Today Tom and I explored Bowling Green, Kentucky. Although we have driven by Bowling Green many times, especially when we lived in Nashville, I had not been to Bowling Green since a speech contest at Western Kentucky University when I was in college. I think it has probably changed some in the last 35 years, but I didn’t remember it all that well to begin with. So Tom and I acted like tourists and explored the city.
We started with Greenwood Ford – an odd place for sightseeing you might think – but perfectly logical when the “check coolant additive” warning kept coming on every time we started the truck yesterday. When you are hauling an 18,000 pound RV, you pay attention to things like your engine coolant being at the proper levels. Greenwood Ford was great, fitting us in at the last minute and taking care of the engine coolant as well as changing the oil and rotating the front tires. They were done in two hours, which we really appreciated.
While the truck was in the shop, we walked north on Scottsville Road, the main retail drag in Bowling Green. My favorite place was a terrific little yarn shop called Crafty Hands which had a wonderful selection of yarns. I’ve been trying not to buy any yarn until I use up my stash which is temporarily stored at John and Jackie’s, but I am emotionally incapable of going into a yarn store and not buying anything. I managed to put down the more expensive hand-dyed skeins (with the help of Tom who kept reminding me to “back away from the yarn”) and found this really beautiful Encore Dynamo which I think will make a beautiful prayer shawl.
We continued walking along Scottsville Road and ended up at Best Buy which amused Tom more than me. The temperature in Bowling Green today was 91 with a clear sky, so it was HOT. On the way back to the Ford service shop, we walked through the Greenwood Mall, which didn’t have anything unusual in it, but was air-conditioned. We picked up the truck and headed for downtown.
We have really enjoyed the downtowns in many of the places we have visited. Downtown Bowling Green was not our favorite, but it is also the biggest city we have visited. A few stats: the city of Bowling Green has 60,000 people, not counting students at Western Kentucky University, making it the third largest city in Kentucky after Lexington and Louisville. Western Kentucky University is the second largest University in Kentucky. Forbes magazine deemed it one of the top 25 places to retire in the U.S. in 2014. A little history: during the Civil War, Bowling Green declared itself neutral with too many friends in the south and too many business interests in the north. However, the city had a navigable waterway (the Barren River) and was a major railroad supply hub between Louisville and Nashville. So Bowling Green was occupied first by Confederate troops who blew up half the town on their way out, and then by Union troops.
Anyway, the current Bowling Green downtown is historical, but a mess to drive in and there didn’t seem to be the unusual shops and restaurants that have revitalized other downtowns. Traffic in most of Bowling Green is heavy, but it was especially congested downtown with lots of one way streets, little parking, and rude drivers who pulled out right in front of us (when you drive a 450 dually you expect a little respect). We did enjoy Fountain Square with its green space and park benches. From there we walked past the Bowling Green Baseball Stadium (where the Hot Rods play) to the Railpark and Train Museum which described the history of the Louisville and Nashville line, now a part of CSX. The museum is housed in the Depot built in 1925.
We finished our tour of Bowling Green by finding Bruster’s Real Ice Cream, where ice cream is made fresh daily. I had an apple dumpling with caramel apple crunch ice cream. The caramel was dripping out of the ice cream. Tom had a “blast” which is the same thing he orders everywhere and is similar to a Dairy Queen Blizzard. The man has no imagination (lol).
Bowling Green is an interesting city with a varied history and industry. All the Corvettes are made here and it is also the world headquarters for Fruit of the Loom. Duncan Hines (did you know that was a real person?) was born and raised here. The University is at the heart of the city and there are many beautiful parks and lots of interesting things to do. We only had one day, so we just scratched the surface, but we would be glad to spend more time here.