U.S. Highway 68 is a great source of pride for the citizens of Mercer County. The highway, which begins in the eastern part of the county, runs directly through the heart of our city and continues through the western portion of our county.
Many significant tourism points of interest are located directly on this stretch of highway and many miles are gently rolling countryside laden with historic stone fences, plank fences and some of the nation’s most beautiful horse farms.
The first breathtaking view upon entering Mercer County from the west is the Kentucky River, which cuts through 400 million year-old rocks to form the massive Kentucky River Palisades. These cliffs tower hundreds of feet above the river, creating a majestic limestone canyon.
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, America’s largest restored Shaker community and National Historic Landmark features 34 restored buildings on 2900 acres of preserved farmlands. This unique and tranquil living history museum reveals the simplicity and integrity of the Shaker people who believed that workmanship should reflect spiritual life.
Owned and operated by Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, the Dixie Belle is an authentic sternwheeler riverboat. Spring through fall, daily one-hour excursions are offered where you will marvel at the river's high limestone cliffs and untouched natural surroundings as the excursion takes you under High Bridge, an engineering wonder when it was built in 1807.
As you approach Harrodsburg, a distinguished Preserve America Community, you will begin to see some of the architectural treasures that reflect the history of the town. Pride of ownership is evident, as most of the antebellum homes are listed on the National Historic Register, and have been accurately restored.
In the heart of downtown Harrodsburg (a Gold Renaissance Community), lies a National Register Historic District with a streetscape reminiscent of an earlier time. Most of the preserved buildings within this area date back to the 1880s and 1890s. Many gift and specialty shops, restaurants and activities, all with a regional flavor, are scattered throughout the downtown district.
Established in 1774 as the first permanent English settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains, Harrodsburg is rich in tradition and history. In the center of town stands a replica of the log stockade that James Harrod built when he founded what was then called Harrodstown. The cabins at Old Fort Harrod State Park are furnished with handmade utensils and furniture, and craftspeople in period costume demonstrate many skills of the pioneers. The park also contains the Mansion Museum, the Lincoln Marriage Temple and a pioneer cemetery.
Beaumont Inn, a well-known landmark, is located near the route. Kentucky’s oldest family-operated Inn combines gracious Southern hospitality, traditional regional food and relaxing ambiance in a setting rich in history.
Built on the site of the Greenville Springs Spa, the building was constructed in 1845 as one of the South’s most prestigious girls’ schools. The fourth and fifth generations of the same family operate the Inn today much as it did when it opened in 1917.
In addition, numerous Bed & Breakfasts, restaurants, and antique and crafts shops are located along the scenic corridor.