Archive for November 13th, 2013

Well, after resting up in Nashville, I hit the road for the return leg of my loop through Kentucky and Tennessee back to Louisville. This time approaching the city from the southwest and providing the opportunity to cover more of the Kentucky countryside, which was lovely.

Once I was back in Louisville, I took the opportunity to do some more exploring of the city, this time doing some retail therapy.

TOKI had the chance to stop into A Taste of Kentucky, a store that offers fine products made in Kentucky – things from bourbon-inspired items, to food, art and other locally made goods – including and unmatched selection of traditional Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Glasses.

About A Taste of Kentucky: “After almost 30 years and countless miles of travel through hills, hollows and rolling Bluegrass fields, A Taste of Kentucky has assembled the finest this magnificent commonwealth has to offer. Our traditional gift baskets and specialty items are perfect — for grand occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, holidays and particularly, the Kentucky Derby; as tasteful and long remembered corporate gifts; or for pampering family, friends and even yourself.”

A Taste of Kentucky has three retail locations, including 4600 Shelbyville Road in Louisville, KY.

Lucky for us, A Taste of Kentucky also has an online store.

I also discovered Louisville Stoneware, makers of traditional stoneware in their onsite factory.

About Louisville Stoneware: “One of the oldest stoneware manufacturers in the United States, Stoneware has been dedicated to the tradition and careful craftsmanship of transforming clay into enduring, functional art forms for the home, kitchen and garden since 1815. Located in Louisville, Kentucky the art factory in the Paristown Pointe neighborhood offers tours twice a day Monday through Friday and a paint your own pottery experience and retail store Monday through Saturday.”

JABLouisville Stoneware has many great products, all made in the traditional stoneware manner, but I fell in love with this mini Just Add Bourbon Jug: “The first steamboat arrived in Louisville in 1811, signaling a new age of growth for Louisville and the distilling industry. The steamboat allowed for the expanded distribution, in larger quantities, of Kentucky Bourbon to new markets. By the 1820s, commercial distilleries in the state’s rural areas were on the rise, as was Louisville’s stoneware industry, which produced the jugs used to package the area’s precious bourbon. This mini Just Add Bourbon Jug is a nod to the Stoneware industry’s early role in the sale and distribution of America’s only native spirit. Functional, this jug can be filled using a funnel with your favorite spirit and sealed with a cork (provided). And it holds more than you think – nearly 10 oz in fact. The shape and colors are reminiscent of historical jugs seen in the Louisville Stoneware Art Factory’s Museum in Louisville, Kentucky.”

Louisville Stoneware is located at 731 Brent Street in Louisville KY.

Again, lucky for us, Louisville Stoneware also has an online store.

GDIKMeanwhile, on the more commercial side of Kentucky goods, but definitely fun, I stopped in Why Louisville where you can find some really fun mementos. Like the Colonel Sanders license postcard: “Colonel Sanders license postcard complete with height, birthday, and social security number! You too can be a licensed Colonel, well sort of. It definitely is an amusing postcard to send from The Bluegrass State. And only one buck!” Or the ever-popular “Gettin Drunky In Kentucky” Shot Glass.

Why Louisville has two city locations: in The Highlands at 1583 Bardstown Road and in NuLu at 806 E Market St.

…and lucky for us Why Louisville has an online store.

CMBSNot all of my retail visits were of the touristy type, I also stopped in at Carmichael’s Bookstore, a great independent bookstore – something that there are way too few of these days.

About Carmichael’s Bookstore: “Carmichael’s has been in business in Louisville for more than 30 years. It was started in April of 1978 by Carol Besse and Michael Boggs (the store name is a combination of their first names), and has been owned and operated by them ever since. It is a family business in the best tradition. As the business grew, so did the number of family members involved, and the staff now includes a second generation.”

Carmichael’s Bookstore has a great collection of books worth browsing, and of course they have a supreme collection of local interest books – which can also be ordered online.

Carmichael’s Bookstore is located at 1295 Bardstown Road and 2720 Frankfort Avenue in Louisville, KY.

JOELAnd then there is the absolutely wonderful Joe Ley Antiques.

