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A Central Kentucky Road Trip. With a side of IN and OH.

A Central Kentucky Road Trip. With a side of IN and OH.

Old Jun 6th, 2021, 09:14 AM
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A Central Kentucky Road Trip. With a side of IN and OH.

Affixing the Thule atop the wagon was almost a pop-the-Champagne-open moment.

The excitement of planning began when DD asked if we could take a road trip once she arrived home at the end of the term. She wanted to “see some America,” or at least what we could see in the five-day journey I eventually assembled.

Preface. I find driving in East Tennessee to be particularly loathsome. We survived two decades in D.C. so I know of what I write with respect to driving woes. Posted limits here are but suggestions to the many jackasses I drive amongst. I have been passed (more than once!) in our 25mph neighborhood! On our community NextDoor page neighbors have even begun shaming other neighbors by calling out vehicle makes and models of those who blaze through our ‘hood at well over the posted limit. Across town another community illegally installed speed bumps because city officials seem to be dragging their heels on petitions for traffic calming. All the while Tennesseans continue to drive recklessly, and authorities don’t seem to care beyond posting quippy variable message signs reminding drivers to slow down. Knoxville is fast on a collision course (no pun intended) between those who and do not abide by the 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Speed.

Necessarily, then I cringed at the thought of a Tennessee road trip. Though, Tennessee is bordered by eight other states, several to the east, so certainly there had to be somewhere to where we could travel with (hopefully) better drivers? A road trip through southwest Virginia? Hmm, no. The I-81 Heroin Highway doesn’t exactly offer Fahrvergnügen. North Carolina? Perhaps, but we like our side of the Smokies just fine, thank you. What about Kentucky? Outside of a pre-pandemic daytrip to Corbin (home of the original KFC) following a hike in the Cumberland Gap, we’ve never been. Our neighbors like Kentucky (the wife, more so than she likes Tennessee even); and we like our neighbors, so a Kentucky holiday was plotted.

Our first destination was Berea, the Folk Arts and Craft Capital of Kentucky; and the departure day plan had been to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy along the way. Mother Nature had other ideas and instead whipped up a couple of thunderstorms along the Cumberlands right around the lunch time. DH, the de facto co-pilot (the 20-something was AirPod-ed; and DDog is entirely unreliable in these matters) began searching for a place where we could find something other than a McLunch. Note. We hold no hatred toward the Golden Arches; we just were not in the mood.

A good bit of silence from DH as he scrolled his iPhone. Then, a beacon of lunchtime hope appeared on his screen.

WHITE. CASTLE.

This raised-in-the-Midwest gal squeed with excitement. 2021 also happens to be White Castle’s 100th birthday, so who wouldn't want to join the celebration! In good order we had a sack of original sliders to nosh, along with…prepare to drool…CHICKEN AND WAFFLE SLIDERS.

America can be so amazing.



After we feasted it was onward to Berea. We rather enjoy historic hotels and so reserved both dining and a sleep at the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant. In the early 1900’s the Berea College president hosted more than 300 guests in their private residence over the course of a single summer, and after that Mrs. President said, “Hon, we need a guest house.” And thus the now historic Boone Tavern was born.

We drove around the circular drive of the Berea College President’s home. Probably shouldn’t have.



Fun facts about Berea College:

1. Founded by an abolitionist, it is the first integrated, coeducational college in the South.

2. The college does not charge tuition; all of its students are required to work part-time and tuition is covered by the college endowment.

3. It is consistently ranked as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the U.S.

Following visits to galleries and the Kentucky Artisan Center we lounged on the tavern’s porch with cocktails before dinner, DDog asnooze at our feet. Dinner this evening was ranked our second favorite of the holiday. Prior to traveling I had enquired about a dress code and was informed it was, “nice casual.” It being late May, with temperatures in the upper 20C range, DD and I opted for summery skirts; DH went with the standard uniform of khakis and a polo. Unfortunately (too many) other guests emphasized the “casual” part of the dress code and schlumpfed in wearing flip-flops and baseball hats. Sigh.

Our server was engaging, bringing us the equivalent of a wine-tasting flight so we could best decide on a bottle to enjoy with dinner. The starter, pickled shrimp with a dash of Old Bay and lemon, was near perfect. DH went all in on the Steak Frites; DD, the Berea College President’s favorite of Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese; and I opted for the seasonal special of Seared Shrimp with Ramps. Entirely delightful, though we could not quite write the same about our room.

