigh in with thoughts or insights on rides/breweries in Lexington in the Comments section below.