Louisville Happenings

Fountain Court Design Contest

Calling all artists, architects, or historic building lovers, we have a contest for you. Old Louisville is looking for a new entrance to mark one of it’s most well-known communities and it’s calling on you to design it. The Fountain Court Design Competition is being sponsored by the South Fourth Street Historic District Neighborhood Association and they are eager to give their entrance an overhaul. Fountain Court appears beyond two large apartment buildings and is home to impressive Victorian homes and apartments. The current entrance in drab and boring, explaining nothing about the vibrancy of the community or the history of the neighborhood. Designers might have a tougher time than they think, as the project is more complex than it seems. The entrance that will be chosen as the winner must be visually appealing while keeping the historical relevance of the area in mind.  

If you are interested in entering the contest, there are some things you need to know. The contest will happen in two stages. First, you must submit your design qualifications. A short list of designers will be considered and up to three with be chosen to create a concept design for the Fountain Court entrance. Each of these participants will receive $500, and the winning designer will receive an additional $500 with their design coming to life. Now listen up, because this is important, designers must incorporate themes and elements from the historic Southern Exposition that ran from 1883-1887 on the site of St. James and Fountain Courts. For more information on submitting your designs, deadlines or anything else, contact the South Fourth Street Neighborhood Association at www.sfourth.org. 

Fountain Court is just one of the beautiful walking courts that fill Old Louisville. Belgravia Court and Fountain Court are the two walking courts that hold the largest and most expansive Victorian homes in the neighborhood. St. James Court, although open to both pedestrians and automobiles, epitomizes Old Louisville’s architecture and history. The Conrad-Caldwell House and “The Pink Palace” are two well-known and immaculate Victorian homes built in 1908 and 1891 respectively. The Conrad-Caldwell House was a residence and now a museum, while the “Pink Palace” used to be Old Louisville’s gentleman’s club and casino. Pedestrian courts and their history add to Old Louisville’s uniqueness. These courts were originally designed to add to the city’s park-like setting. Within an urban setting, green space is abundant. Once you walk into one of the courts, serenity ensues. The courts, including St. James, offer a special way of living that is unique to Louisville. The magnificent architecture, historical mansions and tree-lined streets and gardens make Old Louisville a special place to live or visit. In Old Louisville you will find the largest assembly of Victorian mansions in the Country. Other styles of homes in Old Louisville include Italianate, Renaissance Revival/Georgian Revival, Richardsonian Romanesque, Queen Anne, Tudor, Beaux Arts, and many more. 

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Fundraiser for Governors School for The Arts

If you are like me you love a good night out of Jazz music and cocktails. Until recently, I thought Louisville was devoid of any real Jazz and a stable Jazz music community, and boy was I wrong. I realized that I was looking in all the wrong places. Both the University of Louisville and Bellarmine have amazing Jazz programs that produce excellent young musicians. The artists that come out of these programs entertain audiences throughout Louisville. After The Jazz Factory closed it’s doors in 2008, the Louisville Jazz community was left with no home for Jazz nightlife. Jazz music now, is heard mainly in restaurants, bars, the radio, and at special events. 

 Saturday night August 18, Jazz music will be featured at a fundraiser for Kentucky’s Governor’s School for the Arts. Any middle or high school student that is interested in the arts will tell you how important the Governor’s School for the Arts is to them. The school gives talented adolescents a chance to advance their craft in a way that most other artist their age would never get the chance. The audition process is grueling and competitive and when you are accepted it means you are the best of the best.  The fundraiser will feature three local Jazz legends, Zach Brock on Violin, Harry Pickens on Piano, and Ben Sollee on Cello. A group of Jazz musician GSA alums will also join the headliners on stage. The annual fundraiser will take place at the Bomhard Theatre at the Kentucky Center for the Arts at 7:30pm on Saturday. Tickets are $30 and are available online at the following link:

http://www.kentuckycenter.org/Events/25th-Anniversary-GSA-Alumni-Showcase/9260#tab-performances.

 No matter what day of the week, you can usually find some good Jazz music somewhere in the city if you know where to look. The Louisville Jazz Society’s website is very helpful, and I suggest you check it out before making dinner reservations.  Restaurants that regularly have live Jazz music include, Varanese, Vincenzo’s, Mozz, Jack Fry’s, and Eddie Merlot’s Steakhouse. VoJazz, Bobby Faulk Group, Jeff Sherman Trio, and Steve Crews Solos are just some of the many acts that perform on a weekly basis around town. Live music adds so much to a night out, whether it is a dinner, drinks, or a show in a club. I love that Louisville’s Jazz community is thriving but I still wish we had a nightclub dedicated to Jazz music and even the blues as well. Louisville has a rich history with Jazz and Jazz clubs, and it would be nice to bring that history back to life. 

 

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Foxhollow Farm…Support Your Local Farmer!

As the Summer winds down and the school year is beginning, my family is hurrying to finish our list of Summer to-do’s and outside adventures.   My husband and I are ripping up our brick patio and getting ready to put down a wood deck, enlisting help from the neighborhood kids.  All the parents in the neighborhood love us because their children all sleeping soundly from hauling load after load of bricks from one end of our backyard to another.  Other end of summer activities include a canoe trip this weekend and a trip to Foxhollow Farm.

 Foxhollow Farm is located in Crestwood, Kentucky which is in Northeast Louisville in Oldham County.  Crestwood is full of farmland, but the Foxhollow Farm is unique.  The farm is made up of 1,300 acres of  farmland and woods that is open to the public.  There are guided tours for groups or families, or the hiking trails can be walked at your leisure.  You can also have the opportunity to tour the land with the farm’s proprietor to learn about the farm’s bio-dynamic agriculture straight from the person who set it all up.  Hayrides and private lessons such as canning are also available at the farm.  

 Foxhollow believes in bio-dynamic agriculture. For those of you who don’t know what that means, bio-dynamic agriculture is a lot like organic farming, but takes it a step further.  Both organic and bio-dynamic methods wont use chemical fertilizers or pesticides in the production of their produce.  Foxhollow raises cows and sells grass-fed beef. The cows eat high quality grass with no pesticides and the farm uses no antibiotics or growth hormones.  Bio-dynamics, like the method used at Foxhollow Farm takes organic farming even a step further, and uses prepared sprays made from organic matter such as compost, herbs, and quartz crystal. These sprays bring nutrients to the soil and increase sustainability on the farm. 

