Louisville was our main destination in Kentucky, where we booked a two-night stay at the Galt House Hotel in the heart of the city. It was a nice 2-3 hour drive from Indianapolis, Indiana. We parked in the self-parking garage and walked up to the lobby area of the Suite Tower. It was packed with people! We had to wait about a half hour to check into the hotel because the lines were so long. The hotel staff had to create a separate check-in desk to meet the quota of people checking in. Michael and I had never encountered that at any previous hotels. We thought there must have been some sort of event going on in Louisville that weekend. As we were waiting in line, I took advantage of the tourist information section in the lobby, which included a map of the city with tourist highlights. We came across a few attractions we were interested in, and kept them in mind. There was also a neat bird cage located right in the lobby area that included a variety of finches. They were all so cute! So I ended up bird-watching for a few minutes while we waited in line.
After we checked in, we were told our room was located in the other tower, the Rivue Tower where the hotel has its own revolving tower restaurant located on the 25th floor overlooking the Ohio River and downtown Louisville. We decided to walk across the building using the connecting bridge on the 3rd floor. There was a very long line to get on an elevator up to our room, so we took the elevator down to the 1st floor to get back up the elevator. Our room was situated on the 10th floor with a beautiful view of the river as well! We were pleased with the room, as it had a nice feel to it. There were, of course, pictures of horses in the room, and also everywhere around the city, as the state has been known for its Kentucky Derby.
As soon as we got to the room, we dropped off our belongings, freshened up in the bathroom and called the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience to see if they had any available slots for a tour. The lady on the phone simply told us to come on by, so we made our walk down 4th street (where the hotel is located) and made a right down the road. It was about a 10 minute walk, if that, and we arrived. Michael really wanted to check out a bourbon distillery while we were in the state of Kentucky due to the large presence of bourbon in the state. It just so happened that Evan Williams was the first distiller in the state! The tour included a multimedia experience on some of the history behind this particular family-owned company. And a walking tour of the bourbon-making process. There was a lot of information given to us by our tour guide about what makes bourbon bourbon as opposed to simply whiskey. In the U.S., in order for whiskey to be in the category of bourbon, it has to be at least 51% corn and aged in charred oak barrels. The tour of the distillery lasted for about 40 minutes or so, and at the end of the tour we had the chance to see, smell, and taste some of the bourbon, which included three different kinds: Evan Williams Premium Black Label (their best-seller), Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage, and finally their newest bourbon: Larceny. As soon as I got a whiff of that, I had enough, but I ended up tasting it a bit and realized that it might have been the first and last time I would try it. It has such an acquired taste to it, and for bourbon enthusiasts they must find it to be such a treat, but for an average low-tolerance traveler, I was not too fond of the taste-appeal of bourbon in general, although I did end up really enjoying the bourbon chocolates that were given to us after the bourbon tasting! I also really enjoyed taking lots of pictures on our tour. There was a small gift shop at the end of the tour, and they had different kinds of BBQ sauces, candles, and even soap that were in the shape of barrels. We were traveling in the heat so we did not feel it was in our best interest to purchase the chocolates as they needed to get refrigerated, and we just did not have enough room in our cooler for that. We did not purchase anything, but we sampled some different sauces.
After the tour, we decided to work out. We had selected this hotel because it has a fitness center. Michael decided to go for a run and I opted to explore the exercise room. I headed over to the other building where the fitness center was located on the 18th floor…come to find out the fitness center closes at 7pm on Saturdays and Sundays. It just happened to strike 7pm when I got up there, so I ended up calling Michael so we could go for a run around the city together. I was very happy I called him to go for a jog together because on our run along the Ohio River bike/run trail we encountered several homeless people as well a police car along the way. It was actually very hot and humid, but it was nice to go for a run that day after sitting in the car for our commute.
For dinner we relied on Yelp to find Doc Crow’s Restaurant, which features a raw bar and smokehouse style cuisine. We were very interested in getting that full Louisville experience, especially when it came to food. It took about 10-15 minutes for us to be seated, and I got the Heap n’ Chips appetizer as my meal and Michael selected the Smokehouse Sampler. I absolutely loved my chips as they were very seasoned kettle cooked chips with a variety of toppings: pickled jalapeños, sour cream, cheese sauce, melted cheddar cheese, and a choice of pulled pork or beef brisket (we selected pulled pork). Michael’s supper included the beef brisket, pulled pork, Texas toast (which was like regular white toast), and a choice of a chicken or half a rack of ribs (we selected the ribs). We pretty much shared our meals and were quite successful in devouring the majority of the items on our plates. Michael found the food, particularly the ribs, to be of a higher heat index than his palate could handle, and he drank about five to six glasses of water throughout the evening. I was very fond of the food and the intensity of flavor!
We were very satisfied after our meals and decided to skip dessert. This was a great decision because, little did we know, as soon as we finished our meals and walked out of the restaurant, it was pouring outside: yes, thunder and lightning style! We were pretty surprised as the weather reports only indicted about a 40% chance of rain that evening. We did recall, however, it was extremely humid and hot outside on our walk down to the restaurant that night. We stepped outside the restaurant, and the rain was hitting us in all directions. So we decided to go into Los Aztecas to get a drink and wait for the rain to simmer down a bit before we made our trek back to the hotel.
