History and Distillaries in Louisville and Lynchburg!

IMG_7661I’ve always loved Nashville and have been three times before, so when friends said they were headed for a long weekend, I jumped on board. In the past, I’ve done the staples like the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, Studio A, the downtown honky tonks, Jacks BBQ, the Gaylord Opryland and the Grand Ole Opry.  You can read more about those places here: (http://passportromance.com/?s=nashville), so this time I was excited we were going to visit the quaint town of Lynchburg, Tennessee, also home to the Jack Daniels Distillery and Miss Mary Bobos, the old boarding home turned quaint restaurant in a beautiful Southern home.   We still went to the Grand Ole Opry Saturday night, because a visit to Nashville is not complete without the legendary show that is also broadcast on WSN radio and on SiriusXM radio.   The performers are always top notch and the sponsored live commercials in between acts are equally entertaining. IMG_7701

The Jack Daniel’s distillery provided a very informative tour, and even for someone who is not a big whisky drinker, I learned a lot about Mr. Daniels and have a new appreciation for the work that goes into making one of the most popular whiskey brands in the world. They offer a free tour throughout the distillery, or for $10, you can include a tasting at the end of the tour.   Afterwards, you can explore the town of Lynchburg, a short walk across a small bridge. There you’ll find the hardware store, full of Jack Daniel’s souvenirs, plenty of fudge and chocolate shops, and a few BBQ restaurants. IMG_7708We made reservations at Miss Mary Bobos, (fill in info here).   If you’d like to experience some good traditional homemade cooking served family style with warm Southern hospitality, this is the place to go. Each room in the home has a table with a host who has been a staple there for many years. Mrs. Nutt told us stories of her 40 years of teaching in the area, and after we finished eating meal of fried chicken, meatloaf, baked apples, fried okra, casserole, and beans with relish, she told us it was made with lots of butter and lard, so just a heads up!  IMG_7518

The next morning, we began our 2.5-hour drive to Kentucky with a few stops along the way, including Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace and the Makers Mark Distillery, part of the Bourbon Trail. We had a few other distilleries on the agenda as well, but we had a lot to do in a short amount of time, including a visit to the Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum. The Makers Mark Distillery was equally as fun as the Jack Daniel’s tour. It was a bit shorter, but still incorporated a tasting for just $9 a ticket.  IMG_7741  There are many distilleries along the famed “Bourbon Trail,” but as a magnet said in one of the gift stores, “So many bourbons, so little time.” Since we forgot to factor in the one hour time change from Nashville to Louisville, we did lose and hour and therefore made our way directly to the Kentucky Derby Museum, where we were treated to a mini tour of Churchill Downs. There are various tours that allow you to see the grounds of the Thoroughbred racetrack. IMG_7781

A tour you won’t want to miss while in Louisville is David Domine’s “America’s Most Haunted Neighborhood Tour” of Old Louisville. He also leads a Exuberant Neighborhood Tour” which also covers Old Louisville, but dives deeper into the architecture and history of the beautiful neighborhood. Through his extensive talks with people and research into the paranormal, specifically those apparitions in Old Louisville, he weaves together the history of the home with the ghosts that have been spotted in the various sections of the house. One home known as the Robinson House or the Murder House, in particular has been featured in many of the crime shows. IMG_7576  He is also in the middle of researching and writing another book about the subject. He has written multiple books on the many facets of Old Louisville and they can be found by searching his name online. IMG_7578

Other things to do while in Louisville includes a visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum and a tour of the factory.   I think I was the only one without children on the tour, but I loved it! You’ll see everything from how a bat is sized exactly to match all of the others, to how they burn the branding into the wood.   The Cave Hill Cemetery is home to many of the confederate and US Soldiers who fought in the Civil War, as well as to Coronel Harland Sanders, founder of the KFC Empire.   The cemetery itself is a beautiful arboretum and can be seen with an organized tour on certain days or a self-guided tour is made easy with the map you can pick up at the visitor’s center.

