SEPTEMBER DAILY PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK TWO

Continuing on with September’s Daily Photos inspired by the Alphabet!

H IS FOR HARVEST

I IS FOR IVORY

J IS FOR JAM

(Blueberry Pomegranate Jam on a Rice Cake)

K IS FOR KIM READING HER KINDLE

K IS ALSO FOR KOHLRABI

L IS FOR LIGHT BY THE CHIMES ON MY FRONT PORCH

M IS FOR MARSH CREEK

N IS FOR NIGHT TOUR

Murder and Mayhem Torch Lit Tour of Downtown Albion led by Matt Ballard, Orleans County Historian

That’s all for now…….

September Daily Photo Challenge – Week One

September is here, already……Autumn is soon upon us with chilly mornings, crisp cool air, pumpkins, and vibrant color changes!!! Hard to believe this year has flown by in the blink of an eye!

So……here is the first week of Daily Photos for September……the theme this month is the Alphabet!

A IS FOR ABUNDANT HARVEST

(from my garden)

B IS FOR BENCH

C IS FOR CATHOLIC CHURCH

D IS FOR DROP

E IS FOR ERIE CANAL

F IS FOR FROG FAMILY

G IS FOR GREEN GLASS

See you next week with more Daily Photos inspired by the alphabet…….

2019 Kentucky Adventure – Final Day

My third and final day in Kentucky was also the hottest day — well over 90 degrees and no breeze! But, it was my less structured day and least strenuous day! It was my “fly by the seat of my pants” day! The only things I had truly planned was to visit Churchill Downs in Louisville and the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington……and was open to side trips for whatever else caught my eye!

I started out the day with an unplanned stop that turned out to be an awesome sight! I had seen signs for “Falls of the Ohio” near my hotel – it was on the Indiana side of the Ohio River. I love water falls, so I googled it and discovered it isn’t actually a water fall…..it is a series of rapids caused by lime stone tables along the Ohio River and the spot called “Falls of the Ohio” is a park where the world’s largest exposed fossil bed is located! That got me curious, so I decided it would be my first stop of my last day – since it was near my hotel! I got up and had some breakfast and headed to the park! I wasn’t disappointed — it was strange and beautiful all at the same time! I spent about an hour there before heading on to Churchill Downs.

You can walk down to the fossil bed and walk out onto it – I didn’t, but I saw some people fishing off the edges! The collecting of fossils is strictly prohibited, though!

Beyond the dam is the deeper, main areas of the Ohio River

There are lots of nature walking trails, too……and a visitor’s center with tons of information

The Indiana side of that big yellow bridge I showed you in the first overview post – it is a LONG bridge that, like I said, I crossed at least twice a day every day I was there!!!

Looking across the Ohio River to the city of Louisville from Clarksville, IN

My next stop was Churchill Downs – the home of the Kentucky Derby! I had a general admission ticket to the Kentucky Derby Museum, which included a 360 movie about the history of the Kentucky Derby and what happens the day of the Derby and a tour of Churchill Downs. I loved my time there……it was surprisingly emotional and overwhelming! I would have loved to see a race, but it wasn’t in the cards!

In front of the entrance is a statue of Barbaro – a thoroughbred who won the Kentucky Derby in 2006 and everyone thought he was a shoe-in for the triple crown. But, he shattered his leg two weeks after the Derby and it ended his career and eventually his life! His owners received thousands of cards and letters and gifts from fans all over the world. It touched them so deeply that they wanted to erect a monument in his honor and the Churchill Downs Directors agreed that it could be placed at the Downs. The owners wanted it outside the entrance so that his fans could see it without having to pay to enter the facility or museum – so there it is prominently at the entrance! The other unique point is that all four legs are off the ground in mid-race to demonstrate his powerful speed — the only statue of a horse in the world that has all four legs in mid-air!

The gift shop has many, many Derby hats……all a bit too pricey for me, but I just had to get a photo in one……

You can ride a horse that simulates you riding in the Derby!!!

