Kentucky : Safety by City
- Bowling Green
- Cave City
- Cumberland Falls
- Harlan Tri-Cities
- La Grange
- St. Matthews
If I told you there was a town between Versailles, Georgetown, and Frankfort, you might think that I don’t know how to spell Frankfort and assume the city was somewhere in England.
In fact, this city in Kentucky is called Midway.
Midway is a small town with a big history.
Once a Native American site where historic mounds were left behind, it came to life as the first railroad city in the state.
It became an important stopping point between Lexington and Frankfort.
The city hasn’t seen a passenger train come through in more than 50 years, and to survive, the city had to reinvent itself.
With just 1.4 square miles of land, there wasn’t much to work with, but history prevailed.
The city is now a destination for crafts, antiques, and an upper echelon horse farm.
The downtown is lively with bright colors splashed on buildings.
The errant mix of colors makes Main Street that much more charming.
Parts of it feel like walking through a Normal Rockwell photo.
Exploring this region will take you through distilleries, wineries, a historic but fully-functioning mill, and the rolling hills of bluegrass country.
You’ll also be less than 30 minutes from Lexington.
Midway gets its law enforcement services from nearby Versailles but does have its own city council.
The city is also known for its yearly festivals, with the Midway Fall Festival ranked as one of the best in Kentucky.
Warnings & Dangers in Midway
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk in Midway, but the crime data for the city comes from the Versailles Police Department, so we can't just crime numbers just for Midway. However, both Versaille and surrounding Woodford County have lower than average violent and property crime rates.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You will need a car or to rely on taxis and rideshares to get around this region. There is no public bus system. Midway is along major highways and an interstate, so getting around is easy.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here, with just one purse snatching reported in Versailles in 2020. Car break-ins are one of the top crime categories, but that's pretty common in literally every city.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Kentucky cities all have a medium risk when it comes to the weather because there are many things that can happen every month of the year. Flooding, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, winter storms, extreme temperatures, and minor earthquakes are possible.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
The robbery rate is low here, and just three were reported in 2020. As you travel throughout the Lexington region, that safety rating can easily change. You should never let your guard down, especially when attending one of the festivals that can get crowded and have a lot of people from outside the area.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Midway isn't large enough to be a target itself, but nearby Lexington might be a better potential target. There's a low risk, but if you notice anything suspicious, Kentucky has a hotline to call: 1-866-EYE-ON-KY (1-866-393-6659).
SCAMS RISK : LOW
There aren't any reported scams in Midway as of this publication. If you notice anyone attempting to scam people online, over the phone, or in person, report it to the Kentucky AG's Office at 1-888-432-9257.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
This is more likely one of those places women WANT to go to, and they have a low risk when they get there. It's mostly a daytime town where you can shop, stroll, and sip to your heart's content.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The Versailles 2021 Water Quality Report shows no violations, and all standards were achieved. Versailles Municipal Utilities provides water for Midway as well.
Safest Places to Visit in Midway
Start on Main Street in downtown Midway and take your time exploring the shops and cafes.
You won’t find any national brands here.
They are all locally owned and operated.
The Midway Museum is a great place to learn about the city’s history, from early Native American beginnings through the railroad era to the modern city it is today.
There’s a deep dive into the agricultural history of this area too.
You can grab some historical walking tour maps while you’re there.
You can drive or bike to nearby Versailles and visit the Bluegrass Scenic Railroad and Museu, with scenic rides twice a day on Saturdays.
Notice how I mentioned bicycling?
There’s a nearly 30-mile loop around Midway and Versailles if you want to get out and enjoy the fresh Kentucky air.
Weisenberger Mill is now in its sixth generation of the family business.
While the exterior is perfect for an Instagram moment, you can’t shop or tour the mill.
You can order your supplies online and then pick them up at the mill.
You can purchase a variety of baking mixes, pizza crusts, flour, self-rising dough, and – my FAVORITE – funnel cake mix.
Equus Run Vineyards is open to guests for self-guided tours of the grapes and then a tasting room for some sweet samples.
If you really like visiting a vineyard, explore the possibility of staying in the nearby renovated farmhouse for your trip.
Bluegrass Distillers is open for tours by appointment only.
You’ll sample several varieties of bourbon as you walk through the entire bourbon-brewing process.
As of 2022, the distillery is located at historic Elkwood Farm in an 1835 mansion restored to its former glory.
Places to Avoid in Midway
With so little crime and such a small town, there aren’t any places in the city to avoid.
You won’t find bad neighborhoods or anything like that.
You should use caution downtown as there are train tracks separating each direction on Main Street.
While the intersections have railroad crossing signs, there are pedestrian walkways that go over the tracks.
It’s really hard to miss a freight train going through the center of a small town, but wearing noise-canceling headphones might make it harder to hear the train approaching.
Let’s talk about horse farms.
The horse breeders here are among the best on the planet.
There are so many horse farms it can get overwhelming unless you know a lot about horse racing and want to meet a particular horse or horse lineage.
