Day Trips & Weekend Excursions
When you come to visit us…
In the morning, spend time at the International Bluegrass Music Museum perusing the exhibits and watching the Video Oral History Project documentaries, which capture the first generation bluegrass artists as they recount their stories, struggles, and successes through the burgeoning time period of the 1940s and 50s all the way to the present day. Many of the oral histories also include musical footage or a recorded concert.
Take a break for lunch. There are several outstanding restaurants within walking distance. In Owensboro, you can get your fill of the world’s finest bluegrass and barbecue.
Venture out and visit several other local museums and attractions in the area. The Owensboro Area Museum of Science and History is directly across the street from the bluegrass museum. The Owensboro Museum of Fine Art is less than a mile away, on the corner of Frederica and 9th streets. Great, historic architecture abounds. Throughtout the day, the River City Trolley is a great way to get around Owensboro, where antiques shops and art boutiques abound. Take a stroll along the riverfront area, watch the sun set on the water. You won’t want the evening to end, so plan to stay the night at any of Owensboro’s lodging options.
You can always look up the friendly folks at the Owensboro Daviess County Tourist Commission or stop by the visitor center and local Hall of Fame located at 215 East Second Street, or call them at 1 (800) 489-1131 to order a visitor’s guide.
If you would like more information about visiting the state of Kentucky, click here.
Bluegrass and Barbecue
Whether the primitive fire pit or the old, wrap-around front porch, barbecue and bluegrass music share a heritage of people gathering together and enjoying good food and great music.
Owensboro is home to the world-famous Moonlite Bar-B-Q restaurant, as well as several other barbecue eateries. When you walk into Moonlite, you will know you have arrived. Order off the menu or choose the buffet, which is in a room — and a class — of its own, and features barbecue so tasty people call from all over to have it shipped overnight. Choose from mutton, what the L.A. Times calls “the older, wiser, tastier lamb;” or go for the traditional pork, beef, or chicken.
Most of America’s serious barbecue scenes specialize in just one kind of meat, but in Owensboro, at Moonlight, they’ve got it all and it’s all good -Gourmet Magazine
After pushing yourself back from the table, take a stroll along the extensive greenbelt encircling the city, or enjoy the music on the banks of the Ohio.
Music on the Banks of the Ohio
Friday After 5 is a series of free music concerts that begins the third Friday in May and continues every Friday through the middle of September. As the name suggests, the music of “Friday After 5” begins after 5 PM, and wraps up at 10 PM.
Friday After 5 is located next door to the bluegrass museum, on the spectacular, open-air terrace overlooking the Ohio River at the RiverPark Center. One stage is set up at the east end of the BB&T Plaza and features a variety of musical styles.
The Bluegrass in the Courtyard series is held in the open-air courtyard between the International Bluegrass Music Museum and the RiverPark Center, and features two bands each Friday night between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The opening act begins at 5 PM; the featured acts follow at 7 PM. In the event of rain, the music moves into Woodward’s, a performance area on the left as you enter the bluegrass museum.
Arts and crafts and food vendors are set up along the riverfront under the generous canopy of mature shade trees that line the park-like setting. The event is family-friendly with games and a play area for children. The warm breeze off the Ohio is delightful, as is the music.
On most Fridays, you’ll see small boats anchored in the river with passengers kicked back and enjoying the entertainment.
Visit Bill Monroe’s Home Place
When you are at the International Bluegrass Music Museum, you are just 30 minutes from the homeplace of the Father of Bluegrass, Mr. Bill Monroe. The unique and beautiful place where bluegrass music was born, Rosine, Kentucky, draws visitors from all over the world.
Located just 2 miles west of Rosine is Jerusalem Ridge, site of the Monroe Home Place. The home has been fully restored and is open to the public daily for guided tours. The rule is: If the gate is open, go on in and stay as long as you like.
Normal tour hours are: Monday through Saturday 9 AM to 5 PM and Sunday from 2 PM to 6 PM.
It is strongly suggested that you call ahead to be sure someone is available to help you tour the restored homestead. Schedule your tour by calling: (270) 274-9579 or (270) 256-1430.
Click here to listen to a segment of a radio interview with the Monroe family as they talk about their early life in Rosine, Kentucky.
Directions to the Monroe Home Place: From the museum, take the William H Natcher Parkway, heading south. Take the Hartford/Beaver Dam exit and head toward Hartford. Follow the brown signs to the Home Place, which is located on Highway 62.
Visit the Historic Rosine Barn
Just past the Monroe Home Place is the historic barn at Rosine. Every Friday night, rain or shine, you can visit the barn for an authentic, bluegrass music jamboree. There’s jamming in the general store and out in the parking lot. If you want to play onstage, just sign up inside the barn. If you just want to jam in the parking lot, get out your instrument and join in!
Rosine, Kentucky, is where Bill Monroe grew up. It is also where Bill, his siblings, and his parents are buried. Also buried in the Rosine Cemetery is Monroe’s greatest musical influence, his Uncle Pen. The gravesites are well worth a visit. You can also see the little country church where Bill Monroe’s funeral was conducted, or mail a letter home from the Bill Monroe Post Office.
Since you’re making a day of it, you can eat at the general store, next to the barn, or go into Beaver Dam for a bite. If you plan to stay the night, check out the lodging options in the Rosine area.