A to Z Challenge: Reflections #atozchallenge

A-to-Z Reflection [2016]During the month of April 2016 I participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge had each blogger select a theme and then do a post thematically from A to Z during each day of April , except Sundays.

This was my first opportunity to really participate in this annual event, which just completed its 6th year.  It was not easy!!  I had to not only post something daily, but also create a theme and stick with it.  And, in my perfectionist way, I wanted to make sure there were plenty of photos and commentary.  I wrote in such a way to draw people to the more detailed posts, where ever possible. 

It was a load of fun and I completed the challenge.  Not sure how many actually did, but it was certainly tough, yet fulfilling. 

What I really loved about the event was being able to communicate and link up with others doing the same thing.  I have made some new friends on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  I have found some interesting blogs to follow and also have a few new followers.

I most certainly look forward to participating again next year.  Now to start thinking of a good theme for next year.  May actually take a long time!!!

A BIG Thanks to Arlee Bird and her wonderful team!!

My blog was number 1337 out of 1670 participating blogs. This year my A to Z posts took readers across the back roads of America to many unique towns.  See what other bloggers posted about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016

Following is a complete listing of each with the banners associated with each post’s link. Click on the Lettered Banner to go to the specific post.

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The A Towns: Amarillo, TX – Adair, IA – Alzada, MT – Alamogordo, NM – Alligator, MS – Alliance, NE – Ada, MI – Akela Flats, NM

 

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The B Towns: Bemidji, MN – Boring, OR – Blackfoot, ID – Burk’s Falls, ON – Booger Holler, AR – Brownsville, TN – Babb, MT – Blackwater, MO – Bena, MN – Bucksnort, TN – Bugtussle, KY – Bugtussle, TX

 

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The C Towns: Cactus Flat, SD – Centralia, MO – Cape Elizabeth, ME – Climax, NC – Climax, KY – Choteau, MT – Cave City, KY – Charm, OH – Chelsea, MI – Champaign, IL – Cut Bank, MT – Caledonia, ON – Cut and Shoot, TX – China Grove, TX – Cool, TX – Coolville, OH

 

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The D Towns: Douglas, WY – DeForest, WI – Discovery Bay, WA – Dublin, OH – Dublin, TX – Dragoon, AZ – Denton, TX – Durant, OK – Danville, IL – Dallas, SD – Denver, NC – Damon, TX

 

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The E Towns: Earth, TX – Eureka Springs, AR – Elbe, WA – Easton, PA – Eldon, IA – Egg Harbor, WI – East Peoria, IL – Embro, ON – Eagle, CO – Endeavor, WI

 

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The F Towns: Flagstaff, AZ – Friendly, WV – Friendship, AR – Flippin, AR – Fair Play, SC – Fergus Falls, MN – Feely, MT – Flippin, KY – Fly, OH – Four Way, TX – Future City, IL

 

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The G Towns: Gainesville, TX – Gothenburg, NE – Guthrie, KY – Gregory, SD – Galata, MT – Glasgow, MT – Glasgow, KY – Gardiner, MT – Gillette, WY – Granbury, TX – Grand Forks, ND – Gravel Switch, KY – Gilboa, OH – Georgetown, TX

 

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The H Towns: Hell, MI – Hamtramck, MI – Hamilton, ON – Hatch, NM – Hico, TX – Hopland, CA – Hoboken, NJ – Hugo, OK – Hershey, PA – Home on the Range, ND – Hamburg, IA

 

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The I Towns: Indian Head, SK – Intercourse, PA – Ironwood, MI – Independence, MO – Idaho Falls, ID – Iona, ID – Inverness, MT – Iron River, WI

 

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The J Towns: Jamestown, ND – Joseph, OR – Jeffersonville, IN – Juneau, AK – Jackson Hole, WY – Janesville, WI – Jackson Center, OH – Jamaica Beach, TX – Jamestown, NY

 

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The K Towns: Kemmerer, WY – Keystone, SD – Ketchikan, AK – Kensington District, ON – Kadoka, SD – Kremlin, MT – Kirkwood, MO

 

