LEO’s Road Trip Map: Our staff breaks down the best ways to get out of town

As soon as the witch hazels start sending out those crazy, yellow, furry blooms (maybe sooner than expected, this year), we’ll all begin to think about shaking off that winter blah by getting out of town — Road Trip! Here’s a collection of places and trips you might not know about, or maybe you just need some reminding. (For some reason, a lot of these have to do with food.)

Bill Monroe Homeplace:
Beaverdam, Kentucky: (103 miles)
ohiocounty.com/billmonroe
When Bill Monroe sang “I’m On My Way Back to the Old Home,” in his classic song, he was singing about his childhood home on Pigeon Ridge in Ohio County. All bluegrass lovers should take a cue and pilgrimage to the beautiful 800-acre farm, which opened to the public in 2002. If you’re lucky, you might also catch some old-school pickin’ on the porch.—Laura Snyder

Cincinnati Reds Opening Day:
Cincinnati, Ohio: (99 Miles)
cincinnati.reds.mlb.com
The Reds Opening Day on April 3 is a holiday in Cincinnati. This is the 141st time in a row that Cincinnati has hosted an Opening Day. I can’t wait for the pre-game parade, a hot dog, a cold beer and Reds baseball!—Eric Clark

 Findlay Market:
Cincinnati, Ohio: (101 miles)
findlaymarket.org
Growing up in Northern Kentucky, I always loved our weekend afternoon family trips to Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine. The market features dozens of vendors offering fresh, local and specialty foods and gifts in a bustling open air atmosphere.—Taylor Springelmeyer

Hoosier National Forest:
Bedford, Indiana: (70 miles)
fs.usda.gov/hoosier/
During my first spring in Louisville, I see myself frequenting Hoosier National Forest in Southern Indiana. The park boasts over 200,000 acres for hiking, camping, climbing and fishing, among other activities. ‘Tis the season for outdoor exploration, unobstructed views of the stars and finding peaceful pockets of wilderness.—John Nicholson

International Bar-B-Q Festival:
Owensboro, Kentucky: (107 miles)
bbqfest.com
I love me some mutton, and nowhere in the nation, nay, the world, does mutton like Owensboro, especially during its festival. Oh and the burgoo… giant vats of burgoo. May 12-13. —Keith Stone

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Mammy’s Kitchen:
Bardstown, Kentucky: (41 miles)
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Every so often its nice to get out of the city and feel the country and small town vibes. One place I enjoy going to is Mammy’s Kitchen in Bardstown for some small-town vibes and home-cooking flavors. One such thing is the fried chicken (not listed on the menu, and you never quite know when it’s the daily special, but, if it’s offered, you won’t regret ordering it). Among all the other delicious items are the homemade pies. These desserts take you back in time like your at your Mimi’s… Oh, and you can call ahead (502 350-1097) to see if fried chicken is the special.—Marsha Blacker

MoonTower Festival:
Masterson Station Park,
Lexington, Kentucky: (71 miles)
moontowermusicfestival.com
Every year, I look for a cheaper festival to go to — somewhere I can go see a full day of music without forfeiting a large fraction of a paycheck. This summer, that’s going to be MoonTower, which hasn’t released its 2017 lineup yet, but last year the one-day festival had Manchester Orchestra, Drive-By Truckers and Trombone Shorty. And right now you can get an early-bird ticket for $25 for the Aug. 26 show. —Scott Recker

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen:
Springdale, Ohio: (119 miles)
pappadeaux.com
The day trip my stomach loves is to this Cincinnati suburb. Pappadeaux is part of a family of restaurants around the country (Cincinnati has the closest one to Louisville) that features amazing New Orleans-style seafood. —Jo Anne Triplett

Rock Climbing in Red River Gorge: Stanton, Kentucky: (137 miles)
redrivergorge.com
There are over 1,000 climbs available in this park (and even more when you include nearby Muir Valley). So whether you’re a beginner or an old pro, you can find a rock face to conquer in this beautiful forest. Just remember to bring a friend who knows what he or she is doing! —Ethan Smith

Yellow Springs, Ohio:
(168 miles)
yellowspringsohio.org
You don’t have to be a hippy to love Yellow Springs, though this artsy community does have plenty of trees to hug. You can find those trees on the trails of Glen Helen Nature Preserve, the John Bryan State Park, the Little Miam Scenic Trail and Clifton Gorge. Outdoor lovers will find plenty of camping, hiking, biking, rock climbing, and fishing opportunities. The quaint, yet bustling downtown is a feel-good place for shopping and dining. Visit Mr. Eko the cat at the eclectic Dark Star Books. Antiques, imports, and art are plentiful at Asanda Imports, Tibet Bazaar, Yellow Springs Pottery, Village Artisans Gallery and Junk Diva, to name a few. There are several great eateries including Ye Olde Trail Tavern (the oldest tavern in Ohio,) Yellow Springs Brewery, Sunrise Cafe and Emporium Wines & Underdog Café. Young’s Jersey Dairy is a great family spot with homemade ice cream, two restaurants, bakery, miniature golf, driving range, and farm animals to pet. While downtown, keep an eye out for local resident Dave Chapelle —J. Cobb

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