After visiting Augusta, Kentucky, our next stop was Maysville, also in Kentucky.  It was here that the American Duchess cruise staff continued with the “Racing on the River” theme of our cruise by organizing a “3K” walk/ run through the quaint town.  There was no charge to enter the race, and our free entry included a t-shirt and a bourbon slush at the finish line— pre-breakfast, in our case.

What’s not to love?  Surprisingly, only about half of the passengers signed up.

Being a very active Masters competitive swimmer, my body is a lot happier in the water than on land, so I opted to walk the course and save my joints from the pounding of running.  I walk faster than Bruce, so we agreed to meet up at the end for a bourbon slush toast.

At 7:45 AM, we gathered in front of the tied-up ‘Duchess and waited for the horn to blast.  Annnnd, they’rrrre off!  Six passengers ran ahead, so I knew I could never catch them.

As I followed the course by myself, I was surprised to see that it was the real deal!  The local police had blocked off the streets and had cars posted at the intersection with officers holding back what little traffic there was that early in the morning.

I wasn’t wearing a watch, but I know how fast I walk.  To my surprise, when I turned one of the corners of the course, the finish line was just up ahead.  What?  Already??  That sure was a short “3K” race!  I asked the winner, a young gal from Belgium, what she thought, and she replied that it was more like a 2K course.  That, dear readers, is why I typed quotation marks around “3K.”

As it turned out, I was the first walker in, and I placed 7th overall.  To my surprise, the cruise director, Dustin, and his wife, Courtney (Assistant Cruise Director), along with Jeff, the other A.C.D., greeted every participant with a very nice-looking medal. (All three were actually the singers/dancers who doubled as cruise staff.)  The front of the spiffy medal has a running scene, and the back was inscribed with “American Duchess /Racing on the River /3K /Maysville, KY /July 17th, 2019.  Along with the cute shirt (I love the graphic!), the medal made a nice souvenir of the cruise.  It now hangs from the closet door in my home office, along with a bunch of swimming medals.  Even if it was just a participatory medal, that was the first—and will probably the last—medal I have ever received for a walk or run.  What a hoot!


Jeff, Me, Courtney, and Dustin, our cruise director


And, Bruce, with his medal

As for the bourbon slush, I’m not a bourbon (or any hard liquor) fan, but that drink was good!  It was fun hanging out with everybody at the finish line and watching the stragglers come in to a round of applause and cheers.


At the conclusion, we walked the short distance back to the boat for breakfast and to drop off our medals, before heading back into town to see everything we had quickly walked past during the race.

The featured attraction of Maysville is the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center, home of the Kathleen Savage Browning Miniature Collection, which is the largest miniature collection in the world—in this little town of 7,500 residents.  Even the exhibit my friend and I saw in Chicago was smaller than this one.


Walking into the gallery, I felt like a giant!  Remember that 1989 movie, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids?  Not only were the kids in miniature here, everything was!  How did the artists make everything so darn small?  Bruce plays a great blues harmonica, and we even saw a tiny miniature of one!



The harmonica Bruce was admiring (above) is in the lower front on the floor.

Each 1/12-scale miniature was personally collected by Maysville native, Kaye Browning.  Only a portion of her collection is displayed at any one time in the 3,300 square-foot gallery, so the exhibits rotate with the seasons.  At Christmastime, out come the tiny lit trees and Santas!

The highlight of the museum was the amazing miniature of Princess Diana’s childhood home, the Spencer House.  Kaye Browning commissioned artists to replicate in 1/12-scale the 18th century ancestral home.



This is the back of the Spencer House pictured above.

We watched a film about the making of this miniature masterpiece, and we were captivated by the patience these artists had in re-creating the oil paintings as tiny replicas.  Along with the mini Oriental carpets, bronze sculptures, upholstered furniture, sterling silver serving pieces, and gold gilt carvings; the entire reproduction was incredible to see up close.

Throughout the entire gallery, all we could say was, “Wow!  How did they make this so small?!”  Check out the hand-knit sweater, for example.  It looks large in the picture, but it was itty-bitty!  We were all just blown away.


To give you an idea of just how small this sweater was, imagine a miniature person wearing it and sitting in one of those chairs in the Spencer House above!