I learned a lot more information about grass fed beef, while researching Foxhollow Farm that I never knew before.  Foxhollow believes in grass-fed beef’s heath benefits over grain-fed beef.  Some of these benefits are that grass fed beef is lower in calories and saturated fat, higher in Viatmin A, Vitamin E, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and Protein. I always knew that grass-fed beef was tastier, but I was unaware that it was healthier.  

Aside from the bio-dynamic aspect to the farm, Foxhollow is a great place to go and explore on a nice day.  Whether you want to take the kids to run around, or if you just want to get some fresh air, Foxhollow is a beautiful place to get out relax, and get some great produce.  Take a walk by the garden, hike through the walking trails, or make a picnic in the field, spend the day outdoors.  There is a café and grocery store so you can stay for lunch and load up on some local seasonal produce.  Don’t forget about Foxhollow around Halloween time, they will have bio-dynamic pumpkins! Support your local farmer, and remember that local produce is the best and most delicious produce there is!

 

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Music at the Kentucky State Fair

This years Kentucky State Fair begins Thursday August 16 so get your cowboy hats ready and place your boots by the door because the annual bluegrass tradition is right around the corner. This year’s fair will have new delicious treats to indulge in, exceptional agriculture and livestock from around the state, and thrilling rides that will leave you screaming for more. My favorite part of every Kentucky State Fair is treating myself to all the greasy, fried, and insanely sweet foods that I want. Some of the new delectable delights this year include fried girl scout cookies and deep fried cherry kool-aid. One aspect of the fair that never disappoints and keeps audiences coming back year after year are the concerts.

This year’s line-up of bands is top-knotch. With 14 major concerts spread over the 11 nights of the fair, visitors will have many opportunities to see some of their favorite artists. Although country music makes up the majority of the roster, there are classic rock, R&B, pop metal, contemporary Christian, and indie rock bands performing as well.

             The line-up begins with a bang:

Thursday August 16th: Hank Williams Junior, George Thorogood, and The Destroyers. The concert is at 8:00pm at Freedom Hall. Tickets are $39 and $49.

Thursday August 16th: Cinderella, Sebastian Bach. The concert is at 8:00pm at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium and is FREE Friday August 17th: Journey, Pat Benatar, Loverboy. The concert is at 8:00pm at Freedom Hall. Tickets are $42 and $52.

Friday August 17th: Keith Sweat, Robbie Bartlett. The concert is at 8:00pm at Cardinal Stadium. Tickets are FREE.

Saturday August 18th: Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, Eli Young Band, Edens Edge. The concert is at 7:30pm at Freedom Hall. Tickets are $49 and $60.

Saturday August 18th: Hot Chelle Rae, Neon Hitch. The concert is at 8:00pm at Cardinal Stadium. Tickets are FREE.

Sunday August 19th: Oak Ridge Boys, Jimmmy Fortune. The Concert is at 8:00pm at Cardinal Stadium. Tickets are FREE.

Monday August 20th: Newsboys, Sanctus Real. The concert is at 8:00pm at Cardinal Stadium. Tickets are FREE.

Tuesday August 21th: Ronnie Milsap, B.J Thomas. The concert is at 8:00pm at Cardinal Stadium. Tickets are FREE.

Wednesday August 22th: Jake Owen, Florida Georgia Line. The concert is at 8:00pm at Cardinal Stadium. Tickets are FREE.

Thursday August 23th: The Turtles, The Grass Roots, Gary Puckett, The Buckinghams, Micky Dolenz. The concert is at 8:00pm at Cardinal Stadium. Tickets are FREE.

Friday August 24th: Young the Giant, We Barbarians. The concert is at 8:00pm at Cardinal Stadium. Tickets are FREE.

Saturday August 25th: Justin Moore, Colt Ford. The concert is at 8:00pm at Cardinal Stadium. Tickets are FREE.

Sunday August 26th: The Band Perry, NeedtoBreathe. This closing concerti begins at 7:30 at Freedom Hall. Tickets are $35 and $45.

The line up of bands this year is great, even including some local artist among some of the bigger names. There will also be smaller concerts going on throughout the fair. At last year’s fair I saw some impressive bluegrass under the barbeque tent. Kentucky has a great culture and we share that in our music, I recommend getting out to the fair and experiencing music with a diverse Kentucky audience.

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LGBT Film Festival Back for 2nd Year

One of the things that makes Louisville such an amazing city is it’s rich diversity.  Walking down Bardstown Road in the Highlands you see people from all walks of life mingling together in a web of socio- economic, racial, and preferential differences.  It is hard for many to believe that a city in the middle of Kentucky can be so open-minded, artistically driven, and full of talent.  Of course, like any big city, there are those people who spoil the overall attitude, but on the whole, Louisville is a progressive town.  This weekend is proof that we are all moving forward in that we are happy to be hosting the LGBT Film Festival.  

For the second year in a row the Louisville will be hosting the Festival August 16th through August 19th.  Last year, the festival was held at the Clifton Center, but it has since outgrown it’s old home and moved to the University of Louisville campus. Over 100 Films were screened for this years festival, ensuring that the films picked for the three day festival will not disappoint the viewers. 

 The festival will include 48 films that somehow incorporate being or being affected by being gay, transgender, bisexual, or lesbian. This year’s festival has several special guests, including country music singer Chely Wright.  Wright appears in “Wish Me Away,” a documentary about her coming out as a lesbian in 2010. Wright will also stay for a question and answer session after the screening of the film on Sunday at 2pm.  Wright has been open in the past about her struggles with coming out as a gay woman and the hardships she has faced because of it.  The documentary is sure to be a raw and candid look into her life that many people will be able to relate to.

Wright is not the only star that is coming to the festival, Natalie West stars in the feature film “Nate and Margaret” and will be at the festival answering questions along with her co-star Tyler Ross, after the screening.  West is most well known for her role as Crystal Anderson-Connor on Roseanne. 

There will be six, two-hour sessions a day of films at the festival this weekend for a total of 18 sessions. The LGBT Film Festival has grown incredibly since last year, and the audience is responding extremely positively according to LGBT officers. 

There will be a kick-off party for those interested, Thursday the16th from 7pm-11pm at Red Barn which is located on the University of Louisville campus.  The party is Prohibition themed, so 1920’s costumes are recommended and jazz music and old fashioneds can be expected.   Weekend passes to the films and Question and answer sessions are $30 dollars or $15 for students. There are a limited number of VIP tickets left that can get you in to a meet and greet with Chely Wright that is happening Saturday at 7:30pm.  For more information go to louisvillelgbtfilmfest.com or their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Louisville-LGBT-Film-Festival.