“Dog-friendly” is a fungible phrase, and while it does seem that America is warming up to the idea that travelers include their four-pawed, it has been our albeit limited experience since returning that those of us with doggos may not be assigned the “nicer” rooms. This particular room was terribly small; two double beds and with no passing room anywhere. With DH and DD both 2 meters+ in height, they found sleep comfort on the diagonal across the beds; I tossed restlessly in my little triangular remnant of the bed, worried that my head might end up on the night table at some point.

Eventually morning arrived. Would the forecast rain disrupt our planned hike to The Pinnacles?
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Old Jun 7th, 2021, 02:20 PM
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Berea isn’t just another “bump in the road” when it comes to bagels. Food & Wine magazine recently named the local bagel shop as one of the 50 Best in America. For those keeping track, in less than 24 hours we’d hit the world’s first hamburger fast food restaurant and, on this lightly misting morning, a “Best _____ in America” place. And there was more foodie fun ahead!

The bagels, boiled in sorghum syrup, were really quite good, especially when paired with the shop’s golden latte. And as the bagels cheered our weather-dampened mood, the misting rain stopped. Our hike was saved.

The Pinnacles is part of the Berea College Forestry Center; and the walk to both the East and West Pinnacles offers sweeping views of the mountains and surrounds. Though the West Pinnacles overlook view is said to be prettier, having to do a little wet rock-scrambling to reach it raised a caution flag for us, especially since our senior DDog was along for the fun.

By no means did the East Pinnacles hike disappoint, however.

With midday approaching at the end of our hike, it was time to sally forth to our next destination…the Birthplace of America’s First Commercial Winery, tucked into a small area of this Bluegrass region along the Kentucky River. None other than Daniel Boone himself surveyed the land in 1783 that would become First Vineyard.

My GPS must have had a senior moment, for the route it plotted to the winery was likely Daniel Boone’s original horse trail, now disguised with the name “Sugar Creek Pike” to give it authenticity. Though paved, it hugged the Kentucky River quite snuggly in some sections; all I could do was drive along hoping for no oncoming traffic larger than a person on horseback.

We all exhaled; and my white-knuckled hands relaxed on the steering wheel only when we reached the short turnoff to the winery. A glass of wine was definitely in order. The whites were, “Meh;” the reds were good. Big Red himself was totally adorable. We enjoyed a small charcuterie while taking in a short film about the vineyard’s history and the delightful views.



Most thankfully the proprietor shared a different egress with us that involved real roads, and Fahrvergnügen was renewed for our drive north. Along the way, a stop at the Parkette Drive-in in Lexington. It is impossible to miss this Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featured eatery. Its neon sign looms large, in the shape of a classic Cadillac tail fin. Poor Boys (the founder’s creation of a double decker hamburger) and Fried Chicken remain the specialties, but we availed ourselves only of shakes, saving our culinary enthusiasm for an iconic meal awaiting us.



Onward. I-75 North. America is the only country insane enough to devote this much land to a highway. Also, God Bless America.



The skyline of our destination for the upcoming two nights, Cincinnati.



Our lodging was in downtown at The Phelps Marriott Residence Inn, offering “boutique suites with kitchens.” Ha. The hotel was really more like an over-priced adult hostel. Valet parking was $30. In Cincinnati. (We’ve paid $45 in D.C., but that’s D.C.) The desk clerk had to remove her face mask to yell information at me over the din of football fans crowding the bar and the lobby. Not a luggage trolley in sight, and zero interest from the desk staff in finding one, so we ad lib-ed a Grapes of Wrath scene as we schlepped baggage to our 10th floor, far end of the hall room. In two trips. Because a 10th floor room is entirely convenient for persons traveling with their four-pawed.

The room itself was a hot boutique mess. Billed as, “Sleeps 4,” there was dining seating only for 2; no linens for the sofa bed or in the bath; and no bath tissue (!) Cookware amounted to exactly one large, and one small, pot; and the available utensils required considerable imagination to be usable. Most of this was thankfully sorted out by a nametag-less Housekeeper whose customer service acumen should have him promoted to Hotel Manager.