Of course there are lots of exhibits……this one is a commemorative bottle of Marker’s Mark Bourbon dipped to match this Jockey’s jacket!

The famous blanket of roses!

Honoring the history of hats and outfits ladies have worn to the Derby over the years!

Our tour guide was a RIOT!!!

The famous twin spires that are listed in the National Historic Places Registry

The paddock where the horses first come out of their stalls to go to the race track — this is the last place their owners can see their horse, talk to the jockey, and give final instructions before they enter the track

That tower across the way is where the winner’s circle is for the Derby – only the Derby — other races have a different spot where the winner’s are honored

A zoomed in shot

The finish line is at the end of this stretch

This is one of the Derby racers (not a winner) who currently resides at Churchill downs

Hard to see, but here he is with his “companion pony” – we were told all race horses have a companion pony because they tend to be high strung and these ponies help calm them. The ponies are almost always at their side.

After the tour, I popped in at the bar and ordered a Mint Julep — can’t go to Churchill Downs without trying one!

I watched the bartender make it — ice, a splash of water, fresh mint crushed onto the ice and rubbed on the rim of the glass, bourbon, and a garnish of a sprig of fresh mint!

It cost me $12 for the experience — I took a couple sips and left the rest — it was good, but VERY strong and I had a long drive to Lexington ahead of me…..so, a couple sips was enough to say I had a Mint Julep at Churchill Downs!!! LOL Not something I would probably ever try again, but glad I did!

A parting shot of Barbaro

The tour and drink took a couple hours and then I was back on the road heading toward Lexington…….my plan was to end up at the Kentucky Horse Park and make any other stops that caught my eye along the way.

My first side trip was Frankfort – the Capital of Kentucky! Frankfort is a lovely little town with an awesome Capital Building!

The Capital Building is at the end of a long drive with beautiful grass and flowers all along the circle drive

Then, I saw signs for Rebecca Ruth Candy Tours…..I had to go see what that was all about!!! Well, it turns out that Ruth Booe is the Mother of the Bourbon Ball! She started her business with her friend Rebecca in 1919 when she invented the bourbon balls and everyone encouraged them to sell their candy in a time when it was not so common for women to own a business! She was a savvy business woman and she kept her business going untill 1964 when her son took over. Ruth’s son and grandson still run the factory and business today!!! I asked about the tour – they said I could do it, but they weren’t making candy that day, so there wouldn’t be much to see……so, I skipped the tour and tasted the candy, instead!!!

This is her famous Bourbon Ball — OMG — sooooooo good!!!

I forget what they called this – it had a funny name – but it is basically a marshmallow coated with caramel —- YUM!!!!

And, I wonder how I gained 4 pounds on this trip despite walking a million miles a day!!!

After delighting my sweet tooth, I got back on the road to Lexington, but soon saw signs for Historic Georgetown and just knew that was a stop I’d want to make……I was right! It was a quaint little town! I didn’t do anything specific there, but I parked and walked around Main Street for a little bit – just lovely!!!

This is their Courthouse

And, City Hall next door

For a small town, they sure had an active downtown — lots of shops and shoppers!!!

So, after a brief walk around Georgetown, I got back on the road and made it to the Kentucky Horse Park! It was getting late in the day and most of the activities and demonstrations were done, but I got to take the horse drawn carriage ride around the park and see some of the exhibits, horses, and a movie……..

The horse drawn carriage ride was lead by two stunning Clydesdales!!! I do believe this was the first time I’ve ever seen Clydesdales up close!

What amazing animals they are!!!

I got to walk through the Mounted Police horse barn…….got me reminiscing about a dear friend who was an Orleans County Sheriff and member of the Mounted Police – he died way too young and I miss him……

It was a joy to see and pet these handsome horses!

This is a Mounted Police horse and his name is ALBION!!!! I got a good chuckle out of that!