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It's Kentucky State Fair Time

It’s that time of year again! It’s August, the kids are heading back to school, and Louisville is abuzz with excitement as people from all over the commonwealth flock to Derby City - not for a thoroughbred race this time, but for a wide variety of fun activities and competitions known as the Kentucky State Fair. And it’s not just folks from the far reaches of Kentucky who come in to soak up the fun. Thousands of people right here in town are happy to celebrate the Kentucky State Fair during the waning days of summer with the best in state fair festivities.

From Aug. 16 – 26, the place to be is the Kentucky Exposition Center at 937 Phillips Lane which is at the junction of I-65 and I-264 in Louisville. Gates open at 7 a.m. each day and the exhibit buildings open at 9 a.m. The Thrillway, which is home to all the rides that kids of all ages enjoy, begins at either noon or 2 p.m. depending on the day, and the festivities wrap up at 10 p.m. Check out the state fair website for more details. With over 1 million square feet of climate-controlled indoor exhibit space as well as all of the outdoor adventures, you’ll want to come early and stay late to experience it all.

Always a draw, the World’s Championship Horse Show is back for its much anticipated appearance. In Kentucky, we don’t just race horses; we revel in them in every possible way. This horse show puts all the majesty and power of these beautiful animals on display. Of course, that’s not the only horse show. There’s also the Quarter Horse Show, Miniature Horse Show and 4-H Horse Show.

Another major attraction is the Kentucky State Fair Main Stage Series featuring some of the best musical talent around. Come see Hank Williams, Sr. and George Thorogood on Aug. 16; Journey, Pat Benatar and Loverboy on Aug. 17; Rascal Flatts on Aug. 18 or The Band Perry on Aug. 26. While these concerts will cost you anywhere from $35 - $52, there are also a number of free shows you can take in. Keith Sweat, the Oak Ridge Boys, Ronnie Milsap, Jake Owen, Justin Moore and several others will amaze crowds for no charge at all.

Of course, lots of people flock to the fair for the competitions. When it comes to livestock, you can’t beat the head-to-head competition over dairy cattle, beef cattle, boar goats, dairy goats, mules and jacks, pigeons, poultry, rabbits, sheep and swine. Other areas of competition include grain and tobacco, fruits and nuts, honey, dairy products, country ham and eggs, and vegetables and melons. Some of the 4-H competitions include the areas of woodworking, knitting and crocheting, floral arrangements and photography, just to name a few.

No article or blog post about the fair could do justice to all that is offered – the thousands of exhibits, historical special areas, contests, shows and tons more. You just have to see it for yourself! This year’s Kentucky State Fair promises to be the best yet, and it won’t just be our neighbors throughout the commonwealth enjoying all the fun. Many of us that live in Louisville  will also find this to be a great time to celebrate the end of summer and all the things that make life in the Bluegrass State so enriching. Won’t you join us?

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Swine Flu at the Kentucky State Fair?

Every year I look forward to going to the State Fair.  For one day a year, I look forward to indulging in whatever over the top greasy treats I want, allowing my son as much sugar his little heart desires, and I seek out the grilled corn booth for my single most favorite pleasure. I enjoy looking at all the baking contest entrees, although I wish I could taste them all, and each year say how the next year I will enter with a cake or a cookie, but of course I never do. Every year, my husband and I go to the fair and say the same exact thing, “it is the same as last year, but I have realized that that is just the beauty of the fair. You go to the fair for the tradition, to walk amongst your fellow Kentuckians, eat some good, bad food and take in your Kentucky pride. My husband and I could spend hours just sitting and watching  the families that come to the fair from all over the state. Living in Louisville, a metropolitan city, we often lose sight of the fact that Kentucky is a rural farming state, and the fair brings us back to our roots.

Although every year I am excited to spend a day at the fairgrounds, there has been recent news that has given me a reason to feel a little unsure about attending. Recent State fairs in Ohio and Indiana have reported cases of Swine Flu in their hogs. Apparently this Summer has been one of the worst for cases of Swine Flu in human beings as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in Ohio there have been 15 cases of human Swine Flu, with one related to the Ohio State Fair, and the rest with county state fairs.. In Indiana it is still unsure whether or not the pigs at the State Fair that had high temperatures were caused by Swine Flu or not, but the affected pigs were sent away from the fair. In Indiana, 11 human cases of Swine Flu were reported since July 2012 with some of those cases coming from area fairs.  

I don’t know about you, but it’s not really worth the slim risk of me or my children contracting the Swine Flu, to get a peek at a prized pig. I have to admit that the livestock section of the fair was never really my favorite part of the fair anyhow, but I worry now that being in any part of the fair might be dangerous to my children. I am normally not the type of mom that is overly concerned with sicknesses or outbreaks of the flu. When everyone was worried about the Swine Flu when we first learned about it, I understood the reality of the sickness, but was not going to wear a mask, lock up my kids, and sanitize everything I touch.   

I am nervous because I don’t know enough about the Swine Flu and how it is passed from animal to human. I’m sure someone reading this has a lot more information on this than me and can give me some insight on whether or not I am overreacting. Please help!  

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National Wheelchair Basketball Coming to Louisville

Louisville is the new host city for the 2013 and 2014 National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s Championship Tournaments.  NWBA Tournaments draw roughly 1,000 athletes annually and next year’s tournament in Louisville is expected to make roughly 1 million dollars in revenue for the city. The tournament will be one of the largest athletic tournaments that Louisville will host in 2013 and the largest wheelchair basketball tournament in the world. The 2013 tournament is also expected to be the largest single wheelchair basketball tournament in the NWBA’s 65-year history. Next year’s tournament will be held April 17-21 at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center and HOOPS Multi-sport and Fitness Center. 

The National Wheelchair Basketball Association is made up of 200 teams from 22 conferences and seven divisions. Founded in 1948, the NWBA has grown tremendously from where it began. Today there are men’s, women’s, intercollegiate, and junior-youth wheelchair basketball leagues across the Nation. The mission of the NWBA is “to provide qualified individuals with physical disabilities the opportunity to play, learn, and compete in the sport of wheelchair basketball.”

The NWBA began after WWII when paralyzed veterans returned home, confined to wheelchairs. Many of these veterans found themselves in the same place, restless and unable to find something that met their physical and social needs. Sports such as ping pong, catch and pool, bowling, and water polo were some of the first sports that these veterans were introduced to. In 1946, the California Chapter of Parlayed Veterans played the first game of wheelchair basketball, and it changed everything. The popularity of the game was spread throughout the regional VA hospitals and eventually throughout the Nation. Tournaments were conducted and associations were built. Today, the sport is played Worldwide and is even included in the Paralympics.   

