Point Pleasant WV

Point Pleasant WV
Another recent shot of downtown Lexington.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

New River Canyon from Grandview, West Virginia

This postcard was sent from Huntington in 1952.

The back note-

New River Canyon near Grandview showing a breath-taking view and a wonderful panorama of the rushing streams and wooded hills.  On Route US 19, 21 and W. Va. 3.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hillbilly Hotdogs- Huntington WV

I know, I have posted A LOT about Hillbilly Hot Dogs, like here, and here, but not too long ago, I was able to stop by the Huntington location.

For the longest time, I was calling the original location the Huntington location, but that one is actually the Lesage site.

Anyway, we stopped by the one right around the Marshall Campus.  We actually went past the original site, which had a HUGE line out the door.  I am glad to see that business is good for them though!

The food at the Huntington site was just as good as at the original.  The décor is not as crazy as at the original site, but it is still WAY over the top!

My partners in crime, Brent and El Roy accompanied me on this trip.  If you ever attended an Owensboro Rage game, you might remember Brent as their witty on field announcer.  Anyway, Brent ate a slightly modified version of the "HOMEWRECKER", which is their MASSIVE HUGE dog.  Since Brent modified it, he was not eligible to take the Homewrecker Challenge, but I am pretty sure he could do it if he wanted.  Check out the before and after photos!

I absolutely love Hillbilly Hot Dogs, and wished that would branch out more!  It is so much fun just checkout things out, PLUS the dogs are amazing!  These guys haven't compromised the quality of their food since becoming legendary.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Custer State Park, Black Hills, SD

Horse Shoe Curve on the Needles Highway, Custer State Park, Black Hills, SD

The House of the Seven Gables, Salem Mass.

This postcard is undated and unused.  The House of the Seven Gables is in one of my personal favorite towns, Salem.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Sunset on Kentucky Lake

This is another old, unused postcard with amazing colors, showing Kentucky Lake.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Governor's Mansion, Frankfort, KY

"This elegant mansion for the Chief Executive of Kentucky was built to harmonize with its splendid State Capitol."

I am guessing this postcard is from the late 60s or 70s.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Chimney Rock on the Kentucky River

"Chimney Rock on the beautiful Kentucky River is 75 feet in height and 4x6 feet at the base.  This natural attraction is viewed by thousands of tourists annually."

This is an older postcard, probably form the 40s or 50s.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

"No one wonders what Lyndon and I wear"

It's November 22nd, I thought I would mention that I have recently read a few books on the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.

Its odd in many ways how the mind works.  I wasn't born until over a decade after his death.  I remember the 80s well.  I do remember a few things about the tail end of the 70s.  Jimmy Carter is the first President I remember (though I mostly remember watching him solidly defeated by Reagan in 1980).  Still, there are things about the 60s that I almost remember, mostly because I have read so much about them, and I have visited significant places where majors 60s events occurred.  I have talked to a lot of people with clear, first hand memories from that decade.

So, in some ways I kind of feel like I know JFK, just like I know Reagan, the Bushes, Clinton, etc.  I feel like I know Honest Abe pretty well too,  in a similar way to how I know Mr. Kennedy.

So, I picked up Seymour M. Hersh's "The Dark Side of Camelot" not too long ago.  The book is somewhat legendary in its.... well, DARK depiction of John and his lifestyle.  After reading that book, I didn't feel so good about the man who is often described as a savior type.  Some of Hersh's sources are pretty solid (Secret Service Agents) while some are odd, and questionable.

I next read a copy of Jim Bishop's "The Day Kennedy Was Shot" that was written in 1968.  A friend let me borrow his copy of the book, which was printed around that same year.  There is something special about holding and reading a book that is so close to the event.

I really enjoyed the Bishop book.  It made me feel a lot more sympathetic towards JFK and his legacy.  Also, I feel like I have a better understanding about Oswald and Ruby.  Both obviously had their issues, but Ruby really comes off, in my opinion, as the wackier of the two. 

AND, in this book, Kennedy seems to be such a great guy.  He insists on pulling over to shake hands with children holding up a sign asking that he stop to shake hands.  There is something very sweet about it.

I like the Bishop book too, because he obviously scored some big interviews, including face time with Kennedy before the assassination, and with Johnson afterwards, along with many others.

After reading these two books, I still feel pretty much the some about John F. Kennedy.  He was a rock star before there were rock stars.  Women were throwing themselves at him (even before he was president).  He grew up in privilege, and had a dad who provided A LOT for him.  Hersh's book wasn't the first to expose that.

Still, he was a likable guy who was exceptionally personable.  He would ignore the advice of secret service to shake hands with people.  He was kind.  People related to him.  He was accessible.  He was TOO accessible.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Milton KY Bridge

"Free Bridge crossing the Ohio River from Milton, Kentucky to Madison, Indiana, with the beautiful hills of Indiana in the background".