Part of me regrets that I didn’t have more time at the Horse Park and didn’t get to see more of the horses, but it was because I allowed myself to venture off the beaten path and the little mini adventures were worth it! Maybe I’ll get back someday and have another chance to see more……but, for now, I’m glad I got to see as much as I did!!!

When I left the park, I was hungry……all that candy and a light breakfast wasn’t enough to keep me from really wanting some dinner…..BAD! So, I googled “restaurants near me” and every list I found had this place pop up as the # 1 recommendation!!! I read the menu and the reviews and decided it was the place to go! But, when I finally found it – on a back country road in the middle of nowhere – I second guessed myself…….but, I looked the reviews back up and looked at other suggestions in the Lexington area and decided to give it a try……and, man, am I glad I did!!! It was a back roads dive, but it had the BEST BBQ food……..it reminded me of the little dive I ate at in Iowa that was a bit sketchy, but soooooo good!!! It was PACKED with people! I went in and noticed that I had to order at the counter and then pick a seat and they brought the food out to my table.

You know what they say – never judge a book by it’s cover……this doesn’t show the whole picture I saw when I pulled in – behind it is a run down motel…..but, the parking lot was full and people were coming and going and looked happy! So……I went in!

It is an interesting place with writing on the walls and window shades and photos of country music greats and loud country music playing!

View from my seat

They make their own sauces…..I sampled a few…..all I tested were delicious!!!

I ordered the sliced brisket meal with baked beans and potato salad and, of course, sweet tea (that I refilled 3 times)…..and I chose their Memphis Sweet BBQ sauce —- OMG — what a meal —- it was AMAZING!!! The beef was so tender and loaded with flavor – the sauce was an awesome addition – the baked beans and potato salad were delicious!!! I left STUFFED and ready for a nap! Unfortunately, I had an hour and a half drive back to Louisville ahead of me!!!

So……since it was getting late and I was tired and I had a long drive back to the hotel, I skipped driving through downtown Lexington and headed back. When I got back to Louisville, I got my second wind and decided to just drive around Old Louisville a little bit…..no specific destination, just turn where it looked interesting……I saw a lot of cool stuff, but couldn’t get any photos because it either didn’t look safe to stop and get out of the car or there wasn’t anywhere to pull over……but, I have some awesome memories!!! hehehe

So……that’s my Kentucky Adventure!!! 48 states down……2 to go!!! Colorado and New Mexico, get ready – I’m coming to check you both out in a few weeks!!!

2019 Kentucky Adventure – Bourbon Trail Tour

My second full day in Kentucky was consumed with an 8 hour bus tour of distilleries and lunch at a country club. It was a small group – just me, three young guys who didn’t know each other (two from Australia and one from Chicago), and our tour guide! It was fun and since there were only four of us, we got a lot of extra information, attention, and were able to make some unscheduled stops. I learned a LOT!!! Our tour guide was fabulous!!!

I learned that Kentucky sits on lime stone tables and springs, so the water there is some of the best in the world – they consistently rank in the top 5 best tasting waters! Because of the lime stone filtered water, Kentucky is the best place to make Bourbon – it doesn’t have to be made by lime stone filtered water, but it does improve on the taste significantly. The lime stone filtered spring water so prevalent there is also the reason so many horse farms are located in Kentucky – it gives the grass all the best nutrients for horses to feed on! It is also why Kentucky’s grass is so green and lush!

I also learned that 95% of the world’s bourbon is made in a triangle section of Kentucky – it is actually made in 49 of the 50 states (Hawaii is the only state that does not produce any bourbon), but 95% of all the bourbon supplied to the world is made right there! Bourbon MUST be made in the US – no bourbon is produced outside the United States! It also MUST contain at least 60% corn and aged at least two years (typically 6-8 years – two minimum – then aged “to taste” depending on the brand and quality desired) in a NEW, charred, oak barrel. The only other ingredient permitted is water and only to lessen the proof, when necessary. Bourbon cannot enter the barrel at higher than 125 proof. It cannot enter the bottle at a proof less than 80. No additional colorings or flavorings are permitted – the charred barrels give the bourbon it’s color and flavor! All bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon!!! Other whiskey’s can be aged in used barrels and add coloring and flavoring, but if it is to be labeled as BOURBON, it has to adhere to these strict rules set by the government!