The US Men and Women’s wheelchair basketball teams will be competing in London August 29-September 9 this year at the Paralympics. The Paralympics feature other wheelchair sports such as fencing, rugby and tennis and there are over 18 other events that include swimming, equestrian, and judo. 

The National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s Championship Tournaments will have an excellent home in Louisville. Not only are we a huge sports town, but we are a city with a big heart. The Paralympics, and wheelchair basketball are inspiring and are a show of great athleticism. I am looking forward to next year’s tournament and I hope you will get out and support it as well.

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Cabela's Outdoor Store coming to Louisville's East End

Bass Pro Shop and Dicks beware, a new outdoorsman’s go-to store is coming to Louisville. The next-generation Cabela’s store will have everything from coveralls to pocketknives and fishing poles to tents. Anything you could possibly need for your hunting, fishing, or outdoor adventure, Cabela’s will surely have you covered. Cabela’s will be located alongside other successful retailers such as Lowes and Costco in the Old Brownsboro Crossing development off of US 42 in Louisville’s East End. The Summit Outdoor Mall is just minutes away, and brings thousands of shoppers to the area every day. Construction began earlier this Summer and the store is set to open in the Spring of 2013. 

 Kentucky is home to some of the most lush and diverse landscapes. Within ten minutes of sitting in Downtown Louisville you can drive to the Ohio River, within 15-20 you can be in the rolling hills and farmlands, and within 25-30 you can be in the lower mountain region. Take a little longer drive, about 2 hours, and you will be in the mountains whose red sandstone cliffs allow some of the best rock climbing in the Nation. It is easy to see why Louisville is an excellent choice for a new outdoor super center. With all the hunting, fishing, and outdoor activities that go on in Kentucky there is always a want and a need for more outdoor merchandise. 

 Cabela’s will be an excellent addition to the growing East End retail district. The 80,000-88,000 square foot store will create an estimated 200 much needed jobs for Louisvillians. The store will be filled with displays to give the customers an outdoor experience while indoors. Products include camping items, hiking items, boating items, clothing, home furnishings, wildlife-watching gear, outdoor-themed gifts, hunting items, and fishing gear. In addition to the thousands of items available in the store, the Louisville Cabela’s will feature a gun library, bargain cave, and what I am looking forward to, a fudge shop.  

 Cabela’s main competition will be Bass Pro Shop. I have been to Bass Pro Shop a couple times to buy my son his Winter snow suit and boots and my husband a few odds and ends. I have to admit that it is a pretty fun place to go. I love being outdoors, I love to camp, hike and generally be outside but hunting is not my thing. I am a realist, and for those hunters out there who eat your catch, I support you all the way. Everyone has got there thing and hunting is just not mine. I was reluctant to go to Bass Pro Shop for the first time when my husband  wanted to take my son for pictures with Santa. I didn’t want my son sitting on Santa’s lap while holding a pair of antlers and a gun. Of course I had no idea what the store was really like. These outdoor superstores like Bass Pro Shop and what I’m sure Cabela’s will be like are like an adult’s mini Disney World. With so many exhibits to look at and gadgets to peruse, you could spend all day walking the floors.  

 Even if the outdoors aren’t your thing everyone needs Winter boots or gloves, so check it out when it opens, it is sure to be a spectacle. 

Ilyse's Louisville

 

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A Night out at St. Charles Exchange

If you are a lover of food, Louisville is a great place to visit, or better yet, live. Louisville has been named one of the best foodie towns in several publications over recent years including Bon Appetit and the Zagat Survey. Louisville support’s it’s locally owned staple restaurants that have been around for years, and is constantly opening the doors to exciting new restaurants that entice Louisvillians’ appetites again and again. 

 This past Saturday night my husband and I decided to indulge in a much needed date night.  We wanted to go somewhere new, but also wanted to try something in contrast, that had been a staple restaurant in Louisville. We decided on the three month old St.Charles Exchange for appetizers and drinks and then on to one of Bardstown Roads older restaurants, Le Gallo Rosso, for dinner.  

 St. Charles Exchange opened it’s doors to the public the end of May this year, and have been bombarded by diners ever since. The upscale hotel lobby restaurant and prohibition style ambiance creates a relaxed setting that makes you want to hang around for hours. All the servers and staff members were dressed in period wears, and everyone was on their game. From the hostess greeting me, to the bartenders behind the oversized wood and mirrored bar, everyone was welcoming, helpful, and knew the answers to my questions (which I cant say for most places I dine). My husband and I were seated at the end booth in the bar which was intimate and comfortable. The drink menu was incredible. Easily the most impressive aspect of the night was reading the ingredients in each cocktail. As much care was put into the drink menu as was put into the dinner menu, and I am in love with it. We ordered our drinks with help from our server. My husband ordered the Old Fashioned and I ordered the Regime Change Punch that contained Old Granddad Bonded Bourbon along with several other liquors, juices, spices, teas and bitters. I had a chance to watch the bartenders make a few of the drinks, and it is almost like a science project, measuring and cutting. With three different types of ice, rums that have to be measured to the quarter teaspoon, and endless ingredients, the few extra minutes it took to get our drinks were totally worth the wait. My husband said his Old Fashioned was unlike anything he has every had and the last drink he ever wants to have.  My punch was complex and delicious and every ingredient had its place in the cocktail. St. Charles Exchange uses all local bourbons and liquors when they can as well as local food ingredients. You can also get all of the punches in various sizes as well as in a pitcher. They will also concoct a special punch for you if you are having a special occasion if you let them know ahead of time.  

 With all this drinking, we were ready for some delicious food. For our appetizers, we ordered the Deviled Eggs and the Smoked Chicken Wings which were both delectable. The Smoked Chicken Wings came out piping hot and glistening red, like candy. With my first bite I felt an explosion in my mouth of flavor of extreme sweetness and saltiness at the same time, while neither flavor was overbearing. The wings are cooked with a three day process and you can tell as the chicken just fell off of the bone. The Deviled Eggs were a much milder flavor, very enjoyable and allowing a different eating experience, forcing us to slow down, take in each flavor, examine it and enjoy it, opposed to the sweet, salty and piping hot chicken wings that I wanted to eat on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream. 

 Overall St. Charles Exchange was spot on. The service, ambiance, food, and drinks were extraordinary. There will always be small things about any restaurant you could pick apart, but what you take away is your experience, did you have a good time and was the food good? Yes! I can't recommend St. Charles Exchange any higher. I will be doing another review soon when I go for dinner, so stay tuned!