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The L Towns: LeClaire, IA – Lake Nebagamon, WI – Lesage, WV – LeRoy, NY – Lizard Lick, NC – Lake Jackson, TX – Lost Springs, WY – Langdon, ND

 

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The M Towns: Mt. Horeb, WI – Meadville, PA – Metropolis, IL – Marshfield, WI – Moenave, AZ – Mystic, CT – Montrose, SD – Minot, ND – Mitchell, SD – Mapleton, ON – Medina, NY – Moose Jaw, SK – Mars, PA

 

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The N Towns: Nicholson, PA – Nekoma, ND – Natchez, MS – Neah Bay, WA – Nauvoo, IL – Newport, OR – Newark, OH – Normal, IL – Nice, CA – New Salem, ND

 

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The O Towns: Only, TN – Old Orchard Beach, ME – Okay, OK – Oil Springs, ON – Oak Creek, CO – Oacoma, SD – Odd, WV – Onawa, IA – Oddville, KY

 

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The P Towns: Pella, IA – Peculiar, MO – Pierre Part, LA – Point Pleasant, WV – Paris, KY – Paris, TX – Paris, TN – Paris, ON – Port Orchard, WA – Powder River, WY – Paducah, KY – Port Gibson, MS – Palmyra, NY – Perryville, KY – Paxton, NE – Pembroke, NY – Penn Yan, NY – Ponder, TX

 

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The Q Towns: Quincy, IL – Quartzsite, AZ – Queen City, OH (Cincinnati) – Quicksand, KY

 

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The R Towns: Roswell, NM – Regent, ND – Rhinelander, WI – Rabbit Hash, KY – Raton, NM – Red Lodge, MT – Riverside, IA – Rugby, ND – Rudyard, MT

 

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The S Towns: Steubenville, OH – Stanley, ID – Sedona, AZ – Santa Rosa, CA – Staunton, IL – Sisters, OR – Seymour, WI – Santa Claus, IN – Sandwich, NH – Sweet Grass, MT – Shakespeare, ON – Stratford, ON – Sikeston, MO – Success, MO – Soda Springs, ID

 

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The T Towns: Tightwad, MO – Talent, OR – Toad Suck, AR – Thermopolis, WY – Teton Valley, ID – Tetonia, ID – Tuba City, AZ – Tornado, WV – Tavistock, ON – Tomahawk, WI – Tripp, SD – Tunica, MS – Tioga, TX – Ten Sleep, WY – Torch, OH

 

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The U Towns: Uncertain, TX – Uncasville, CT – Upper Lake, CA – Ukiah, CA – Upton, KY

 

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The V Towns: Vulcan, AB – Valier, MT – Vernal, UT – Vandalia, IL – Vicksburg, MS – Versailles, KY – Vincennes, IN

 

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The W Towns: Wharton, TX – Welland, ON – Wapiti, WY – Wall, SD – Winterset, IA – Winner, SD – Walla Wall, WA – Worland, WY – Walcott, IA – Waldo, AR – West Montrose, ON

 

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The X Towns: Xenia, OH – Lexington, KY – Cotopaxi, CO – Oxford County, ON – Texarkana, AR – Texline, TX – Rexburg, ID – Exie, KY

 

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The Y Towns: Yampa, CO – West Yellowstone, MT –  Yellville, AR – York, NE

 

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The Z Towns: Zanesville, OH – Zelienople, PA – Zurich, MT

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A to Z Challenge: The V Towns #atozchallenge

During the month of April I am participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge has each blogger select a theme and then do a post thematically from A to Z during each day of April , except Sundays. My blog is number 1337 out of 1670 participating blogs. This year my A to Z posts will take you across the back roads of America to many unique towns. To see what other bloggers will be posting about, check out the link: A to Z Theme Reveal List for 2016

VThe V Towns

Vulcan, Alberta

Welcome to Vulcan Plaque
Welcome to Vulcan Plaque
Welcome to Vulcan in Klingon
Welcome to Vulcan in Klingon
At the Starship Enterprise in Vulcan, Alberta 2007
At the Starship Enterprise in Vulcan, Alberta 2007
Vulcan Public Library Sign
Vulcan Public Library Sign
Enterprise Family Restaurant - Vulcan, Alberta
Enterprise Family Restaurant – Vulcan, Alberta
Vulcan Visitor Center
Vulcan Visitor Center
Star Trek Wall Mural in Vulcan, Alberta
Star Trek Wall Mural in Vulcan, Alberta