After checking in and getting our “boutique” room squared away DH and DD took DDog for an afternoon constitutional while I dashed to the Taft Museum for its “Walk This Way” shoe exhibit. I never really considered shoes in a political context, the exhibit theme, though it was enjoyable to look at fancy footwear. I had scant time to see anything else before being politely asked to leave at the closing bell, but some museum time is better than no museum time.

The three of us reconvened for cocktails and downtime before dinner; though, after the former we all decided that UberEats bringing Camp Washington Chili goodness; a Smithsonian-identified Iconic Food Destination and James Beard winner for Best Regional American Cuisine, among many other awards to our room was the preferred dinner option.

Thirty minutes later, a most incredible array of chili “many ways” appeared at the hotel's front desk for me to collect. We weren’t entirely sure about Cincy Chili; after all, cinnamon? But. Call it Greek. Call it Macedonian.After a couple of bites we simply called it delicious.

Breakfast the following morning was as well-managed as our check-in. Boxed breakfasts were available to enjoy in the breakfast room or in one's room. Try to get a tray to take three breakfast boxes and six beverages (coffees and juices) to one's room? Ha. Haha. Hahaha. While DH and DD were out with DDog on his morning constitutional I shlepped in two trips to bring breakfast to our room. We're flex during these early post-pandemic times, so it was what it was. But still.

A day of wonder, or head-scratching, awaited us. Either description works.
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Old Jun 7th, 2021, 02:53 PM
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We weren’t entirely sure about Cincy Chili; after all, cinnamon? But. Call it Greek. Call it Macedonian.After a couple of bites we simply called it delicious.

It IS Cincinnati Chili. Just order Skyline. It is interesting to make.
Lucky you got across the bridge before it collapses. I've been over it many times. PLEASE pass the infrastructure bill!!

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Old Jun 8th, 2021, 02:33 AM
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I hope you went to Pleasant Hill.
You wouldn't think so poorly of I75 if you had travelled to Knoxville from Ohio on Route 25 in the 40s and 50s. LOL
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Old Jun 8th, 2021, 05:33 AM
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I don't think poorly of I-75. I was only mentioning the incredible use of land for a highway; that's not something that can happen in much of Europe. 😉

Did not visit Pleasant Hill on this tour; we missed quite a few sights because of remnants of the pandemic and scheduling conflicts. Can't see everything on the first trip!

Agree with you on infrastructure; our roads and bridges need repairs now. A true infrastructure bill should have been passed forever ago.
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Old Jun 8th, 2021, 05:37 AM
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Hilton2 is my favorite dog-friendly hotel now. They didn't charge the 75 extra for having Harry, maybe because he was there for surgery at UF. I always ask for ground or first floor by the stairs. I have learned to ask because I hate getting in an elevator with some yappy dog thinking he can take on my 65 pound Boxer.
Cinnamon is common in tomato based foods. Yes to new bridges and stay away from I-4. The most dangerous road in America. I think we have several in Florida.
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Old Jun 8th, 2021, 01:14 PM
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The breakfast room was operating in hybrid mode. Prepared boxes of breakfast items could be collected to eat either in the breakfast room or wherever. While DD and DH were out with DDog for the morning constitutional I gathered breakfast for all of us, improving upon the Grapes of Wrath scene from check-in. With no trays available (I inquired); that meant several back-and-forths to bring three breakfast boxes and six beverages (coffees and juices) to our 10th floor room.

I will take a moment to write that Marriott’s chicken breakfast sausage patties are quite tasty.

Next on the agenda was a visit to Findlay Market, Ohio’s longest operating public market. The market and the surrounding streets with murals had a great vibe (and trams!); was not overcrowded (like Vienna’s Naschmarkt, the standard by which I rate markets); and offered some curiosities for we foodies. Like Goetta.




In all of our travels we never encountered this Scrapple cousin! We were tempted to purchase a small slab to prepare for breakfast the following morning, but became distracted by another stand’s sausage madness bracket. How Pineapple Teriyaki anything would make it to the finals must be a local thing. The Hot Chicago, on the other hand, deserved our personal inspection. As did a couple of Irish Bangers (for DD) and an only-in-America Mac and Cheese Brat. Kind of like a Käsekrainer, but with elbow-shaped pasta added. It was generally tasty, though we all could see how it could get eliminated early. The Hot Chicago was definitely worthy of its title.