Monday, November 17, 2014

Executive Inn Owensboro KY

I was very excited to find this postcard recently!  It has become kind of difficult finding Owensboro Executive Inn items after they knocked it down.

This is postmarked from Owensboro, 2001.  It shows the main lobby and dining area.

I spent a lot of time here, mostly going to see bands.  My cousin worked here too.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Waveland Art Festival- Lexington

We made it to the Waveland State Historic Site in Lexington last month.  They were having their annual art festival on that day.  It was  a rainy and dreary Saturday, which obviously affected attendance.

It was still nice checking out the vendors, and visiting the home.

The house is spectacular and well maintained.  Our tour guide told us about the Bryan family who owned the home.  Daniel Boone, slaves, the Civil War and gambling all play major roles in the plantation's history. 

The land was acquired by the family in the 1780s.  The mansion was built on the property in 1840, and sold in the 1890s.

Our guide told us a lot about the lives of the people on the plantation back in the 1800s.  He discussed how even the wealthy did not have the modern conveniences that our poorest members of society have now.

I personally appreciate this line of thinking, and it is something that I think a lot about now.  I do like the fact that parks and museums bring to the attention of the kids how easy they have it now, compared to just a couple of generations ago.

On the site are the very well preserved slave quarters.  This was probably the most impressive part of the tour. 

Our tour guide also talked about the slaves back then.

He brought up the fact that a slave cost several hundred dollars back then (equating the price to about $20,000 in today's currency).  He stated that most farmers he knew today would likely not abuse a $20,000 piece of equipment.  He doubted that the farmers of the slave era would either.  He also noted that all of the slaves at Waveland decided to stay as paid help, after being freed.

I understood where our guide was coming from, but I did not appreciate the slave/farm equipment comparison as much as the previous discussion. 

Still, it was an interesting tour at a very well preserved location.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Greetings from Owensboro

Both of these postcards say "Greetings from Owensboro".

The bottom one mentions that the population is (was) about 40,000.  though, "The trading area is about 235,000 people."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tobacco Fields in Old Kentucky

The top postcards says on the back-

A typical scene in sections of Kentucky, Northeastern Tennessee, Western North Carolina and Southwestern Virginia.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Park Mammoth Resort, Park City, KY

"Slave Cave, Authentic Pre-Civil War Way Station on Underground Railway".

This is an odd Mammoth Cave postcard I found recently, I am guessing from the 60s.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Alltech- Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co.

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a big deal in my area.  Very big.  It is such a big deal, even non-drinkers like myself enjoy making their way around the trail.  I am working on my second lap around it now!

Visiting the sites along the trail is just a lot of fun.  It is a fascinating process, and- even if you don't drink, it is cool checking out the other bourbon related products.

The Alltech Brewing and Distilling Co. is a relatively new addition to the Trail.  In fact, the last time I visited all of them, Alltech wasn't around.

As a newer entry on the Trail, Alltech lacks a lot of the history that you will find at the other sites.  Being pretty much right in downtown Lexington, it also misses out on some of the rural charm found near Bardstown.

Still, it is right in Lexington, so if you are not from the area and find yourself at Rupp Arena, this would be a very easy to access tour to get to, without having to drive an hour outside of town.

Plus, I like Alltech.  This is an interesting and unique company, even if you don't consider the brewing and distilling part.  Company founder Pearce Lyons has done a lot in and for the area, and he is a one of a kind character.  His motivated attitude is infectious.

Our tour at Alltech focused much more on tasting than touring.  I would say that, if you enjoy the sampling part of a beer and bourbon tour, this is the tour to take.

If you like seeing the huge warehouses full of aged barrels, and the three story mash filled tubs with the smell of bourbon heavy in the air, you might want to look into one of the other Trail member sites.

AGAIN, this is one of the more unique sites, with the brewing in addition to the distilling, AND with the generous tasting.  If you are in the area and want to see more than one distilling location, this would be a good second stop.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Audubon Ave. Dining Hall Mammoth Cave KY

The Audubon Avenue Dining Hall at Mammoth Cave seats 500 people!  I found both of these cards recently, one is colored and one is black and white.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Carter Caves State Park

This 60sish postcard says on the back-

This fascinating State Park is located between Olive Hill and Grayson just off Highway 60 in eastern Kentucky in an area that is truly a scenic wonderland.  Besides the two caves, one has natural arches, rugged mountains, virgin forests.  Furnished Cottages and other facilities available for the vacationist.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Ruins of Karnak in Mammoth Cave

Ruins of Karnak in Mammoth Cave

"Erosive action of water has carved these massive limestone columns, which tower 80 feet above the cavern floor.  Thisfeature was named for the ancient Temple of Karnak on the Niles in Egypt."

I am guessing this postcard is from the 50s.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Salvatore M. Trento's "Field Guide to Mysterious Places of..."

This is a great time of the year for me to tip my hat to Salvatore M. Trento.  Mr. Trento has written a very interesting series of books about some very mysterious (and often very overlooked) sites in North America.

