From a distance, this gas station looks a little like a blue castle tucked between a Wendy’s and a McDonald’s. It is a Kentucky County Music Museum, hidden inside an Exxon/Baskin Robbins located on Highway 23, also known as “County Music Highway.”
You might stop for gas on the outskirts of Lousia, Kentucky and not notice the two 10-foot-tall guitars outside, one painted for Townes Van Zandt, another with Hasil Adkins, whose home in Boone County, West Virginia is just over the state line on the other side of the river.
You might run inside to grab an Ale8 soda or ice cream and miss the signed Loretta Lynn guitar, signed Judd memorabilia, or sparkling Tammy Wynette dress. But if you look up and around you’ll see that the walls are filled with memorabilia. There was once a lock of Elvis’s hair from his army haircut on display.
On your way to the restrooms, check out the map of Kentucky music on the wall. You will see nearby birthplaces of country music stars including Loretta Lynn, her little sister Crystal Gayle, the Judds, Chris Stapleton, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tom T. Hall, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam, and Patty Loveless.
Know Before You Go
You can book a dog-friendly cabin for the night at the Jenny Wiley State Park down the road in Prestonburg, (continue on to Loretta Lynn’s birthplace in Butcher Holler, then take the Hatfield and McCoy Driving tour in Pikeville, and then take 23 all the way to Asheville, North Carolina).
The 30 min drive from this gas station to the “Kimber’s Country Market” general store in Blaine is a fun drive (Hwy 32). Appalachian scholar and song catcher, Cratis Williams, grew up on Caines Creek in Blaine. West about 1 mile past Kimber’s Country Market is a donkey farm on the north side of the road.