Not all of the horse farms are open for tours, but you are encouraged to drive through the countryside and view the horses from the side of the road.
Avoid ever climbing a fence to get to a horse or feeding a horse.
ReserveWoodford.com is a website specifically designed for scheduling tours of the different farms in this county.
You’ll know it’s a reliable service with a proven track record.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Midway
- Sign up for Woodford Alerts through MeetMeInMidway.com. You’ll be able to get emergency weather, road, criminal, and civil information. You can also follow @WoodfordAlerts on Facebook to review the messages posted any given day.
- Never drive through a flooded street. Midway and much of this part of Kentucky have been inundated with heavy rain and folding in the summer of 2022. Even when a road seems to be “not that deep”, it only takes a few inches of water to sweep a car off the road.
- Check the Midway city calendar for any events coming up. When events happen, hotel rooms will sell out quickly. You might have to stay in a nearby city if everything is full. The earlier you book, the better your chance of getting an affordable and safe place to stay.
- The @Midwayky Facebook page is a great place to see hyper-local events like farmer’s markets and block parties. Since the city isn’t that big, the tourism page focuses on the big attractions, but those small events can introduce you to locals with great insider travel tips.
- If you are doing a bourbon or winery tour, get a designated driver to take you back to the hotel or book a rideshare in advance. Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out how to get home when you’ve overindulged.
- Not all of the restaurants in Midway are the kind you can walk into with jeans and a t-shirt. While most of them are, there is at least one fine dining restaurant called Holly Hill Inn. If you want to eat there, you must make a reservation as soon as possible as it fills up quickly.
- If you are visiting in winter during a snow storm, there’s a good chance some of the businesses will close. A general guideline is if the schools close, government and private businesses will likely be as well. Avoid driving on snow or ice-covered roadways. Kentucky gets a lot of sleet and ice mixed with snow, and the roads can be very hard to navigate.
- If you are caught on a scenic drive during a tornado warning, do not stay in the car or seek shelter under an overpass. While it seems counterintuitive to get out of the car, it’s the safest thing to do. You should find a low-lying area nearby and lay down with your hands covering your head. It’s not worth risking your car being picked up by the strong tornado winds with you inside. The lower you are, the safer you are.
- Summers can be hot and very humid. Sometimes the temperatures will generate a heat advisory or excessive heat warning. You should always drink water when it’s hot outside and drink one glass of water for every alcoholic drink if you enjoy bourbon or wine tours. Make sure you get drinks with electrolytes, like Powerade, to keep your body fueled.
- When visiting a horse farm, never pet a horse or reach into a stall without permission from the tour guide. Ask a lot of questions before booking the tour about what to wear, the limitations of the tour (some don’t even let you leave the tour shuttle), and if public restrooms are available.
So... How Safe Is Midway Really?
Midway, Versailles, and Woodford County all have lower crime rates than the state and country.
Frankfort has higher crime rates than the aforementioned cities, but it’s still not a place too dangerous to visit.
It’s just a little riskier, but using all the basic safety practices you probably won’t even notice.
In my experience, there’s really not a city safe enough to have NO car break-ins.
Especially in small towns, people tend to be too trusting, leaving their car doors unlocked, sometimes even with the keys in the car!
Never let your guard down to where basic safety is compromised.
You should also study about interacting with horses if you haven’t before.
I didn’t know a lot about horses in my 20s, and I was a television station event I organized.
There was a horse about to step on one of the cables that allowed us to go live on the evening news.
I approached the horse from behind to move the cable out from under its feet, and I was **THIS close to getting kicked in the head.
It whinnied at me and was very upset that I approached it from behind.
You don’t want to learn the lesson the hard way as I did.
How Does Midway Compare?
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- Visas - A U.S. Travel Visa will cost $160, but the highest price you'll pay is the wait time. Some embassies have a waiting list for visa interviews that runs the better part of a year. Without that interview, you can't get a visa. You will need your visa at the airport when you arrive and depart, so keep it with you at the airport.
- Currency - You'll need U.S. Dollar currency here, and getting currency exchanged at the airport or in Lexington is your best bet. Many of the attractions here can be reserved in advance, which is a great way to control expenses and avoid having to pull out your wallet in public.
- Weather - You should pack boots appropriate for horse farms any time of year, but layer up on clothing in the winter. The temperatures can fluctuate, so it might be in the 30s one day and in the 60s the next. Severe weather can also happen any time of year, so bring a waterproof outer layer. If you're visiting during a warm month, be sure to bring bug spray and sunscreen.
- Airports - Lexington's Blue Grass Airport is the closest airport, just 30 minutes away. (Random aside: While the name of the grass and the music is "Bluegrass", the Lexington airport is "Blue Grass." I have no idea why.) Louisville's international airport is an hour west.
- Travel Insurance - It's a smart idea to get travel insurance for your flights and rental car. Plus, be sure you have some kind of health protection in case of an accident or injury.
Midway Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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