This is a full-size violin; however the instrument workshop depicted inside the violin is 1/12-scale.  Check out those teeny violins hanging above the workbench!



I love this mini needlepoint!  Wow!


And, how about this restaurant dining room scene, complete with cakes displayed at the center of the room?

After browsing through the other exhibits at the museum, we visited the Old Pogue Distillery where we had enjoyed our bourbon slush.  It is now a museum, and it was interesting to see the old equipment, barrels, bottles, and labels that were on display.


This very rare “Old Time” bottle dates back to 1900.  It was found in an antique store in California this year.

Have you ever wondered what makes a whiskey a “bourbon” whiskey?  First of all, it must be produced in the United States.  It is made from at least 51% corn and is distilled at 160 degrees or below.  Then, it is put in a new, charred oak barrel, and then put into a container at 125 degrees or below.  It contains no added substances other than water (which happens during the distillation process.)

To be called a “Kentucky Bourbon,” it must be produced, and then aged at least one year in the state of Kentucky.  To be a called a “Straight Bourbon,” it must be aged for a minimum of two years – if aged less than four years, it must have an age statement on the label.

So, there you have it.  And, it is all lost on me, I’m afraid…  Now, if it was chocolate, you would be speaking MY language!

Next stop was the Washington Opera House, the 5th oldest theater in the country still in use.  Built in 1898, it was completely restored in 2006.


I briefly paused during my race walk to snap this shot.

The town was small, but there were still a lot of interesting things to see.  A couple blocks over was the Russell Theatre, built in 1930 in the Spanish Colonial style.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the theatre is owned by a group of community leaders and is a registered non-profit.  Movies, concerts, and tours are conducted to raise funds to complete the restoration.  It is also available for rent, as is the Cox Building across the street where banquets and weddings are held in the interesting venue.




The Cox Building Banquet Hall

Here are more scenes captured while wandering downtown and dodging a downpour at one point:













It rained in the morning and afternoon, but by the time we left later in the afternoon, it was beautiful!




In 2015, during our seven-week road trip, we spent a wonderful day in downtown Louisville, touring the Louisville Slugger Museum and seeing other highlights of the city.  (See my blog post here.)

This time, we arrived in Louisville aboard the American Duchess, so we saw the city skyline from a different perspective.



Instead of revisiting downtown, we did something we missed during our first visit:  took a behind the scenes tour of Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.  Having seen Churchill Downs on TV over all these years, it was fun to be able to actually be there.  On this day, however, it was very quiet; not a horse to be found on the track.  It was a very hot day, and the horses that were there had been exercised hours before our tour.  (We had been fortunate to get to see the horses close-up during our tour of Keeneland Race Course during that road trip, but the timing just wasn’t right for this tour.)

One of the highlights of touring Churchill Downs was getting to meet 1970 Kentucky Derby winning jockey, Mike Manganello, who rode Dust Commander to victory.  We heard some interesting stories during our Q&A session with him and learned what life is like to be a professional jockey.


The other highlight was watching a film about the history of Churchill Downs that we viewed in a theater with a 360-degree screen.  We sat on stools in the center with the screen surrounding us.  As they showed footage from previous Kentucky Derby races, we spun around to watch as the horses raced a full 360 degrees around the screen.  Since the sound traveled with the scene, and the camera angles were very close-up, the experience was thrilling and quite unique!


Here are scenes from the day at the track:









Bill Shoemaker was one short guy! We toured the Churchill Downs Museum and learned about the great jockey.


Standing next to Wilt Chamberlin proves just how short Shoemaker was– and, how tall Chamberlin was in comparison!



Without a doubt, the highlight of Paducah is the National Quilt Museum.  The massive wall murals along the river depicting Paducah’s history are quite a sight as well; however, the quilts are, in one word, amazing.  More on that in just a moment…

Back to the murals, I didn’t photograph them this time, because I had done so during a previous visit.  If you are curious to see them, check out my 2017 blog post about Paducah that includes photos of the beautiful wall murals.

