Monday, May 3, 2010

Louisville Lovin'

Well, I should have written this a few days ago, but what can you do. The Kentucky Derby was this past Saturday and in honor of that, I want to write about a trip I took to Louisville, Kentucky!

This was a few years ago now, but that doesn't change the fact that Louisville is a great destination. I went over Labor Day weekend, for three nights, and probably could have spent four nights there without a moment of boredom. Unfortunately, we were on a bit of a budget for this trip...but that didn't stop us from having a great time! We stayed at the Econo Lodge Downtown (it used to be a Comfort Inn and was when we stayed there), on South 2nd Street, and for the price ($60 per night for a holiday weekend!) we were very, very pleased. The room was spotlessly clean, there was free wi-fi and a free continental breakfast (which was surprisingly good), and the hotel was only about a five minute walk from 4th Street Live, the hub of [touristy] entertainment in downtown Louisville. The only real "complaint" I had about our stay was that this hotel is right across the street from a sort of night club complex, and one night it got pretty rowdy and we were kept awake.

Of course, if you're not on a budget, I spent hours in the Galt House one day and fell in love. If I ever make it back to Louisville (and trust me, I want to!) this is where I'll be staying!

I spent an entire morning at Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby museum, including the tour of the racetrack. Unfortunately, we were there during the off season, and they weren't running any races--yet another reason to eventually go back to Louisville! Still, Churchill Downs is a must-see, and I hear that the Derby museum (which was really neat when I saw it, years ago) recently underwent a big renovation and is even better now.

Of course there are a couple restaurants of note from my trip--for instance, on the way into Louisville I had dinner at the Claudia Sanders Dinner House in Shelbyville. Is it a place you should go out of your way to visit? Maybe not. But it is located on the same spot where Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame lived! (And would probably be the original building had that not burnt down and needed to be rebuilt in 1999.) Regardless, the prices were reasonable, the portions huge, and the food delicious.

On my first full day in Louisville, we had lunch at the cafe that is attached to the Kentucky Derby museum, and I was very impressed. I had the best BLT of my life there, as well as an amazing Mint Julep. The third and final meal of note that I consumed in Louisville was actually--and surprisingly--at a 4th Street Live restaurant called The Pub. Great food, drinks, and atmosphere!

Other than food and Churchill Downs, I divided my time between WorldFest Louisville, a yearly celebration of the many cultures that comprise the city; sightseeing Old Louisville, America's largest Victorian neighborhood; visiting the Frazier Arms Museum; gambling a bit at Caesar's Indiana, which is now Horseshoe Casino; and doing some shopping, drinking, and eating along Bardstown Road. I completely missed out on the Louisville Slugger factory, along with numerous other great Louisville sights...hence, yet again, my desire to eventually go back to this fine city!
A great lunch and my first-ever Mint Julep at the Derby Cafe, Churchill Downs, Louisvilly KY
Enjoying the best Mint Julep ever at the Kentucky Derby Museum Cafe!

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