Accommodations, dining and tickets were gifted by Go to Louisville. All views are our own.
On Thursday morning, we loaded the plane to Louisville, KY, the home of bourbon, baseball bats and Birds to ride on. It was a big milestone: ten years of marriage and so we were thrilled to have the opportunity to visit my husband Logan’s birthplace of Louisville (pronounced LOO-a-vul).
The short one-hour flights from Jacksonville, FL through Atlanta to Louisville were easy peasy and before we knew it, we had arrived at the historic The Brown Hotel. Given many travel awards from Top 500 Hotels in the World by Travel + Leisure and Southern Living’s #1 Hotel in Kentucky, The Brown Hotel was luxurious, well-kept, quiet, comfy and easy access to so many local Louisville sites. From their elaborate ceiling designs to the piano playing in the lobby bar, one can experience the best of Louisville by just simply sitting in the hotel lobby. Their iconic dining experience, the Hot Brown, a breakfast dish consisting of a turkey sandwich, melted cheese, tomato and bacon did not disappoint!
We headed right into trekking mode and headed to the Kentucky Derby Museum Tour, an experience providing a walking tour of Churchill Downs and a 360° media experience called “The Greatest Race”. How cool it was to sit in that state-of-the-art theater and to watch all of the logistics behind the famous Kentucky Derby. We then headed next door to Churchill Downs and were immediately impressed by the prestige of this thoroughbred racetrack. We attended Twilight Thursday, a seasonal gathering of food trucks, live music and of course some thoroughbred racing and swooned as fans cheered on their horse and as we celebrated ten years married with an authentic mint julep.
Our ten-year anniversary day date was a tough one to live up to but we continued on for two more days of exploring Louisville. We first enjoyed a bourbon tour at Stitzel-Weller Distillery, the birthplace of iconic bourbons like Bulleit and Logan’s new favorite, Blade & Bow. This beautiful distillery located in the countryside, a short five-minute drive from Louisville, had a newly redecorated facility with farmhouse feels and offered a really fun touring experience.
Since Logan and his family were born in Louisville, we received several wedding gifts ten years ago from Stoneware & Co.(renamed from the original Louisville Stoneware) and so we headed off to tour that pottery facility. How interesting it was to go from the front room chocked full of completed stoneware pieces to the behind-the-scenes operations! We watched as a pile of clay was formed to become a beautifully handcrafted serving plate, mug or birdhouse! Stoneware & Co. products proudly serve food in our home as we entertain and we were humbled to see the hands-on crafting processes (utilizing no technology!) to form those household gems.
When planning our mini-trek, I had heard about Big Four Bridge walk, a former railroad turned pedestrian walkway that connects Louisville, KY to Jeffersonville, Indiana. Upon arriving of the walkway, we were welcomed by beautiful water views, a fun splash park center for kids and an easy way to cross an additional state off the list. The short walk into Jeffersonville, Indiana was a unique experience of crossing state borders and I decided that yes, this definitely counts as visiting Indiana (ha).
It was hard to pick from the impressive dining options that Louisville offered but we settled upon Butchertown Grocery for our anniversary dinner. The eclectic atmosphere reminded us of many of our favorite eatery gems and Logan indulged in a fifty-five day aged steak – yum!
With one more day left to explore, we headed to Main Street on Main Ticket passes, a great way to see multiple museums and historical centers on Louisville’s Museum Row. While we had been using Uber for most of our transportation, we discovered Bird on our way to Main Street and we chirped in delight as we scootered our way from stop to stop.
While the Main Ticket offered several awesome options to explore, we knew our first stop was the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. Our family is baseball-centric, with Logan having played college baseball at our alma mater Jacksonville University. And so we smiled as we toured the facility, smelled the wood of the bats and learned more about the unique ways each of those bats were manufactured. We even saw friend Colorado Rockies’ Daniel Murphy’s bats in pre-production, whom also has family roots in Kentucky.
Another must-to on the Main Ticket is Kentucky Peerless Distilling, a family-run rye whiskey factory that provides a very memorable tour. This impressive facility gives a thorough tour of the rye whiskey making process, encourages photography and interactions with their owner and settles you in for a longer-in-length rye whiskey tasting (including a chocolate to pair it with!) We were so impressed by how welcoming this factory was and how we felt the close-knit community of individuals who work there.
A final adventure was on Mary M. Miller, a historic steamboat dinner cruise offering sprawling views of the Ohio River. Beginning at 7:00pm, this cruise is best enjoyed by sitting on the third floor and waving at others who pass by on boat. We had some wonderful sightings of the sunset over Louisville!
Everyone has to try a bourbon tasting in Louisville! If neat bourbon isn’t your thing, try a sweeter option like an old-fashioned or a mule. The Brown Hotel’s lobby was our favorite choice for an afternoon cocktail in between trekking.
You can’t leave Louisville without trying a Hot Brown! This less-than-traditional but now historic breakfast alternative was created at The Brown Hotel in the 1900’s as an alternative for the typical late night snack of eggs and ham. It may not make it on the Paleo healthy list, but it’s worth the splurge.
You’ve gotta travel by Bird! We had so much fun flying round the streets of Louisville this way.