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Wilmore sisters publish ‘Things to Do’ books

Journal Staff Report

Sisters Audra Meighan and Mary Johns Wilson grew up in Wilmore, but they’re known for writing about other places.

Both have recently published visitor guides for Reedy Press’ series on bucket list things to see and do around the country.

The latest is Audra’s “100 Things to Do in Lexington Before You Die,” which was released March 15.

Mary’s “100 Things to Do in Alabama Before You Die” was issued in October.

“It’s a funny story,” said Audra, a real estate agent who lives in downtown Lexington. A friend who shares her love of Lexington was going to write a book about all the wonderful things there are to do there. Mary heard about it and wanted information on the publisher so she could do one on Alabama. Then the friend decided not to write the Lexington book after all, and Audra asked, “Well, can I?”

“Mine came out the day before the shutdown” of retail businesses. “It couldn’t have been more perfect timing,” she joked in an interview Tuesday.

The book is available on Amazon, though, and directly from the publisher at reedypress.com, as are Mary’s book and many others in the same style.

Though tourism has taken a hit in the economic lockdown, Audra said, several of the places she lists are either places people can still visit in person or online.

The city’s murals tour is a good one for right now, she said, because “people can do it regardless of things being closed.” Online visitors can see the paintings at visitlex.com.

“You can still walk the grounds at Ashland,” Kentucky statesman Henry Clay’s estate, and tour its gardens.

“The farmers markets are still open,” she mentioned, and “Parkette, which is a Lexington icon, never closed.”

The old-fashioned drive-in restaurant, which has been a 1950s-style diner since 1951, is still serving its famous Poor Boy cheeseburger and fried chicken.

Audra, a 1996 graduate of Jessamine County High School, and Mary, who graduated from West Jessamine in 2003, are daughters of Bradley and Donna Johns, who instilled in them an appreciation for their surroundings at an early age.

Both credit their public school teachers for encouraging their writing ability and creativity.

“It’s been a dream of mine to be a published author ever since third grade in Mrs. Thornton’s class at Wilmore Elementary,” Mary, who is director of news services for the Alabama Farmers Federation and cohost of “Simply Southern TV,” said in a press release.

To achieve that goal along with her sister makes the accomplishment “extra special,” she said.

“We may not be the Brontë sisters yet, but we’re working on it!” she said.

Audra said “the hardest part of writing the book” was that anything that didn’t have a Lexington mailing address, such as “the Castle” — Castle Post just across the Fayette-Woodford county line, and attractions in Jessamine County, weren’t eligible.

So she isn’t finished yet.

“I do plan on writing other books, and I think one will be ‘100 Things to Do in Central Kentucky,’ so I can talk about all the surrounding counties that have been so great to me and all their awesome stuff to do,” Audra said.

Buyers can order either sister’s book and hundreds of other titles at Reedy Press of St. Louis Missouri’s website, reedypress.com, or by calling Mischelle at (314) 833-6600.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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