 

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A Girls Night out at Volare

Last night, I decided to beat the heat indoors, when my sister invited me to have dinner with her at Volare on Frankfort Avenue. For those of you who are keeping up with my blog, you will know that I was supposed to participate in a 5K race last night. I wasn’t so gung ho about the running part of the event, but I did want to support the West End School which the race’s proceeds supported. Although I missed the race, I have plans of my own to help the school, which I fully intent on filling you in on. Okay, now that I have the guilt and shame off my back, I will proceed with informing you on my wonderful night.  

Volare is one of those restaurants that I have driven by one-hundred times, every time saying I want to try, but never having a reason to or never thinking of it amongst the many other dining options. So when my sister called me with an invitation to go with her to Volare, I jumped at the opportunity. My sister and I are both mothers of two boys and so it is imperative that we get out for dinner and drinks every once in a while. Every Wednesday night at Volare is “Ladies Night,” and when my sister was sent an invitation via email to the event, she picked up the phone immediately to make sure we would be the first two women sitting at the bar with wine glasses in our hands.  

We arrived separately to the restaurant and when I walked in, my sister was seated at the crowded bar.  The large bar has four sides and takes up half of the entire restaurant.  There is a large mural of Florence, Italy on the back wall that sets the scene for the upscale, yet rustic and comfortable interior. When I arrived at 7:00pm, the bar was obviously the hot spot. One of Louisville’s favorite female singer’s Robbie Bartlett, was performing, sending my sister into a tailspin, transporting her back to her Robbie Bartlett groupie days. I attempted to take a seat next to my sister at the bar when an older gentleman who was chatting her up decided that he wasn’t going to budge, but that he wanted to sit in between us. This man seems nice enough, persistent, but kind, and obviously was at Volare for Ladies Night as well, so we obliged. I soon learned that this gentleman, along with many others around the bar, was a regular. Volare is full of regulars, so many regulars, and so regular in fact, that they will cork your bottle of wine and keep it for you for the next time. I call that service! At the bar for Ladies Night they offered half priced bottles of wine, discounted glasses of wine and martinis, and signature cocktails. There were also several drawings for  giveaways like massages and spa treatments, which unfortunately I did not win.   

Now lets talk food.  After looking over both the small plates menu, and the full dinner menu, I was perplexed to say the least. There were so many delicious looking choices. My sister is a vegetarian, which for me, is like dining with my hands tied behind my back. My sister and I did however compromise on a good menu. We decided to stay at the bar, because I didn’t want to leave my Pinot Noir, and she, her Riesling. We shared several small plates, including Bruschetta which was simply delicious, made with creamy goat cheese, white truffle oil, red peppers, and oyster mushrooms, the spicy calamari, and a tomato, cucumber and feta salad that we ordered off the menu. My sister ordered an eggplant and ricotta cheese dish that was to die for, while I had to feed my carnivorous desires with the tenderloin slyder that melted in my mouth. I was very impressed with the food at Volare, and I am not always the easiest to please. I cannot wait to go back for a full meal in the dining room and order off of the dinner menu.

One Wednesday out of the month, the “Ladies Night” proceeds go to support a good cause. Check with the Volare website for information. August 29th, Volare will be putting on an event to support Brooklawn Child and Family Services. I will get more information to you as I get it. 

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Mark Your Calendar - The Flea Off Market

I’m getting this one to you a little a head of time because you need to clear your schedule! If you’re in to decorating your home with unique oddities, repurposing or using already repurposed finds, or like to sample some local grub, you have got to come and check out The Flea Off Market on August 11th. The pop up flea market magically appears every second Saturday of the month, and the 11th is Augusts’ day for Louisvillian’s to mix, mingle, eat, and enjoy.

If you are anything like me, every once in a while you will get the itch to go to a flea market, drive to Indiana or at least 30 minutes outside the city to check out one of the “Largest Flea Markets in the World” and then end up coming home empty handed or with some china bowl you will never use. The Flea Off Market will be nothing like that experience. With quality and uniqueness in mind, this market will offer something different than what you could find everyday. With nearly 80 local vendors gathering at the outdoor bazaar selling everything from used tools to fresh cut flowers, to fine art, antiques, and kittens there will be something for everyone. There is live entertainment, plenty of food provided by several of Louisville’s favorite food trucks, and adult beverages to keep the party atmosphere going. The Flea Off Market is a special event that I encourage everyone to be a part of.   

There are estimated to be close to 3,000 patrons walking through the market next Saturday, and that number is growing. The popularity of these pop-up flea markets is astounding and other “Pop-Up” flea markets have been successful around town too. There have been markets in the parking lot of the Monkey Wrench and at the NachBar in Germantown, both bringing around 30 vendors each. Many vendors love these markets because it gives them a place to unload inventory with low overhead costs. Some of the most popular items at the markets are records, antique scarves, and antique clothing. Books and art work are also some of the more popular items. Louisville is also well known for it’s amazing artisans, so keep your eyes peeled for some original pieces. Some vendors own stores in Louisville and sell at the markets as well. Harold Maier is the former owner of beloved Twice Told Books, and is a repeat vendor at these markets. Patrons love the markets because they can find rare things, in a unique environment, for reasonable prices. At the market, everybody wins. 

I am so looking forward to seeing what I find at the Flea Off Market. I will let you all know what I end up finding and I would love to hear what you find as well!

The Flea Off Market is located along Shelby Street in the parking lot next to Salvo Collective at 216 South Shelby Street (between Market and Nanny Goat Strut Alley). The Market will be open from 10:00am to 4:00pm and is open to all ages.

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Dealing With Crime as a New Louisville Homeowner

When most people move in to a new neighborhood they would like to believe it is relatively safe.You have attended an open house on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, seen the house the following week, gone to inspections, and driven past the house a few times, maybe even in the evening. All the while nothing dangerous, noisy, or worrisome got in the way of you buying your dream home. You move in, meet the charming neighbors on either side and you think life in this new house is perfect… that is until you find out about the apartment building behind your garage. As it turns out, not only was there an apparent murder in the building two years ago, but several gun shots have been fired off in the building’s parking lot in just the past couple of weeks alone. You immediately begin to question your decision to ignore that apartment building out back, Surely something like this couldn’t happen in a neighborhood in East Louisville!  

Unfortunately many Louisvillians are unaware of the reality of crime in our city. Our local news stations only cover what is told to them by local law enforcement or is written on the Associated Press Wire. The majority of the crime that happens in Louisville, even with police involvement, goes unreported. The less crime the officers can keep reported in their district, the higher they get paid, it’s as simple as that. That’s why for homeowners it’s very important to work closely and be persistent with your police officers, document everything crime related that happens in your neighborhood, and look out for your neighbors.

