12 September 2009

Making Our Marks

11 September, 2009

Our first thoughts this morning were of this date eight years ago and the lives that were lost in America that day.  How much things have changed in America since then!  We honor the memories of those who died and we are grateful for the men and women in the armed forces who continue to defend our borders and protect our freedoms.

Even after all of our chances to learn the "don't start the day without eating breakfast" rule last year, we left without eating, which we would soon regret.  But, we had lots we wanted to see and do today and time was a wastin'!  Our first stop this morning was the Old Talbott Tavern in Bardstown, KY, which Kim's friend Jim told us about.  One of his good friends from college is married to the owner, so of course, we dropped by to say hello.  Kathy wasn't in, but we loved the old (1779) place.  Check it our at www.talbotts.com

Next door was what used to be the old jail and is now another bed and breakfast, complete with stocks our front.  We took a few photos and got ready to leave, when a man in a UK cap stopped to talk about John Calipari when he saw Kim's Memphis Tigers license plate.  He ended up telling us about lots to see and do in the area and pointed us in the direction of My Old Kentucky Home.  On the way to the Home, we passed the Stephen Foster Story, so we had to stop there first.  It's an open air amphitheater that's only open during the summer, so we wouldn't get to see the performance.  We were able to look around and go down to the stage, all the while listening to a medley of Stephen Foster songs.  We were in the middle of one of Kentucky's many state parks, most of which have really beautiful golf courses.  This one is no exception, and given the nice day, the links were busy!

Just down the road was My Old Kentucky Home, originally known as Federal Hill, which was the private home of the Rowan family.  Now there is a lovely visitors' center, gift shop, meeting facility, and large outdoor rotunda and they give guided tours of the home.  History tells us that Stephen Foster was related to the Rowan family and had visited them here, where he was inspired to write "My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night."  The house was HUGE - the three stories were each 13 feet tall and the rooms were big.  Renovated just a couple of years ago, the house is decorated in a style befitting a family of such wealth in the 1840's.  The colors were bright and bold, and the look was really quite modern.  We were not able to take photographs in the home, but you can get some ideas by going to the website at http://www.myoldkentuckyhome.com/mokh/index.htm

The day was heating up and we felt sorry for the women dressed in period costume (well, except for the tennis shoes) who led the tours, but we were getting pretty hungry and were a little afraid we might be having a touch of low blood!  Of course, the people in our little tour group kept asking questions that Tammy, our guide, didn't know the answers to.  Like, what did they use for toilet paper on the cushioned chamberpot seat?  Seriously.  Now we can say we daughters of Kentucky have finally been to the mecca.  Weep no more, my ladies!

We couldn't get back into town soon enough - we were so hungry!  We decided to go back to the tavern, and just as we got there, Kathy called and said she'd come over to say hello.  Business was booming, and Kathy arrived just as we were being seated, so she joined us at the table and then proceeded to treat us to a most delicious lunch!  Thanks, Kathy!!  Kim yet again showed remarkable restraint and ordered a salad, while I was lured into trying the Hot Brown.  And the fried green tomatoes!  Kim and I shared the tomatoes, which were beyond good.  My Hot Brown was mighty fine as well.  For those of you who don't know, a Hot Brown consists of a piece of toast topped with ham, turkey, tomatoes, a supremely yummy cheese sauce, and bacon.  It's served hot and in a casserole dish - it's a Kentucky favorite that was invented at the Brown Hotel in Louisville.  Try one if you get a chance.

After lunch, Kathy showed us around the property - we saw the tavern, which is a hopping and lively place at night, the old pub, and some of the guest rooms at the inn.  We decided to walk over to the Tom Moore Distillery to see the world's largest bourbon barrel, so Kathy came with us.  On the way, we passed the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, which used to be the archdiocese of Kentucky until it moved to Louisville.  This particular distillery used to be Barton's, then it was Constellation Spirits, and it is in the process of becoming the Tom Moore Distillery now.  We were too late for a tour, and it turns out you can only see the giant barrel on a tour.  Oh well, maybe we walked off half of a fried green tomato!

On the walk back to the Tavern, we passed some fun yard art, old businesses, and great homes, and then we found ourselves at an old cemetery just behind the old jail.  Turns out the tavern is supposed to be haunted, so it's no wonder - with this ancient burial ground just next door, the ghosts don't have far to go.  We told Kathy goodbye and started down the road to Heaven Hill and Maker's Mark, more stops on the Bourbon Trail.  We really wanted to see Maker's Mark, where the last tour started at 3:30, so we waved as we passed Heaven Hill and took off for the tiny village of Loretto.  Maker's Mark puts on quite a show!  Did you know that if you go to their website at  www.makersmark.com you can become an Ambassador?  That means your name will be put on a plaque (along with 29 others) which is put on a barrel of your very own bourbon.  You'll get updates about the status of your mash (it takes 5 to 7 years to make this liquid gold!) and when it's ready, you are invited to come fill two bottles and dip them in Maker's Mark signature red wax.  Sign up today!  Our tour guide, Mike, was great and once more we were surprised when we arrived for the tour.  We had been driving on back roads in Kentucky all alone - no other vehicles on the road - and we arrive to a full parking lot and about 50 people on our tour.  How did they get there and where did they come from???  Shades of Oatman on our Route 66 adventure!

After the tour, we were ushered into the gift shop for a bourbon tasting.  First, we were taught how to smell it (not with your nose - inhale through your open mouth over the glass) and then how to sip it (letting the liquid roll over your whole tongue before swallowing it).  Before we sampled the finished product, we tasted "white dog", which is the uncured pure grain alcohol - pretty raw stuff!  Then we got the sweeter amber concoction - so smooth!  Kim hated it and thought she was going to die - it took her breath away!  I loved it, so I finished hers, too.  Nothing I wouldn't do for my sista!

We had considered going to Louisville this evening and watching a ballgame - the Louisville Bats were playing the Durham Bulls!! - but instead we opted for the capital city.  We were beat and just chilled in our hotel room for a while, then we went to a nice little Italian restaurant down next to the old state Capitol building.  The restaurant was Serafini's - good food!  We ate outside right next to the street, where we were surprised to see that a train track ran down the center of Broadway in front of the old Capitol.  I had one of my favorite salads - apple, goat cheese, candied pecans, greens, and the risotto of the day, which came with a fish I've never heard of and can't spell and therefore cannot google.  The risotto was portabello and leek with a pink peppercorn sauce and asparagus - very nice!  Kim had Penne Santini, which had shrimp and a spicy tomato cream sauce with vegetables.  We were strong though, and didn't have dessert, even though they sounded wonderful!  During dinner, we were "serenaded" (although not nearly as nice as the Stephen Foster music) by an amateur guitar player/singer who unfortunately had access to a microphone & PA system across the street at the old Capitol.  There had been a 5K run earlier and lots of kids were still milling around and listening.  About the time we finished up, so did our troubador....  We took a walk around this area of Frankfort after dinner - lots of small bars and bistros with an eclectic crowd - interesting place!  We found a diner we may check out for breakfast, and we look forward to seeing our home state's Capitol in the light of day.

So that was our day, and you won't believe your eyes when you see what's in store for you tomorrow!!  Here's a hint: it involves a parade, but one we bet you've NEVER seen or even heard of!  Talk to you later!

Kentucky bred,

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