As I made my way into Bluegrass State, I asked all of my Facebook friends what thoughts came to mind when someone mentioned the word “Kentucky”. Some things, like bourbon, bluegrass, fried chicken and horse racing come quickly to mind, but some people went deeper and came up with things I hadn’t even considered – like the fact that every Corvette in the world rolls out of a factory in Bowling Green or that Kit Carson was a Kentuckian. I even had one friend from Europe who said quite honestly that he didn’t think much about it at all – that it was just another boring state in Middle America. For my part, I had an amazing month in the Bluegrass State, learned a lot about Kentucky history and culture and met some wonderful people along the way. While I have moved on into Georgia at this point, I wanted to write one final post wrapping things up from Kentucky.
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I saw a great meme this week. It said the temperature went from 90 to 35 like it saw a state trooper on the highway. Isn’t that the truth? I don’t know about where you are, but in northern Kentucky I was sweating in shorts and a T-shirt last week, and this week nighttime temperatures are hovering just above freezing. It’s nice to be able to sleep with my blankets pulled up and my windows closed, but I sure was hoping for a little “in between” weather before winter set in. It’s been a good week out here as usual. I have moved into Western Kentucky and also into Central Time Zone. That makes my mornings easier and my evenings harder, but it’s also pretty cool. I used to blast through time zones like they were nothing when I was guiding cross-country tours. Now it’s more like a special occasion.
My week started where my last week ended (imagine that!), in Bardstown. Bardstown is a really lovely place. It has some really great historic buildings in the small downtown area and just has an overall pleasant feel to it. It’s also the center of the universe when it comes to bourbon, with several large distilleries and a lot of barrel houses in the area. They like to tell you that there are more barrels of bourbon aging in Kentucky than there are people living in the state…
Hello everyone, I hope you’re having a great week out there wherever you are. It’s been a chilly, rainy week of catching up with old friends for me. The weather has gone from hot and sunny to cold and rainy and has finally leveled out a bit to somewhere in between this week. I’ve spent most of the week in Louisville and really enjoyed it there. It was a cool city with a lot to offer and a lot more on the way. I’ve had some good food, sipped some wonderful bourbons, and slept inside for 6 days in a row. I haven’t done a lot of work or a lot of travelling this week, but it’s been a fun one and great to catch up with my friends.
When last we met, I was off for one last day in Kentucky’s capital city of Frankfort. It was another busy and interesting day this lovely city. I started the day with a visit to their local history museum: The Capital City Museum. It was a really interesting little museum packed with local artifacts that told the history of the city from its origins to present day. The people working there were really friendly and I enjoyed talking with them before, during and after my visit.
From there, I headed off to the Buffalo Trace distillery, just outside of downtown. I signed up for the National Historic Landmark tour which only runs once a day and I was really excited about it…
I learned to really appreciate whiskey about ten years ago when I did my first tour of the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Before then, I could drink whiskey as a shot or in a mixed drink, but didn’t really appreciate it as a sipping drink. After that tour, though, once I saw how it was made and what went into it, I could pick up a glass of Jack and smell the wood burning in the charcoal production area and the clean, new barrels. It would transport me back to that chilly fall day, just before Thanksgiving, and then I could sip on it all day with a smile on my face.
While my tastes have grown and changed and evolved over the last ten years, there is just something about the smell of Jack Daniel's which has cast its spell over me. Like a first love or a first car I guess, just something that is (hopefully) always remembered with fondness. I’ve been back to the Jack Daniel's distillery half a dozen times or more since then and I've always enjoyed the tour. Because most of these more recent visits have been while I was guiding, and on tours where the visit was included, I have usually just breezed through Tullahoma on the way to or from Lynchburg. I always knew that the George Dickel Distillery was in Tullahoma, but never had the chance to stop and see it. I finally got there this week, and really enjoyed my tour there as well. I figured I would write this post comparing and contrasting the two tours for you. If you have the time to do both, they are both well worth the effort, but if you had to choose just one, here are a few factors to consider.
I ate out a lot during my stay in South Carolina. South Carolina is definitely a wonderful food destination. With tons of seafood coming off the coast and wonderful farm-fresh meat and produce coming from the Piedmont, it's hard to go wrong. Unfortunately I didn't plan my meals out as well as I could have, nor did I do my due diligence by really researching the places I ate. These long days have kept me busy and I usually ended up eating wherever was open and grabbing a quick burger or a salad. This is something I hope to correct in Tennessee as I eat in a little more often and save my money and my appetite for some well planned out meals. I did, however, find a few cool places around the state so before I move on, I thought I would share some with you today.
I had some really great seafood up and down the coast. When I was out on Daufuskie Island, I had a plate of fresh fried grouper over jasmine rice with green beans and slaw at Lucy Bell's Cafe. When I tell you it was to die for, I really mean it…