We noshed our way through hot and fresh mini-donuts (who wouldn’t?); cheese samples; a small box of Arepas; and Olive Oil Gelato (not bad, perhaps a little earthy); and picked up an “Italian Hub Cap” loaf to pair with our sausages the following morning.


After returning DDog to the hotel room it was time for the ARK Encounter, a Young Earth creationist “theme park” containing a built-to-Biblical specs representation of Noah’s Ark. A commissioned soundtrack serves as the background as one begins the three floor journey through a truly exquisitely crafted ark (admirable on its own) past depictions of life aboard the ark with a healthy dose of artistic license. On the very top level are learning stations addressing topics such as the formation of the Grand Canyon and the problems with Old Earth theory regarding the age of the Earth. It was a sight worth visiting if for no other reason than there were certainly sights we would be unlikely to see ever again. Like men fighting dinosaurs.



Needing to clear our minds before dinner we had hoped to enjoy a cocktail at the rooftop bar of the hotel. Except. The rooftop bar was closed for a private event; and the lobby bar was simply, closed. The desk clerk suggested we walk across the park to another hotel for its bar; we opted rather to just chill on the front porch of our hotel before walking over to the place for dinner I (thought I) had carefully curated.

Our highly anticipated dinner this evening turned out to be the biggest epicurean disappointment of the road trip. With Cincinnati having been home to a large German immigrant population, I sought a restaurant serving Schnitzel and found a born-in-1853 and revitalized-in-1981 brewing company now situated along the river serving beer that passes the Bavarian Purity Law as well as “heritage classics” like Schnitzel Holstein and Jägerschnitzel.

Certainly preparing three Schnitzels nach Wiener Art would not be difficult, right? Rather than either the Holstein prep with egg and a lemon beer sauce, or the Jägerschnitzel with its gravy and so forth, we asked for three simple, pounded paper-thin Schnitzel with nothing more than a lemon wedge for each.

What arrived at the table were three Holstein portions each the size of Bavaria (sans egg); two were buried beneath Parmesan and one was drowning in the lemon beer sauce. Requesting a do-over would have resulted in considerable wasted food, so we hacked our way through the not-so-tender cutlets. Nearly two portions were leftover, and we “forced” ourselves to eat it the following night in our second-to-last destination of the holiday, Louisville.

Little did we know that the following day would become one of the most memorable of the road trip.
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Old Jun 8th, 2021, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Macross View Post
Hilton2 is my favorite dog-friendly hotel now. They didn't charge the 75 extra for having Harry, maybe because he was there for surgery at UF. I always ask for ground or first floor by the stairs. I have learned to ask because I hate getting in an elevator with some yappy dog thinking he can take on my 65 pound Boxer.
Cinnamon is common in tomato based foods. Yes to new bridges and stay away from I-4. The most dangerous road in America. I think we have several in Florida.
Yeah, we are relative newbs when it comes to traveling with our dog in America. In Europe we had no high-rise hotels to consider, and in general *every hotel* was dog-friendly, and only rarely did we incur extra fees. DDog (a 65 pound Foxhound) does not like the yappy set either; I think he's confused as to whether they are "friends" or "chew toys." 🤣

St. Augustine is our goal for the week between Christmas and New Years this year. Lots of I-75 time.
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Old Jun 8th, 2021, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Macross View Post
Hilton2 is my favorite dog-friendly hotel now. They didn't charge the 75 extra for having Harry, maybe because he was there for surgery at UF. I always ask for ground or first floor by the stairs.
Do you mean Home2Suites by Hlton?
https://home2suites3.hilton.com/en/a...-friendly.html
I really like them. I'm in my second one of the week right now - and not traveling with pups. I do have a reservation at the beach with the pups using points later this summer. I like the layouts of the room, the kitchen area with "real" dishes and use them for my to go meals. I usually stay on the first floor but none were available last night. The dishwasher was going when I arrived at one earlier in the week. Everything was in the dishwasher so everything can be sanitized for the next guest.

Extra linens, etc. haven't been in hotel rooms for a year now. There was a global pandemic and hotels adjusted. They will bring you what you need but don't store extra linens in the rooms anymore.