Back in 2007 I had occasion to visit a friend of mine in Alberta, Canada.  One of the side trips we tool was to the town of Vulcan, which has taken full advantage of its name and the association with the TV show Star Trek.  Vulcan is a town located midway between the cities of Calgary and Lethbridge inthe prairies of Southern Alberta, Canada.  The population of the town was 1,940 in 2006, and the population of the county, which is also named Vulcan. See more about my Vulcan visit HERE. Live long and prosper!!

Valier, Montana

Welcome to Valier, Montana
Welcome to Valier, Montana
Rock City Rd. and Dean Rd., north of Valier, MT
Rock City Rd. and Dean Rd., north of Valier, MT
Sumoflam at Rock City north of Valier, Montana
Sumoflam at Rock City north of Valier, Montana
Rock City near Valier, Montana
Rock City near Valier, Montana
Two Medicine River north of Valier, Montana
Two Medicine River north of Valier, Montana

Last week I posted about a place near Sweet Grass, Montana called Jerusalem Rocks.  About 70 south of there is a town called Valier.  It is a small town of about 700 and really does not have a whole lot there. But, just outside of town is another outcropping of hoodoos and formations in a place called Rock City.  I wrote about this and other similar places in a post HERE.  But, you may also want to check out my complete post on my Montana US Highway 89 adventure HERE.

Vernal, Utah

Welcome to Vernal, UT
Welcome to Vernal, UT
Dinosaur National Monument, Vernal, UT
Dinosaur National Monument, Vernal, UT
DinoHead
Dinosaur Head Fossil at Dinosaur National Monument
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Dinosaur bones embedded at Dinosaur National Monument
DaveDinLeg
Sumoflam with a dinosaur Leg Bone Fossil at Dinosaur National Monument
Flaming Gorge, near Vernal, UT (photo from utah.com)
Flaming Gorge, near Vernal, UT (photo from utah.com)

In 1975 I made weekly trips from Salt Lake City to Vernal, Utah for work as a record/tape distributor.  I loved the drive and Vernal was actually a nice place to visit every week.  In the early 2000s I once again visited with my family as we ventured to the Dinosaur National Monument.  Along with my trips, I would drive the switchbacks form Vernal and over the area known as Flaming Gorge.  This is beautiful country and well worth the visit.  It has been many years since I have been there, and I hope to get there again soon!

Vandalia, Illinois

Vandalia Water Tower with Lincoln on it
Vandalia Water Tower with Lincoln on it
Vandalia State House in Vandalia, IL
Vandalia State House in Vandalia, IL
Breathing Fire in Vandalia
Breathing Fire in Vandalia
Sumoflam and the Fire Breathing Dragon of Kaskaskia in Vandalia, IL
Sumoflam and the Fire Breathing Dragon of Kaskaskia in Vandalia, IL

On a family trip in 2014, we drove through the town of Vandalia, Illinois as part of our return trip home.  Our main reason for coming here was to see a fire breathing dragon…made from metal. But, Vandalia is so much more.  This is where Abraham Lincoln kicked off his career as a politician.  It was the western terminus of the National Road, one of America’s first highways.  The Kaskaskia Dragon was a load of fun for the grandkids too!! Check out my full trip report with lots of photos HERE.

