We made it home safely to SoCal yesterday. In an effort to capture all the exciting places we visited and all the fun adventures we had exploring my hometown, I thought I’d do a top ten from our two weeks in lovely Louisville, KY. Here goes our top 10 Louisville highlights, in no particular order…
Two glass studios and 2 galleries under one roof! Mack (my son) and I spent about 30 minutes watching the artists in sweltering heat blow glass from air-conditioned bleachers located inside the studio. We were both fascinated. There are daily tours through Flame Run’s Hot Shop and the Mark Payton Glass Center to introduce you to the world of glassmaking. While Mack was mesmerized by the fires in the kilns, I was attracted to the beautiful artwork for sale in their 2 galleries. If you are in the area head to Museum Row in Downtown Louisville. Glassworks is worth checking out!
Just around the block from Glassworks is the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. While we chose not to take a tour of the factory (though next time it will be one of our first activities) there was still plenty for my little man to explore. There are batting cages for the older kids and a toddler-sized batting cage complete with a tee for the smaller ones. It’d be hard to come to Louisville and not “swing” by. You can’t miss it, The World’s Biggest Bat (a replica of Babe Ruth’s 34-inch Louisville Slugger) is just out front, standing 120-feet tall on West Main Street.
Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.
It’s hot in Louisville in August so we made a couple of after-dinner, evening ice cream runs. My new favorite Ice Cream shop is The Comfy Cow. Each batch of ice cream is handcrafted in Louisville and uses only the best ingredients (all natural, hormone-free, fresh and fine). While they always carry signature flavors (Black Raspberry Chip, Salty Caramel and Strawberry Fields Forever to name a few) they also rotate in crazy, new experimental flavors. You can see the fabulous flavors listed in the photo below. I was blown away by the Mint Julep… a refreshing mint ice cream with the tiniest hint of bourbon. With 3 locations in the Louisville area, you can never be too far from creamy, cool bliss.
Flavor Board at The Comfy Cow.
The Belle of Louisville is the oldest operating Mississippi River-style steamboat in the world. Aside from the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs, it has to be the city’s most recognizable landmark. Mack adores boats and so one afternoon we hopped on board for a 2-hour cruise down the Ohio River. Nothing beats a boat ride.
The Belle of Louisville’s paddlewheel.
If you’ve eaten in the home of a native Louisvillian chances are you were served on a plate from Hadley Pottery. Also, nearly every lady in the city has a Hadley ring holder (pictured below) sink-side in their kitchen. Every piece is crafted from local Indiana clay, hand-painted and then single fired. I purchased a tiny ashtray with a fleur-de-lis (Louisville’s city symbol) to place at my bedside for jewelry.
M.A. Hadley Pottery ring holders, plate and ashtray.
A year ago my Mom gave my Father a gift-certificate for a Biplane ride over Louisville. They recently found out that the Biplane could hold two passengers and my Dad invited me to join him for a 30 minute flight over the city. It was a blast! Viewing the city from the air was such a treat. We flew over Churchill Downs (home of the Kentucky Derby), past the downtown skyline, then up along the Ohio River and returned flying over all the neighborhoods where my childhood friends and I grew up. Next time we’re back with my husband, he and my son are definitely taking this beautiful flight!
Mack loves farm equipment. We headed out early one morning to Henry County Supply, a John Deere Dealership and agriculture supply store. The people there were so friendly, they even let Mack climb up and “drive” the tractors. It didn’t hurt that they also have a full-on John Deere toy section so Mack was able to take home his very own tractor, complete with trailer and harrow. It’s north of the city but a stunning drive along U.S. 421 to New Castle, KY was well worth it for my little farmer.
Nothing runs like a Deere.
My sweet cousin, Susan introduced me to this store a few years ago. It is located in an area of town now known as NuLu, a recently renovated area along East Market Street with hip shops and restaurants. This store has everything I love. As their website says, “Scout is a modern eclectic mix of furniture, home accessories, giftware, artwork and jewelry.” All of this in a great range of prices. I walked away with the necklace below for $25 and the earrings for just $10!
Purchases from Scout.
If you have never had a Butter Bun from this place you have not lived. It’s easy for my Mom and I to eat an entire package of these little guys smothered with benedictine (a cucumber, cream cheese spread) at lunchtime. And, yes, I’ve even had my Mother ship them to me in California. But it doesn’t stop there… their cupcakes, cookies, deli, breakfast pastries and donuts are out of this world. Also, I love the southern charm in this place. They still have an old-fashioned counter where you can climb up on a stool, order a cup of coffee and enjoy a delicious cheese danish or chocolate donut. A really fun treat for kids!
Baked Goods from Plehn’s Bakery in St. Matthews.
The Louisville Bats are the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. I told my husband that if we lived in Louisville we would be at a Bats Baseball game at least once a week during the summer. Truth be told, the best part about attending a Bats game is being at Louisville Slugger Field. The Field, located downtown near the river opened in 2000 and has seats for approximately 13,000 fans. It is, in a word, perfect. Our tickets, which were about 6 rows up from the 1st baseline cost only $11 a piece. You can sit on the lawn (left field) for only $7 per person and there is even a merry-go-round and a playground inside the stadium if the kids get antsy.
Buddy Bat. Official mascot of the Louisville Bats.