I also learned that there is a specific way to drink bourbon in order to get the most enjoyment out of it. I never liked it…..I always took the shot and threw it back, swallowed it as fast as I could, and stopped at the first shot……and, I doubt I ever tasted the “good” stuff! We were told at the first stop – Maker’s Mark – to never “throw it back” – it is a sipping whiskey – the first sip should be a small one and swish it around your mouth to condition your pallet…..then, always take a second sip to get the true flavor…….and, the higher the quality, the smoother the taste. My first thought when they told me that is “yeah, if you swish the first sip around, it burns your taste buds, so you don’t feel anything after that” – hahaha – wrong! I was surprised to find that, yes, that first sip burns, but then after that, you can actually taste the flavors and it is much smoother! I got a new appreciation for this “sipping” whiskey! Not that I’m going to be a big drinker of it, but I won’t turn my nose up at it, anymore!

Our first stop was Maker’s Mark:

Chihuly Glass had an exhibit there – this piece and a few others remain. At the time we were touring, another glass artist had pieces displayed throughout the distillery – you’ll see them in some of my photos!

Maker’s Mark trade make is the red wax seal — every bottle is hand dipped with the goal of 5-7 drips. They have the process copy righted – if any other company uses a wax seal, it can not be RED and can not be DRIPPED – it has to have a smooth edge.

The farm that the distillery is located on has been in the original family for generations and is a beautiful piece of property!

This was the world’s first “drive thru” liquor store – men could ride up on horse back and purchase their drinks!

The labeling making process

The bottling process

Every bottle is hand dipped — they can dip 20-25 bottles a minute!!!

Our tastings – the lower left is the lowest quality – Maker’s White – essentially moonshine! The lower right is the highest quality – Private Select – buyers can come in and select the combination of woods that the barrels are made from to create a unique flavor that can’t be duplicated and they have to purchase the whole lot – usually high end restaurateurs and collectors. The center one was a surprise…….I’ll talk about that later!

These are the bottles our tastings came from

The amount we had in each taste……doesn’t look like much, but there were 6 of them……

No surprise, the Private Select they chose to offer us was the smoothest…..they didn’t tell us how much a bottle cost!

The center (and last) taste we had was this Mint Julep flavored whiskey — I mistakenly thought it was bourbon, but because of the mint flavoring, it could not be labeled as bourbon, so it is actually whiskey……but it started out as their bourbon with the addition of the mint flavoring — I actually liked it a lot!

One of my fellow tour mates – one of the Australian guys – was a Maker’s Mark Ambassador – he registered online and picked a barrel that he was able to follow the progress of the distilling, aging, bottling, etc process. When his barrel was bottled and ready, he was able to go and get his own labels applied (with his name on them) and do his own hand dipping……it was this visit that he did that and we got to watch him do it!!! That was cool! He even got a “perfect 7 drip” on a couple of his bottles!!! I asked him how he was going to get his case of bottles back to Australia – he said he put all his clothes in his carry on and brought a large, empty suitcase, which he plans to fill with bourbon – this case and any others he bought at the other stops we made! The ones here that his name is on the label, he gets to take through customs duty free cause the labels prove he’s not taking them into the country for resale! Interesting!

Our next stop was an un-planned stop at Willett Distillery – our guide added it so we could see a smaller family owned operation — we couldn’t take the tour, but got to see a bit of the place and the gift shop.

This is one of many Rickhouses at Willett — a rickhouse is the building where the aging process occurs at all the distilleries

We stopped at a nice Country Club for lunch and then another unscheduled stop at Heaven Hill Distillery – again, just to get a glimpse of a smaller operation – no tour or tastings.

