30 May 2012

adventures fulfilled : Louisville, KY

I can't even begin to number how many times I've driven through Lousiville throughout my lifetime. At least 4-6 times a year if not more. Growing up in Tennessee but having most of our family in Ohio meant many road trips north each year- often through Louisville. And now living in Indiana, we take a few trips back down south each year -through Louisville- which add to the total.
Despite driving through the city so many times over the years, we've never stopped to explore and see what it was really all about. So it was really neat that we ended up staying at a State Park nearby & got to take a day trip into the city. Mary, Roz & Ellyn were equally excited since none of them had been there either!

Previously, when I thought of the Louisville, I thought of what I saw from the highway. The river, the Cardinals stadium, U of L, the fairgrounds, the airport, billboards advertising the derby... not terribly exciting. But once we started exploring the downtown area, I found much more charm & uniqueness.
When we first started out after finding parking, we still weren't super thrilled with what we had seen as we drove around the city... but then we stumbled upon the Louisville Visitor's Center {quite helpful little place- really!} and after finding out all that there was to see/do/eat around the city, we were a little more excited to venture forth:)

 Finding a good local coffee shop was towards the top of our list & thanks to the Visitor's Center, we located a few on the map. While waiting for our second trolley {free trolleys that drive around the downtown area are super for both locals & visitors alike!}, I realized we were right across the street from VINT {short for Vintage}, one of the coffee shops on our list. So we headed over to check it out.
Quite an awesome local urban coffee shop {though with only a handful of bar stools, it rather lacks in good seating & is more an in-and-out place to get your coffee} that also serves handcrafted ales & special wines. It has a great signature drink called "The Vint Julep" in salute to "The Mint Julep" which is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby {told you I learned a whole lot of new stuff about Lville!}. Mary tried that drink {I love how it was just barely sweetened & held just a touch of bourbon/mint flavor} while I held out for a drink at the next coffee shop. Roz & Ellyn both got their Strawberry Banana Smoothie.

We decided to stroll down Main street towards the West End, admiring what we saw as we went. Much of Museum Row & the surrounding area was closed by that time but it was still a beautiful evening & lovely to see what was there. Mrs. Potter's Coffee Shop was down that way & we stopped in so I could order a drink. Since they didn't have a signature drink or one on special, I went with their Chai Latte- yummy & a tiny bite to it from the spices. Mrs. Potter's was more of a campus coffee shop spot with  handwritten chalk-board menus, homemade treats & some handcrafted gifts for sale. They also have a connecting cafe which serves a bunch of the downtown lunch crowd.

Near the end of Museum Row, we caught the trolley and rode it around the corner & down Market Street and then got off in the East Main/Market Street District. The older/eclectic part of town we had been looking for earlier in the day. It's a great little up'n'coming neighborhood that holds some great restaurants & shops full of character. We stopped in at Please & Thank You Cafe for a snack. It's a great little coffee shop/cafe/record store that lends many nods to prior decades while still staying up to date. I loved the set-up, decor & use of record player for music {even had a separate room for listening to records!} but wasn't super thrilled with some of the music playing. {that last remark is just a personal preference- take it or leave it;)}.


While making some purchases in a little shop called GiftHorse, we struck up conversation with the owner who told us a bit about the history of Louisville {little things like how it was named, it's sister city in France & the Fleur de Lis being the symbol of the city} and then recommended that we check out Bardstown Road & The Highlands-- a little part of town less than five minutes East of the city. So after leaving there, we walked a bit more and then hopped on the trolley to go get our car.

From there, we drove out towards Baxter Street/Bardstown Road and let me tell you - it was *overwhelming*! Literally 3 miles of eclectic & locally owned shops & restaurants {with franchises thrown in here and there}. It was the craziest mix of cultures/lifestyles all on one street & we didn't even know where to start! It was late in the evening by this time so we focused on finding a place to eat dinner. Roz was hungry for Italian so we chose a little mom & pop place called Anselmo's Bistro & Bar. It was yummy {you can't beat family recipes!} but I wanted to kick myself when, as we were finishing up our meal, I realized that there was outdoor seating & we could have enjoyed our meal in the gorgeous evening warmth & setting sun! Agh!! Bummer!
We headed down the street to a fro-yo place we had seen on the corner. It's called Lula's but I could've sworn I was walking into Sweet Cece's in downtown Franklin!! Same corner shop, same set up & same decor! Turns out- it used to be a Sweet Cece's {who knew they made it that far north?!} but when the contract was up, they changed the name. It was still yummy fro-yo though:)
When we were done, we planned to explore some of the shops, but then I realized it was 9 & we had been told that most of them close then {I know! I've never heard of little boutiques & local shops staying open that late either but apparently they do there!} so instead we drove back to the Riverfront Park in the dusk to see all the city lights. Beautiful ending to a great day!!

3 comments:

  1. Great story, thanks for sharing. Beautiful pictures, too! I work in the marketing communications department of the Louisville CVB (who runs the Visitors Center you mentioned). Any interest in submitting some of the images for possible publication in a future Visitor Guide?

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  2. I'd love to Nancy! IF you'll just let me know where/when I can do that, I'll get on it:)
    Feel free to email me- diligent4christ1993@hotmail.com

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  3. What a great write-up! I'm glad you enjoyed your visit. Please come back soon!

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