Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Kid Free Weekend in Louisville

selfie to kick off kid free weekend!
Several years ago, when Steve worked at KBR, he secured a large job in Kentucky for Louisville Gas and Electric.  It was a job that would cost about a billion to build, and would take several years to complete.  Though he is no longer with KBR, he maintained great relationships with his co-workers there, as well as LG and E.  So when the plant celebrated their third successful outage, they threw a big party and invited Steve.  Since he worked hard on this for a couple of years, his working relationships slowly turned into friendships.  I have heard so much about these folks for years, so it was a perfect opportunity for me to join him and meet everyone.

Steve, Becky and us at KY State Fair
Steve was up in Louisville the week before the party for business, so I flew up Friday morning after I got the kids off to school.  As soon as I landed he showed me around the historic Seelbach Hotel (where we were staying).  The hotel is located at a prime spot in downtown Louisville, within walking distance of much.  In addition, the hotel has a lot of history and stories particularly from the 1920s, which Steve has heard from the hotel historian.

That afternoon we met up with Steve and Becky for a cocktail before heading over to the state fair for a concert.  We listened to several country artists perform, and decided to walk around the fairgrounds and check out all of the excitement.  We wandered through the buildings, seeing many huge cows.  When we stepped outside, we stumbled into a nice gentleman who offered us a ride on his golfcart to the large arena where Saddlebred horses were practicing.  He explained that World’s Championship Saddlebred Horse Show was going on over the next couple of weeks, and that over 2,000 horses from across the world were competing for more than $1 million in awards.  He also slipped in that he was a horse trainer for William Shatner.

We watched the horses practice for awhile, admiring their beauty.  Then we decided to walk inside the building that housed the temporary stalls for all of these magnificent creatures.  We stopped to pet many of the horses, and eventually spoke with a man who owns Grey Ridge Stables.  He was kind enough to talk to us for over 30 minutes, explaining all that goes on at these shows and his history.

After we left the fair, we returned to our hotel to park the car, and then we walked a block away to grab a late dinner and hit one of the guy's favorite bars in the fun "4th Street Live" area.

We stumbled back to our room around 1AM, and slept in the following morning (enjoying something that we NEVER get to do anymore with three young kids).  We finally rolled out of the hotel around lunch and walked to a pizza spot for lunch, and then explored along the riverfront.  We even made it halfway across the beautiful pedestrian bridge that takes you to Indiana.

After a cold beer back at the Seelbach Bar, and a shower...we were ready to go to the party (the reason for our weekend stay).  I finally met all of the guys Steve has talked about and their spouses.  Following dinner, we all walked to a fun bar that has a mechanical bull.  Everyone talked a lot of talk, but it ultimately ended up only being only a few of us who rode the bull (myself being one of them).  It looked like fun, but after a couple 360's on that thing, I was nauseous and regretting my choice.  Thankfully I didn't get thrown, but just stepped off of it during another one of the crazy spins.

former train bridge turned into pedestrian bridge

Sunday morning, we met one of Steve's friend and his wife for lunch and then hit the road for the drive back to Birmingham.  I don't know what I expected of Louisville, but I was pleasantly surprised.  It was a nice clean city, with cool old buildings downtown that are getting restored, a lovely waterfront view and what appeared to be a family friendly area.  I definitely look forward to returning, hopefully for a horse race at Keenland (in nearby Lexington), or if we are lucky enough...the coveted Derby!

the devilish red eyes say enough

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