Visit Kentucky! On our recent trip to Louisville, Kentucky (pronounced "Looavul, Luhvul, Loueville, Looaville or Looeyville we learned) I have to be honest, our expectations weren't that high, but wow, were we proved wrong fast! Follow along below won't you? While we recount for you our Kentucky experience...
The Galt House Hotel. The website says that the rooms in the Suite Tower are "bigger than your first apartment" and I promise you, I made almost the exact same comment when we unlocked the door to our room. The rooms are beyond spacious, with it's living room area, small kitchenette area, coat closet, hallway, vanity area, large bathroom, and finally the very large bedroom. You could literally invite a group of people over and not feel cramped in these rooms. This hotel celebrates their 40th Anniversary in 2012 and is one of the premier places to stay if you're in town for the Kentucky Derby. The food and the view from Rivue on the 25th floor of The Galt House is also not to be missed.
The Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs. I think it goes without saying how huge an event the Kentucky Derby is in Kentucky. But just in case you didn't get it, it's HUGE. In 2012 the Derby (what the locals call it) will be held on May 5 and this event draws approximately 150,000 people every year. Experience The Derby without breaking the bank for $40 (standing room). Gates open at 8:00am and the first race is at 11:00am. There are twelve races that will be televised live on NBC. We had a chance to visit Churchill Downs (we had yum Mint Juleps!) and it is as grande as you would imagine.
Kentucky Bourbon. One of the many things Kentucky is very proud of is its Bourbon. I mean, Kentucky is "Bourbon Country" as Bourbon originated in the state of Kentucky and 95% of it is produced there. There are distilleries open for tours year round to take a closer look on how it's produced. While we were there we were able to taste the "Old Fashioned" (a little intense for my tastes) Bourbon Balls, and a champagne spritzer made with Kentucky Bourbon, but my favorite tasting had to be the Evan Williams Honey Reserve. Smooth. Check out the Kentucky Bourbon Trail HERE.
Kentucky Food. We tasted everything from Benedictine (a cucumber and cream cheese condiment) to Mint Juleps to Derby Pie. We even experienced three local Louisville Chefs after a live food tv taping at Sullivan University, Chef Anthony Lamas - Seviche, Chef John Castro - Winston's Restaurant and Chef Josh Moore - Volare Restaurant. That entire experience was delicious.
Kentucky Adventure. Louisville Mega Cavern Zip Lines are the world's first and only underground zipline adventure tour. We did this and it was awesome. Cool temperatures (you're underground!), five zip lines, three challenge bridges and two hours later, we left wanting more. I can definitely see how adrenaline activities can be addicting.
Other Must See Louisville Attractions. The Muhammad Ali Center. It's so well done and such a beautiful interactive tribute to him, his accomplishments and his life, (you can even sit and watch some of his fights in their entirety) whether you're a fan or not, you're not going to want to miss a center that won "Best Cultural Attraction in the State of Kentucky" in 2011 when you visit.
Mint Julep Tours, whether you want a city tour, Bourbon trail or a horse country tour, Mint Julep Tours can take care of you.
And there's so much more to do in Louisville Kentucky that I didn't name here in this post. I said when we were leaving that I'd love to go back and visit again with my family. To KENTUCKY. Who knew? :)