Many new homeowners will become unpleasantly surprised by their new neighbors. More often than not there will be one bad apple on the block, or a cluster of run down homes or apartment buildings. There are endless neighborhood related problems, including street maintenance, littering, and noise control, but crime is one of the most menacing and challenging to control. Having just moved in to my home in the Highlands a few months ago, I am new to our block watch. There is an apartment building in the alley behind my house that has had the neighborhood very nervous for quite some time. My block is having a neighborhood crime meeting tonight with our councilman, Tom Owen, and several big hitters in the community to discuss the apartment building. As a mom to two young children, I am anxious to attend the meeting to learn my rights as a homeowner and what I can do, legally, to protect my children from the tenants. It has been a learning process, but so far I know that unfortunately there is not much I can do. In the Limerick neighborhood of Old Louisville, off-duty police officers were hired to maintain a safe neighborhood. I am going to recommend this model at tonight’s meeting, because of Limerick’s success. I am hopeful that tonight’s meeting will open up a discussion that will lead to some changes. I will let you know how it goes.  

Whether it is my neighborhood working on our back alley crime, our another neighborhood trying to plan a Summer picnic, I think the one thing every neighborhood needs is a block watch. I was watching an interview the other day with a convicted felon who was in jail for burglary. He said the one thing you can do to protect your house from burglars is to watch out for your neighbors. Be good to your neighbors, and look out for your neighbors, and your entire community will benefit. 

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My Night at Akikos

My body is still recovering from the celebratory outing I put it through this past weekend.  For my cousin’s 25th birthday, she invited me to join her for a night out with some of her girlfriends, and I agreed.  I figured dinner and drinks with the girls would be just what I needed.  It turned out that she had something a little more…creative, in mind.  After meeting at my house for several glasses of wine, my cousin insisted we head up the street to Akikos Karaoke Bar. I have lived in Louisville my entire life and had never been to Akikos before. Some of you reading this may be thinking that by now, Akikos is old news, but to me, it was a brand new experience, and to those who have not been, or have not heard of Akikos, it is well worth me passing along the details of my night. 

Akikos Karaoke Bar Louisville HighlandsAs a parent of two young boys, I don’t go out to the bars much.  A night out for me usually consists of either a date night with my husband or dinner with the girls. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my  occasional glass or two of wine, martini, or bourbon and coke, but a full night on the town are few and far between.  

Akikos is rather small, with the front room consisting of the bar itself and a pool table, and the back room acting as the karaoke space. Upon entering the bar, we naturally stopped in the front room first, loaded up on drinks, and then headed on toward the back. We walked up about six steps and entered the dark, black lit room, filled with chairs and small tables, a DJ booth in the corner and a small platform stage with two microphones. I immediately grabbed the table in the corner where I felt I could hide if I needed to, and pulled two other tables close by so that we took up a good chunk of the room. Sitting in the corner allowed me to take in the entire room, observing all the different people that come to a karaoke bar at 11:00pm on a Saturday night.   Akikos was probably the most diverse bar I had ever been to. Folks of all ages, races, and social and economic backgrounds were all gathered together, enjoying their surroundings.  

The Karaoke itself was everything I expected and more. There were those singers that had excellent voices, and those whose voices were less than desirable to hear. There were singers who thought their voices were amazing, and were in reality, less than stellar, and those who were obviously just there for a good time and to entertain the crowd. For the most part, the feeling in the room was encouraging and respectful, although there was the occasional bad apple who was hideously rude to those singing. On the whole, the audience made it easy to get up on stage. 

Unfortunately there were a few negatives. If you are in the mood to sing song after song, I would recommend renting a machine and having a party at home. It took about an hour and a half between the time we requested a song and actually sang it.  I’m not sure if the DJ was playing favorites or if he was really backed up, but they have got to do something about that system. You also have to buy a drink to sing. I obviously didn’t have a personal problem with this because I had a drink in my hand all night, but there were many people that weren’t as interested in the booze that wanted to enjoy themselves.  

Akikos is located at 1123 Bardstown Road in the Highlands, across from Dragon Kings Daughter and Dittos. They are open 9:30pm-4:00am daily and have recently started serving a full bar. If you have never been to a Karaoke bar before, go into it with an open mind and a forgiving heart, and you may want to have a few cocktails before you go. 

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Louisville Art's Scene this Week

Louisville is an amazing arts town and this week is an excellent example of why. This weekend is packed with a wide range of local theatre, visual art, and music performances that are sure to have you remembering why you are glad to call Louisville your home.  

Thursday, August 2 is the Shamrock Foundation’s Art for Animals fundraiser. The Shamrock Foundation has been helping curb annual overpopulation for 20 years with their spay and neuter program. This will be the 16th year of Shamrock’s Art for Animal’s event, where local and national artists create original art for a live and silent auction. The event will also have live music, food, beer wine and bourbon and us sure to be a blast. The fundraiser will be at the Mellwood Arts and Entertainment Center Thursday night at 6pm. Tickets are $75. For more information go to Shamrockpets.com/afta

August 2nd through August 4th, the Bardstown Road theatre venue, the Bard’s Town, is bringing a new play to Louisville. Samuel D Hunter’s “A Bright New Boise” is an award winning play about a former evangelical who takes a job at a  Hobby Lobby store to reconnect with his son. For more information on the play, and ticket information, for to thebardstowntheatre.org

“Gruesome Playground Injuries” is at the top of my list for the weekend. The play at Actors Theatre, is a dark comedy balancing the childish play between friends with the harsh realities of the pains of life. “Rajiv Joseph is such a smart writer and with “injuries’ he carefully guides us through two complete lives, encompassing the incredible highs and devastating lows that come with trying to love somebody, love yourself, and to just live through it all. It turns on a dime from hilarious to tender to brutal. A real feast for audiences.” say Theatre 502’s Co-Artistic Director Gil D Reyes in is his interview with Leo Weekly.“Gruesome Playground Injuries” runs from August 3rd to August 11th at Actors Theatre. For more information on play times and ticket info go to theatre502.org.  

There is an art exhibit at Zephyr Gallery that has been getting a lot of buzz around town. “Pressure” is not only a visual exhibit but an experience. Created by the Ground Floor Gallery, there are several elements to the exhibit working together to create the overall feel of “pressure.” The artist, JMS, has created large, polished wood structures, and text on the walls by AJB is used as another medium. There is a bumping soundtrack playing overhead by talented local DJ Alex Ferguson-Bell, half of OKDeeJays  and 91.9 Nightvisions Radio DJ. The closing reception is being held August 3rd, during the trolley hop from 6pm -9pm and cocktail and bar snacks will be served compliments of MEAT.