All distilleries have a retention pond with natural springs — mainly due to historic distillery fires that spread out of control in the past – the ponds are designed to provide quicker access to large quantities of water for fire fighters

This one is at Heaven Hill

While we were at Heaven Hill, we got to watch some guys practicing for upcoming “Bourbon Games” where all the distilleries send teams to compete with barrel rolling, stacking, and other contests

Then, we stopped at Barton Distillery — this was our second planned stop – no tour, just tastings and information.

We got to taste their two main brands – 1792 Small Batch and Very Old Barton — both were quite good!

We got a barrel cork stamped with the code being stamped on all bottles marking that day’s production to take home with us!

Barton is also the home of the world’s largest bourbon barrel

And carved bottle

Our last stop of the day was Jim Beam……

This church is the only church in the world surrounded by booze – it is in the middle of the Jim Beam property! LOL

I took this photo cause I thought it was cool, but later discovered it is actually a photo booth! LOL

The elevator to the second floor of the gift shop!

By the time we got here, my knee was shot, again……it didn’t cooperate very well this trip! So, since I had already seen the distillery process, I decided to sit here and enjoy the gorgeous weather for the hour that my team mates took the tour — I rejoined them inside this building for the tasting!

No – we didn’t taste ALL these……our server chose the two most popular and then described each of them and let us pick a third one to taste!

Jim Beam is the largest producer of Bourbon…….all these brands are produced under the Jim Beam umbrella – including the Knob Creek, Baker’s, and Basil Hayden you’ll see in a second shot of the bar in a little bit!

We got to keep our glasses!

For my third taste, I chose the Basil Hayden’s – he told us it was the smoothest of the selections and it was — I really liked it! If I were to ever purchase any bourbon, this would be it – it was my favorite taste of the day!!!

So – that was my Bourbon Adventure……it was a fun day — me and my three guys! The weather was amazing and I learned a lot and enjoyed all the tastings…….I got back to the hotel about 6:30-ish and ordered my delivery of Papa John’s pizza – pigged out – and crashed!!! I had another amazing night’s sleep! The next day would be my last full day…….I had to rest up to enjoy it!

2019 Kentucky Adventure – Noah’s Ark

I had booked a tour bus trip with a travel group I belong to a couple years ago to go to the Ark and the Creation Museum – the trip was canceled, so I took the refunded $ and booked my flight to Iowa in the same days I had allocated to the canceled trip. So, when I was planning this trip, I knew I wanted to include the Ark, if I could…..so, I did!

The Ark Encounter is in Williamstown, KY and is a life size replica of Noah’s Ark built to the specifications detailed in the Bible. The largest timber frame structure in the world sits on 200 acres and it spans 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, and consists of 3.3 million board feet of timber. There are three levels of exhibits, including information about the ark and Noah’s story before the flood and on the ark, animal quarters, living quarters, rooms to grow plants for food, and much more! It opened in July 2016. In addition to the Ark, the site has restaurants, gift shops, a zoo with animals that would have been on the ark, zip lining, and other activities that are both fun and educational. There is also a Creation Museum in nearby Petersburg, KY that I didn’t include in my adventure, but I hear it is equally impressive.

The property is HUGE and a LOT of walking – luckily, there is a shuttle from the parking lot to the main entrance, I got my ticket on line so I didn’t have to stand in line, there are elevators and lots of places to sit along the way, and there are motorized carts you can rent that go everywhere (wish I had taken advantage of that – my knee was totally shot that day)! I had heard that it is best to go in the afternoon and on a weekday cause the crowds are less — that proved true — there were a lot of people, but it didn’t seem crowded at all and I didn’t have to wait in any long lines and the benches were usually free to sit on when I needed to give my knee a rest.

View from the parking lot……

I arrived just after lunch – I spent the morning at Cave Hill Cemetery and then it was an hour and a half drive to Williamstown – so, my first stop was the restaurant for the buffet lunch.

Then, since animals are always my priority, I headed to the zoo……I was a little disappointed in the zoo – they had some nice animals, but not as many as I had hoped. The petting zoo only had goats and there were a bunch of kids in there, so I skipped it.

