journeys, destinations, and finding your way in central KY

Ever heard that life’s not about “the destination” but rather about “the journey”? (Cue the inspirational poster with a rock climber hanging precariously from a cliff or the bumper sticker slapped on the back of a Jeep Grand Cherokee splattered with mud.)

Assuming that someone at some point actually said it (which I find improbable, but Google searches do reveal a few hits), that person has never been to central Kentucky.

Though I’m sure central Kentucky is not unique in this regard, the roads are quite conveniently named, if you know where you want to go. Main Street going one direction veers into Paris Pike, which heads, not surprisingly, out to Paris, Kentucky, to the East. Heading West, Main Street morphs into Frankfort Road. Yes, it goes to Frankfort, our beloved capital city.

And check this out: the main road around Lexington is a big circle (called, originality-be-darned, “New Circle Road”), and off of that circle are a dozen roads like the spokes of a wheel, including Versailles (pronounced Ver-SALEs), Harrodsburg , Nicholasville, Richmond, and Winchester Roads. These spokes head (wonder of wonders) to Versailles, Harrodsburg, Nicholasville, Richmond, and Winchester, respectively. I’ve never been to these places, but I know how to get there.

Because creativity runs rampant in this area.

Of course, this road-naming tendency is not convenient if you’re trying to give someone directions or follow a map, and the road names keep changing on you. For instance, take Broadway.

In my little town, Broadway is the main north/south artery through our “downtown.” It is also Rt. 25. Above Main Street, it is called Cincinnati Road. Below Main Street, it is called Lexington Road. But at the county line, it changes to Georgetown Road, convenient if you’re heading North but confusing if you’re heading South, away from Georgetown. Oy.

Main Street, meanwhile, is also 460, but there’s a 460 bypass that goes by the names of both 460 or “the bypass.”


Basically, if you aren’t from here, it’s kind of hard to figure out what’s what. If you are, well, I guess it’s not about the journey. It’s about the destination…

…if you know where you’re going.

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4 comments on “journeys, destinations, and finding your way in central KY

  1. Bonnie says:

    And then there are places where roads are named for a person who lived on them (at least at one time). Sheetz Road, Hershey Road, Radel Road, Brubaker Road, Hoffman Road, Miller Road, and on and on.

  2. Elaine Wise says:

    or you could go to Arizona and find Deadman River Rd, Bloody Creek Rd., or other equally descriptive names!

  3. Craig says:

    Changing road names is one of the reasons I still get lost in Lexington after nearly a year of living here.

  4. elizabeth says:

    Good additional point. There’s probably a lot more that could be said on that topic, too, especially the idea of communal memory. (That reminds me of my “Old Post Road” post. I can’t link to it in the comments section here, but I’m sure you remember it.) In fact, I know of a certain Wise family who was surprised to find their road labeled “Wise Road” one day out of the blue.

    Ouch. Hope those are meant to be evocative rather than descriptive!

    Sometimes when I talk to people who’ve lived in my town for years, they look at me funny when I call a particular road by it’s actual name on the road sign, like they’ve never heard it called that before. So then I have to go through a string of three other possible names before one of them rings a bell. Sheesh.

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