When my husband came home from work and said that his business was closed on Monday, my response was "let's go somewhere!". It had been a few years since we visited one of our favorite local cities, and since it's only a 90 minute drive, we chose Louisville, Kentucky as our destination. Louisville is a small city with lots of unique neighborhoods to explore.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at the historic Brown Hotel in the heart of downtown. The hotel opened in 1923. The 16 story, 600 guest room hotel cost a staggering $4 million. During the 1920's the hotel was filled nightly for dinner dances and as a result, the famous "Hot Brown" was invented. It is an open faced sandwich that was served to tired guests in the wee hours of the morning. The lobby, restaurants and ballrooms are simply stunning.
WHAT TO DO
Visiting one of the distilleries is a must! Kentucky is world renown for its bourbon. It all began back in the 1700's when the residents of Bourbon, Kentucky shipped their whiskey in barrels down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Popularity spread for this whiskey with the "Bourbon" stamp on its barrel. Today there are strict guidelines that have to be met to label whiskey as bourbon. It seems wherever you turn there is someone distilling whether its bourbon, whisky, rum, brandy, gin or beer. Because we were downtown, we decided to stick to the three distilleries located there. You can also check out The Bourbon Trail if you want to visit the distilleries outside the city.
Angel's Envy is on Main Street located right across the street from Slugger Field. Their focus is a hand crafted, small batch bourbon. The founder wanted to create a different finishing process by aging the bourbon in port barrels. As bourbon ages, 5% of spirit is lost a year which is called the "Angel's share". After perfecting their bourbon, the founder declared the whiskey was finer sipping than the angels got, and their name was born.
Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co is located on the banks of the Ohio River. They began distilling whiskey in the late 1800's. The company was lucky enough to be one of the very few distilleries protected under the US government during Prohibition. Their whiskey was available by prescription for medicinal use. Their bottles and labels have the nostalgic feel from the age of the apothecary.
(photo from Peerless webstite)
If strong spirits aren't your thing, no worries! You can visit Goodwood Brewing Co where they have taken the bourbon making process and applied it to beer. They brew with limestone water and wood age their beer. You can order a flight to try beers that have been wood seasoned with either oak, ash, poplar, hemp, spruce or bourbon barrels. We were lucky enough to visit when they were serving free wings!
Louisville has quite a few neighborhoods that are fun to explore. There is plenty of shopping on Baxter Avenue and Bardstown Road in The Highlands, Frankfort Avenue in Crescent Hills and East Market Street in NuLu. We love to hit antique stores and found several in the downtown area. If antique browsing is what you love, then check out The Crazy Daisy, Louisville Antique Market, Joe Ley Antiques and Mellwood Antiques.
In between visiting all those distilleries, we needed a break with a good strong cup of coffee. There are two really great coffeeshops in the area.
Quills is a local roaster that knows how to make an amazing cup of joe. They have three locations in Louisville.
Please and Thank You, located on East Market Street, has a record store in the back and the record player will be serenading you while you sip your coffee. Do not leave the shop without sampling some of their baked goodness. Hands down, they have some of the best cinnamon rolls I have ever tasted. They were also voted Louisville's best chocolate chip cookie.
WHERE TO EAT
There are a lot of amazing restaurants in Louisville for your choice of eats. Again, we stuck to the downtown area, but if you venture out to one of the many neighborhoods, you will not be disappointed.
Garage Bar on East Market Street is housed in a former auto service garage. It's a fun atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating. Plus ping pong! Who'd doesn't love ping pong? They have a full bar with many craft beers to choose from along with wood-fired pizzas made with local ingredients and a nod to Southern cuisine.
North End Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's in a historic brick house that gives it a cozy vibe. Breakfast was our meal but looking over the menu, I would love to return some day for dinner. I ordered the orange spice french toast, yum!
If you love bbq, then I strongly suggest Feast BBQ. This is another restaurant that has reclaimed a former auto service garage and it fits perfectly. They take their bbq seriously so it's first come, first serve. When they run out of food, they run out of food. They refuse to rush the slow cooking process. We enjoyed sides of vinegar slaw and collard greens along with a craft beer.
It's amazing how fast two days can fly by! There was still so much to see and do, but it was time to head home. Until next time, Louisville!
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