Chicago, it's my kind of town

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Out of the country, and into the city we went. On our way up to Chicago, we called the company we were renting from and found out that the apartment we were going to rent was no longer available. Since they messed up the booking, we had to stay in a temporary location for a week. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but we had our car loaded and everything packed away. This meant that all we could take to our next place was a small suitcase worth of clothes. We packed it up with everything we could fit and headed to our temporary high rise. The high rise was on the 46th floor and the views were pretty spectacular. I've always wanted to stay at a high rise, and this was the prefect chance.

For our first Saturday in Chicago, we decided it would be fun to walk around the town and explore the area. We started at the magnificent mile. This mile starts on the north end of downtown and heads south towards the center of Chicago and the loop. We walked around downtown, went into many of the stores, and looked at all the amazing architecture.

After we finished walking the magnificent mile, we headed into Millenium Park. The park has quite a few iconic pieces. We were able to see the cloud gate, the outdoor pavilion, Buckingham fountain, and the parks art sculptures. It was a fun day and a great way to start Chicago. I would highly recommend going and seeing everything at Millenium Park.

Horses, Horses, and more Horses

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kentucky is famous for horses, so we had to go and see all the history at the Kentucky Horse Park. At the park there is over fifty different breads of horses. The Park is huge tons of horse paddocks, barns, and fields.

One of the attractions they had was called the Parade of Breeds, this showed the different horses and told of where the horses were originally from and what people used them throughout history.

Another part of the park housed retired race winning horses. These horses were beautiful and they seemed really well taken care of. They had rich looking wood lined paddocks.

At the park was an entire museum that had tons of different facts about horses. One part of the museum was only about Arabian horses. It was pretty fun every thing look as if it came from the Arabic.

Our last stop of the day was another horse racing park called Keenland, a cool racetrack, but not as fun and well kept as Churchill Downs. When we stopped there, there was a horse race going on that was televised on Keenland's giant TV screen. We stayed and watch a bit of it, fun, but again not as fun as actually being there and watching the race in person.

In the sky and under the ground

For our second week in Kentucky, we decided it would be fun to take a break from the normal sightseeing and go out and do something else. We went on a trip to Mammoth Cave in Cave City, Kentucky. We got a great deal on Groupon for a zip line at a place called Mammoth Cave Adventures. We had a great time, we went on five different zip lines and two suspension bridges. Aaron was really pumped to do it, I was a little apprehensive, but it was a blast we loved it. It was a really a crazy feeling going through the trees on a zip line. Crazy fun!

On our way to our next destination, there was a lot of tourist traps along the way. There was a dinosaur park, miniature golf and a lot of weird gift shops. Pretty fun stuff.

Our next stop for the day was Mammoth Cave National Park. The park consists of a massive cave that spans over 390 miles, and that is only the parts that have been explored. The first cave tour we went on was the History Tour that took us though a part of the cave that mined saltpeter. Men mined for gunpowder in the Civil War time period. One of the 'rooms' was called the Mammoth Dome, pretty amazing to see an opening in the ground that huge. It was huge. If you ever come to Kentucky you must come see the caves.

We had so much fun in the first cave we decided we would take another tour that took us though a different part of the cave. The tour was called the New Entrance, this part of the cave was more of what you think a cave would be with dripping water, stalactites and stalagmites.

Off to the Derby!

After leaving South Carolina, we headed up to Kentucky. The drive up was a fun road trip with all the trees through the mountain pass. We arrived in Kentucky and got to our new house for the month. The house was a little bit out of Lexington and surrounded by country farms. We were only able to settle down for a couple of days before my parents flew in for the weekend.

With my parents here to stay with us for the weekend, we planned to see a few things. We first started out with the Ashland house. The Ashland was the historic home of Henry Clay. He was one of the early senators of the United States. His home was pretty neat on the inside and was restored very well. Unfortunately we weren't able to take pictures inside the home, but got a few on the outside and in the garden.

After the Ashland house we headed over to a Shaker historical village. This was a preservation of the original shaker village. The village had people all over working and maintaining the different buildings and property. It was fun to see how it was when the shakers were there and what they did. The shaker village wrapped up our the end of our first day together.

Our second day together we drove out to Red River Gorge. This was about an hour east of Lexington and up in the Kentucky mountains. The gorge was beautiful and was packed with trees and gorgeous views. We took several hikes up trails, and one in particular was pretty spectacular with a natural rock arch. The arch was about 40 feet off the ground and probably 200 feet long. It was fun to climb up to it and walk along the top.

Our third day out was Derby day, well not exactly the Derby, it was the day before at the Oaks. We took off early and arrived before any of the races began. The oaks races are only run by female horses and there were thirteen total races for the day with the Oaks race being the largest. It was a blast and a really fun experience. We stayed for twelve of the races and went home pretty tired from all the cheering.

Our last day began with us driving down to Louisville and dropping my parents back off to the airport for them to fly home. After we dropped them off we decided to take a little tour around Louisville to see what else we might have missed. While looking around we came across a giant bat and the Louisville slugger museum. The slugger museum was a lot of fun. They still make the wooden bats right there in the museum/factory. We were able to see them make the bats and try a few out. It was pretty impressive, they made a bad every ten seconds or so. We also got to see many famous bats by players like Babe Ruth. Overall it was a fun mix of history and sightseeing for the weekend.