IMG_7874For food and entertainment, the Fourth Street Live District is great for sports bars and healthy fast food, while NuLu (New Louisville) has some nicer sit down restaurants alongside antique and independent shops and galleries. We had dinner at “Ramsi’s Café on the World,” which served deliciously healthy food from all around the world with a heavy influence from the executive chef’s Israeli background. Louisville_026

Museum row is a great area to check out as well. Our hotel, Museum 21C, is a staple on the block, and a must visit, whether or not you stay overnight. The museum part of the hotel is open 24/7 and invites locals and visitors to events, or to just explore the many unique art installations organically weaved throughout the hotel. Guests can enjoy the 24/7 co-ed spa area that features a modern fitness center, steam room, sauna, and showers with top of the line products. AlterEgo_21c_0070 The rooms are also modern and very comfortable. IMG_7823 It is in a great location, right in the middle of the city, just a block away from both the Louisville Slugger Museum and the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, which also offers tours.  If you’re short on time, a visit to their gift shop is a good way to get a sample of some of their products. It’s three blocks from the Fourth Street Live District, and also a quick ten minutes to the cemetery and fifteen minutes to the airport.

If it’s a beautiful day out, go for a long walk across the Second Street Bridge, which is also just a few blocks from the Museum 21C Hotel. The bridge itself is lengthy, so be prepared! However, on the other side awaits the gorgeous Falls of the Ohio River. It is at these falls that you can walk out to the falls and spot fossils if the water is low enough.   You can also say you walked to Indiana!

So while many may not have Louisville and Lynchburg on the top of their destination lists, both offer quite a bit of history and fun with all of the famous factories, museums, whiskey and bourbon distilleries that are housed there. They are quick getaways from the tri-state area and definitely worth checking out on a long weekend with friends or a family vacation.

 

 

 

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New Years in Nashville!

This year I wanted to do something really fun for New Years, possibly travel to a fun city or tropical island, but I didn’t want to break the bank on airfare. Then I received an email from the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau with a list of parties and events going on in Nashville for New Years and I realized it was a no brainer! I got really excited because I love Nashville! I’ve been there twice so far and each time I have a great time…downtown has so many fun bars with live bands, the Wildhorse Saloon with it’s line dancing, Jacks BBQ, Fuse Nightclub at the Opryland, and venues such as the Bluebird Cafe, which showcases established and up and coming talent. There is always such a great energy! Still looking for last minute plans? Here’s what happening in Nashville:

The Gaylord Opryland Hotel is offering several different packages. New Years Eve at Fuse Nightclub in Nashville is the only Vegas style nightclub and The New Years Eve Triple dance party is a dance floor surrounded by three separate stages with an 80’s cover band, country band, and a top 40’s dance band. All packages include room accommodations, ticket for dinner cruise and show on General Jackson Showboat, admission to New Years Eve Party at Fuse Nightclub or ticket to Triple Dance Party, midnight champagne toast and party favors, and a New Years day brunch. New Year’s Eve Spectacular at Wild Horse Saloon is featuring concerts by Jeffrey Steele, Ira Dean and JC Anderson. Packages include Room accommodations at Gaylord Opryland Hotel, admission to party at 8 pm (meals not included), midnight champagne toast and party favors, and roundtrip hotel/party shuttle transportation. For more information on Gaylord Hotel New Years Eve event tickets and prices pleases visit http://www.gaylordhotels.com/gaylord-opryland/special-events/index.html.

Chef Tyler Brown hosts a New Year’s Eve celebration at one of Nashville’s most lauded restaurants. The Capitol Grille offers three seating options. Early seatings at 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 pm. will feature a four-course prix-fixe menu for $95.00 per person plus tax and gratuity, along with entertainment from a live jazz band. A 9:30 p.m. seating will offer guests a lavish five-course prix-fixe dinner for $135.00 per person plus tax and gratuity and will include a celebratory champagne toast at midnight, along with holiday decorations, and live jazz music. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (615) 345-7116. The Capitol Grille at The Hermitage is located at 231 Sixth Ave. North, Nashville, TN 37219. Visit www.capitolgrillenashville.com for menus and more information.

Union Station and Hilton Downtown is offering a New Year’s Eve five course dinner at Prime 108 to celebrate 2010 with an optional wine pairing and champagne toast. For more details please visit http://www.unionstationhotelnashville.com/specials_and_packages/#holidays.