Before we entered the restaurant, one of the servers saw us waiting outside and overheard my conversation to Michael about trying to locate a store nearby to purchase an umbrella. To our wonderful surprise, he walked inside then back outside to give us a spare umbrella he had. It was so nice of him! We still made the decision to sit down for some drinks. I had a strawberry piña colada, and Michael had a Blue Moon. We began watching TV, but since there was a big storm outside, there was no signal because they had satellite television (main reason why we would probably never get it in the future). About 20 minutes later, the signal became stronger and we conversed about an ongoing rugby match. Good times. Soon enough, the rain dissipated a bit, and we walked back to our hotel. The people at the hotel and in the city are always looking to enjoy life and have a good time!
It was Sunday, July 27th the next morning, and we had plans to check out the Visitor’s Center on 4th street. It was 11:45am, and we realized the center opens at 12pm on Sundays. So we explored the area a bit and went to A Taste of Kentucky, a small little souvenir shop across the street from the Convention Center. I love window shopping, and also looking at different state-specific trinkets and items, so we ended up doing that for a while. We got our KY state magnet there too, which of course, has a horse on it.
It seems like 4th street is the happening area in Louisville. 4th Street Live! was blocked off for cars to drive on because there was a concert on Friday evening. This city’s tourism staff really puts a high value on entertainment, and I noticed the advertising on the street corners and signs remain fairly consistent across the board. They really do a good job in maintaining the city and making it a cohesive environment for everyone who lives, works and visits the city.
Because we were getting hungry, we came across a place called Dish on Market, which featured a Sunday Brunch Buffet until 1pm. At that point it was about 12:30pm, so we decided to check the place out. The food was actually really good! We noticed that all the food we have gotten here in Louisville has been packed with flavor. I love the fact that we do not have to request for hot sauce from the servers, because they offer the condiment to you directly…definitely my kind of place! Typically in the New England area I need to use salt and pepper because a lot of the cuisine is quite bland and tasteless…NOPE, not here in Louisville. Even the mashed potatoes here have so much flavor, and oh boy the birthplace of FRIED CHICKEN…oh yeah! Definitely, my kind of place. You cannot come to Louisville and not try a hot brown! It is basically an open-faced hot turkey sandwich (even though we didn’t make it out to the Brown Hotel, which is famous for serving them), they were delicious at the brunch, regardless. We had so much food, and I must have had 4 cups of black coffee!
After our lunch break, we headed back to the Visitor’s Center to explore the Colonel Sanders exhibit, where we saw a trivia game and also a history timeline of the history of how KFC came about. Did you know that Colonel Sanders sold KFC for $2 million back in 1964 to a group of investors? Check us out with the Colonel and his fried chicken himself.
Michael and I decided to walk back to Los Aztecas to return the umbrella the server had given to us. We were happy to find him behind the bar area and had the chance to thank him again for giving one to us the night before while it was raining very heavily. At that point, we were pretty tired and the sun came out behind the storm clouds so it was definitely heating up. We made our way back to the hotel to relax for a bit because we had to track our expenses for the trip and also upload some of our pictures. After a few hours, we were ready to go for our run around the city. We brought our frisbee in case we came across a cache we could stash it in. There was a cache located ten minutes away from the hotel, but we decided against that location and headed the opposite way along the river along the Louisville Loop Trail.
To the right, there was a small park we came across with a nice green field, overlooking the river. There was supposed to be a cache in that location, but to our dismay it appeared someone had removed it. Therefore, we kept jogging and moving forward to another location which was about 1 mile away. We jogged there and passed a few demonstrators (I guess times are pretty rough in the Middle East region, and these people all gathered together to speak their minds) in the local parks. We finally got to the cache, and at that point I was pretty tired because it was muggy outside. It was placed at the Heigold Facade, which was very beautiful. Then, we were ready for our jog back to the hotel. Along the way, we passed the Louisville Slugger Stadium where some minor league teams were playing. The gates were wide open, so we asked the guard sitting on the steps what was going on and if we needed tickets to enter. He told us and another family that he didn’t see anything. So we all just went up the stairs and watched the bottom of the fifth inning.
After the random pit stop to watch part of an inning at the ball game, we continued along to find the KFC Yum! Center which was very close to the Galt House Hotel. We were very happy to get back upstairs into the air conditioned room. We showered and went on our search for dinner, which was Thelma’s Deli on the 3rd floor of the hotel. It was open 24 hours. Food included some large and fresh salads, soups (served until 9pm), pizza and sandwiches.
After dinner we went back to our rooms to search for our destination of choice. The next morning (Monday, July 28th) we were off to hit up the next state on our list: West Virginia! Oh, and be sure to go to “Our Plan” page to get updated on where we are off to next in our journey and to see which states we have already visited!