In that post on Paducah, you will notice something missing:  Photos of the quilts at the National Quilt Museum.  At the time, no photography of any kind was permitted, even without flash.  I was so disappointed, because the artistry in the exhibited quilts was unbelievable.

I was happy to learn that photography (without flash) would be permitted this time.  I went crazy with my camera!  Although most of the photos can be viewed in the “American Duchess River Cruise, July 2019” album on my photo sharing site, I tried to limit my selection for this post.

As you can see below, these aren’t your grandmother’s old-fashioned Colonial-era quilts that keep you warm at night.  These are works of art.  They are so incredible, that even the men from the riverboat who were dragged to the museum by their wives were saying, “Wow!” over and over again, as they viewed one phenomenal quilt after another.  Seriously.  Bruce loves this museum as much as I do!

A warning as you view these pictures:  They don’t do these quilts justice.  At all.  There is so much detail that couldn’t possibly be picked up by any camera to match what we saw in person.  These are just small pictures on a computer screen.  You really have to see the real thing.  If you ever have an opportunity to visit Kentucky, you must go to Paducah and see all of the exhibits at this wonderful museum.  Send me a message after your visit, too.


This “quilt” is actually carved from basswood! It is on display in the conference room at the National Quilt Museum. It was created by Fraser Smith, and measures 65″ x 42″ x 4″.


One of my favorite exhibits at the museum was of miniature quilts, measuring no more than 24″ on one side. The quilts in this glass case were the smallest on exhibit, measuring just a few inches long.



Look closely at the work that went into sewing each of the flowers. What patience!


The artist’s statement of this piece: “I decided making a small quilt (14-3/4″ x 21-1/4″) would be a fun, relaxing respite from my current large quilt. How long could it possibly take? I figured a few hours work for a couple of weeks. Little did I know that this fun project would take two months of working seven days week for fourteen hours a day. It was a great accomplishment to complete this quilt, but believe me it was pure joy to get back to my usual large quilts.” ~ Shirley P. Kelly, 2006



I first saw this quilt at the museum in 2017 during our “Mighty Mississippi” cruise. It was so disappointing at the time that photography was not permitted. This time, photos were allowed without flash, so I was thrilled to be able to photograph this amazing quilt.




This is a close-up of the previous picture.  So much detail!



This quilt was HUGE!


“Corona II: Solar Eclipse,” by Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry, measures 76″ x 94″ and is made from hand-dyed fabrics. It is machine pieced and machine quilted. It was named one of the 100 Best Quilts of the 20th Century.




“Breeze is the third quilt in my ‘Simply Sensational’ series using architectural settings to highlight each of the five senses. Touch is the only sense that involves the whole body. For this reason, I chose a rush of wind through and open window to completely surround the dog with the awareness of this sense.” ~ Rachel Wetzler


This was one of my favorites! “Port of Cassis,” by Lenore Crawford, measures 52″ x 48″. It was created from a photo that she took in the south of France at dusk.


This quilt as well as the following quilts (some are close-ups of the same quilt) were created by Danny Amazonas who started out as a professional floral designer in New York City in the 1970’s. I was mesmerized by how these quilts looked like photographs when viewed from a distance.








This was a huge mural that was several feet long and stretched across a wall.


A close-up of a fish from the previous photo.


Another close-up shows the pretty fabrics Danny Amazonas used to create his fish.








There are many forms of art and craft that have always fascinated me; however, quilting never captured my interest as much as glass-work or woodwork, my two favorite mediums.  That all changed in 2006, when I saw the most amazing quilts as part of a fiber arts exhibit, at the Southwest School of Art, in San Antonio.  Sometime after that, I heard that Paducah, Kentucky was home of the National Quilt Museum.

Paducah?  This California gal had never heard of Paducah, population +/- 25,000; however, I kept hearing the name over and over, after moving to Georgia.  When Bruce and I noticed Paducah was on the itinerary for our American Queen Steamboat cruise, it piqued our interest, because of the National Quilt Museum.  If the quilts at the exhibit we had attended were that amazing, imagine how incredible they would be at a national museum!


We made the museum our first stop, following the hop on-hop off bus tour of the artsy town that is located on the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers, halfway between St. Louis and Nashville.

