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Destination Downtown

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Story and Photography by Chanse Wettstein

Downtown Bowling Green is going through some exciting changes - with new apartments and businesses being built every day, the atmosphere of growth and development has spurred entrepreneurs around the city to make downtown an even larger, more diverse place. It’s this exact energy that drew Mrs. Kentucky (Sloan Reid) and her husband (Drew Reid) to Bowling Green 4 years ago, and it’s why they chose to spend a weekend exploring all of the amazing new things that our downtown has to offer.

When they looked for a place to stay, nothing stood out more than the Kentucky Grand - a recently completed Hotel & Spa that makes no compromises; featuring a Piano Bar and lounge, as well as a to-be-completed Market. The beautiful design on both the inside and outside combined with its central location - right next to the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center and directly beside the heart of downtown.

From their Hotel, the duo walked down the street to Spencer’s, downtown’s refueling station and the first place that Mrs. Kentucky and her husband visited when they moved to Bowling Green. Many people make Spencer’s the first stop in their morning routine, and even more use it as the perfect study spot.  Spencer’s is currently in the middle of some exciting developments: in addition to a recent menu update, seating will be expanded to fit an additional 40 people. As Bowling Green grows, the businesses that keep us going will grow with us.

After enjoying downtown for a few hours, they ventured down to SKyPAC, which is not directly beside their hotel but also is host to a large part of Bowling Green events. The venue has seen several huge names come across the stage but is still a central part of the complex and growing local art culture of downtown Bowling Green. With recent attractions like Howie Mandel and Paw Patrol, Mrs. Kentucky always has a way to keep her family entertained.

Once they leave SKYPAC, Mrs. Kentucky and her husband are tired and head back to their hotel - after all, 2 days of running around trying to experience all of the things that downtown Bowling Green has to offer is no small task.

The next morning, after getting their morning cup of joe, Mrs. Kentucky and her Mr. made their way to Barbara Stewart Interiors through what can arguably be considered the heart of downtown Bowling Green: Fountain Square Park. This hugely recognizable landmark place is a perfect place to watch one of Bowling Green’s most beloved features: our sunsets. This fountain is synonymous with  “Bowling Green”, and for good reason: it’s been there since 1872. Once the center of town, the park serves as a reminder of where the original courthouse was. After renovations, Fountain Square park still serves as a community gathering place, as well as the center of the Square in the middle of downtown. Spring looks better than ever on the square, with blossoms and blooms visible all across the park, marking the beginning of sunny weather and the explosion of color as flowers begin to bloom around the fountain.

Once they get through the square, Mrs. Kentucky and her husband made it to Barbara Stewart Interiors to do some shopping. Barbara Stewart’s has been a jack of all trades in the interior design industry for over 60 years, with the capability to not only design custom invitations and stationery, but also professionally frame pictures as well as offer design workshops, allowing you to work one-on-one with someone from their team of experienced designers. Expansions are underway here as well, with plans to use the diagonal space - once Pink Daisy boutique - as an area to house their design workshops as well as give them an opportunity to expand and reach more of the community. Though Mrs. Kentucky isn’t looking for custom stationery at the moment, she loves browsing through their constantly updated collection of home goods and gourmet food.

A few doors down from Barbara Stewart’s, the couple makes a little detour for a sweet treat: RAW. This business, despite being open only a few months, has already made an impact on the Bowling Green community. Their Pay-it-Forward board is as community-focused as it gets; pay $3 to place a note on a pin-board, and dedicate it to someone you think needs it. If you fit the description on the note, you collect $3 towards your treat! Mrs. Kentucky dedicated hers to a Glow Getter. The Glow Getter project is designed to help promote healthy leadership and is her personal project.

After enjoying shopping and an afternoon treat together, Mrs. Kentucky and her husband walk to Fountain Square Park, where local bands are just beginning to use the warmer weather as an excuse to begin live music performances. Bands can be seen playing most warm weekend nights in front of the restaurants lining the square. In combination with the lights of downtown, the music makes an almost magical experience. Afterward, they walk back to their hotel only 2 blocks away.  Here, they enjoy some live music and eat at The Derby, The Kentucky Grand’s in-house Desert Bar. Once dinner is finished, Mrs. Kentucky and her Mr. are ready to relax in their sprawling 1600 sq. ft. room, facing downtown Bowling Green and Circus Square Park.

Once they’ve gotten some shut-eye, it’s back to Spencer’s for some coffee and light brunch. After sitting back and enjoying some conversation with each other, it’s on to the Bowling Green Ballpark for Baseball and ballpark snacks. With the recent beginning of the baseball season and Spring coming into full swing, there hasn’t been a better time to go support our local team.

After spending the morning rooting for the Hotrods, Mr. and Mrs. Kentucky are famished. Mariah’s is a Bowling Green tradition that recently moved directly beside the ballpark - the perfect setting for lunch after a ballgame. After lunch, they both relaxed in the spa and freshen up at their hotel, which can be found directly across the street from their meal!

Once they were relaxed and ready at the Kentucky Grand, they made their way to dinner. Dinner downtown is always an exciting ordeal, with tons of options available at all times of day. 440 Main is a Bowling Green favorite amongst many, with an inspired menu and an atmosphere more formal than most local dining. 440 holds a somewhat special place in this couples heart: it’s where Mrs. Kentucky told her husband that she was pregnant with their first child, Ryder. The menu at 440 Main offers cuisine not often found at other restaurants in Bowling Green - the Mrs. and Mr. enjoyed some fresh oysters.

Even though their weekend staycation is over, downtown will still be a huge part of life for both Mrs. Kentucky and her husband.  Bowling Green serves as a home to over 60,000 people and growing, but it’s important to remember that our city draws people for a reason; there are some really great new things happening right around the corner from you, no matter where you are downtown.

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