The Lyles Tour the U.S.- Louisville, KY

After our trip to Winston Salem, we took a little break before hitting the road again. However, when we did get back on the road, we headed for the rolling hills of Kentucky. I had been to the state before for Appalachian Service Project, meaning that I saw the less glamorous and more poverty stricken areas of the state, but it was my first time to visit Louisville.

Lousiville's pediatrics program put us up in the historic Brown Hotel. The luxurious hotel was built in  1923 at a staggering cost of $4 million. The hotel is a landmark in the area and has accommodated stars including, but not limited to: Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali, and Barack Obama. So, it was swanky indeed and I was in heaven. I was also very happy to find a poster advertising the 2005 romantic comedy, Elizabethtown, with a sign that let visitors know that the movie was filmed right there in the Brown Hotel! In addition, it's also home to the legendary Hot Brown sandwich, an open face turkey and bacon sandwich with Mornay sauce, baked and broiled to a crispy golden brown. Here's a great copy cat recipe!

After strolling down the cobblestone streets and taking in the sights (including the entertainment district- 4th Street Live! [think chain restaurants and bars]), we made our way back to the hotel to change for the pre-interview dinner. Since Wake Forest's dinner was held at a resident's home, it was our first time dining out. The resident's picked us up and took us to Bluegrass Brewing Company. The food was pretty good and I couldn't tell you about the beer since we decided it best not to be the only ones drinking at the table. It was a fun event though and a great way for John to get to know the residents before interviewing the next day.

The following day while John was hard at work, I took a tour of the town. I started out by visiting the local Heine Brother's coffee in the Crescent Hill neighborhood. They started in Louisville back in the early 1990's and roast nothing but organic fair trade coffee. After finishing my hot, steaming cup of light roast coffee, I walked down the sidewalk and ducked into some of the local businesses. It turned out to be colder than expected. So, I purchased some bright red cashmere lined gloves from Just Creations, a cozy and friendly fair-trade store just down the street from the coffee shop. I also ducked  into Carmichael's Bookstore to look at their extensive collection of books. All along my walk, I enjoyed the beautiful street art displays including the one of a kind, hand painted horses.

Even though I fell in love with the Crescent Hill neighborhood, and probably could have stayed there forever, I decided to check out the Highlands area located on Bardstown Road.  The Highlands neighborhood is a hipster's paradise with local eateries, breweries, tattoo shops, and vintage boutiques lining both sides of the street. John and I had made a trip through the night before, but hadn't gotten out of the car. We were utterly shocked at all of the businesses though and the neon lights that adorn each store. It's one of the coolest, hippest, and most alive places that I've ever seen.

After all of the walking and sight seeing, I had worked up quite an appetite. I went up town a bit to the NuLu neighborhood and got a lunch at a quaint French Bakery, Ghyslain. It reminded me a lot of Birmingham's Chez Lulu with its gourmet sandwiches on freshly baked bread. Their menu changes daily. So, if you're in the area and want to stop by, be sure and check the website for the daily specials.

After my delicious meal, I went next door to Joe Ley Antiques. The store is housed in an 1890's schoolhouse and holds 2 acres of antiques. I will admit, it's a little overwhelming and very creepy at times. There are even rumors that the building is haunted. It made for a great way to spend my time though and I snagged some pretty interesting photos from the adventure. I was so amused with the place, that after picking up John from the interview, I went back to show him all of the creepy and unique finds.

After John had been given the full tour of Joe Ley's, we went across the street to visit some more local shops in the NuLu area. We even had a little fun with some street art cutouts of Louisville's home town boys, KFC found Colonel Sanders (my very own ancestor) and Abraham Lincoln (KY prides itself as Lincoln's birthplace).  Plus, we made our mark on the "Before I Die" chalkboard wall.

Since the weather had warmed up a bit during the day, we made a trip to Cherokee Park. The park has ample space for walking and recreational use and was designed by the Frederick Law Olmstead (the same man who designed Central Park in NYC). It was breathtaking to behold with the vibrant fall foliage and crisp autumn air.

When the sun started to set, we knew that our time in Louisville was coming to a close. Before heading out, we stopped at in at a dive like no other- Hammerheads. The restaurant is in a residential neighborhood, located in the basement of a house, and has a huge hammerhead shark hung above the entryway. It was absolutely amazing and I have been craving their elk burger (topped with brie cheese, jalapeƱo-sage aoili, spring mix and tomato served on a pretzel bun) and out of this world Grippo fries (hand cut fries with a sweet and spicy BBQ seasoning) ever since.

Afterwards, we washed down our tasty burger meal by splitting a milkshake from the Louisville based ice creamery, Comfy Cow. Then to work off some of those calories, we took a late night walk downtown and checked out the Louisville Slugger museum (& took the typical tourist photo with the giant bat, of course) and the 30 foot high golden replica of Michelangelo's David.

After our 24 hours of Louisville were up, we were on the road again. However, even though the trip was a whirlwind, I fell in love with the city and state and can't wait to visit its rolling hills again soon.


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