As soon as we walked into the lobby, we knew this wasn’t just your grandmother’s quilt museum!  There are not enough adjectives to the describe the quilts we saw, and if photography (flash or otherwise) had been permitted, the pictures wouldn’t have done those quilts justice.  Go ahead and check out their website, though; you will be amazed!  Glancing at the current exhibit, you will think those are paintings hanging on the wall.  You can’t possibly imagine the thousands of hours that went into making some of those quilts, obviously labors of love.

I did, however, take pictures (with permission) of the gorgeous stained-glass windows in the lobby and conference room:






Visiting the National Quilt Museum was not only the highlight of our day in Paducah, but it was one of the highlights of the entire cruise.  Those sentiments were echoed by Bruce as well as several of the other men we spoke with on our cruise.  (Even the men who were dragged to the museum by their wives were enthusiastic about what they saw and happy they went along!)

Aside from the museum, the entire town of Paducah had such a cool, artsy vibe.   As a matter of fact, UNESCO designated Paducah as the world’s seventh City of Crafts and Folk Art, in 2013.  (Santa Fe, New Mexico is the only other American city given such a designation.)






In addition to the artistic feel of the town, great care has been taken to preserve the historic buildings of Paducah.  As a result, twenty blocks of the downtown commercial district have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.P1140621.JPG

















Paducah also did a great job of beautifying their formerly drab flood wall with murals designed and painted by Robert Dafford and his crew.  We enjoyed learning about Paducah’s history through these murals, just as we had done in Cape Girardeau.














Walking around downtown was such a pleasure, and we enjoyed seeing the historic (and beautifully maintained!) homes nearby.

American Queen Steamboat Company’s marketing department definitely got it right when they chose Paducah as the meeting point for American Queen and the company’s third riverboat, American Duchess.  On its inaugural river cruise, the brand-new Duchess arrived before sunset and tied up just ahead of our boat.  It was a beautiful evening that couldn’t have been planned any better.  As the passengers from both boats waved, shot photos, and shouted greetings, the Queen welcomed her sparkling new sister with several loud steam-horn blasts and a calliope concert.  It was a travel brochure moment for American Queen’s marketing department, and we were sure the drones that were sent up captured some amazing shots!  We sure had a lot of fun, too!


Although several of the crew and passengers went over to tour the Duchess, we opted to enjoy another fabulous dinner in the dining room, and wait until January to see the new girl in town.  (More to follow next month!)

Until then, here are some scenes from that Kodak moment, reminiscent of when the American Queen, Mississippi Queen, and Delta Queen met up in Paducah in 1996, as was depicted in one of the wall murals (above).





Coming up next:  A DAY “AT RIVER”




I could just hear the words of Trevor Denman with his British Accent as he called the races at Del Mar Racetrack, “Where the surf meets the turf.” It was an annual tradition to the go to the races at least once each summer and hear Trevor call them like no other announcer could. He did it with class.

A day at Del Mar was always exciting, especially when we would stand at the rail and feel the wind made by the horses racing by with palm trees as the backdrop. The smell of the ocean air, the warmth of the sun, and the sight of those gorgeous race horses… it was a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon. It was even an inexpensive way to spend the afternoon if we went during the week, brought our own chairs for the “cheap seats,” and spent only the minimum $2 on a bet for each race. Sometimes, we even walked out of there with more money in our pockets than we arrived with, so you couldn’t beat that!

Today brought back those fun memories when Bruce and I took a morning tour with Horse Farm Tours, Inc. Our guide took us in her van past famous horse farms, including the most famous, Calumet. We also toured Ball Farm, Walmac Farm, and Millenium Farm, learning all about the history of the region. Included on the tour were the farms and locations where parts of the movies “Secretariat,” “Sea Biscuit,” and “Dreamer” were filmed.

Our favorite part of the tour, though, was seeing Keeneland Race Course where the race scenes of all three movies were filmed. One look at the property upon arrival, and we could see why. It was drop-dead gorgeous!




It was so quiet and peaceful while we were there. There were no races or other events today, so we were the only people walking the grounds. A maintenance person was kind enough to let us into the high rollers and horse owner’s area to view the track below where we could see several race horses being exercised. What a view!