Vicksburg, Mississippi

Sumoflam and Cannons at Vicksburg National Military Park
Sumoflam and Cannons at Vicksburg National Military Park
Entry arch at Vicksburg
Entry arch at Vicksburg
Cannon line the grounds of Vicksburg National Military park in Vicksburg, MS
Cannon line the grounds of Vicksburg National Military park in Vicksburg, MS
Sculpture at Vicksburg
Sculpture at Vicksburg
Sculpture at Vicksburg
Sculpture at Vicksburg

In the summer of 2014 I cruised down the Blues Highway and ended up spending the night in Vicksburg, Mississippi. I woke up early the next day to visit the Vicksburg National Military Park before heading further south on Highway 61. The park preserves the site of the American Civil War Battle of Vicksburg, waged from May 18 to July 4, 1863 and also commemorates the greater Vicksburg Campaign, which preceded the battle. The expansive park includes 1,340 historic monuments and markers, 20 miles of historic trenches and earthworks, a 16-mile tour road, 144 emplaced cannons, a restored gunboat, and more. A must see for Civil War enthusiasts, but also a great place to learn about a facet of American history.  Besides the park, the town has a great Coca Cola memorabilia museum and a number of murals along the river wall.  You can see many more photos and a more detailed writeup about my visit in 2014 HERE.

Versailles, Kentucky (Honorable Mention)

A mural on a water tower in Versailles, Kentucky
A mural on a water tower in Versailles, Kentucky
Scrap Metal Horse at Woodford Reserve near Versailles, Kentucky
Scrap Metal Horse at Woodford Reserve near Versailles, Kentucky
Horses graze in the fall on a Woodford County farm near Versailles.
Horses graze in the fall on a Woodford County farm near Versailles.
One of many amazing Horse Farm barns that can be seen in the Versailles area
One of many amazing Horse Farm barns that can be seen in the Versailles area
Versailles is in the heart of the Horse Capital of the World
Versailles is in the heart of the Horse Capital of the World

Living in Lexington, Kentucky offers many wonderful opportunities for “Staycations.”  One great place to visit nearby is the lovely and historic town of Versailles (pronounced Ver-sales) which is on US Highway 62 west of Lexington. Versailles is well-known for its quaint, small-town beauty, beautiful horse farms and Kentucky’s famed bourbon distilleries, including the famed Woodford Reserve.  Many of the famed Bluegrass Horse Farms are in Woodford County and near Versailles.   I have never written a blog post about Versailles, but I would highly recommend a visit there if you come to Kentucky.  Plan the trip in April and go to the races at nearby Keeneland Racetrack then take the Bourbon Trail.  Check out my 2013 blog post about Horse Farm Country with many photos about horses, horse farms and the Horse Capital of the World — right HERE.

Vincennes, Indiana (Honorable Mention)

Family at the George Rogers Clark National Historic Park in Vincennes, Indiana Summer 2001
Family at the George Rogers Clark National Historic Park in Vincennes, Indiana Summer 2001
Family inside the Clark Memorial with George Rogers Clark and the seven murals, Summer 2001
Family inside the Clark Memorial with George Rogers Clark and the seven murals, Summer 2001

In the summer of 2001 my family took a trip westward to Utah (including the trip to Vernal noted above).  Early in the trip we went through Vincennes, Indiana to visit the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park. Founded in 1732 by French fur traders, Vincennes is the oldest continually inhabited European settlement in Indiana and one of the oldest settlements west of the Appalachians. It sits at the intersection of US Highway 41 and US Highway 50. George Rogers Clark (November 19, 1752 – February 13, 1818) was a surveyor, soldier, and militia officer from Virginia and the highest ranking American military officer on the northwestern frontier during the American Revolutionary War. He served as leader of the Kentucky (then part of Virginia) militia throughout much of the war. Clark is best known for his celebrated captures of Kaskaskia (1778) (Way before the fiery dragon noted above!!) and Vincennes (1779) during the Illinois Campaign, which greatly weakened British influence in the Northwest Territory. Because the British ceded the entire Northwest Territory to the United States in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, Clark has often been hailed as the “Conqueror of the Old Northwest”.  his younger brother William was the “Clark” in the Lewis and Clark expeditions.  This trip was well before my travel blogging days, but the Memorial was definitely one of our more memorable experiences on a trip across the country to see history.