This is just the beginning of the art and entertainment going on this week in our city. The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft have two exhibits going on, Rufus Wainwright is playing at the Iroquois Amphitheatre on Sunday, and the Squallis Puppeteers are performing on Saturday. Don’t forget also about the many places that have exhibits all year round, like 21c museum and the JB Speed Art Museum. 

Take advantage of Louisville’s excellent arts resources!

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Louisville and Grilled Cheese

Lil Cheezers The Highlands Louisville KYSo how does everybody feel about the Lil Cheezers Food Truck getting their own permanent restaurant space?  I think more power to them. Grilled cheese is a staple food in almost every child’s life, the crunchy, hot, buttery bread, with the ooey gooey cheesy center. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. And everyone has an opinion on which way is the correct way to cut a grilled cheese. Is it in triangles or rectangles? I say without a  doubt a grilled cheese has to be in triangles. Whatever your opinion or preference, we can all agree that grilled cheese is delicious and that Lil Cheezers is taking them to a whole new level.

 Lil Cheezers is one of the eight food trucks currently in Louisville, and that number is growing.   Food trucks in the area span from Burgers to tacos to pizza and vegan options. Louisville street food is a popular new trend, supplying delicious and convenient food to the Louisville community. The Lil Cheezers food truck is taking things a step further and has moved into one of the many cursed buildings on Bardstown Road, which has most recently been Jamie’s 14k Cupcakes and Potstickers, both of which were unfortunately short lived. Lil Cheezers has been a successful food truck serving tasty spins on the comforting grilled cheese sandwich. Favorites include the Fancy Pants which consists of brie, caramelized onions, granny smith apples, and walnuts, and the Beef n Cheddar, whose roast beef and cheddar cheese melts in your mouth. The new restaurant will serve an expanded menu that I’m sure we are all eager to taste.   

 Tom + Chee The Highlands Louisville KYTThe news of Lil Cheezers restaurant space came shortly after the opening of a similar restaurant only a short distance away on Bardstown Road. Tom and Chee is located next to Sapporo, across from Vint coffee. Tom and Chee is a chain made popular for it’s grilled cheese donuts and creative grilled cheeses including a Grippos BBQ and bacon grilled cheese. Tom and Chee has even attracted celebrity cliental like Man vs. Food’s Adam Richmen. Tom and Chee offers a large variety of grilled cheese options with a selection of deli meats, soups, and salads as well. There is a large section of the menu dedicated to grilled cheeses with potato chips, combining the best of both worlds!

 The question begs to be asked, will the Louisville food community really support two grilled cheese restaurants within such close proximity to one another? I guess we will find out soon enough, and hope Lil Cheezers can break the spell of one of Bardstown Road’s many cursed buildings. Let the best grilled cheese win! For more information on Louisville food trucks and street food, go to LouisvilleStreetFood.com and for more information on Lil Cheezers, go to lilcheezers.com.

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Louisville's NuLu Pop Up

This Friday will mark the last Pop Up Friday of the hip NuLu East Market District. Every Friday of July, the retailers and restaurants of the NuLu neighborhood offer special late night hours, discounted items, and refreshments. From 7:00pm to 9:00pm there will be free live outdoor entertainment to add to the festivities. The event is family friendly and is sure to provide excellent food, top notch shopping, and an exciting ambiance that is uniquely Louisville.

Louisville’s Downtown has recently undergone major development and with the revitalization of many downtown neighborhoods, the growth of Louisville’s Downtown has never looked brighter. Louisville is the largest central business district in the state of Kentucky and with the recent opening of the KFC Yum Center in Central Downtown, the community is booming from the center outwards. 

Louisville’s Downtown is made up of five districts; East Main District, West Main District, Medical Center District, Fourth Street District, and the Civic Center District. East Main is also home to Louisville’s historic Whiskey Row, a row of seven historic buildings built between 1852 and 1905 that served as Kentucky’s bourbon industry’s epicenter.   

Louisville’s East Main and Market Streets make up the East Main District. It was not that long ago that East Main and Market were lined with run down historic buildings, but now they are now this neighborhood is thriving. This area has been lovingly named NuLu, and is flourishing with restaurants, bars, and retail shops. Toast on Market, Mayan Café and Wiltshire on Market are a few of the staple restaurants of the NuLu District. RYE, Please and Thank You, and Garage Bar, are some of the new local hot spots, and Ghyslain On Market and La Coop: Bistro a Vins add a French flair to the Street. There are eighteen restaurants to date, within a three or four block span of the NuLu neighborhood, giving the Highland’s “Restaurant Row” a run for their money. Not only are there excellent restaurants in NuLu, but there are rows of locally owned boutiques with some of the most unique offerings. Scout, Red Tree, and Revolver offer home furnishings, gifts, and home accessories that are sure to make you smile. Each store has it’s own individual style and carries something for everyone. There are rows of art galleries along the street as well. Nearly ten art galleries line Market Street, including Zephyr Gallery, Mary Craik Gallery, and Swanson Reed Gallery. Other shops include antique shops, environmental building supply stores, natural bath soaps, and soon to come, an artisan butcher shop.  

There is definitely a shift towards Downtown that I see being made. Where it used to be that without question you went to dinner on Bardstown Road at Ramsis, Sapporo, or the now defunct Avalon, you now have a choice which area you want to spend your night in. Should we go to the Highlands, NuLu, or maybe Downtown to the new prohibition style St. Charles Exchange or delicious barbeque joint Doc Crows?  My hypothesis is that in five years we will all be spending our nights Downtown or in the NuLu district. My only question though, is what is considered our “Downtown.”  With Downtown expansion and revitalization, the lines will inevitably become blurred.  Are the Highlands considered Downtown? Is Nulu considered “Downtown?”  What do you think?

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Celebrate the Olympics in Louisville

The Summer Olympic Games are kicking off tonight in London with what is promising to be an exciting opening ceremony. There are many who think that London will struggle to match the spectacular opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, whose large scale choreographed drummers stole the show. London officials, are making clear that they have many secrets up their sleeves for their opening ceremony and that it wont disappoint.  

 My own household is getting filled with American flags, and red, white and blue decorations, in preparations for our Olympic party tonight. Everyone coming has to wear their country’s colors and be ready to indulge in backyard Olympic games. You can feel the Olympic buzz in the air as more and more people are getting into the Olympic spirit. The Olympics bring seventeen days of pure competitive fun, where no matter what your race, religion, or economic status, you can enjoy the games with your neighbor.  