Ostrich

Yak

Camel

I did enjoy the “Walk-About” area where you can walk among the kangaroo — we were instructed to stay on the paved path, but if a kangaroo came onto the path, we were permitted to pet it – unfortunately, none came up to us while I was there……I was so disappointed! One did hop across the path, but it didn’t stop for a pet! It was still a big thrill to be so close to them and anticipate the chance to pet one!

They had other animals, too, but I didn’t get any good photos of them. They also had camel rides — I was so looking forward to riding a camel, but decided against it. They made it very easy to get on them, but I watched some that were about my height and it looked like they had to bend their knee to a point that looked like mine wouldn’t do well, so I decided to not risk making an already aggravated knee worse. So, I watched others ride for a while and then had the pleasure of offering to pay for two sweet kids and their Mom to ride (long story, but I felt compelled and was so glad I did)……they were so happy and that made me happy!!!

Then, I toured the Ark — WOW — impressive is an understatement! I was glad for the elevators and benches — it took me a little over a couple hours to do all three floors and read most of the exhibit information. I really enjoyed it and am glad I put it on my list of things to do in Kentucky!

It was a great first full day in Kentucky! I got back to the hotel about 7:00, had dinner in the hotel restaurant, and settled in for the night……another great night’s sleep – I was exhausted!!!

2019 Kentucky Adventure – Cave Hill Cemetery

Cave Hill Cemetery is located in downtown Louisville. It is a gorgeous garden styled cemetery established in the mid-1800’s. It has rolling hills, lakes, streams, abundance of nature, and lots of stunning statues and memorials. It also is the home of Louisville’s National Cemetery for veterans.

This was copied off the Cave Hill Cemetery web site to give you a bit of the history – I encourage you to visit their web site (click here) for more information and to visit the cemetery if you are ever in the Louisville area – it is well worth the time:

“The City fathers did not have a cemetery in mind when they acquired part of the old farm that the Johnston family called Cave Hill. The farm had a good spring emanating from a cave, but its stone quarries were of principal interest, particularly because the proposed Louisville and Frankfort Railroad was to run through the property.

Years went by, and it became evident that the railroad would skirt the quarries. The fields were farmed by lessees and the old brick house built by the Johnston’s became the City Pest House- an isolated home for patients displaced and suffering from eruptive, contagious diseases.

Death was an all-to-frequent visitor to the Pest House. But, this death was in a different guise. It had not the finality and disgust that the earlier Puritan concept had associated with it. Death was not to be abhorred and feared. It was full of promise, hope, and rejuvenation; and, the sorrow associated with it was accompanied by joy and revelation. Death was merely a transition, and as such, a natural setting for burials became desirable. Asleep in nature elicited a much different feeling than being confined and neglected in shabby plots and yards that many times themselves spread diseases and compounded the problem. Their only saving grace was as sources of cadavers for medical schools.

When it came time in late 1846 to add the graveyard component to Cave Hill, the mayor and city council apparently did not consciously set out to make a garden cemetery, which by then was a concept gaining popularity in major cities of America. But, propitiously, they appointed a committee that selected a civil engineer who had firsthand experience of this new and emerging cemetery concept that began in Europe under the guise of John Claudius Loudon.

Edmund Francis Lee (1811-1857) convinced the city fathers to utilize the natural features of Cave Hill, which previously had been considered quite undesirable for burying purposes. To Lee, the old Cave Hill farm was perfectly suited for cemetery purposes. Its promontories would become the primary burial sites, and roads to these hilltop circles would curve gently, following the natural contours of the land. The intervening basins would become ponds or be planted with trees and maintained as reserves. The garden setting would be a natural backdrop for the lots and monuments, and the cemetery would receive perpetual attention. Furthermore, it could never be violated- stipulations never before provided. Here then was a place not to be shunned, but a park to be sought out for its beauty and the spiritual elevation gained from contemplating the collective accomplishments of its inhabitants.

