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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Way back in October before my dad had his accident, C & I spent a couple of days in Indianapolis for a getaway.  Indy was a city in easy driving distance for us that we had never been to so we hit the road to see the sights.  The first day we went to Edinburgh, Indiana to do a little shopping at the Premium Outlets and, let me tell you, it was the BEST outlet mall we had ever been to.  We found lots of bargains and only went in about 10% of the stores there before we ran out of time.  I would love to go back this spring to shop there again.

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We spent the night in Edinburgh and headed to Indy the next morning after going back to the mall for a few minutes.  Along the way, we stopped and ate at Jimmy Buffett’s Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant.

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This is a chain restaurant, but not one in our normal area and it was good.  We both got cheeseburgers and fries.  The meal was tasty, but if we go back I would like to go to a couple of local eateries instead of a chain.  Maybe next time.  One of the main reasons we chose Indy was to go their zoo and aquarium located inside the zoo.  Unfortunately, it rained all day long while we were there, but we still enjoyed the zoo. The aquarium part is pretty small except the dolphin exhibit.  The underwater dome was awesome!  The next pics will show the zoo highlights.

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Indy has a great skyline even in the rain.  We did a drive-by of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but since there wasn’t a race we couldn’t get a very good view.

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The attraction that I most wanted to see was Monument Circle and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument so we braved the rainy weather and downtown traffic to go. If you are in the Indy area, I highly recommend visiting this area of downtown.  There are several shops and restaurants that I would love to go back and visit if we have a chance to.  It is also just down the street from the arena where the Indiana Pacers play.

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My grandmother, “Nanny”, and my Aunt M are usually not big travellers, but when Nanny saw a commercial for Huber’s Orchard and Winery in Starlight, Indiana, she was hooked and really wanted to visit.  I had a Thursday off from work in early October so we went to see it.  When I went online to find directions, I discovered that there is actually two different businesses, Huber’s Orchard and Winery along with Joe Huber’s Family Farm and Restaurant.  They are just a mile apart so it makes it easy to visit both in the same day.

We took I-65 up to Louisville and then took I-64 over to New Albany, Indiana and followed the directions from there.  The drive was very pretty and we were all surprised at the long and winding road you take to get there.  Thankfully, there are plenty of signs along the way so you know you are still on the right path.  We arrived at the Huber’s Orchard and Winery first and the views there are gorgeous.

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Huber’s raises all sorts of crops to try to have year ‘round interest so we passed Christmas trees…

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and vineyards…

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before getting to the actual location, which was spectacular!  Here are several photos of the different ponds, animals and decorations along their drive to the store.

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When we parked and walked up to the store, there is a talking tree that lets you know about the day’s specials and what is available.

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There were pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn galore.  I could have spent a fortune, but I just had to pick a few and make myself walk away.  I loved the way they used the old vehicles to display the pumpkins.

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While we were walking around admiring the outdoor scenery, there was this delicious smell wafting through the air.  After entering their store, we knew why…there is a full bakery loaded with cookies and candy and breads and dumplings.  Oh, my, I wish I could bottle that smell.  It was heavenly!  We all purchased a few things here.  I bought a few cookies and gala apples while Nanny chose a couple of sweet bread loaves and fudge.

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Next, we drove up the road to Joe Huber’s Family Farm and Restaurant.  This was a really neat place, too, and kids would love it!  They have lots of activities like a corn maze and tractor rides along the farm.

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There is a store located here as well and I purchased some Cherry BBQ sauce that was really good.  I had been told that the food at the restaurant is delicious, but we didn’t take the time to eat here.  Their fall decorations were beautiful and they had a few small gardens to tour as well.

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Sorry, I know this a long post, but there was so much to see at these two locations!  Finally, here is a self-portrait of the three of us at Huber’s Orchard and Winery and, FINALLY, my little display using the pumpkins I bought there.  If you have a chance to go, I highly recommend it.

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Talented pooches at the Kentucky State Fair…

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Today’s post will finish up my “tour” of Newport, Kentucky, that I started two weeks ago with the post about the Newport Aquarium.  Do you remember me mentioning the Duck ride multiple times?  Could you sort of tell that I really enjoyed it and would LOVE to do it again?  No, well, I did and I would!