 For the duration of the games, all over the city you will find Summer Olympic events, restaurant specials, and community viewing gatherings. Beginning July 27, and running through August 11 at 11:00pm, the Pub at Fourth Street Live will host Summer Olympic viewing parties. The Pub is a place to view all the big medal events while offering a special Olympic drink menu featuring Olympic beer samplers, an Olympic cocktail, and “World Team Beer Buckets.” 

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 If you want to learn more about the Olympics, we have a rare opportunity to view some of Olympic history right here in Louisville. The JB Speed Art Museum is hosting some of the Summer Olympics most memorable and historically relevant pieces of nostalgia as part of a new exhibition. Interesting pieces include the first ever torch, from the Berlin Olympics, and the torch famously held by Mohammed Ali in the 1966 Olympics, that’s wooden handle was made in Louisville at the Louisville Slugger factory. Also at the Speed Art Museum is another exhibit focused on the Olympics; Going for the Gold: Selections from the Kebric Olympic Collection. The exhibit features 27 torches and posters from the collection of Dr. Robert Kebric, Professor of Ancient Greek and Roman History and the Olympic Games at the University of Louisville. The torches and posters explore the art and propaganda within the Olympics games. Both exhibits are open now until August 26th and there is a $10 entry fee to the Museum.  

 For the next seventeen days every restaurant and bar with a television will have it set to the Olympics, and everyone will be discussing yesterdays medalists. Embrace the Olympics because it will be another four years before we see them again. Many restaurants will be having specials, so consider that before you make a decision on where to go for dinner. The Olympics are truly a magical time where the whole World becomes unified. Go team USA!

 

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Run for The West End School

Normally at 7pm on a weekday night, I would be hanging out on my front porch, drinking a glass of wine and watching my two year old son run around with the neighborhood children. There is usually a group of about five or six of them throwing water balloons or selling lemonade out of their homemade stand. Tonight however, thanks to my gracious neighbor who is in tip top shape, I am considering running in my first ever 5k. Crazy I know, considering the heat index is going to be hitting the upper 90’s at the kickoff to the race, but I can’t resist helping a noble cause.   

 The St. Matthews Mid-Summer’s Night 5K Run/Walk is going on it’s 3rd year, and supports Louisville’s West End School. The run starts in the parking lot of Bethel St. Paul Church, located at 4004 Shelbyville Road, in the heart of St. Matthews. Once the race is over, there will be a cookout on the outside patio of Saints Pizza and Pub located at 131 Breckenridge Lane. Awards will be given out for the races’ top male and female finishers in seven age categories as well as the top three overall finishers. The age categories are as listed below:

14 and under
15-19
20-29
30-39
40-49
50-59
60 and over 

Day-of race registration is $40 and includes a tee-shirt and admission to the cookout.  

T
he West End School is a free, private college preparatory middle school that opens it’s doors to young men that would otherwise not have the opportunity to go to such a prestigious school. All prospective students must have been on free or reduced lunches, be capable of doing academic work at or above grade level, and be able to benefit from the school’s environment. The students live at the school year round during the week, and all room and board, tuition, and daily expenses are free, paid for by donations. The West End School opened it’s doors in 2005, when it’s founders recognized a growing need for alternative forms of education for Louisville’s at risk youth, particularly troubled teen boys. The West End School is expanding, unveiling it’s new Elementary School this year. For more information on both schools, or on how you can help, visit their website, www.westendschool.org.

 The West End School is an inspiring place doing magnificent things and it often goes unnoticed, existing in Louisville and is rarely talked about. The St. Matthews Mid Summer’s Night 5K Run/Walk is an excellent way to spread the word about the school, but I’m surprised there is not more buzz about it. There are many charities that do great work in Louisville but fall by the wayside. My suggestion is, if you find a charity, or a school in my case that you feel is doing excellent work, tell everyone you know about it, bring it up in most conversations, and become that charity or school’s advocate. Through my research on the West End School, I am going to learn more and see what I can do to help. I would love to hear what charities or other worthy causes you think I need to be helping too. 

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Nothing Beats a Summer Drive through Oldham County

One of the things I love best about Louisville is the diversity within the city itself. Within ten minutes from sitting on my front porch in the Highlands, I can be skipping rocks on the riverfront, admiring the graceful horses galloping on some of Kentucky’s most beautiful farmland, or enjoying a night out sipping a cocktail in one of the newest hip restaurants.  Summertime in Louisville is a time when the city in all its forms comes alive and I love to take it all in.

 One of my favorite things to do in the Summer in Louisville is to drive out to Prospect and Oldham County and take in my surroundings. I usually start with a drive down Rose Island Road. My two-year-old likes to call Rose Island the “Fun Road.” We love to drive down the windy street, point out the various animals in the Henry’s Ark Petting Zoo, and wave to owners as they ride their horses. The most exciting part of Rose Island Road though, are all the “wee bumps.”  There are an incredibly high number of hills and turns on Rose Island Road turning it into a roller coaster if driven friskily, and boy is my son appreciative when his mom and dad drive a little frisky. As we go over each hump in the road we all scream “wee” and those not driving put our hands in the air. I have learned the simplest things are what makes my son the happiest. 

 We usually turn onto Mayo Lane next. Mayo Lane is my favorite Street to drive down if I am in the mood to gawk at homes in Oldham County. This street is filled with some of the most breathtakingly beautiful farmhouses in Kentucky. The magnificent manors shock me every time I see them and never disappoint. These homes embody Kentucky’s beauty and wealth and every time I see them they remind me why I love being from Kentucky.  

By the time I’m done drooling over the mansions of Mayo Lane, the kids are usually ready to get out of the car, so I usually circle back to Henry’s Ark at the beginning of Rose Island Road by US 42. Henry’s Ark is a free petting zoo that is run entirely off of donations. It was opened out of the goodness of the owners’ hearts for the community and the animals. Henry’s Ark is filled with exotic and local animals such as zebras, bison, deer, ostrich, and goats.  It’s a good idea to bring carrots or left over bread or crackers to feed the animals when you go, so you can get a closer look.   

Sometimes we keep driving down US 42, away from Louisville, to admire more of the farmland. Goshen and Starlight are beautiful cities with so much to offer. We often stop in Goshen at the Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve to run around, or play for a while on their playground.  

Summer in Louisville is a time for exploring your City.  I suggest picking a direction and driving, you never know what you will find.  What I have found so far is that Louisville is full of wonderful surprises. 

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