In the Victorian period, personal wealth increased, as did family aggrandizement. The garden cemetery became the repository of symbols of success in the form of true monumental art. The landscape gardeners embellished the natural setting with exotic trees and shrubs while the marble sculptors and granite fabricators erected elaborate memorials to individuals and families. Cave Hill has been blessed by a succession of competent and innovative landscape gardeners, and Louisville has been a regional center for monument makers. The result is a rural, garden-style cemetery which has always been considered a model to emulate.”

Here are some of the photos I took during my two hour drive around this amazing landmark:

This is the Administrative Office Building and Visitor Center, where I picked up a map of the cemetery.

Across from the Visitors Center is one of several ponds / lakes on the property

I had to take a detour to avoid disturbing these beautiful geese, ducks, and swans

The two most famous graves at Cave Hill are Colonel Sanders of KFC fame and Muhammad Ali  – I found both of them and they were both very impressive!

There were several other family member surrounding the main site, as well….including this one that said “I had a great time”……I so want to have this added to my stone!!!

And this one……

This gentleman was just down a few from the Sanders family plots

He is Harry Leon Collins – the Frito-Lay Corporate Magician (click here to read more about him)

I especially liked Muhammad Ali’s site – very tasteful and elegant!

LOVE this!!!

This was my favorite statue……

This lady was a beauty queen and model who died at age 40 in a car accident – upon her death, her family commissioned this life size statue of her for her grave site.

Another beautiful and peaceful lake!

This one was spooky and yet beautiful

This Celtic Cross is HUGE — it towered over the tops of the trees!

The back of the baby monument

The rest of these are from parts of the National Cemetery for Veterans:

If you love old cemeteries or just natural beauty or if you’re interested in veteran’s cemeteries, you MUST visit Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, KY!

 

2019 Kentucky Adventure – Overview

WOW – what a trip! I spent August 27th – 31st in Kentucky…..# 48 of my goal to visit all 50 states!!! I thought this was just going to be a “check the box” trip – I didn’t think there was a whole lot I wanted to see or do in Kentucky, so I just planned on five days – two travel days and three full days for sightseeing activities. Boy, was I wrong! As I was researching things to do, I soon realized, I may not have allowed enough time! LOL But, I stuck to the schedule and crammed in as much as I could in the time I had.

In those three full days, I put 460 miles on my rental car and traveled another ~150 on a round trip bus tour of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. I covered a lot of ground! I actually stayed at the Radisson, Louisville North in Clarksville, Indiana just across the Ohio River from Louisville. I did a lot in and around the Louisville area and also drove north to Williamstown, east to Lexington (with stops in Frankfort (Kentucky’s capital) and Historic Georgetown, and south to Loretto and Clemont……and back and everything in between! Some of the sights I’ll write about in this and other separate posts will be my visits to Cave Hill Cemetery, the life size replica of Noah’s Ark, various bourbon distilleries, Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Horse Park, the largest exposed fossil bed in the country, and food and sights along the way!

My first thrill of the adventure was when I had my layover in Charlotte, NC……on my way from my arrival concourse to my departure concourse, I spotted a Chick-fil-A!!!! I had plenty of time, so I stood in line go get one of my favorite southern sandwiches, delicious waffle fries, and a super sized sweet tea!!! I was in heaven!!! (I know a Chick-fil-A was recently built on the Ridge in Greece – they are slowly moving their franchises north – but I haven’t had a chance to go, yet, so this was a delight!)  I had my fill of “real” southern sweet tea while I was in Kentucky — every meal was accompanied by this amazing nectar that I miss so much!

That evening, I arrived at the Louisville Airport, picked up my rental car, and found my way to my hotel.

This bridge (just past the KFC YUM Center) took me across the Ohio River to Indiana – I crossed it at least twice every day I was there! The traffic you see is just a VERY light representation of the bumper-to-bumper traffic throughout Louisville – it was a very large, congested city that was very confusing to drive around…..luckily, I took Gabby (my GPS) with me and didn’t do a lot of things right in the midst of the city – the country side was much more pleasant to travel around!

