04 August 2015

Road Trip Part 2: Louisville

After our super fun tour of the IMS, we stopped for some lunch in Indianapolis and then began the relatively short 2 hour drive to Louisville. Wednesday was probably the hottest day of our whole trip so, upon arrival and checking in to our hotel, we opted to stay inside where the AC was nice and cool to avoid the absolute heat of the day. That turned out to be a good call, as a brief but fierce thunderstorm rolled in shortly thereafter. 

However it cleared up nicely around dinner time, leaving us with a much cooler evening for our planned activity, a AAA baseball game at Louisville Slugger Field:

It is a very nice stadium, particularly for the minors. I'd compare it in size to the new St. Paul Saints CHS Field. 
The Louisville Bats are the AAA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. They have a truly awesome logo, so I purchased a $10 hat as a souvenir:

Who doesn't enjoy a play on words? 
We completed our evening with a late dinner at Harvest Restaurant. It was the first of many restaurants in Louisville to impress me - it's definitely a quality food town. 

Thursday morning dawned much cooler so we were able to go with our original plan. Per Wikipedia...

"Old Louisville is a historic district and neighborhood in central Louisville, Kentucky, USA. It is the third largest such district in the United States, and the largest preservation district featuring almost entirely Victorian architecture. It is also unique in that a majority of its structures are made of brick, and the neighborhood contains the highest concentration of residential homes with stained glass windows in the U.S. Many of the buildings are in the Victorian-era styles of Romanesque, Queen Anne, Italianate, among others; and a large number of blocks have had few or no buildings razed."

Old Louisville has a visitor's center, which we visited first to collect a map and a list of a series of self-guided walking tours. The whole area is something like 48 city blocks, so obviously we weren't going to get to it all. Instead, we took a happy meander through one of the tours and marveled at all the pretty houses. 

One of my favorites among the bunch. Brick and a turret? Sounds good to me!
We then availed ourselves of Louisville's public transportation (EMSA is very good at that sort of thing) and rode a bus across town to check out the Highlands neighborhood. After a leisurely stroll through the lovely (if hilly) Cherokee Park, we had yet another excellent meal at a place called the Gralehaus - Andy had his second meal that included grits, and I had an excellent Kentucky stew of some kind. Yum.

Back to the hotel we went for a bit of an AC refuge and a sit-down. It's hot in Louisville in the middle of the day. Then, on to our afternoon event:

The entrance to the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum. It's not subtle.
The factory/museum combo is located right in downtown Louisville. They would not let us take photos during the actual factory tour, but it was extremely interesting - it takes only 30 seconds to make a baseball bat that is for the general public. The bats for major league players take a bit longer, as the machine is more specialized - a whopping 45 seconds. At the end of the tour, they gave us all a mini bat and I'd say we had a great time.

The following day, we got up for another early start. For a hint, please click on this link and open in a new tab, then come back. Once again, I'll wait...

The main entrance to Churchill Downs. 
There was no actual racing going on at Churchill Downs, as they stop racing in July and August, so our real stop was the Kentucky Derby Museum, where we had signed up for the Barn & Backside tour. We hopped in a van and our tour guide took us over to the area where all 40+ barns are located. It turns out that even when there is not racing going on, there are still 900+ horses being lodged at Churchill downs. We hung out on the backstretch for a while and watched them get in their morning workouts.

A few horses speeding by, with trainers observing from the shade. 
 We then headed back to the museum for our tour of the main track area.

The Twin Spires, a historic landmark.
The main paddock. Those bricks are made out of recycled tires so they are easier on the horses.
The museum itself had all sorts of interesting stuff - you could watch video of every Derby, and they had a whole section for the Triple Crown winners, including American Pharoah. I sat there and watch all three of his races an man, what a horse! From Churchill Downs, we headed out of town for our next stop.

Tomorrow... on to Cincinnati!


Mom said...

Wonderful post. I love the captions ("Who doesn't enjoy a play on words?"and "It's not subtle"!) and the great photos. You two know how to plan a great road trip.

Looking forward to Part 3 (and the cat photo).

Santini said...

Wonderfully meaty post. It reminds me of your Dad's posts from France -- I usually need to read them a few times to absorb it all, plus look at the photos. I like the bits about the historic buildings and the Louisville Slugger plant. You two sound like good travelling companions -- not always true of married couples.

Looking forward to the last installment!

Gino said...

Lots of fun photos. Lots of fun spots.


Emily M said...

Mom - Thanks, I knew you'd appreciate those.

Santini - We are excellent traveling companions, particularly as one of us (not me) is really, really good at figuring out transportation and the other can just follow along. :-)

Gino - The giant bat is one of my favorite things from the whole trip. It's enormity defies belief.