About Joe Ley Antiques: “Two acres of treasures fill the 1890 schoolhouse with a vast array of styles and merchandise sure to fit anyone’s taste. A well known establishment for over 35 years providing the most unique in unconventional shopping. Joe Ley Antiques is an architect’s and builder’s delight. With 5,000 doors, a wide choice of door hardware, hundreds of mantels, balconies, fences, gates, posts, newels, railings, dentils, brackets, shutters, moldings and architectural ornaments, you can find the right item for any new or restoration project.”

Seriously, Joe Ley Antiques is one of those places you can get lost in and love every second of it. There are tons of architectural pieces as well as many fine smalls. Really something for anyone and everyone looking for unique decorator options. It is also just fun to look and be inspired.

Joe Ley Antiques is located at 615 East Market Street at Louisville Kentucky.

You can also check out Joe Ley Antiques’ current catalog online.

KGCFinally on my retail tour of Louisville and environs is a place I found on the first leg of my Road Trip, Kentucky Gentlemen Cigars. Kentucky Gentlemen Cigars produces handmade cigars made from tobacco aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels, carrying on an age old tradition.

About Kentucky Gentlemen Cigars: “Kentucky Gentlemen Cigars is a unique concept, both in location and product design. Some say we are a bit ambitious as most cigars are produced in Latin America. We see Kentucky as a very logical geographical location with supply, vast tobacco knowledge and skilled workers. Some say cigar varieties are abundant with numerous choices, yet most types or brands are made with very similar tobaccos. We see a market with blends that not only are… not common, yet filled with flavorings from our own Kentucky heritage including Bourbon, Whiskey, Moonshine or even Mint Julep, therefore someone can experience cigars available from nowhere else. When that’s not enough, ‘you can customize your own’ blend of special cigar with varieties from all over the world. Kentucky Gentlemen Cigar is your cigar!”

I like a good cigar – on occasion so spare me the lecture – and a good cigar with a tumbler of bourbon is a perfect night out on the veranda. I can’t think of anything better to go with Kentucky bourbon than a cigar made in Kentucky from tobacco aged in a bourbon barrel. Yep, that’s what the fine folks at Kentucky Gentlemen Cigars do.

Kentucky Gentlemen Cigar is located at 155 West Woodford Street in Lawrenceburg, KY

And, everybody… Lucky for us Kentucky Gentlemen Cigars has an online shop.

Well, that’s pretty much it from the road in Louisville. Next it is back to Chicago via Indiana for a few days in the big city before heading home to the hills of New Hampshire.

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HKBAnother book I checked out before my road trip to Kentucky was How Kentucky Became Southern: A Tale of Outlaws, Horse Thieves, Gamblers, and Breeders by Maryjean Wall. I chose this book from the many Kentucky history books because it focused on how the Bluegrass state became the horse racing capital of America during a defined and intense period in American history. And yeah, the cool title too.

About How Kentucky Became Southern by Maryjean Wall: “The conflicts of the Civil War continued long after the conclusion of the war: jockeys and Thoroughbreds took up the fight on the racetrack. A border state with a shifting identity, Kentucky was scorned for its violence and lawlessness and struggled to keep up with competition from horse breeders and businessmen from New York and New Jersey. As part of this struggle, from 1865 to 1910, the social and physical landscape of Kentucky underwent a remarkable metamorphosis, resulting in the gentile, beautiful, and quintessentially southern Bluegrass region of today. In her debut book, How Kentucky Became Southern: A Tale of Outlaws, Horse Thieves, Gamblers, and Breeders, former turf writer Maryjean Wall explores the post–Civil War world of Thoroughbred racing, before the Bluegrass region reigned supreme as the unofficial Horse Capital of the World. Wall uses her insider knowledge of horse racing as a foundation for an unprecedented examination of the efforts to establish a Thoroughbred industry in late-nineteenth-century Kentucky.”

In her book, How Kentucky Became Southern, Ms. Wall tells the story of the transformation of Kentucky and its horseracing legacy in an interesting, factual, and most impressively, entertaining way. Having this history in mind while traveling around the state really helped me appreciate the unique and innate culture of the area that lives on in spectacular fashion today.

How Kentucky Became Southern: A Tale of Outlaws, Horse Thieves, Gamblers, and Breeders by Maryjean Wall is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.