The Radisson was a nice, comfortable hotel – my home away from home for my stay!

I was tired and planned to just settle in and get some dinner and start my adventures the next day. But……when I was parking my car, I looked across the parking lot and saw a building called “Derby Dinner Playhouse”. It got me curious, so I googled it! I found out it was a nightly dinner theater venue that was highly rated and seemed very popular! I also saw that the current show was “Million Dollar Quartet” – The story of the night of Dec 3, 1956 when Sam Phillips got Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis together for the first and only time for a jam session and made Rock and Roll History at Sun Records……I suddenly got my second wind and knew I had to see if I could get a ticket – the show was starting in like 20 minutes and they were able to accommodate a single, so I high tailed it over there – I missed the dinner time, so I got a little discount off the ticket and made it just in time! WOW!!!! What a show – a fantastic two hours of great music, lots of chair dancing, cheering, and some tears, too……so glad I was able to do it!!! Oh, and I got some dessert, cause I didn’t have dinner – cranberry bread pudding – HEAVEN!!!! So, my adventure got off to a rip roaring musical start…..and I loved it!!!

I slept like a LOG……and, the next morning, I made a couple impromptu stops on my way to planned activities – just saw signs that looked interesting, so I made the little side trips:

This is the Historic Louisville Water Tower

The Louisville Water Tower, located east of downtown Louisville, Kentucky near the riverfront, is the oldest ornamental water tower in the world, having been built before the more famous Chicago Water Tower. Both the actual water tower and its pumping station are on the National Register of Historic Places.

This is Thomas Edison’s house in downtown Louisville – Thomas wasn’t home, so I just stopped long enough for a couple photos and got back on the road!

The wording on this sign is interesting……

This is Louisville Slugger Field — if I had booked a couple more days, I would have liked to tour this place and go to the Louisville Slugger Museum / Factory, but I had already jammed the days up, so this quick stop and photo op was all I got!

I googled “local food favorites” to see what was popular to the Louisville area……I like to find things that you typically only find in the areas I visit – much like our Beef on Weck or White Hots! Well, I found that the big local specialty was the Hot Brown – it is an open faced turkey and ham sandwich with tomatoes, bacon and layered with four cheeses and baked to melt and brown the cheese….so, of course, being allergic to cheese, I could not try it…..and, once I actually saw a plate of it, I’m glad I couldn’t! It looks very heavy and rich and I’m not sure my stomach would appreciate it! But – the three young guys on the Bourbon Trail tour all ordered it for their lunch and loved it – they cleaned their plates!

This is the Hot Brown – it was first developed by the chef at the prestigious Brown Hotel in Louisville in the 1920’s. It is now served in just about every restaurant in the greater Louisville area and each place has it’s own little spin on it, so it looks a bit different wherever you find it! This was served at the Country Club that we had lunch at during our Bourbon Trail Tour!

My lunch was a much more delightful chicken salad croissant with delicious homemade chips and, of course, a glass of sweet tea that I had them refill at least twice!

One evening, I ordered in a delivery of Papa John’s Pizza to my hotel room — I used to LOVE Papa John’s and had it delivered to my home in NC quite often! So, I had to take advantage of the availability of getting some while I was in KY!!! And, I ordered it just like I always used to – extra light on the cheese (I can have a small amount of skim cheese before I get a reaction), pepperoni, onions, pineapple, and sausage!!! YUM!!!

 Once I got out of the city, the country side of Kentucky was gorgeous!!! The rolling green pastures and board fences of horse farms were everywhere……and just gorgeous!!!

The weather while I was there was perfect……low 80’s, sunny, and a wonderful breeze that kept it from feeling hot….except for the last day, which was well over 90 and not a hint of a breeze anywhere! But, that last day was less strenuous, so it wasn’t too bad!

I had an amazing time in Kentucky — this is just an overview to lay the basis for the next posts that will get into my adventurous activities! Be sure to watch for all the Kentucky related posts to get the full experience!