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Boyle County, Kentucky

With less than 30,000 in the community and being located in the breathtaking Bluegrass Region, Boyle County, Kentucky has all it takes to have the beautiful small town look and feel appeal.  Boasting the first courthouse in the state, the county was the 94th county to be formed when it was established in 1842.  It is perched right in the center of the state and the county seat is Danville.

Boyle County is named for Judge John Boyle was a well-known judge in the land in the early 1800’s.  He served in Kentucky legislation then went on to preside in the House of Representatives.  President John Quincy Adams appointed him as a United State Judge for the District of Kentucky.  He presides as such until he died in 1834.

The county began as a patchwork of other counties in the area.  A portion of it was once a part of Casey County.  It was annexed to Mercer County and then became a section of Boyle County.  Other sections of the county came from Lincoln County and Mercer County.

Unfortunately, the courthouse caught fire in 1860 and many of the county records were lost.  It is known, however, that the Battle of Perryville took place in the county in 1862.  It was fought between the Union Army of the Ohio and the Confederate Army of Mississippi.  Seven hundred and seven men died in the battle.

The rich Bluegrass land is comprised of 183 miles.  Two and a half square miles of it is water.  Communities in the county are – Aliceton, Atoka, Alum Springs, Forkland, Danville, Brumfield, Little Needmore, Parkesville, Perryville, Shelby City, Junction City, Forkland and Junction City.  Adjacent counties include Washington County, Marion County, Casey County, Lincoln County, Garrard County and Mercer County.

Although the county is a small one, it is loaded with interesting things to do.  The Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site is a tribute to the gravesite of many of the Confederate soldiers who perished in the Battle of Perryville.  The site is a 745-acre park with a museum as well.

The McDowell House Museum is a furnished and restored house museum that belonged to a pioneer surgeon, Dr. Ephraim McDowell.  In the house, on Christmas morning in 1809, the physician performed a miraculously successful surgery by removing a tumor on a dying woman.  It was the first surgery of this type.  With antibiotics, anesthesia and even modern sterilization techniques unknown at that time, the doctor was hailed as a hero and is celebrated to this day.

Doll lovers who are out for a “little” fun enjoy the Great American Dollhouse Museum which showcases dollhouses, room boxes and miniature buildings – over 200 of them.  They come complete with a tiny dolls in them.  The miniature version of American social history is the theme of the museum.  One section boasts elves, witches, trolls and faeries and features a walk-in dragon cave.

The county seat of Danville was dry until 2003 but it now overflowing with “wet” nightlife.  The Beer Engine was the town’s first microbrewery.  From the Two Left Feet Dance Center to the Shboom Nightclub, the once sleepy town now comes alive at night.

The Kentucky State BBQ Festival draws a good crowd as well.  Thousands of tourists and locals alike flock to the festival for finger-licking good, tangy barbecue.  The family friendly event features award winning barbeque from a large variety of pit masters.  A barbeque competition is held and there are many activities for kids to enjoy.

Horses are a huge part of the county.  Visitors come from afar to see and tour horse farms.  Horseback riding is plentiful too with stables like Big Red Stables, Brittany Farms, Circle Raindrop Ranch and Horse Cents in the area.

The Central KentuckyWildlife Refuge celebrates the beauty of Central Kentucky and its wildlife.  Local walks from Woodland Pond to Fork Trail are offered.  Nature, bird and flower walks are among the scheduled events.

The County of Boyle is diverse and to many, it is the perfect size, large enough to have much to offer and small enough so tourists and locals can enjoy it.

6. Burke’s Bakery Bakers Bake Better

Ah, Burke’s. A Danville landmark. You’ll never have a better doughnut, butterflake roll, pie, cookie, or cake. I love Burke’s so much that I made it the Danville stop on the KSR Scavenger Hunt last summer, and the pic of Mullet Cat in front the beloved bakery is one of my favorites. No stop in Danville is complete without a trip to Burke’s, so do yourself a favor and go now. And get me a jelly doughnut.

 Centre College isn’t just for the Colonels

As the daughter of two Centre alums, I am very familiar with the beautiful liberal arts school, and although I didn’t go there, I have a special spot in my heart for it. Not only is the campus gorgeous, it brings a lot of great events to Danville, including two Vice Presidential Debates, a rare concert by the Vienna Philharmonic, and countless shows featuring stars like Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton, LeAnn Rimes, the Boston Pops, and Henry Mancini. The Broadway production of “Rent” I saw in high school changed me forever.

Sadly, there’s still no word on what happened to Geek the Missing Centre Python. RIP.

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