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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Louisville, Kentucky - yeehaw!

We made it to Kentucky! Woot woot!

As it turns out, Kentucky isn't as podunk as I always thought it was!  It's a beautiful city with old/restored buildings, great restaurants, cool museums and tons of history... oh and fields and fields of these gorgeous yellow flowers just outside of the city center!

We took a drive up Market and Main St, two fantastic old streets in downtown Louisville (sorry, no pics) and then headed over to a place called Hammerheads for dinner (a hip restaurant in the basement of an old home on the corner)!  It was a recommendation from Charles, our young, hip, gay, and super helpful bed and breakfast host!

... and it was a GREAT recommendation!  Aaron's brisket sandwich was UN-real and made me wish I hadn't opted for the healthy salad option! 

After dinner, we checked out Thomas Edison's house where he grew up and did quite a few of his inventions...

and then drove west on River Rd (a road lined with beautiful country estates on the bluffs overlooking the Ohio River....

 ... and front yards big enough to fit a football field, or two!

Oh and remember those fields of yellow flowers I talked about earlier, well imagine them covering ALL of your land!!  These people in Kentucky are living the life!  I mean look at this field!

As we were driving around, we would notice facades of buildings still standing and the rest of the building being completely gone.  I love that they have kept the facades up to show the history of the city.  We saw three or four more right in the middle of downtown! 

Next stop on our whirlwind Louisville tour was  Widow's Walk Ice Creamery, an ice cream shop just across the river in Indiana!  We had read about it on wikitravel and had to check it out!

We asked the owner what he recommended and 3 minutes later, we were handed a pile of reeses cup ice cream, brownies, whipped cream, and a cherry on top!  Thank goodness we decided to share something!

We sat on a park bench and watched the sunset over the water with a great view of downtown Louisville!

Luckily, the sun never goes down around here... or at least it feels that way and we STILL had time to check out an area I had read about online called Old Louisville.  St James Court is a street in OL, with houses built in the 1890's!!  If you haven't caught on yet, I'm obsessed with old homes!

Aaron's a good sport and walks the neighborhoods with me once in a while in exchange for me attending baseball games all across the country with him!  haha  It's a nice little arrangement that we've made!

We finally called it a night and headed to Charles's apartment in the Highlands area of town. (Another find!)  
(photos taken in the morning.)

His place is right smack dab in the middle of the coolest part of town, with hip restaurants, local shops, beautiful parks, and is still minutes from downtown!

The three of us sat out on the front porch for a couple hours, sipping red wine and getting to know each other.  This was our room for the night. :)

How can anyone possibly here the name "Louisville, Kentucky" and not think about the Derby?!  I know I couldn't, so when I realized "Loo-uh-vul" was on our way east, I knew we had to stop in and check it out!  So, in the morning, we packed up the car and headed to Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby racetrack!    

Sadly, the only way to see the track when no races are happening is to pay for a tour.  Booo for tours!!!  But, we HAD TO SEE THE TRACK, so we paid the $24 and joined the tour, which actually was pretty cool!   We learned all about the history of the derby, the building, the horses, the trainers, everything. :)

For instance, this little jockey statue is in the courtyard and is re-painted to match that years winner's uniform!

This is the view the jockey's have when they come out of their little holding barn and walk towards the track.  The left side of the building (with the steeple) is the oldest section of the derby stands.

It was really cool to be out in the front row of the track. People pay hundreds of dollars to get a seat for the Kentucky Derby every year! ... and yes, Aaron is wearing my sunglasses because BOTH of his broke - lol.  

... and wala, here it is, in all it's glory!  Last year, they had over 150,000 people in attendance for the Kentucky Derby!  The guide said it's basically the equivalent of having 4 super bowls in one weekend.

If Aaron were a jockey and had won the race, he would have been riding a horse through this tunnel and not walking... darn A for being too tall to be a jockey! :)

Here's our proof that we were here! :)  Maybe next time we're here we'll actually be here for the Kentucky Derby!

We perused around the museum for a little bit and then jumped back in the car in order to make it to Pittsburg for the Pirates vs Cubs game, which thankfully we made it to right on time! :)  Does that mean we won the race?  I think so!

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