Louisville, Kentucky 3/31 – 4/7

Louisville, Kentucky :  Population =  760,026 (metropolitan area= 1,269,702), elevation = 466 feet, Mean January low temp = 34.9º, Mean July high temp = 89.3º (38 days over 90º), annual snowfall = 12.7”, annual rainfall = 44.9”

After spending some time in a cute little town like Paducah, it is somewhat of a culture shock to jump into the heart of a big, sprawling metropolis like Louisville.  Our rental is on a street densely populated by bars, pubs, restaurants, breweries, and assorted small shops.  Big signs over the 4 lanes switch traffic flow to and from downtown for the rush hours.  We are about a 10 minute bus ride from downtown.

Fourth Street Live is a semi-enclosed entertainment district

Kentucky is the birth place for America’s only native spirit, bourbon.  While we were in Paducah, we learned about the Bourbon Trail.  This is a string of distilleries spread across Kentucky that invite the public to stop on by and have a taste.  Louisville lies right in the middle of the trail and has about 10 distilleries, counting Moonshine U, where you can learn how to make it.

Jmi Beam has a tasting room right downtown, but they distill elsewhere
The Experience includes a museum tour and tastings
A big pot of mash bubbles and ferments before going into the still at Evan Williams

Louisville is also home to a multitude of craft breweries; big industrial buildings, intimate little pubs, bustling restaurants, and eclectic hangouts.  And if they don’t make it, they still sell it.  Taprooms are very popular and a wall of 30 or more taps is easy to find.

Another big claim to fame for Louisville is the Louisville Slugger baseball bat.  Those bats are made in the factory right downtown by the river.  We are not really baseball fans ourselves, so we did not visit the factory or the museum.  Wandering the town though, we found many a famous name in baseball along Main Street.

Probably the two biggest minutes in sports is the annual running of the Kentucky Derby.  This is a championship horse race that takes place here in Louisville at the Churchill Downs racetrack on the first Saturday in May.  The race itself comes after a two week festival, capped with the biggest display of fireworks in North America.  We toured the Kentucky Derby Museum, which included a tour of the track, a wealth of horse racing information, a 360 degree theater, and many fun exhibits.  A big part of the Derby is wearing silly hats and they have some great ones on display.

The theater in the Kentucky Derby Museum puts the viewer in the center of an oval with the film clips running completely around

Louisville is not especially famous for their food, although one of Kentucky’s most famous chefs was interred here.  We found lots of good food of all types, styles, and ethnics.  One of our new favorites though, is a dish that was created here in Louisville; the Hot Brown.  It is a simple dish, but the combination of ingredients is perfect.

Meeting the Colonel
Fresh and hot out of the kitchen, still some of the best chicken around
Hot Brown: toast covered in roast turkey, tomato, bacon, mornay sauce, and cheddar, baked until browned.  Yum!

There is a lot to see in Louisville: museums, parks, the river, a multitude of great places to eat and drink.  We asked for another week in our rental, but it was already booked so we have to move on.

Next up: Bardstown, Kentucky

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footloosefogeys

We are two recent retirees who decided to sell the house, pull up stakes, and explore North America. We are both being tourists and looking for the right blend of people, place, and geography that makes for the perfect place to retire.

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