Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies
37th Annual Meeting
Radisson Plaza, Lexington, Kentucky
April 6-9, 2006 
Co-Hosted by the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University


About Lexington

            Self-proclaimed “Horse Capital of the World,” heart of the Bluegrass region, and home to nearly half a million residents in its six-county metropolitan area, Lexington, Kentucky offers visitors a wide variety of opportunities of cultural and historical interest.
For equine enthusiasts, Lexington needs no introduction.  For more than two centuries, the Bluegrass has been the heartland of North American thoroughbred racing.  Eight of eleven “triple crown” winners in the history of the sport were bred on nearby farms, and recent local ordinances to curb the impact of “urban sprawl” have helped maintain the green, rolling horse-farm country for which the area is famous.  Our SSPHS meeting will coincide with the opening weekend of the 2006 spring racing meet at Lexington’s historic Keeneland Race Course, where much of the recent Hollywood movie “Seabiscuit” was filmed.   Some visitors choose to learn about the local thoroughbred scene at the nearby Kentucky Horse Park, which hosts the annual Equestrian Three-Day Event U.S. championships each spring.  Serious horse fans often take the extra effort while in the area to make required reservations to visit famous local horse farms such as Calumet Farm, Three Chimneys Farm, and especially Claiborne Farm outside nearby Paris, KY—where one can not only spend time with living champions, but also visit the grave site of the legendary Secretariat.

For those more interested in the Bluegrass region’s other best-known export to the world, tours of (along with samples from) the region’s historic Kentucky bourbon distilleries such as Labrot and Graham’s and Buffalo Trace can be arranged.

Although direct connections to Spanish history may be scarce, the Bluegrass also offers much in the way of historic interest.  Not far from the conference hotel itself is the family home of Mary Todd Lincoln, and “the Great Compromiser” Henry Clay’s Ashland Estate is only a long walk/short drive from the hotel down Main Street/Richmond Road.  Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, founded in 1805 and the largest of the nineteenth-century “western” Shaker communities, is a fascinating place to visit only twenty-five miles to Lexington’s southwest.  For those interested in the eighteenth-century British colonial intrusion into the region, Old Fort Harrod and Daniel Boone’s Fort Boonesborough are nearby, while military historians may find the Revolutionary War battlefield at Blue Licks or the Civil War battlefields at Perryville and Richmond of particular interest.


            Located on Triangle Park across from Rupp Arena in the heart of downtown Lexington, the Lexington Radisson Plaza Hotel will host our meeting, with panel sessions held on-site in the hotel’s conference facilities.  Rooms are available to conference participants each night of the meeting (April 6-7-8) at the conference rate of $109 for single-occupancy and $119 for double-occupancy.  Reservations must be made before March 7, 2006 in order to guarantee this rate.  When you make your reservation, be sure to identify yourself as a participant in the SSPHS conference.  Reservations may be made by phone at 1-800-333-3333 or 859-231-9000.


By Air

            Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport has several daily non-stop flights to and from Cincinnati, Atlanta, Memphis, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Charlotte, Washington D.C., Dallas, Houston, New York, Newark, Tampa, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale, so flight connections are reasonably easy to arrange from nearly anywhere.  From the airport, the Radisson provides its own regular complementary shuttle van service to and from the airport for hotel guests.   

Driving Directions

            Lexington is within a day’s drive of most major cities in the eastern half of the United States, conveniently located at the intersection of I-75 and I-64.  The two interstate highways merge as they pass through Lexington, and from whichever direction you are coming, the easiest way to the Radisson is to take exit 133 (Paris Pike) off of I-75/I-64 and proceed west into the city.  Paris Pike becomes North Broadway, and immediately after Broadway crosses Main Street in the heart of downtown, the Radisson will be on your left.  Parking in the hotel’s parking structure is complementary for hotel guests.


            For a city its size, Lexington has a surprisingly large and varied array of good to excellent restaurant choices in all price ranges—many within easy walking distance of the Radisson downtown.  In the higher price ranges, some of our favorites include Jonathan’s at the Gratz Park Inn (in a restored eighteenth-century building at 120 West 2nd Street), Dudley’s (380 South Mill Street) and Portofino’s (249 E. Main Street).   For more casual evening or lunch choices downtown, we recommend the Atomic Café (Caribbean fare at 265 N Limestone) and Cheapside Grill and Tavern (131 Cheapside), Bistro 147 (147 N. Limestone), Alfalfa’s (141 E. Main Street---co-founded by a UK History major!) and Natasha’s Cafe (112 Esplanade).  A more complete list of restaurants in the area will be provided along with the conference materials distributed at on-site registration.

Conference Registration

            The conference registration fee is $35 for those who pre-register by mail before March 7, 2006, $45 for those who register after March 7 or at the conference itself.  The registration fee includes the banquet on Friday evening April 7 at the Radisson, as well as the Reception at the Lexington Historical Museum (in the Old Courthouse across Main Street from the Radisson) on Saturday April 8.  To pre-register, please use this form:
Revised, Jan. 2, 2006