A Duck is a World War II era amphibious vehicle built for the armed forces to use as supply carriers after the soldiers would commandeer an area.  These beauties would roll in with the things they need to set up camp, but they had one big downfall.  The Ducks are pretty slow, both on water and land, so most of them ended up at the bottom of the ocean.  The one we rode in wasn’t finished in time to be sent to the war zone, so it is not, alas, a veteran.

With no further ado, here is the Duck:

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We went aboard and was given a “Wacky Quacker” to use during the tour.  Here are C & I modeling ours:

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It makes a really loud duck sound and we were told to quack at anyone we wanted to, especially Cincinnati police officers because they just loved it!  The tour guide, Robert, was awesome.  Here he is demonstrating the proper use of the life vests:

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He said he was a good German boy, but he had always wanted to be Italian, so we were welcome to call him Rrrroberto complete with rolled Rs and hand gestures.  We took off and crossed the bridge into Ohio and the captain took us down a few city streets until we reached the dock.  Ours was the second duck in line so we got to watch the first one enter the water.  The captain told us we have to hit the water at top speed (which on the road doesn’t feel that fast, but wait until you are heading into a river) or the engine would get wet and stall out.  After we watched the first one go in, some teenage girls in the very back seat asked if it was too late to move because they were going to get WET! 

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Into the water we went uneventfully and started motoring down the river.  There are some really beautiful homes and artwork along the river and we tried to take in everything we could.

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There is a suspension bridge connecting Kentucky and Ohio and Robert told us a funny story about when the bridge was new.  At the time, German immigrants made up most of the population of Newport and Cincinnati and they were very scared of new things.  Since the bridge didn’t have any supports underneath it, the people thought that just a few people standing on the bridge would make it collapse.  The government had the bright idea of temporarily opening a Bratwurst and beer stand and selling both for a penny.  Robert said that this made the Germans get on the bridge, because even though they were afraid for their life, they weren’t going to pass up that kind of bargain.  I don’t know if the story is true, but it is funny.

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After about a mile on the water, the captain turned the Duck around and headed by showing us the Cincinnati Reds’ relatively new stadium, The Great American Ballpark along with some of the other buildings on the riverfront.

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Then our tour took us through part of downtown Cincinnati which included some of the original and beautiful German architecture.

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We then crossed back over into Kentucky and saw the World Peace Bell that was erected in Newport after the 9/11 attacks.

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After winding up our Duck tour, we decided to check out the Purple People Bridge.  It was originally a train trestle, but when it was decommissioned the cities made a pedestrian only bridge out of it.  We didn’t walk all the way across though.  I think that would be pretty nerve-wracking for me, anyway.

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If you have the chance to go to Newport On The Levee, go!  It was a lot of fun squeezed into a small amount of space.

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Beautiful homes near the Ohio River…

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Views from the Ohio River…

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June fourteenth is a very special day for C & I because it is our wedding anniversary.  This year was our 11th year of marital harmony (most of the time), so we decided to take a mini-vacation to celebrate.  We knew we wanted to go see an Imax movie and, at first, thought about Nashville since it is only a couple of hours from us, but then I found out there is an Imax theater in Newport, Kentucky along with an aquarium and other fun things.

All of these attractions are located in one complex called Newport On The Levee and it was well worth the three hour drive (each way) for us.  The location was a cinch to find off of I-75 because, when you reach the Newport area, there are signs telling you what exit to take for the Newport Aquarium and then other signs on the city streets that take you right to it.  We were there on Thursday so the parking at Newport Intermediate School was only $2 for the whole day.  What a bargain!  Our original plan was to visit the aquarium and ride the Duck on Thursday, then see the Imax matinee on Friday.  Since everything was right there together, we were able to do all three things on Thursday. 

Today’s photos will be of the aquarium.  This is the third big aquarium we have been to and it was just as good as Gatlinburg’s and better than the one at Virginia Beach.  We also were able to buy a combo ticket for the aquarium and Duck tour that gave us a pretty good discount.  I have mentioned that Duck tour twice now, haven’t I?  Wonder what that is?  Hmmm?

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Pretty fish!

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Ms. Octopus was not happy!  One of the other visitors took a photo using a flash (against the rules) and the octopus went crazy in her tank.

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Mighty Mike the alligator.  He blinked and the aquarium guide said that was the most movement he had made all day.