Did You Miss My Other A to Z Challenge Posts? Click on a letter below to see the others.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Learn More About the A to Z Challenge and visit hundreds of other participating blogs (click logo below)

A2Z-BADGE [2016]

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Living in Horse Country – The Scenery and the Art

Horse Country - Lexington, Kentucky
Horse Country – Lexington, Kentucky

We have lived in Central Kentucky for just over 20 years.  The Lexington area is known as the Horse Capital of the World, and for good reason, the area is noted for its limestone enriched fertile soil, its excellent pastureland and the perfect place for bluegrass to grow.  The area is known for its scenic beauty and  manicured landscapes.  Sometimes one needs only go into their own backyard to enjoy the ride..  Following are a few “Horse Photos” that I have taken around Central Kentucky, some scenic, but mainly horse art that I come across.

HORSE FARMS AND HORSES OF CENTRAL KENTUCKY

Horse Racing at Keeneland
Horse Racing at Keeneland in Lexington, one of the premier tracks in the U.S.

With hundreds of horse farms in the area supporting it, Thoroughbred Racing is a huge industry in Central Kentucky.  But there are many other events that occur here as well, especially with the world famous Kentucky Horse Park.

Show Jumping at Kentucky Horse Park
Show Jumping at Kentucky Horse Park
Polocross at the Kentucky horse Park
Polocross at the Kentucky horse Park

Along with the horse activities are the expansive horse farms with their signature black plank fences and their massive horse barns.

Typical scene in Horse Country
Typical scene in Horse Country
Winter scene in horse country
Winter scene in horse country
Fall in Horse Country
Fall in Horse Country
Large Horse barn on Yarnelton Rd. near Lexington
Large Horse barn on Yarnelton Rd. near Lexington
Grazing horse on a farm south of Lexington
Grazing horse on a farm south of Lexington
A road near Lexington KY with the shadows of the famed plank fences
A road near Lexington KY with the shadows of the famed plank fences
Thoroughbreds frolicking in the snow in Woodford County, KY
Thoroughbreds frolicking in the snow in Woodford County, KY
A playful horse gives me the eye
A playful horse gives me the eye

HORSE ART IN CENTRAL KENTUCKY

Part of a mural in Lexington, Kentucky
Part of a mural in Lexington, Kentucky

With so much involved around horses in Central Kentucky, it is no wonder that there is an abundance of horse art to be found in the area.  There are numerous paintings and murals and dozens of horse statues dotting the region.  Here is just a smattering of what I have come across in my travels around Lexington and the surrounding area.

Angry Horse statue in Hamburg shopping area in Lexington.
Angry Horse statue in Hamburg shopping area in Lexington.
Girl with a foal, also in Hamburg shopping area
Girl with a foal, also in Hamburg shopping area
Horse and rider outside of Rebecca Ruth Candy Shop in Frankfort, Kentucky
Horse and jockey outside of Rebecca Ruth Candy Shop in Frankfort, Kentucky
Foal Statue on a Gate Post on Cleveland Road near Lexington, KY
Foal Statue on a Gate Post on Cleveland Road near Lexington, KY
Scrap Metal Horse at Woodford Reserve near Versailles, Kentucky
Scrap Metal Horse at Woodford Reserve near Versailles, Kentucky
Horse Statue at an upscale apartment complex in Lexington, Kentucky
Horse Statue at an upscale apartment complex in Lexington, Kentucky
This is a large horse mural on a water tower off of I-75 north of Lexington
This is a large horse mural on a water tower off of I-75 north of Lexington
A giant horse made out of wire that stands in front of the courthouse in Lexington
A giant horse made out of wire that stands in front of the courthouse in Lexington
Another view of the horse through a fountain with the courthouse in the background
Another view of the horse through a fountain with the courthouse in the background
A Chinese Horse statue in front of a bank in downtown Lexington
A Chinese Horse statue in front of a bank in downtown Lexington
Show Jumpers at shopping center in Lexington
Show Jumpers at shopping center in Lexington
Another set of jumpers in the same shopping center
Another set of jumpers in the same shopping center
Part of a mural on a wall on a building in downtown Lexington
Part of a mural on a wall on a building in downtown Lexington
A mural on a water tower in Versailles, Kentucky
A mural on a water tower in Versailles, Kentucky
A rustic horse head on a building in downtown Lexington
A rustic horse head on a building in downtown Lexington
Horse and Rider in downtown Lexington
John Hunt Morgan statue in downtown Lexington
John B. Castleman Statue in Cherokee Triangle in Louisville
John B. Castleman Statue in Cherokee Triangle in Louisville

As a side note on the above two photos of Morgan and Castleman.  These are both on the National Register of Historic Places and are the only two Civil War Monuments in Kentucky with equestrians.