Later, we went down to the track level and bellied up to the rail to get up close and personal with the horses and their exercisers. That was the highlight of the tour. Everybody was so friendly as they rode by, and one of them smiled and said, “Have your camera ready when I come back by!” Then, one gal brought her beautiful gray mare up to the rail and talked with us for awhile and let us pet the horse. It was a much different experience than being at a track on race day!











Besides Keeneland Race Course, we were most impressed with the beauty of the entire area including Kentucky Horse Park and all of the area farms. Even on a cloudy day, the rolling lush green hills were gorgeous made even more so by the grace and beauty of the grazing horses and their foals.






At the conclusion of the tour, we drove a short distance to the tiny quaint town of Midway, another recommendation my sister gave us. She said it was “adorable,” and she was right!






From there we took her advice to see the Lexington Cemetery, because she said it was “just gorgeous!” Right again! It almost made me sad that all those who are buried there were missing out on the beauty of the place above!

Tomorrow, we’ll be on the road again and head north to Cleveland, Ohio to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the following day.


Berea, Kentucky deserves a hand for supporting local crafters and public art. This quaint little town has a cool vibe with its artists studios and small (1,500-2,000 students) liberal arts college.

As we explored the studios that were open (many were closed on Sundays), one lady who was planting flowers outside of her studio asked us if we wanted her to open her shop for us. We didn’t want her to go to the trouble, but she insisted, and we ended up hearing some interesting stories from Mary about the town, her studio, and the hand she painted for the public art project.

A tornado had ripped through Berea and destroyed her hand, but she spent the money to have it painstakingly pieced back together. It was a wonderful story told by this weaver who had many more interesting and entertaining stories to tell. If we had stayed longer, I’m sure she would have shared even more.


After buying a small weaving, we explored the historic town center and Berea College campus before heading to the Kentucky Artisan Center.





The soda on the right is produced at a plant just a short drive from our hotel.  Unfortunately, tours are only offered on Thursdays and Fridays, and we’ll be long gone by then.

Their state-run Welcome Center and gallery/ gift shop is a fantastic place to see the works of beautifully displayed local handicrafts. If I had more room in our home to display things (and wanted to spend the $), I could have spent hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on the many beautiful wood pieces I admired.


After enjoying the morning and early afternoon in Berea, we returned to Lexington for a shopping trip (and sample tasting- yum!) of chocolates at Old Kentucky Chocolates and a visit downtown. At least chocolate is a much more affordable splurge!

The day ended at another one of Gail’s fabulous recommendations, Smithtown Seafoods and West Sixth Brewing. Order your food at Smithtown, and they bring it next door to your table at the brewery. Both are located in the “Bread Box,” an old bread bakery. YUM.




If you are like me and Bruce, we first guessed Louisville, and then we thought it was Lexington. We were incorrect on both guesses, because the capitol of Kentucky is Frankfort.

If it hadn’t been for Rebecca Ruth’s Candies, we would have never stopped in Frankfort on our way from Louisville to Lexington. They offered a tour of their factory, though, and I tour every chocolate factory I can find.



Since it was the weekend, they weren’t producing candies during our visit, but we had a nice chat with the tour guide as she took us through the small “factory” and mini-museum. We were the only ones on the tour, and our guide didn’t seem to be in any hurry to return to the retail shop, so it was relaxed and enjoyable. Learning the history of Rebecca and Ruth (the two ladies who started the business in 1921) was interesting and inspiring. They were two ladies ahead of their time.

The best part of the tour, as always, is the free sample you get at the end. They make bourbon chocolates for Maker’s Mark, and we had sampled a chocolate at the end of that tour, so we knew we were in for a delicious treat.

Lucky for us, the retail shop had some “Boo Boos” available for purchase at a steep discount off their regular retail prices. I picked out a bag of bourbon balls and a bag of “Mystery Boo Boos,” a combo of whatever flawed chocolates happened to end up in the bag. (I’m looking forward to finding out what they are!). Finally, another candy wrapper for my collection was a can’t-resist purchase.

After our tour, we noticed a sign for the state capitol, so we got an extra bonus of having a quick look at it while we were in town. I say “quick look,” because at times it was pouring down rain and not the kind of day for a long walk outdoors.



