On the day we left Louisville and headed for West Virginia we woke up early to explore two more spots. It was gloomy and rainy, which is never that fun for exploring, but we didn’t let that stop us – and in turn it set the mood. Our first stop was the Seelbach Hotel one of the oldest and finest hotels in America, where F. Scott Fitzgerald was inspired for parts of the Great Gatsby. Sadly, all my photos from inside the hotel are blurry, perhaps the ghost of the Seelbach feel it’s a no photos establishment.
After the Seelbach we went to the art hotel, aka 21C Museum Hotel. A hotel with a full-fledged modern art museum off the main lobby. It’s been so long and my notes have gone missing, so I don’t know what the show’s title was or the name of most of the artists. I checked their website for past exhibitions and recall the Gina Phillips work, but there was a whole second collection I can’t find any information on. All I recall is that it was work from artists all around the world. If you know any of the artists below please comment with their name and link to website and I will correctly label the work.
While we walked down hallways and continued to explore the hotel as much as we could without a room key, we found this photo of John Waters. Mr. Waters is one of my idols, I love his creative spark, relentless spirit and authentic self. Now I don’t know John Waters personally, but like Dolly Parton, he owns who he is regardless of what the world might think of him and doesn’t apologize for being himself. Seeing his photo was like getting a sign I was on the right path, I was supposed to be on this trip and just experience what it was going to bring.
“I know it’s all very charming with the pickled things in jars and the Southern Charm” – Hollie Baylor
The Bluegrass state stole my heart, and I don’t think I’ll ever get it back. From the moment we drove into Kentucky I felt like I was driving home. We had Ryan Adams coming through the radio, and the brilliant colored leaves whipping outside the window. The plan for day was to land in Louisville to sleep, and on our way there we would visit Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace and Elizabethtown.
I feel very close to our 16th president. After taking a 50 question survey on which American president I would be, I am most similar to Abraham Lincoln. I find this to be my greatest testament of character, and wish I could add it to my resume. “Personality type for problem solving, leadership, and community is identical to our most beloved president Abraham Lincoln,” says the online 50 question survey. Abraham Lincoln was also an Aquarius. Sadly because of our other detours on our way to Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace, we arrived after it was closed. Thirty minutes too late, the yellow barrier fence blocked me from visiting the cabin off in the distance where Lincoln took his first breath. The barrier fence was as tall as my knee. I could easily jump over and run like a maniac down the hill, but considering it’s federal land, I didn’t feel like trespassing that day. We later drove over to Abraham Lincoln’s ‘boyhood home’ where he lived till his family moved to Illinois. It’s not the actual house he lived in, but it’s in the same area and gives travelers a sense of the land that shaped Lincoln.
The detours that delayed us from Lincoln’s birthplace included fossil washing at Historic Diamond Caverns, and using the restroom at Dinosaur World. I loved the days when we could just follow signs and billboards we saw off the highway. Totally spontaneous, it was the unplanned moments that shaped our most memorable encounters.
One of my top ten favorite movies is Elizabethtown. I’ve watched it countless times, love the soundtrack, and have quoted Claire in my own life. I even reference Elizabethtown in a past blog entry when talking about Bowerbird before we started dating. Elizabethtown is this small town in Kentucky, and although most of the small town scenes weren’t even filmed in Elizabethtown, I wanted to visit it. In the center of the downtown area is a court house that doubles as a fallout shelter. As it was after 5pm, everything was closed. Practically a ghost town, we received a few confused stares from the drivers going in the roundabout. I probably looked ridiculous as I was trying to capture buildings in the background of my multiple (failed) selfies. We weren’t there long, but it satisfied my Elizabethtown fantasy. Plus Bowerbird took a picture with a field of corn on our way out. Corn stalks are very tall.
Louisville is only about two hours from Elizabethtown, and sitting in the passenger seat I coordinated our Airbnb stay and found us a place to eat dinner. Searching Yelp I came across The Zanzabar, a bar and restaurant with pinball machines galore. I went to the website to view the menu and saw they were having a trivia night and would be showing the season premiere of The Walking Dead. It was a no-brainer we had to visit this place. A family run establishment, two brothers created their dream hang out. Good beer, great food, and lots of fun. The menus are inside vinyl record covers, we had Abba and BB King. We order the shrimp po-boy and fries. Both delicious and seasoned well, we loved that the po-boy had avocado inside. Zanzabar is all about that unexpected extra touch.
We met the co-owner Antz after he apologized for a drunk patron he had thought was bothering us. We told him everything was fine, and then started talking about music. We saw Surfer Blood was playing there in a few weeks, and we chatted about the other bands that have graced The Zanzabar stage. I impressed Antz by knowing the name of Sean Lennon’s band, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, when he was recounting how cool and nice Sean was. I’m still dying to see GOASTT. Not because of Sean Lennon’s famous father, but because I really love the music and artistic concept behind the group. Plus I have a total girl crush on Charlotte Kemp. Chatting about Los Angeles and traveling, we totally bonded with Antz. He gave us some Zanzabar swag and fun memories. Bowerbird kicked my butt at Dolly Parton pinball.
My one regret from this trip was that I didn’t take pictures of the people we met. I’d love to have an album filled with the faces of the interesting people from the road. Fortunately Antz and his brother were on Offbeat Eats with Jim Stacy, the “Game On” episode. You can see Antz in the video below playing a live action game of Donkey Kong. He has the green hat on.