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A pretty Lorikeet

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The jellyfish are always one of my favorite marine animals to watch.  It is so relaxing to watch them swim around.

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C was keeping a close eye on that shark.  Can’t you just hear the Jaws theme song in your head?

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This isn’t all…come back for the next edition for our incredibly fun and entertaining Duck ride!

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Fun in Newport, KY…

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Last week, C & I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, for his annual work conference presented by KySTE (Kentucky Society for Technology in Education).  C is the technology coordinator for our local school system and this conference is held to present new ideas for technology in the classroom and schools.  I tag along every year for a mini-vacation that is partially paid for and I always get a lot of good rest and get to eat a lot of great food.

The conference is held at the Galt House Hotel which is in the heart of downtown Louisville right up the street from Fourth Street Live and other big public venues.  I like to pick one new restaurant every year to try out and last year we ate at Bistro 301 and it was so good!  This year I picked Impellizzeri’s which is an Italian restaurant on West Main Street. We had a short walk from our hotel on Fourth Street down past the Actor’s Theater of Louisville and the KFC Yum! Center to get the what is known as “Whiskey Row”.  Let me just say that it is a beautiful urban area that is perfect for walking.  In fact, we parked our car on Tuesday night when we arrived and didn’t move it until Friday at lunch to head home.  Whiskey Row is just a short section of West Main Street that has been refurbished with remodeled apartments and many eateries.  Impellizzeri’s is one such eatery and I picked that one to try.

A lot of the NCAA conference tournaments were going on during that time so all of the televisions in the restaurant were tuned it to those which didn’t bother us a bit.  This is more of a family/social kind of restaurant and the ballgames were good entertainment.  We ordered bread sticks with pizza sauce and garlic butter on the side for dipping and these were out of this world good!!  The breadsticks come swimming in garlic butter while still in the pan and they are fresh made and steaming hot when you get them.  I could have made a meal just with them and a salad, and that’s probably what we should have done.  That would have been the smart and “healthier” thing to do, but no, we also ordered a small pizza with Italian sausage.  We were just a little disappointed in the pizza.  I thought it needed more sauce and the sausage was spicier than the Italian sausage I am used to and not quite as sweet.  The crust was great…thin and crispy on the bottom and just a little chewy around the edges. Yum!

Now, don’t come here if you need to get in and out in a hurry.  They make everything as it is ordered so there will definitely be a wait time, but it is worth it just for the breadsticks.  I could eat a few right now!

I was a bad food blogger though because I forgot to take a camera with me.  Oh, well, just take my word for it and go to Impellizzeri’s and order the breadsticks. With pizza sauce and garlic butter. Then dip the sticks in both of them with each bite.

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Today’s thoughts are a continuation of the last post about C & my weekend trip to Nashville.  Let’s see…we covered our reason for going (to see the awesome Broadway show, Wicked) and we covered the local restaurant we tried and LOVED, 417 Union.  Today, I wanted to show you some of the local “flavor” of Nash-vegas, the nightlife!

On our way to the show, we drove down Broadway in search of dinner.  We had allowed ourselves 2 hours to eat before showtime, but it wasn’t enough.  I guess I just wasn’t thinking clearly…downtown Nashville + beautiful autumn Saturday night = HUGE CROWDS!  The restaurant we had planned on going to called The Big River Grille had lines down the street and most of the other eateries had the same kind of crowds.  We ended up grabbing a snack at TPAC’s café before the show instead.  It was a giant brownie and a bottle of water.  It was good and I am glad of it since that was our dinner.  The photos below show some of the early evening scenes on Broadway.

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When Wicked was over, we made our way back to Broadway heading to our hotel.  It was around 11:00pm and it was a different scene then.  The nightlife crowd was out and about and people were cruising the streets looking for fun or, like us, cruising the streets just to see what we could see!

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The next morning we made our way to the Opryland Hotel.  Now, if you have never been there and you are ever in Nashville, it is a must-see!  C & I stayed there on our honeymoon with a garden view room which has a little balcony attached.  It was beautiful.  The hotel suffered major damage last year due to flooding and re-opened last Thanksgiving weekend.  I wanted to go see if there were a lot of changes.  There really wasn’t.  The builders just restored it back to its previous opulence, but most of the gardens still looked the same.  Still beautiful, and still well worth the time to go through them.

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We really enjoyed our weekend and can’t wait to go back!

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