Until today, we had beautiful weather, so we couldn’t really complain about the rain. (After all, there is a reason why Kentucky is such a gorgeous lush green state!)

Upon arrival in Lexington, we headed for Stella’s Kentucky Deli on the recommendation of my sister, Gail who knows Lexington very well. My niece competed in dressage with her horse, so they had been to Lexington several times and still return for visits. They love it here, and I can see why!

Stella’s was our kind of place. Located in an old converted house, it was quaint, a little bit funky, and a cute place to dine and get out of the rain. We were ushered to a cozy little table by the window with a view of their beautiful rose bushes, and we enjoyed a delicious lunch.

Bruce’s “The Revro” was a burger with fried green tomatoes, bacon, lettuce, and basil mayo (heart attack on a plate, but tasty!). My “Apple & Kentucky Blue Cheese Sandwich” was toasted on sourdough with walnuts and balsamic mayo. Wow!
Gail recommended trying a home-made soda, so we ordered a refreshing blackberry soda. Delicious!

All of their food is locally sourced from small farms, and everything was reasonably priced. Fresh and inexpensive is our idea of an excellent restaurant!
The best part of lunch was dessert, something we don’t typically order when we dine out. One glance at the dessert case on the way to the restrooms was all it took to stop me dead in my tracks, though. I spied something black, and black means chocolate. I had to have it.


I don’t normally have much interest in pies; I can take ’em or leave ’em. But, this wasn’t any ordinary pie. This was Kentucky Pie, chocolate pecan pie with a touch of bourbon and dark chocolate chips on top. Just look at the picture, and you can just see that this pie is a slice of heaven! Honestly, it was the best pie I had ever tasted.

Our afternoon ended with a stop into the Visitor’s Center and a stroll around Artique, a fabulous shop of arts and crafts of local artisans.





Due to the rain, we called it a day. Hopefully, it won’t rain like this tomorrow.








Yesterday afternoon following our tour of Maker’s Mark, we made our way along the less-traveled back roads to Louisville. The remainder of the day and evening was spent exploring the downtown area and scoping out the spots we would return to today during business hours.

Before returning to our hotel after dinner, I insisted we take the short drive on one of the bridges that crosses the Ohio River, so we could get a short look at Indiana on the other side. Hey, with us being THIS close to a state we had never been to, how could we come this far and NOT go there? Yes, it’s almost like cheating to add Indiana to my “States Traveled” list, but what is the official criteria, anyway?

This morning, I finally had an opportunity to get in a good swim. Although we had the time in Bowling Green, the pool was closed until later this month, so I had nowhere to swim.


The Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center was wonderful, because they offered an option of swimming short course yards or long course meters, because of their set up of a half-pool bulkhead. Given that option, I’ll take long course every time. Walls just get in the way! I love to get in a good rhythm swimming butterfly without having to break it up with a turn.

Meanwhile, Bruce got in a nice 3-mile walk in a path around the reservoir across the street.

Feeling refreshed and invigorated, we were ready to tackle a full day in the city. Since the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory was top on our list, we started with a tour.

Normally, when photographing somebody, I like to get in close so you can actually see the person in the photo; however, this ant-sized photo of Bruce shows just how large the bat is on the outside of the factory! (Just in case you were wondering, no, it’s not made of wood!)



This “Gallopalooza” horse depicts the scene across the street.


Here’s the bad news/ good news about the 1.8 million wooden Louisville Slugger bats that are produced each year. The bad news is that 40,000 are used to make those bats. The good news is that the trees used for the bats reseed themselves and six more trees grow for every tree that is harvested from the forest.

Back in the 1960’s, the bats were made by hand and took 20 minutes to shape. Now, a more precise computerized lathe is used, and it takes only 30 seconds to shape a bat (or 37 seconds for a major league ball player’s bat).



After the tour and enjoying the exhibits in the museum (especially everything about Hank Aaron and Tony Gwynn, our favorite baseball players), we walked all around the downtown area and rode on the free Zero Bus to Muth’s Candies to buy some chocolates. Muth’s has been producing chocolates since 1921. We also visited The Brown, one of the top hotels in the United States. It was absolutely gorgeous.


