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Monday, November 5, 2012

A Visit To The Kentucky Horse Park and Bourbon Trail With Mali Mish

Kentucky Horse Park Campground
Lexington, Kentucky

    We couldn't resist squeezing in another quick weekend with Dan, Marlene and the gang from Mali Mish. They are staying in Louisville and we planned to meet up in Lexington, Kentucky at the Kentucky Horse Park Campground. Even though Lexington is a mere two hours away, I have never stopped for a visit. After a quick taste of what the Bluegrass section of Kentucky offers, I am glad we did. Lexington is known for horses, bourbon and the University of Kentucky basketball program. We hit two out of three this weekend and a return trip is guaranteed.

     I have always wanted to check out the horse farms in the Bluegrass section of the state. To say they were impressive would be an understatement. The endless black fences, the limestone walls and the gorgeous homes make for a nice countryside drive. It is all about the horses on these estates. I should have taken some photos but I was busy looking for a restaurant with Dan and Marlene in tow. We did not want to tour bourbon distilleries on an empty stomach.

     The food in Kentucky is a bit on the heavy side. There is no mistaking the fact that you are in the South. Luckily Dan likes to eat too. The classic Louisville dish that I sampled while in nearby Lexington is the Kentucky Hot Brown. It is basically an open faced turkey sandwich topped with Mornay sauce, cheese and bacon. My version also had ham. It looks like a heart attack on a plate but I enjoyed every bite. This particular manifestation pictured below was the third version that Dan has sampled while visiting Kentucky.
Kentucky Hot Brown

     We arrived at the Kentucky Horse Park to meet up with Dan and Marlene and the first order of business was to figure out where to eat. I had read about a place called the Parkette Drive In which serves burgers, fried chicken and chili dogs in an old style diner. This was the first stop on our heart healthy tour of Lexington. The restaurant had a great look but I was hoping for a little more in the taste department. I do give it high marks for the look of the interior.

Lucy wanted to know the password on the jukebox

Pinball Wizards

Lucy and Mila did not care whether the Poor Boy was a great burger.  They just wanted to goof around.
     By the time we returned to the campground, it was late so we did not light up a fire. Instead, the girls hung out in the Troutstream for a bit. The next morning we planned on visiting some bourbon distilleries. With six kids between the two couples, it made for an interesting experience. The nice thing about having six kids on a tour for adults who need a drink is that you can always count on one to misbehave at any given moment. All kidding aside, the kids did well on the tours. We hit a small operation and a large operation. Our first visit was to Four Roses Distillery. Then we visited the mass production facility for Wild Turkey. What a study in contrasts. Four Roses looked like something straight out of Napa while the Wild Turkey facility looked a bit like Auschwitz. Having said that both tours were enjoyable. Melizza is not accustomed to taking the hard stuff straight. Her facial expressions are priceless. I will leave it to Dan to educate you about the production of bourbon on his blog. There are at least seven distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and you must have at least 51% corn mash for the product to be considered bourbon.  Suffice it to say that this part of Kentucky produces the best bourbon in the world. 

Dan and I convinced the girls to watch Napoleon Dynamite with us.  We bribed them with popcorn.

So sweet holding hands

Fermentation Room
Jack enjoyed this tour except for the fermentation smell

Finally we got a taste
A little on the strong side for Melizza.  She prefers the Bourbon Slushie as compared to straight up.
Wild Turkey

The new fifty million dollar production facility
Cornmeal Fried Oysters at Wallace Station in Versailles, Kentucky.  My favorite restaurant on the trip.  The Hot Brown Burger was mighty tasty as well.
Wild Turkey Fermentation
Me and my baby of Four Roses
Just breathe Melizza
     On Saturday night, we returned to the Kentucky Horse Park Campground and lit up a fire. Dan and I spent more time in front of the fire than the rest of the crew. The kids came out to roast some marshmallows and Melizza and Marlene hung out with for a while. It had rained earlier and the kids wanted to play inside. The highlight of the evening for me was hanging out with Jack later that night. He brought out his Macbook and introduced Dan to his favorite cartoon "The Regular Show". We watched an episode in front of the fire. Dan and I seem to have the same sense of humor as an eleven year old. After Jack tapped out, Dan and I watched the Croatia episode of No Reservations fueled by a warm fire and India Pale Ale. I can honestly say that it was the first time I have watched streaming videos in front of a fire. This campground had great WiFi. We had a good time and laughed late into the night.

     The Kentucky Horse Park Campground was a pleasant place to stay. There are about 300 water and electric sites. It has the feel of a private park but it is officially a state park and priced accordingly. Since it is adjacent to the Kentucky Horse Park, it is a bit more refined than a typical state park. They have a nice pool, tennis courts and an arcade. I imagine that this place is packed in the summer.  On this trip, we were there for the final day of the season for many of the attractions at the Kentucky Horse Park.

     On Sunday, we visited the Kentucky Horse Park. It is part museum and part showcase of all things equestrian. The highlight for the kids was the horseback riding. Lucy got the little pony ride around the ring while Jack and Ethan went on a longer ride.

Happy Little Cowgirl
Maggie liked the dog to squirrel ratio during our stay

Mali Mish and Troutstream.  The only game in town for Airstream bloggers with half Asian kids.

Ethan on his first big horse

     Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that Ethan performed his Gagnam Style dance in front of a camera crew that happened to be visiting from Korea. They filmed him performing his dance and followed him around for a while to film him. They were making a documentary about horses and tourism. What are the odds that a Korean film crew would be at the Kentucky Horse Park and spot Ethan? Maybe he will become a teen idol in Seoul.  Hopefully, they were not from Pyongyang.

     It was sad to leave our new friends today. Our families get along well together. Hopefully, we will meet up in the near future. Perhaps we will visit them in Florida before they head back west.  Dan has proposed an Albuquerque Baloon Festival reuinion. I hope we can make that happen. As for Lexington, we'll be back next year.


  1. Okay, Doug :) Finding myself a wee bit jealous of all the fun you're having!!! Good friends, good food and apparently good drink! I hope you guys make it to Oregon one of these days. You'll have an excellent tour guide!!


    1. We enjoy the company of Dan, Marlene, Mila, Ava and baby Luka. I wish we had more time to hang out with our new friends. The Airstream community is great. It brought our two families together. It is fun to explore with friends that our truly savor adventure and have a sense of curiosity about the world. We are already thinking about sailing in the Caribbean with them sans Airstream. As for Oregon, we will definitely make it out there. We just have a bit of country between here and there. I just need some time. I admire Dan and Marlene for getting out of their comfort zone and taking the time to see this great country including areas that are not frequently visited by tourists. I hope all is well with you and I will take you up on the tour guide offer. I just picked up my Airstream from Jackson Center today and we are ready for our trip to Texas.