What do one dozen, nationally and internationally known, legendary country music stars have in common?
They were all born along Kentucky's U.S. 23.
Known officially as the Country Music Highway, the road that stretches along Kentucky's eastern border connecting Ohio at the north and Virginia at the south, keeps churning out a seemingly endless stream of country music stars like Billy Ray Cyrus, the Judds, Ricky Skaggs, Loretta Lynn, Dwight Yoakam, Patty Loveless, Crystal Gayle, Hylo Brown and Larry Cordle, just to name a few.
U.S. 23 takes country music fans on a tour of their favorite stars' homeplaces and offers day trippers a great variety of family activities.
The 150-mile stretch of the four-lane highway meanders from Greenup County, Ky., to the Virginia border, taking travelers through the hometowns of 12 well-known entertainers, including Billy Ray Cyrus, Naomi and Wynonna Judd, Ricky Skaggs, sisters Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle, Hylo Brown, Dwight Yoakam, Patty Loveless, Gary Stewart, Tom T. Hall and Keith Whitley.
Attractions along the drive give fans a chance to peer into country music's history and the opportunity to take in the scenic beauty of Appalachia in Kentucky.
If you stop in Loretta Lynn's and Crystal Gayle's homeplace of Butcher Hollow off U.S. 23 and Ky. 302 near Van Lear, Ky., you might even get a personal tour of their childhood cabin from their brother, Herman Webb, who owns the Van Lear General Store and welcomes fans and visitors.
And don't forget to check out the Mountain Home Place and the Country Music Highway Museum, both in Paintsville, and the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg.
The famous entertainers are noted along the trail on a rectangular brown highway sign erected in their home counties. For more information, visit www.countrymusichighway.com.