Hotel Preston, One of Nashville’s boutique hotels, is celebrating 2010 with a New Years Eve package. Guests can party in the Pink Lounge or Preston. For more information on prices please visit http://www.hotelpreston.com/.

Hutton Hotel is allowing you to “ring in the year of the tiger”. They are offering two separate packages which include rooms and dinner at their Grille. Please see their website for further information: http://www.huttonhotel.com/specials/#new.

Or head downtown:

The Blue Bar is hosting Johnny Jackson’s New Years Eve from 9:00 PM to 2:30 AM Located at 1911 Broadway Street.

New Years Eve at Cadillac Ranch/Sky Lounge from 8:00 PM to 2:00 AM Locatedat 305 Broadway.

New Years Eve 2010 at the Cannary from 8:00 PM to 2:00 AM Located at 1 Cannary Row.

New Years Eve Bash at 12th and Porter featuring American Bang w/ Luna Halo, Minor Kings, and Leslie. Located at 114 12th Avenue South

3rd and Lindsley New Years Eve with Raul Mao: Includes dinner, champagne, party favors, and the show. Located at 818 3rd Avenue South

Lime’s New Years Eve Bash: Dinner and Music. Located at 1904 Broadway

Virago: Dinner and Music. Located at 1811 Division Street

Whiskey Kitchen: Dinner and Music. Located at 118 12th Avenue S (A shuttle will be provided between Lime, Virago, and Whiskey Kitchen)

Sambuca: “Have a Rockin New Years”- 4 course meal, champagne toast, and live music by Shariff Iman and the Revival. Located at 601 12th Avenue South

For more info, you can visit
http://www.visitmusiccity.com/newyearseve/.

Los Cabos and Nashville Audio

October and November were filled with great trips to Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Nashville, and Daytona Beach.  I have a bit a of catching up to do on my travelogues for Cancun, Cozumel and Daytona Beach, so in the meantime, I thought I’d post my segments from recent appearances on “The Travel Show with Erik Hastings.”  I always have a lot of fun with him, as he’s one of those hosts with a great sense of humor who always makes his guests feel welcome.  Below are the segments from Los Cabos and Nasville.  Enjoy!

Los Cabos                     Nashville

Erik has also just launched http://www.dinner-for-six-nyc.com/.  He’s teamed up with a professional NYC chef to teach you how to prepare and the cook for the perfect dinner party.  He’s taking reservations now for his December classes, so check it out!! 

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Two step over to my travelogue on Nashville!

I recently was in Nashville and had a blast!  From the Grand Ole Opry to the honky tonks downtown, Nashville is definitely a fun city!  Check out my Nashville travelogue to the right. 

Hi y’all from Nashville!

I am here in Music City…Nashville, TN, and having a blast!   I’m very excited to go to the Opry tomorrow night.  Craig Morgan is getting inducted, and there is going to be a great lineup of performers.  Today, I toured RCA Studio B, where Elvis recorded for so many years, and I got to bang out a few notes on the Steinway piano he played.  Our group also recorded one of his songs in studio.  It’s amazing how well we can sound with the right recording equipment!  I had the opportunity to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and had a delicious bbq dinner at the famous Wildhorse Saloon in downtown Nashville last night.   Later tonight, we’re headed to the Bluebird Cafe, a real cool spot for local muscians and songwriters.  

The Opryland Resort is where we’re staying and it is huge!  With 2,881 rooms, it is the largest non gaming property in the country!  We took a boat down the 1/4 mile that runs through the hotel through the lush gardens.   Since eating is one of my favorite pastimes, I enjoyed the buffet breakfast at the Waters Edge…an omlet station, cereals, fruits, as well as the usual breakfast fare.  They even have a few fresh squeezed juices, like the detox drink for those who party it up a little too much the night before at their nightclub, Fuse, which has quickly become the hottest nightclub in Nashville.  I hope to check it out tonight and try their signature cotton candy drink.  Sugar and alcohol…should be interesting!   Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to spending time at the Ryman Auditorium and the honky tonks downtown.  No matter when you go into places like Tootsies, you will always hear a wanna be performer.  It’s pretty neat how many talented people are here in Nashville.   The city has a great energy…lots of entertainment minus the craziness of NYC or LA. 

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