Sunday, August 18, 2013

a road trip.

I decided to take a leisurely trip across the country instead of hurrying from Virginia to Utah. If I'd had a little more money and a little less crap in my car I would have taken an even more circuitous route. As it was I spent nearly 9 days wandering mostly from one friend's home to another, breaking up the drive and doing a bit of sightseeing around this great nation.

First stop was Hodgenville, Kentucky where I visited the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln.   Back in 1915 (the 50 year anniversary of his assassination) the public was invited to donate money and all the funds were used to build a memorial on the grounds. Fifty-six steps (one for each year of his life) lead up to a building housing a replica of a log cabin similar to the one where he was born. The cabin itself is a bit of a let-down but the grounds are beautiful and they hold a special sort of feeling, similar to the memorials in DC. It was a beautiful way to start my day and journey.

After leaving Hodgenville I drove a little over an hour north to Louisville where I took the opportunity to visit the historic Brown Hotel for lunch. The hotel had its hey day in the 20s and through the aftermath of WWII before it closed down. City revitalization efforts in the 80s paid off and the building is now on the National Historic Register, has been used in movies, hosted film and political dignitaries, and does a brisk business during Derby week. I treated myself to an amazing hot brown sandwich; an open-faced turkey, bacon, and tomato sandwich drenched in a rich Mornay cheese sauce.  Take my advice, it's worth the trip but share it with a friend!

Next up was a visit to a great friend in St. Louis. We spent many hours catching up, antiquing and eating delicious food (a killer kale salad, a hot pastrami sandwich, local frozen custard and a fresh pastry breakfast among my faves.)  We visited Forest Park, a huge park in the center of the city, larger than Central Park and originally the site of the Louisiana Purchase Expedition. It's now home to running trails, the zoo, a municipal theater, the St Louis Art museum, and a history museum. M and I spent one afternoon in the modern art wing of the art museum and I wandered through the history museum the morning before I hit the road. They're both free and both have pretty great collections. We also took a mandatory trip to the famous arch. It was fun to see the sights through the eyes of a local, to move beyond the traditional list of tourist attractions and venture off the beaten path. And to do it all with a gracious hostess and friend made it all the better.

Forest Park fountain
Andy Goldsworthy piece at the art museum
Part two coming soon. I know you can't wait!

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