Ah, Kentucky. Mountains, horses, and mint juleps. And some guy named Colonel Sanders who really wants to sell you some fried chicken.
To be fair, you can find all these things outside of the Bluegrass State, especially that fried chicken gentleman; guy has restaurants everywhere. But there’s something spectacular about finding all these things and more in one place.
Living in Kentucky
Certain expectations can be made about living in Kentucky: everybody hunts, loves horse races and bourbon, lives near a mountain, plays the banjo, and can spit tobacco juice at least 20 feet.
For a more accurate reading of Kentucky lifestyle, consider the state’s blending of southern grace and charm with a love of culture and metropolitan appeal. You’ll get both in Kentucky, where rural and urban float around each other and occasionally meet for a drink.
When relocating to Kentucky, you’ll come into contact with several well-known Kentucky staples. For example, you may be tempted to hunt down some Kentucky blue grass, which somehow manages to sound homey and exotic. Imagine: actual blue grass.
Just a few things to keep in mind: the grass itself was designed to be pretty, so you’ll be able to locate it just about anywhere since it’s a very popular type of topographical feature. More importantly, the grass will be green, not blue. That’s right; blue grass does not, in fact, look like the Boise State football field. In fact, odds will be good you probably drove by a field of blue grass on your way home today.
Blue grass isn’t blue. The world is upside down.
But don’t let that get you down. Life in Kentucky still has plenty to offer, especially if you like bourbon and horse races. Even if you don’t, odds will be good you’ll come into contact with both on a regular basis.
The median household income for Kentucky, according to the Census ACS 1-year survey, was $48,375 in 2017, or roughly $12,000 lower compared to the median U.S. household income. That means two things: the cost of living in Kentucky can be extremely attractive, but the lack of high-end jobs might be a challenge.
From an affordability point of view, Kentucky can be delightful. The cost of living generally gets ranked about 12 percent lower than the national average, which is nice. Unfortunately, the state’s general lack of economic opportunity provides some perspective on that lower percentage.
Not surprisingly, the state’s health care field posts some of the most in-demand jobs, with home health aids, physical therapists, and nurses ranking among the highest.
Due to in central location in the U.S., Kentucky residents get to enjoy all four seasons in a mild and moderate climate. That means the summers will be warm but not oppressively hot, the winters will be cold but won’t resemble an ice planet from a sci-fi movie, and the transition seasons of spring and fall will be truly wondrous.
Humidity will still be a thing, especially in the lower country areas. Granted, Kentucky humidity doesn’t have anything on, say, Louisiana humidity, which can make you feel like you’re walking through a swamp even when you’re downtown. Just keep a diverse wardrobe handy; diversity tends to be the key when facing a weather forecast that could be “all of the above.”
THINGS TO DO
Going back to what a new Kentucky resident can expect from the neighbors, we should not that, yes, hunting, drinking bourbon, and watching horse races tend to be some favored state pastimes.
Keep in mind, though, that none of that can be bad. Take bourbon, for example. The state allegedly produces 95 percent of the world’s bourbon. And if you need convincing, just go to your local liquor store and see how many of the bourbons were made in Kentucky.
You will not be required to drink it, but you will come into contact with it. Don’t feel bad. People living in New York have to come in contact with Yankees fans. Sometimes people in Florida do, too. It’s perfectly fine.
One quick point of clarification: it’s bourbon, and not whiskey. If you need to educate yourself on the difference, go hit up the Bourbon Trail. It’s like the Oregon Trail, only nobody dies from dysentery and you won’t have to cross any rivers in a covered wagon. Unless you’ve been drinking and think it’ll be fun to try.
Rock climbing tends to be favored activity around here, too, although we don’t recommend drinking bourbon and attempting to scale a mountain at the same time. Try Red River Gorge in Daniel Boone National Park, and then go get a mint julep when you’re done.
Even if you don’t feel like climbing them, the rock formations can be seen everywhere, especially on the freeways. There’s something spectacular about driving on a road that brushes up against a mountain or rocky outcropping. If you’re lucky, you may find small waterfalls falling down the rock formations on the side of the road. If you do, make sure you pull over all the way before trying to get a picture.
Speaking of mint juleps, the things will be impossible to avoid in the first weekend in May when the Kentucky Derby takes place. Actually, you’ll probably start to notice things a few weeks prior to the derby; Kentucky residents treat the race like Mardi Gras season in New Orleans and make the fun last for weeks.
Come for the race, stay for the hats and outfits. You won’t be avoid the horses, either, especially if you visit downtown Louisville; statutes and murals throughout the city celebrate horses.
In addition to the rock climbing, booze, and horse races, Kentucky residents get pretty fired up about Wildcats basketball. However, basketball cares gets thrown out the window during a tornado, sometimes literally. Tornados don’t’ occur all the time, but they can be extremely dangerous when they do. You hear a tornado warning, you get under cover. But before you do, try a Hot Brown sandwich, an open-faced delight featuring bacon and turkey doused in Mornay sauce and baked until the bread gets crisped.
Relocating can be a difficult challenge, especially when you’re looking to go someplace as vibrant and exciting as Kentucky. Moving blues got you feeling lower than a Wildcats loss in the last seconds of a ballgame? Pull yourself out of that funk and call Colonial Van Lines, where their experience and staff will make your move to Kentucky something to sing about.