September 2015 — It’s been well over a month since we left Maysville, Kentucky, but our travels there were so special that we have a few more tales to tell and photos to share in one last blog post here. For starters, Mark got up early one morning and caught the town’s classic suspension bridge lit up in the mist just before dawn. What a beautiful sight!
During our stay in Maysville we happily became regulars at O’Rourke’s Neighborhood Pub. Every afternoon we joined a special group of newfound friends for a pint. We ended up meeting lots of people and got caught up in conversation whenever we stopped in.
One particularly hot and sultry afternoon, as we were relaxing over a pint on the patio, Mark noticed that his buddy sitting next to him, Jeff, was all suited up for a running race. “When’s the race?” Mark asked him. “In about an hour!” Jeff said, grinning, “You should do it!”
To my complete astonishment, after Mark polished off his Guinness, he got up from the table and took off to put on his running gear too. I felt like a total bump on a log, but I was glued to my chair and couldn’t possibly imagine doing a 5k run at race pace right about now!
In no time, Mark returned in his running shorts and shoes and headed down the street to the registration table at Limestone Landing. It’s a good thing he had all that hydration in him, even though it was beer, as this particular afternoon was truly sweltering with 95 degrees heat and 95% humidity to boot! I was dripping with sweat just sitting in a chair in the shade!
As I followed him to the starting line, I saw a whole slew of young kids lined up for a photo op. How fun! The heat wasn’t fazing them one bit. They were raring to go!
Suddenly, the race started and they were off. A whole pack of people of all ages ran past me and vanished down the road.
The finish line was in front of the bar (perfect!), so, with nothing to do while they were gone, all of us bumps-on-logs went back to enjoying our beers and chatting on the back porch of the pub. I felt a little guilty for not doing the race too, but not that guilty!!
After a while we saw some heads bobbing in the distance, and along they came.
Mark sprinted over the finish line looking much too fresh for all that exertion, but he admitted he was pretty pooped. The kids, however, were just getting started. As a band played in the streets, they jumped up on the picnic tables and began to boogie, to everyone’s delight!
Parties in the streets, dancing on the tables, and live music all seemed like such a natural part of day-to-day life here in cute and historic Maysville. If there wasn’t an event going on outside on the brick streets, then there was usually something going on inside somewhere.
We took in a terrific photography exhibit at the Cox Building one afternoon. Photographer Rad Drew had taken most of the photos with a DSLR camera, but they had all been processed on an iPhone using iPhone apps. The results were gorgeous!
Maysville has its own Opera House which has recently been renovated from top to bottom. This wonderful theater hosts all kinds of performances throughout the year, and we were lucky to catch a fabulous show there.
We had seen posters around town for a free Elton John tribute concert at the Opera House, and as we sat in the seats of this beautifully restored building, we were transported to a different time and place as performer Lee Alverson channeled the rock star on stage.
Besides his great renditions of old favorites, what amazed us was when an announcer hopped up on stage and listed all the upcoming performances at the Opera House. Not only did the theatrical group the Maysville Players have a major production planned for every other month during the winter, but a medalist in the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition was on tap to perform a few days after we left. This is one busy stage!
There were other kinds of free music being played around town too, and we enjoyed listening to a band at the St. Patrick’s Fall Festival at the historic St. Patrick’s Church in town .
Just outside of town we found even more things to do. Before Maysville came into being, the village of Washington was settled just a few miles away. The area was first explored by Simon Kenton, and when the town was later formed, one of the trustees was Daniel Boone.
A mural on the flood wall in Maysville shows how the earliest travelers came down the Ohio River on flat boats in the 1700’s. When they built their homes, they dismantled the flat boats and used the boards to build their houses.
One such house in Old Washington was built by George Mefford. Those early settlers were made of some pretty tough stock. He lived here with his wfe and thirteen children!!
Another fun building in town is the old post office. Established in 1789, it was the first post office west of the Appalachian Mountains, and it served settlers all the way out to Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The town was also the site of a slave auction that was witnessed by Harriet Beacher Stowe when she was visiting a friend there. That scene later played an important part in her famous book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
We were surprised to learn that during the Civil War, Kentucky did not side strongly with either the North or the South, instead finding itself split in its allegiance. Ironically, the little village of Washington was the birthplace of two Civil War generals, one who fought for the Union and one who fought for the Confederacy.
Kentucky was so torn by the war that, at times, the merchants in Maysville were unsure which currency to use to pay their laborers, knowing that if they paid them in the wrong currency it would have no value when the war was over.
One afternoon, we watched a World War II ship sail down the Ohio River. Like so many unexpected events we stumbled into, this one spread by word of mouth around town, and by the time the ship floated past, the banks were full of spectators cheering as the crew yelled out, “Hello Kentucky!” (They yelled “Hello Ohio” to the crowd on the other side!)
Just a few miles away in the town of Augusta, the Augusta Ferry is a really fun way to get out on the Ohio River. The ride is free for foot traffic and is $5 per car. It takes just a few minutes to cross the river, and it goes back and forth all day long.
“What’s on the other side?” I asked the boatman as I took a spot by the rail.
Oh gosh, ask a silly question, get a silly answer! There’s no town on the other side, just a ramp and a dock, so we didn’t get off. But it was fun to see how the cabin compartment of the ferry swiveled around the barge as it turned to go back towards Kentucky.
We happened to be in Augusta for Augusta Heritage Days, a fall festival featuring a truly awesome car show. Antique cars were driving all over this tiny little village, and they lined up in the grass on the banks of the Ohio.
A trolley shuttled people between Augusta’s main drag and the big park where the cars were on display.
Mark was in seventh heaven talking to all the car owners, peering under hoods, and admiring glistening paint jobs on sporty cars from every era. As we drove back to Maysville, we found ourselves behind a really cute little yellow convertible. That’s the way to go!
Maysville is steeped in history, and I just loved a photo we saw of Market Street filled with antique cars back when they were the hip new thing to own. We had been in Maysville long enough that I could now recognize not only Market Street but also the buildings that were still standing and the few that were no longer there.
As our happy days in town began to wind down, we ran around getting final shots of the lovely downtown area. We had fun giving them an artsy look.
Pretty buildings and beautiful renovations aside, it is the people that ultimately make Maysville special. The warmth, hospitality and friendship we found in this small river town will forever touch our hearts, and we can’t say thank you enough to everyone for letting us feel like locals for a while.
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Here are some links with more info about Maysville, Kentucky:
- Maysville River Park and Marina – On the Kentucky side of the river in Maysville
- Lively Lady Marina & Campground – RV camping on the Ohio side of the river in Aberdeen
- City of Maysville – Tourist Info
- O’Rourke’s Neighborhoo Pub (Facebook Page) – Great spirits right downtown!
- Maysville Players at the Opera House – Catch a performance in this beautiful theater!
- Cox Gallery Exhibits (Facebook Page) – All kinds of artists
- Augusta Heritage Days – Super car show!
- Augusta Ferry – Take free a ride across the Ohio River
- Where are Maysville, Augusta and Old Washington? – Google Maps
Other posts from our RV travels to Maysville, Kentucky:
- Maysville Kentucky – Tobacco, Freemasons, Miniatures & Clooneys! 10/19/15
- A Sweet Life on the Ohio River – Maysville, Kentucky 10/04/15
- Maysville, Kentucky – Come for the History, Stay for the People! 09/23/15
- OMG – We Made The Front Page! 09/07/15
We were deeply saddened to learn about a devastating fire in a Maysville apartment building last week that took the lives of a family and their neighbor. Our hearts go out to everyone, and we hope these glimpses of our special days in town last month bring a smile.
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