About that Zero Bus, the “Zero” stands for zero emissions, because the buses are 100% electric. It was interesting to see this bus pull into the charging station and hook up for a fresh electrical charge.


Our day ended with a stroll through the Historic District and a drive by Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.




We enjoyed our stay in Louisville. The downtown area was clean, safe, and a nice place for walking.


We each got to sit in a new Corvette on display at the National Corvette Museum.

We each got to sit in a new Corvette on display at the National Corvette Museum.



Our reason for stopping in Bowling Green on our way to Louisville, Kentucky was to take the recommendation of our friend Max and tour the Corvette factory. We had heard from other friends, too, that this was a must-see tour, even though cameras or other electronic devices are not allowed for photography.

Instead, I did things the old-fashioned way. I brought my spiral notebook and pen with me, and I took notes during the 1-hour tour of the one million square foot factory (250,000 square feet of which are devoted to painting those gorgeous Corvettes).

We aren’t car buffs, and neither of us aspire to own a Corvette, but watching the assembly of these sleek sports cars was fascinating. It’s the only Corvette factory in the world, and an entire Corvette Stingray or Z06 is built in this plant in 3-1/2 days. On average, 170 ‘vettes come off the assembly line each day, and it takes 900 employees to make this factory hum.

Make that 901, if you cough up an extra $5,000 and assist in the assembly of your very own Corvette. It’s a new program that just started this spring, and you get to follow your car every step of the way and help get it built. There is even a photographer that hovers around you throughout the entire process, documenting you in action. At the end, you are presented with a “Baby Book” on the day your baby is born. There is even a plaque that gets mounted on the engine documenting your name and those who helped in building your car. And, of course, the born-on date is prominently engraved on the plaque as well.

When your baby is completed, you get to be the first one to start the engine and hear “Vrooom!”

All that for an extra $5,000!

For us $7 per person folks, it really was an interesting tour. At the end of the assembly line, it was fun to watch a ‘vette roll off and be driven into a booth where it was tested for 800 different quality-control checks in 3 minutes. (It was all computerized, of course, and Corvettes currently have a 99% pass rate.)

At the completion of the tour, we had a long walk back to our Toyota Prius that was forced to park with other non-GM cars in the furthest lot at the plant. (GM’s got to park in the close parking lot.)

From cutting edge 2015, we drove back in time 200 years to visit the South Union Shaker Village Museum, the southernmost and westernmost Shaker Village. It was quite a shock from the high-tech, fast-paced cutting edge Corvette plant to the quiet, simple life of the Shakers.

Along the way, the drive through country roads was gorgeous; so lush and green.
The Shaker village we visited existed until 1922 when the community had dwindled to only nine members, and they sold their property, buildings, and furniture.

Branching off from the Quakers, the Shaker religion began in America near the end of the 18th century. Originally known as the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, they eventually became known as Shakers because of their unique “dance” in worship.

Eleven Shaker communities flourished in New England and New York by 1805 when missionaries were sent to America. They are known for their celibate and simple communal lifestyle, pacifism, and their model of equality of sexes.

Learning about their culture was fascinating, and we enjoyed roaming through the buildings and seeing displays of the largest collection of Shaker furniture in existence.






Our day ended by opting for another back roads drive to our hotel rather than the faster route of the freeway. We did make one stop though at Chaney’s Dairy Barn, rated by USA Today as the best ice cream in Kentucky. We shared a scoop of yummy “Wow Now Brown Cow.”


This morning, we made our way up I-65 from Nashville and headed to Mammoth Cave National Park on the recommendation of our friend, Toni.  Mammoth Cave is known as the longest cave system in the world, and we took a tour to see just a small part of this amazing underground labyrinth.

Our tour was two hours (and 400+ stairs) long winding up and down through some tight areas.  I was thankful to be no taller (or heavier!) than I am, because I could only imagine how difficult it would be for somebody of either description to make it through.

I was also VERY thankful I came through my hip surgery so well, because today was a good test of the strength of my hip.  I’m sure glad I was so diligent about doing my physical therapy exercises!  My hip did great today.