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Glasgow–Barren Country

By Angela Reeves

Small Town, Mammoth Appeal

Glasgow-Barren County is a small rural area in South Central KY, named in 2007 as the number one rural place to live by The Progressive Farmer magazine. In the last decade, the area has stayed the same charming town with people full of southern hospitality, but it has continued to expand on all it has to offer to citizens and visitors. Glasgow-Barren County has a rich historical heritage, amazing recreational offerings, and a well rounded food scene to rival many larger cities. If you’re a Kentuckian looking to explore over the weekend or traveling from across the country or world, Glasgow will not disappoint.

What brings many visitors to the area is the proximity to Mammoth Cave National Park, the world’s longest known cave system with 400 miles explored. Mammoth Cave National Park preserves the cave system and a part of the Green River valley and hilly country of south central Kentucky. Early guide Stephen Bishop called the cave a “grand, gloomy and peculiar place,” but its vast chambers and complex labyrinths have earned its name - Mammoth. Opportunities at the park include guided cave tours, hiking, canoeing on the Green River, picnicking, horseback riding, bicycling, camping and more.

Located adjacent to Mammoth Cave is historic Diamond Caverns. Diamond Caverns is a natural beauty, featuring natural colorful calcite deposits which line the walls with thousand of formations. Tours have been taking place for over 155 years and are presented with state of the art lighting to capture the essence of its beauty.

Nearby accommodations at the Park Mammoth Resort offer a close stay after a long day, and the resort includes recreation options for the family as well such as a shooting center, and 18 hole golf course, as well as a restaurant and wine tasting room.

While the underground adventures may be hard to rival, Glasgow-Barren county has plenty of above ground outdoor excitement to offer as well. Barren River Lake’s 10,000 acres of water fun are also in Barren County’s backyard. Barren River Lake State Resort Park offers boating, fishing, hiking, a “beach” area, 18 holes of golf, horseback riding, and cabins or lodging accommodations. While staying you must visit Paradise Point Marketplace and Cafe down the road for lakeside shopping of unique gifts and antiques, and a hotdog from Harry’s Weiner Shack.

To continue with the outdoor fun, the family will enjoy Dinosaur World theme park with more than 150 life size dinosaurs, interactive exhibits, fossil digging, and playground. There is a picnic area to enjoy where you can pack your own food and even bring your four legged friends! Other exciting stops to include are the Civil War Battlefield at Fort Williams and the National historic site, Bell’s Tavern.

If you’re needing a break from the great outdoors, Glasgow-Barren country has plenty of family fun inside as well. The South Central Kentucky Cultural Center in downtown Glasgow is a 30,000 ft2 museum full of the history of the Barrens - Metcalfe, Allen, Hart Monroe and Barren Counties. Glasgow’s Plaza Theatre is another site not to be missed. The landmark first opened in 1934 and was restored to its original beauty in 2004, seating 1,010. If you’re lucky, or plan accordingly, you can catch a performance from one of the many local or national musical or theatrical acts which grace the stage. When it’s time to let loose, Glasgow’s own Ralphie’s Fun Center has bowling, skating, laser tag, mini golf, an escape room, inflatables, and arcade games...something for everyone to enjoy!

Whether you’re hungry for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Glasgow-Barren County has you covered from your favorite southern cooking to entrees from around the world. A Little Taste of Texas is a local favorite featuring Tex-Mex cuisine from the Lane and Ferrell families of Glasgow. Fans rave about their steaks and the Monterey Chicken. Other local favorites are Fine Arts Bistro, Colton’s Steak House, Rib Lickers Smoke Shack and Garcia’s Grill. New to the restaurant scene this year is much anticipated, Yancey’s Gastropub & Brewery on the square. Yancey’s offers indoor and outdoor dining with a fresh gastropub style menu, specialty 1920 themed top shelf drinks, 37 KY Bourbons and their own craft brews.

So hopefully now you’re convinced to add Glasgow-Barren County to your itinerary for the next place to visit, and nothing would be better than to plan your trip around the annual Glasgow Highland Games, this year taking place May 31st - June 2nd. Glasgow, KY is named for Glasgow, Scotland, with close to 65 percent of Barren County having Scottish heritage. The celebration is a coming together of Scottish clans, embracing Scottish culture through music, food, dance performances and competitive games. The games events such as the caber toss, sheepherding, Highland wrestling and haggis tossing. Since 1985, more than 10,000 spectators have been visiting during the festival from around the world.

Come and visit Glasgow-Barren County, or become a tourist in your own back yard, and don’t miss all the beautiful bluegrass has to offer. For more information, or to help plan your trip, visit the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce or the Barren County Tourist Commission.

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