One of the eye-opening things about exploring America by car is witnessing the changes, natural and cultural, that give rise to sense of place. In that way, Kentucky is singular. From the gray-tinged mountains of Appalachia to the stately fields of bourbon country, high and low intersect by the mile—and the genesis point for elegance isn’t simply demarcated.
For a hungry traveler, it’s tough to say which region produces the most crave-worthy experiences. Along the rocky spine that juts up from Tennessee, seasonal mountain cuisine hums with a soft, southern heartbeat. There, one finds fresh-picked greens, well-seasoned beans and more than enough kitchen wisdom to fill an encyclopedia. Moving west, past fields where the world’s most sought-after horses are raised, bourbon barrels rest in historic rick-houses, aging sites where time and temperature guide a delicious transformation.