Indulge your adventurous side with Treetop Adventure at Levi Jackson State Park, Georgetown’s Ward Hall is one of the finest 19th-century homes in the nation, the Feminist Artists of Kentucky raise funds for children in need in Africa, and the Filson Historical Society is the home of Kentucky’s history.
Levi Jackson State Park Treetop Adventure
At Levi Jackson State Park, just east of the Daniel Boone National Forest, adventurous visitors can challenge themselves with obstacles high – and not-so-high – above the ground.
“This is an aerial adventure park,” says Chris Robinson, executive director of the London Tourism Commission. “We have five trails, and each trail has 12 obstacles. We just say 60 obstacles built into the trees.”
Just outside of downtown Georgetown, Ward Hall stands as one of the most significant examples of Greek revival architecture in the country. The mansion was built in 1857 as a second residence for multi-millionaire Junius Richard Ward.
Ward was a native of Scott County who made his fortune on a cotton plantation in Mississippi. His primary residence was a mansion in Mississippi, and the 12,000 square foot house on 550 acres in Kentucky was essentially a vacation home.
“Ward Hall became the epitome of Greek revival architecture in Kentucky,” says historian Ron Bryant. “This was built for a party house. They would come up here from Mississippi in about May, and they would stay until nearly October so they would miss out on the real heat of the Mississippi delta and yellow fever epidemics and they would come up here and party. If you got an invitation to Ward Hall you know you have arrived socially.”
The building has some age-related decay, but is still a remarkable example of the architecture of its time.
“One of the highlights of the house is the double elliptical staircases,” says Bryant. “There’s supposed to be only one other like them in the country and that’s in Mississippi. The double elliptical staircase goes clear to the third floor, and if you stand at the top at the attic stairs and look down, it’s a 30-foot drop. It’s breathtaking.”
Ward Hall is furnished with pieces from the 1850s and 1860s. Portraits – some of them copies of the originals still owned by the Ward family – date back to the 1840s.
“It is magnificent to think that you could have so much about one family and one time period here that literally you can just walk through and feel like they’ve just kind of stepped out and may be back at any moment,” says Bryant.
Feminist Artists of Kentucky
Since 2013, a group of women in Berea have shared their artistic interests and talents to raise money for charitable causes, locally and globally.
“We started because we all loved art, and found out that painting and making art can become a lonely, solitary experience, and that if we met together with others we would really motivate one another,” says artist Pat Jennings. “And we have.”
Filson Historical Society
John Filson was a schoolteacher and land surveyor who published a map of Kentucky and a book about his travels through the area in the 1780s. He’s now considered Kentucky’s first historian. The Filson Historical Society in Louisville exists today to document the history of Louisville and the Ohio River Valley.
The Filson collects and stores documents, photographs, and artifacts. There are items that were brought over from Europe by eventual Kentucky settlers that date back to the 1600s.