Barbara and I decided to do an overnight get-away during the Christmas season. We live in Louisville and wanted to leave in the morning, drive a few hours to someplace interesting, walk, explore, spend the evening, explore some more the next day and then head home. Barbara chose Maysville as our destination. Maysville is the home of Rosemary Clooney. We watched “White Christmas” as part of our normal Christmas routine so that prompted the choice of destination.
We like to explore and decided to follow Hwy. 22 from Crestwood to our northern Kentucky destination taking us through Eminence, Bethlehem, Owenton and Holbrook. 22 crosses I-75 at Dry Ridge and then heads south parallel to I-75 for a bit before turning back east through Williamstown and Falmouth. Soon after Falmouth 22 becomes Hwy. 10 taking you the rest of the way into Maysville. It was an overcast day with virtually no one on the road so we were able to drive slowly through the rolling hills and dormant winter country side.
There were many beautiful properties as well as many areas of obvious economic struggle. Most of the drive is winding narrowish two lane road in good repair. We stopped in Owenton to get out and walk some but other than that made no stops. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to complete the drive, but again, we were in no hurry and probably averaged about 45 mph most of the way. We arrived in Maysville about 4:30pm and checked into the French Quarter Inn.
There aren’t many hotels to choose from in Maysville and the others are all up the ridge several miles from the river front. Most of the reviews for the Inn were very positive with some otherwise. We were very happy with our stay there. The French Quarter Inn is located right on the Ohio River. We chose a room overlooking the river. When we booked the room they told us that the train tracks run right under our window. It did rumble through several times during the night but the view of the bridge and the lights from the small town across the river made it worth the slight disturbance.
Maysville almost has a European feel to it with a number of row houses situated throughout the center of town. We took our trip on Sunday so nothing was open downtown. We arrived with some daylight left which quickly turned to dark. That was fun because the Christmas lights were still up and it seemed like we had the town all to ourselves. It felt a bit like we were with Jimmy Stewart in Bedford Falls in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” complete with the old broken down house. Only in this case we came across a massive abandoned building after it had gotten dark. I was tempted to throw a rock at some of the remaining window glass and make a wish but thought better of it.
Many of the buildings have been wonderfully restored while many remain in very distressed conditions. I couldn’t help but think how much money it would take to restore many of the buildings, and the commitment of the town to do what it has done to fight to preserve its past while building a future.
Maysville was an early jumping off spot for pioneers heading west on the Ohio River. Daniel Boone, Simon Kenton, the Marquis de Lafayette, Henry Clay and many others spent time in this once very significant town on the edge of the American Frontier. Rosemary Clooney returned to the area and is buried in the cemetery in Washington on top of the hill. At one time Washington and Maysville were separate towns vying for the honors of being designated the county seat. Eventually Maysville won that battle but now they have been incorporated together.
All the museums are closed on Monday so we will have to plan another Saturday trip to visit them. We did walk through the old Washington walking tour. It was wonderful on our own but the next time we will call ahead and book a docent for a walking tour. Also available are the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center housing The Kathleen Savage Browning Miniatures Collection, The Genealogical and Historical Research Library and The Regional History Museum. There is also The National Underground Railroad Museum as well as Historic Old Washington and a museum dedicated to Rosemary Clooney.
We followed Hwy. 62 out of Old Washington on the drive home. Again the weather was overcast and in the mid to low 30’s. Hwy. 62 wanders through the country side pretty much the same as Hwy. 22. We drove through Mount Olivet, Kentontown and Cynthiana before arriving in Georgetown and taking a short driving tour through Georgetown College where our daughter-in-law Lacosta graduated. If one wanted to take the trip from Lexington you could get to Maysville in about an hour and could make the trip in about 2 1/2 hours from Louisville by taking more major highways.
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and plan on returning sometime very soon.