THOROUGHBRED PARK – LEXINGTON

Thoroughbred Park in Downtown Lexington
Thoroughbred Park in Downtown Lexington

Perhaps the shining monument of horse art in Lexington (and Central Kentucky) is Thoroughbred Park. This 2.5 acre park, with its fountains and benches and walking paths offers a splendid retreat.  It also provides a unique history of the thoroughbred. The park contains 42 plaques honoring historic figures in the thoroughbred industry, and has 13 life-sized horse sculptures, including the seven horses storming down a track towards the finish line of a race.  All of the horse art in this park was done by Lexington artist Gwen Reardon. Following are a few scenes from the park.

Horse and rider racing down the track. Perhaps my favorite photo of all from Thoroughbred Park
Horse and jockey racing down the track. Perhaps my favorite photo of all from Thoroughbred Park
Top view of the horses racing
Top view of the horses racing
Jockey pushing his horse at Thoroughbred Park
Jockey pushing his horse at Thoroughbred Park
Frolicking Foals in Thoroughbred Park
Frolicking Foals in Thoroughbred Park
Grazing mare on a hill in Thoroughbred Park
Grazing mare on a hill in Thoroughbred Park
Monument of a 1800s race horse and sire named "Lexington" at Thoroughbred Park
Monument of a 1800s race horse and sire named “Lexington” at Thoroughbred Park
New foal promises the future of the industry
New foal promises the future of the industry
A final view - front view of the horses...you can almost hear and feel them
A final view – front view of the horses…you can almost hear and feel them

ARTSY HORSES – HORSE MANIA 2010 AND MORE

Lady's Godiva's Horse - created by Jean Isaacs Bramlette and Audwin Price
Lady’s Godiva’s Horse – created by Jean Isaacs Bramlette and Audwin Price

In July 2010, LexArts, a community organization dedicated to the promotion of art in Lexington, created a fund raising project called Horse Mania 2010, which featured 82  painted fiberglass horses that dotted the streets of Lexington. Since that time, many of these were purchased and added to private collections in Kentucky and elsewhere, but some are still visible on the streets of the city. The complete set can be seen HERE and all are clickable to see the whole story behind each one.  Following are a few that I have captured over the past three years.

Madame Ivory by Kelly Rice Welker
Madame Ivory by Kelly Rice Welker
Running Around in Circles by Blake Eames
Running Around in Circles by Blake Eames
Color Bars by Martha Chute and Jamie Pyles
Color Bars by Martha Chute and Jamie Pyles
Fionghan by Megan Gilvin
Fionghan by Megan Gilvin
Cloisonneigh by Priscilla Roberts Fallon & Family
Cloisonneigh by Priscilla Roberts Fallon & Family
It's Rocking Lexington by Lloyd Hughes
It’s Rocking Lexington by Lloyd Hughes
Lexington Landmarks by Jennifer Conrad-Barber
Lexington Landmarks by Jennifer Conrad-Barber
This one is in Chevy Chase, but can't find the name
This one is in Chevy Chase, but can’t find the name
This colorful Zebra is in Hamburg Shopping area, but is not on the list
This colorful Zebra is in Hamburg Shopping area, but is not on the list
This horse was in downtown Lexington during Horse Mania, but is not on the list either
This horse was in downtown Lexington during Horse Mania, but is not on the list either
Then there is the unusual Toaster Horse at Lynn's Paradise Cafe in Louisville
Then there is the unusual Toaster Horse at Lynn’s Paradise Cafe in Louisville

Obviously, there is much more art to be found.  The Kentucky Horse Park has a dozen or more outdoor sculptures, photos of which can be seen here.  There are also more to be found in surrounding towns such as Paris, Versailles, Cynthiana, Richmond, Danville and more.  Its a great place to visit and an even better place to live!!

 

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