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Contents:
Program 1219

1. the Wildwood Inn
2. calligrapher Mary Breeden
3. Big Blue engineering project
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Boone County

For more information:
Wildwood Inn, 7809 U.S. 42, Florence, KY 41042, (859) 371-6300 or (800) 758-2335

Producer, editor: Joy Flynn
Videographer: Matt Grimm
Audio: Charlie Bissell


On Safari in Florence

Wildwood Inn

Would you like to sleep on a pirate ship? In a treehouse? How about in a classic ’50s Cadillac with stylish fins? At the Wildwood Inn in Florence, guests can choose from among those options and many others while still enjoying private spas, big-screen TVs, kitchenettes, and other resort hotel amenities.

The Wildwood does have more “normal” hotel rooms. But what makes it distinctive is its theme rooms and suites. Some, like two Victorian variations, are fairly standard rooms dressed up with authentic furnishings and decor. But others actually put visitors inside elaborately sculpted environments. Would-be cave dwellers, for instance, can choose an Arctic suite that appears to be carved out of ice, a Kentucky cave dripping with stalactites, or a Southwestern desert model. In the treehouse, a thick tree trunk hides a spiral stairway that leads to an upper-level spa. And NASCAR fans in the Speedway suite can watch TV from the front seat of a real racecar.

Proprietor Tom Kelly enjoys thinking up new ideas, then seeking out authentic furnishings and props. A popular recent addition is the Shi-Awela Safari Village, a collection of 12 huts circling a small lagoon and landscaped with thorn trees and veldt.

If you want to try one of the Wildwood’s theme rooms, you’ll need to make your plans well in advance, because they tend to stay booked. In fact, the idea has been such a hit in Northern Kentucky that the Wildwood has expanded to a new location in Gatlinburg, transforming the former Homestead House Hotel into a second collection of fanciful getaway spots.

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Fayette County

Producer, videographer: Brandon Wickey
Editor: Dan Taulbee


Illuminating Faith

Calligrapher Mary Breeden

Before the invention of the printing press (or the Xerox machine), books were printed by hand. Medieval monks devoted years to transcribing religious texts and ornamenting them with illustrations and elaborate decorative motifs.

As a child, Mary Breeden was fascinated by the mental image of those monks and by the results of their work—the beautiful illuminated manuscripts that are revered today not only as rare relics of centuries long gone but as stunning works of art. So she took up medieval-style calligraphy as an outlet for her love of drawing and as an expression of her own deep-seated faith.

Mary found particular inspiration in the Book of Kells, an illuminated transcription of the four New Testament gospels completed in the 8th century by monks on the island of Iona. Nearly lost—it was found buried in a bog, minus its jewel-encrusted cover, in 1006—it is today one of the world’s most famous books. Its 680 pages contain numerous full-page illustrations, including one of the oldest surviving representations of the Madonna and Child, and elaborate patterned borders. The influence of its lettering and illustration styles can be seen in Mary Breeden’s work, which includes several self-published books of illuminated Biblical stories.

One of those books, a transcription of the book of Daniel, was a collaboration with fellow Lexington artist Gloria Thomas, a painter profiled in Kentucky Life Program 115.

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Fayette County

For more information:
BIG BLUE, UK College of Engineering, Lexington, KY 40506-0503, (859) 257-1687

Producers: Brandon Wickey, Steve Bailey
Editor: Jon Rueger


Go Big Blue

NASA-UK engineering project

About 100 years after the Wright Brothers pulled off the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, those North Carolina dunes hosted another test flight. This time, the engineers behind it were University of Kentucky students who hope that one day their invention will soar through the skies of Mars.

As amazing as Mars rovers are, the ability to fly through the atmosphere of the Red Planet would obviously greatly expand the possibilities for research and exploration. The trouble, of course, is that Mars doesn’t have much atmosphere. So by the basic laws of aeronautics, you need a huge wing surface area in order to generate enough lift to get off the ground there. But the economics of space exploration dictate that anything you want to transport from Earth to Mars be as compact as possible.

Enter BIG BLUE (the Baseline Inflatable-wing Glider, Balloon-Launched Unmanned Experiment), a NASA-funded project at the University of Kentucky College of Engineering in which students designed and tested one possible solution: inflatable wings that will travel between planets in a small space, but then expand like balloons when unpacked. The high-tech material they’re made of was designed to harden in the warmth of the sun, creating a durable aircraft for exploring Mars.

As it happens, that last part was actually done first. In Phase I of BIG BLUE, the UK students proved that the wing material would “cure” and become rigid after expansion. Our visit to the project was during Phase II, which included the development of an autopilot and several test flights.

Watch This Story (7:36)


SEASON 12 PROGRAMS: 120112021203120412051206120712081209121012111212
1213121412151216121712181219122012211222: Dr. Clark’s Kentucky Treasures

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