I have confidence in the protocols Hilton uses and really like their seals they put on the doors after the room has been cleaned. One knows that no one has been in the room since it was sanitized. I rarely stay in a non-Hilton hotel and Home2 has become my first moderate hotel choice.
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Old Jun 9th, 2021, 05:39 AM
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Starrs, yes! I loved the hotel. I was willing to pay the 75 as every hotel on the UF list was charging 75 but when I mentioned we were there for surgery they didn't charge. Someone put a lot of thought into the design. We loved the table you pull out. They even gave us a late check out and then we sat in the nice work area till they called he was out of surgery.

St Augustine- go over to Vilano for walks with the dog at Christmas. Great beach and dog friendly.
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Old Jun 9th, 2021, 12:47 PM
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If you had, "Birthplace of American Astronomy" and "Birthplace of American Vertebrate Paleontology" on your BINGO card, congratulations!

After an exceptional breakfast of those handmade Findlay Market sausages and toasted Italian Hub Cap in our room (cooked in one of our POTS), we Grapes-of-Wrathed our way to the street where the wagon had been delivered, loaded the Thule and headed out.

Before bidding Cincinnati Auf Wiedersehen, though we detoured past its Observatory. DD is studying astrophysics and so a visit was warranted. Former President John Quincy Adams gave his last speech at the cornerstone laying in 1843 and the observatory is widely considered the Birthplace of American Astronomy.






Our first destination en route to Louisville was Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, a tiny hamlet along the Ohio River near Burlington. On the National Register of Historic Places, this little town (pop. 315) has elected a doggo for Mayor since 1998. The current Mayor is Wilbur Beast, a French Bulldog, so naturally DDog, as a former ambassador doggo himself simply had to meet him. I had communicated with Wilbur's Press Secretary in advance of our visit; and Wilbur brought most of his Cabinet out to the day’s Memorial Day festivities, as well! We joined dozens of bikers for some quite quaffable wine tasting at the town's Gunpowder Creek Winery; shopped in the General Store and savored incredible handmade tacos and barbecue from the local woodshed. A great place to be on this Memorial Day.

While DD and I were in the General Store DH was sitting on a bench with DDog alongside, who was sharing his best Foxhound bay to any and all who would listen. The owner of the general store loved it, exclaiming, “It’s just so Rabbit Hash!” 🤣









Leaving Rabbit Hash and motoring along, we U-turned at the "Birthplace of American Vertebrate Paleontology" when passing by Big Bone Lick State Historic Site, listed on both the National Register of Natural Places and the Lewis & Clark Trail. Seems Lewis & Clark had wandered these parts and found some fossils for then-President Thomas Jefferson.

Early Mastodons are believed to have wandered to this area for the natural springs and salt licks. Though there are no Mastodons to visit, there are now bison in the pastures, whose fossils were also among those collected by Lewis & Clark. And much to my and DD’s delight there were also BABY BISON.


To cap this great day before settling into our lodging we stopped at the Falls of the Ohio State Park, which, confusingly, is actually in Indiana. This is the spot where it is believed Lewis met Clark and they began their westward expedition! Even more mind-blowing is that the area is a limestone bed dating to the Devonian period, and we're all allowed to go wandering about the flats! Which of course we did.




And in the entrance of the Visitor's Center? Chihuly's!




Our lodging for this one overnight was the Louisville downtown Homewood Suites by Hilton. Oh, boy, could we ever smell the clean! The aroma of excessive amounts of chlorine used in the room stung our eyes and even made DDog sneeze. And once again, though the reservation was for three persons, linens only for two were provided. One of the blinds was broken so the room was partially dark; and when the dishwasher had finished its cycle we discovered we had zero cookware and zero flatware; the cabinets were bare and a lone bowl and one spoon was all that we emptied from the washer. Somehow this scene was befitting the sad leftover Schnitzel dinner we had packed in the Coleman.

Breakfast, as the desk clerk excitedly informed us, though, was “Back to Normal!” We and a number of German-speaking tech workers in town for some reason filled the breakfast room, and the staff seemed quite excited to offer fresh whipped cream to everyone preparing a “Flip Waffle.” The waffle was a first for DD; she declared it worthy of its praise.

A busy agenda had us out the of the hotel before 0800, in order that we make the first tour of Churchill Downs. Our guide was a native Louisvillean who narrated the tour with great enthusiasm. As good fortune had it, there were several horses out for their morning exercises on the course, as well! The tour was followed with a visit to the Kentucky Derby Museum, also on the grounds and a nice complement to the tour.





