Frozen in Louisville

The gap between Christmas and New Years seems to always have a certain lull about it, so I decided it was time for an adventure to my neighboring state of Kentucky to visit Louisville. I was interested in the historic hotels and learning a little bit more about what exactly makes bourbon its own breed of whiskey.

Eddie loves traveling, and sniffing all the sniffs when we explore parks, but even with his fur coat he did not enjoy the icy blast of the Ohio River at the Falls of the Ohio State Park. I’d have to do the rest of my exploring sans-puppy while he snuggled warm in the hotel room.

On our way back to warm up, we came across the Widow’s Walk Ice Creamery & Coffee Shop, which was a great start to our architecture-based tour. What’s most fascinating to me is this building was constructed in 1998 specifically to be an ice creamery, and now the top floor is used as a residence, though that was never the building’s intention.

Inside The Brown Hotel, Christmas magic still filled the air. The Georgian-Revival design played host to the film Elizabethtown, and it was obvious why the hotel continues to be one of the most famous in the state.

A few blocks away, The Seelbach Hilton is a treasure trove of old stories, including those of Al Capone’s secret passageways, “The King of Bootleggers” George Remus’s frequent visits, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s inspiration for The Great Gatsby (the 2013 film was also shot here).

In the spirit of bourbon, the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience takes a snapshot of the company’s history and distilling process and puts it conveniently in downtown Louisville (the bourbon you typically buy from Evan Williams is distilled at their much larger property, Heaven Hill). There is a federal requirement for bourbon to be distilled in the United States from at least 51% corn, distilled under 160 proof, aged in new, charred oak barrels under 125 proof, and bottled under 80 proof. I had no idea bourbon was such an in-depth process.

Before my trip was through, it was necessary to stop by Quills Coffee for some iced fuel (despite the 15°F weather) and a look through Cave Hill Cemetery. Colonel Harlan Sanders of KFC fame is laid to rest with his wife, Claudia Ellen, and a bust sculpted by their daughter, Margaret (her grave site sits beside theirs with a ballerina statue).

The Satterwhite Memorial Temple designed by Horace Trumbauer was erected of Italian pink marble and designed after Marie Antionette’s Temple of Love and features a statue by Sally James Farnham. It was a perfect way to reflect on the history of Louisville and appreciate those who have made significant contributions to “Bourbon City” before heading home.

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