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Kentucky has an extensive system of state parks for boating, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor recreation. The Daniel Boone National Forest occupies hundreds of thousands of acres in the eastern part of the state. Among the many sites are the Cumberland Gap in the southeast corner (through which Daniel Boone led the first pioneer settlers); the mansions, horse farms, and bourbon distilleries of the central Bluegrass region; and the Native American burial mounds in the western lowlands where the Ohio and Mississippi rivers meet. The state is also known for Mammoth Cave; with its 340 miles of mapped passages, it's the longest cave system in the world. Scores of antebellum and Victorian inns are scattered throughout Kentucky, providing you with a taste of real Southern hospitality, as well as traditional regional cooking.

Kentucky's nickname is, of course, the "Bluegrass State." If you happen to be in the horse-farm region around Lexington early in spring, the sea of tiny buds in a field of Kentucky bluegrass does indeed have a bluish-purple color. This lush carpet of bluegrass grows in limestone-based soil, rich in calcium and phosphates, making it ideal feed for the Thoroughbred racehorses that are raised in the region.

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