We collected DDog and checked out, the next stop being Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, the final resting place of Louisvilleans Muhammad Ali, Colonel Sanders, and Patty Hill.

Patty Hill, you might be asking yourself? She was the kindergarten teacher credited with writing the most recognized song in the English language..."Happy Birthday!"



“The Plan” had been to drop into a few distilleries along our path to Lexington, it being that we were now firmly in Bourbon Country. Disappointingly, COVID protocols and required advance reservations once again foiled our plans, so we motored on to Frankfort (pretty capital in a pretty location; and with a side stop at Daniel Boone’s grave) and then to Georgetown to give pause at Royal Spring Park, The Birthplace of Bourbon. Though each town was charming in its own way, we found shuttered restaurants serving only take-away food mostly a tourism deterrent.

Our lunch hangries growing louder, The Internet suggested a chain by the name of Culvers as a dog-friendly grub option. There is one and perhaps more locations here in Knoxville, but we have never been. There’s a first time for everything though, right? DD’s likening it to a “McDonalds with fancy ice cream,” was spot on. Their “smash” burgers were perfectly fine; but I was utterly turned off by the cheese curds I had ordered. They were FRIED? Who ruins cheese curds like that? “Lunch” over and done with, we continued on to Lexington via the Secretariat Sculpture to Thoroughbred Park, a just-perfect place to stretch all of our legs after a day mostly spent in the wagon.



With a bit of time to go before check-in at our favorite of the three chain hotels of this holiday, Staybridge Suites by Wyndham, why not buzz by Transylvania University, “Transy,” as it is nicknamed, the first university west of the Allegheny Mountains. Established by an act of Virginia's Governor Thomas Jefferson, as Kentucky was not yet a state, its notable alum include a member of the Lewis & Clark expedition; two vice Presidents and numerous political figures. To this day the university, like Berea College, also ranks among the nation's finest.



Along the drive (DH had taken over the wheel so I could snap luscious rolling hills, horse farms and barn quilts) I had also begun scoping out restaurants, deciding that a little place called OBC Kitchen (Old Bourbon Country Kitchen) seemed like where we wanted to be for dinner, and a reservation was made.

Checking in to the hotel. Kudos to Staybridge for looking at the reservation and 1) noting we were traveling with DDog, reserving a second floor room near the stairs (and having biscuit bins in the lobby); and 2) noting linens would be required for three persons, having them fresh and ready for us in the room. The dining table still only had two chairs; we rolled our eyes and wrote it off as an American thing. Hands down our favorite of all the chain lodging on this holiday for its attention to the little details of a reservation.

Clothes changed, noses powdered, and with DDog settled on his mat we headed out for the restaurant, slightly concerned to see it listed on the ubiquitous blue highway signs announcing “Food” before an exit.

All concerns quickly evaporated once inside the casually elegant interior of the restaurant. With a décor of reclaimed wood and an otherwise cozy environ, we settled in to our white-linen table for dinner. The server appeared with a leather-encased iPad showing not only photos of the menu options, but also descriptions of their Bourbon flights. I can only write of our evening that the flights were impressive; and our meals, exceptional. Far and away the best meal of this road trip.

As with our departure, our homeward bound journey would be a wet one, though not without a couple more iconic stops.

Last edited by fourfortravel; Jun 9th, 2021 at 12:58 PM.
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Old Jun 9th, 2021, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by starrs View Post
They will bring you what you need but don't store extra linens in the rooms anymore.

I have confidence in the protocols Hilton uses and really like their seals they put on the doors after the room has been cleaned. One knows that no one has been in the room since it was sanitized. I rarely stay in a non-Hilton hotel and Home2 has become my first moderate hotel choice.
We "needed" linens for three (not to mention bath tissue for all of us). This was just sloppiness by the hotel staff.

As I wrote in my next installment, our Hilton stay was over-chlorined. Just awful.

Last edited by fourfortravel; Jun 9th, 2021 at 12:55 PM.
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Old Jun 9th, 2021, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Macross View Post
St Augustine- go over to Vilano for walks with the dog at Christmas. Great beach and dog friendly.
Thank you, and duly noted. Lots of travel on the horizon this year! 🎉
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Old Jun 9th, 2021, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Macross View Post
Starrs, yes! I loved the hotel. I was willing to pay the 75 as every hotel on the UF list was charging 75 but when I mentioned we were there for surgery they didn't charge.
That was really nice of them!

They have become my first choice overall. I choose Hilton Garden Inns if I am going to arrive late and want to order room service. I always order the steak or the salmon (along with a Cape Cod) and every meal has been good. Otherwise, it's H2S. If neither are close, the trusty Hampton Inns. Breakfast is always a banana and/or breakfast bar on the go and juice. I did have a sit down, cooked to order breakfast at at HGI on my first outing and it felt both weird and wonderful to be eating inside "like normal".
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Old Jun 9th, 2021, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by fourfortravel View Post
We "needed" linens for three (not to mention bath tissue for all of us). This was just sloppiness by the hotel staff.

As I wrote in my next installment, our Hilton stay was over-chlorined. Just awful.
It doesn't sound like "sloppiness". It sounds like the hotel staff was following protocols, which should be applauded.

If you had an " over-chlorined" room, that should be reported. I've stayed in at least a dozen properties in the last few weeks and haven't had whiff of "chlorine" or any strong chemicals. If you did, definitely report that because that's not what they are supposed to be doing and that causes more harm than is helpful.
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Old Jun 10th, 2021, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by starrs View Post
It doesn't sound like "sloppiness". It sounds like the hotel staff was following protocols, which should be applauded.

If you had an " over-chlorined" room, that should be reported. I've stayed in at least a dozen properties in the last few weeks and haven't had whiff of "chlorine" or any strong chemicals. If you did, definitely report that because that's not what they are supposed to be doing and that causes more harm than is helpful.
From the Hilton "CleanStay" protocol page: "After the room is thoroughly cleaned, we replace the towels and make up the bed with freshly laundered linens." So, I'm sticking with "sloppiness." And in what cleanliness protocol should bath tissue never be provided?

I did mention to the clerk when we checked out the following day that we felt the room had been
over-sanitized and was thanked for my feedback.
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Old Jun 10th, 2021, 07:28 AM
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I don't think they are providing bath tissue anymore. They would have to pitch every opened box. We didn't have any in our room. Protocols have changed. UF has so many chemo clients staying in the hotels surrounding the medical facilities and they really went the extra mile. Sad seeing little bald headed children. We noticed them all bringing in their own pillows and I even brought mine and a pillow case for husband.
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Old Jun 10th, 2021, 08:25 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by Macross View Post
I don't think they are providing bath tissue anymore. They would have to pitch every opened box. We didn't have any in our room. Protocols have changed. UF has so many chemo clients staying in the hotels surrounding the medical facilities and they really went the extra mile. Sad seeing little bald headed children. We noticed them all bringing in their own pillows and I even brought mine and a pillow case for husband.
Of course the cleanliness protocols vary by companies, but all the chains would have to dispose of the bath tissue (toilet paper) regardless. We did not have any facial tissue in any of our rooms, either.

Funny you mention bringing your own pillows and cases. I recall being gently (and by a couple of posters, not so gently) ridiculed here when I remarked that I always travel with a pillowcase because my skin (especially my face) is weirdly hypersensitive to detergents.
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Old Jun 10th, 2021, 12:06 PM
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Heading Back to Knoxville.

Breakfast was a hybrid of the previous hotels: all the usual suspects were available, with the breakfast staff plating the foods ostensibly to keep people from clustering around the hot bars. Instead, people clustered around the hot bars waiting for their breakfast to be plated.

Two stops remained. The first, in Winchester, Kentucky, the Birthplace of Beer Cheese (Queen Elizabeth is a fan!) and Ale81 (pronounced “A Late One”), Kentucky’s Official State Soft Drink. Ale81 was birthed first, in 1926, in the midst of prohibition. Ordinarily a soda wouldn’t catch our attention. We live in the birthplace of Mt. Dew; none of us have ever tried the color-not-found-in-nature beverage, and we don’t feel particularly compelled to do so now. But we were intrigued by both the heritage of Ale81’s inventor (Central and Northern Europe, I recall reading somewhere) and the descriptive herbal and citrus flavor of the drink. Might the soda be a bluegrass version of Almdudler, the herbal and carbonated “National Drink of Austria” that we loved? (Turns out that it is!) Introduced at the county fair that year, a naming contest was held. “A Late One” was contemporary slang for, “latest thing” and became the soda’s name. Ninety-five years later, the company remains privately owned and operated by the fourth generation of family.

Beer cheese may lack the lengthy family history, but it has street cred for being a favorite of Queen Elizabeth II. Who knew. The spread was devised in 1940 as a complementary snack by two cousins who ran an inn, as a way to get customers to drink more beer; and when Her Majesty popped across the pond in 1984 to attend a horse race named in her honor in nearby Lexington, “several tubs” of the cheese were taken home to England.

Super Irrelevant Royal Trivia. The Duchess of Cambridge and I each own a pair of the same suede boots, ones that we each have owned for more than a decade. And now I have visited the same race course as Queen Elizabeth II. I’m feeling like a member of the Royal Family.

One more stop in between the raindrops before the wagon pulled into the drive. Though we have visited before, we could not wrap up this Americana-filled holiday without a dinner bucket-to-go from The Birthplace of KFC in Corbin, Kentucky.


Our holiday, by the stats.
  • Celebrating White Castle’s 100th birthday, the First Hamburger Fast Food Chain in the World
  • Berea, the Folk Arts and Craft Capital of Kentucky.
  • Berea College, the first integrated, coeducational college in the South.
  • Breakfast from a Food & Wine named local Berea bagel shop as one of the “50 Best in America.”
  • Tasting fermented grapes at the Birthplace of America’s First Commercial Winery, the land for which was surveyed by none other than Daniel Boone himself.
  • Shakes at a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives featured eatery.
  • Dinner from a Smithsonian-identified Iconic Food Destination, Camp Washington Chili.
  • Noshing at Findlay Market, Ohio’s longest operating public market.
  • Posing for snaps at the Birthplace of American Astronomy
  • U-Turning to visit the Birthplace of American Vertebrate Paleontology (mostly to visit the Bison, but that still counts.)
  • Meeting the Mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, a town on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Fossil-hunting at the general location where Lewis & Clark began their westward course.
  • Visiting the final resting place of Patty Hill, writer of the most recognized song in the English language, “Happy Birthday.”
  • Pausing at Royal Spring Park in Georgetown, Kentucky, The Birthplace of Bourbon.
  • Driving through Transylvania University, “Transy,” as it is nicknamed, the first university west of the Allegheny Mountains.
  • Winchester, Kentucky, the Birthplace of Beer Cheese and Ale81.
  • Collecting dinner from The Birthplace of KFC in Corbin, Kentucky.
1500+ kilometers traveled. License Plate BINGO checked off 44 states (sorry Connecticut. Rhode Island, North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska and Hawaii); 3 Canadian provinces (Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba); and 1 U.S. government tag.

No doubt we missed much. That’s always the case on most holidays. Travel is what you make of it.

Thank you for reading.
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Old Jun 10th, 2021, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by fourfortravel View Post
From the Hilton "CleanStay" protocol page: "After the room is thoroughly cleaned, we replace the towels and make up the bed with freshly laundered linens." So, I'm sticking with "sloppiness." And in what cleanliness protocol should bath tissue never be provided?

I did mention to the clerk when we checked out the following day that we felt the room had been
over-sanitized and was thanked for my feedback.
I have no idea where the disconnect is, but will just repeat -
They stock the room for the occupants who are usually in the room..
They do not stock extra linens in the room for the sofabeds, etc. like they did pre-Covid. That is part of a global pandemic protocol. They are not going to leave "extra" bedding in a room "just in case" and have it sit there while two, four or fourteen other guests occupy the room over two four or fourteen days.
When a guest arrives who needs linens and extra towels for the sofa bed and/or more guests, all one has to do is to ask for housekeeping to bring it.
That's simple and straightforward.

I've had Kleenex type tissues in the bathrooms for months at several Hilton brands.

Re pillowcases - I bring my own pillowcases on vacation (not for business travel) along with a travel candle in a metal tin. I've been posting about that for years without any pushback. Co-workers who drive their territory bring in their own personal pillows. I love seeing my own pillowcase on my bed in Hawaii and I like the higher thread count when my face has had too much sun. Those are my two "tips" I've shared on this forum since about 2004.
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