Salvatore graduated from Oxford University, giving him a whole lot more cred that other writers of similar books.  He has done a lot of work researching and documenting sites that are difficult to explain and he looks at these sites in an unconventional way.

Various tunnels, caverns, carvings, cliff dwellings and petroglyphs are the main focus in the books, with a small bit of attention given to UFOs and that sort of thing.

I kept a notepad handy as I read each book, as many of the sites mentioned were very fascinating and mysterious, and I wanted to know more about them.  Interestingly, some of the sites are hard to research on line, so I know the author has really looked in to these mostly obscure sites.

AND, some of the sites are easy to access, while others are more difficult.  Salvatore gives directions to each site.  At one, he mentions that, to access the site, a person must ask one of the local fishermen for help crossing water.  You KNOW I am curious about such out of the way places!

Some of these sites I will never get to (though I have enjoyed reading about them).  Still, many I would love to visit.  Places like Nova Scotia have been bumped way up on my "to visit" priority list.  Also, certain other states are looking more interesting by the minute. 

Salvatore discusses the history of each area.  He talks about early records of the mysterious sites, and what has been recorded concerning them.  He brings up theories and discusses why the usual explanations often don't fully explain why something is there.  If early European explorers didn't build it, and if the local Indians at that time weren't sure about it- how did it get there?  Why were items never known to the area (and possibly only accessible 1500 miles away) used in construction?

Mr. Trento is enthusiastic about the sites and his travels.  I hate to use a cliché, but his books have inspired me to want to travel off of the beaten path.  More importantly, these books are reminding me that there are still many areas to explore, and there are exciting mysterious places you can see, where a pricey ticket is not required.

These books belong on the bookshelves of all adventurous travelers!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Uncle Lee's in Greenville Kentucky is closing

My dad told me that Uncle Lee's is closing!  I really hate to hear this.

If you never had a chance to visit the unique store in Greenville, there is still time, but not much.  We used to go to Greenville on a Tuesday, visit the huge flea market, and the stop by Unlce Lee's.

Uncle Lee's was kind of a huge department store, which focused on the needs of people who like to hunt and fish.  Guns, gear, clothes, etc. were readily available, along with other household items.

It was fun going to Uncle Lee's just to check out their taxidermy in the back.  I have pictures somewhere.  I hope to make it down to visit one last time before they close!


Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Spooked in Seattle" by Ross Allison

Since it is October, I wanted to mention another book from Clerisy Press and the America's Haunted Road Trip guys that I like a lot.

Ross Allison has put together a really good book noting haunted sites in Seattle.  The book is a jam packed 200 plus pages of interesting places.

"Spooked in Seattle" is exactly what a "haunted" type book should be.  Allison has done his research on the history of each site, noting location, the date the building was built, AND any interesting known facts about a place!  THEN, he gets to the reported ghost stories.

I really like that set up.  Personally, I am much more interested in the known facts part, but I still enjoy a good ghost story too.  Ross gives a good mix of both that many other similar books lack.

The book is divided into neighborhood sections.  Each section includes a map of each area, which could be really helpful if you are visiting the area with book in hand.

PLUS, Ross does a wonderful job of giving a thorough, yet easy to understand history lesson on the more notable events in the city.  The fires, and the underground and covered nicely- and those are important when considering Seattle's spookiness.

Seattle is a great town, and I look forward to getting back there again so that I can check out some of the places Ross Allison mentions!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lyle Blackburn's "Lizard Man: The True Story of the Bishopville Monster"

I read Lyle Blackburn's previous book, "The Beast of Boggy Creek" some time ago.  Lyle handled researching and documenting the Fouke Monster (and the monster's sighting, movie appearances, etc.) perfectly!  I HAD to check out his follow up book, "Lizard Man:  The True Story of the Bishopville Monster".

The thing I like most about Lyle's writing is that it is very fact based.  He doesn't speculate much, and he keeps close to the known facts, like the eye witness accounts.

He spends time going out to the spots where people reported seeing the monster, and he spoke to people involved, when he could.  He is lucky to get a lot of help from a retired local sheriff who was around when most of the events occurred.

The excitement about the Lizard Man lasted for a relatively short period of time, going mostly from the late 80s until the very early 90s.  The locals did sell shirts, and tourists stopped by to check things out (and hunt for the critter- there was a bounty!).  The first witness was even able to make some money signing autographs- but the legend faded after some time.

Lyle does speculate a little about the cryptid (considering other explanations for the lizard), going strictly on witness statements.  He also discusses the very sad "Curse of the Lizard Man."

The Lizard Man legend in South Carolina doesn't have the history, or the general storied volume that the Fouke Monster of Arkansas has.  The book, and the legend, is more compact than the subject of Blackburn's first book, making this a quicker read than "The Beast of Boggy Creek."

With that in mind, I think "Lizard Man" would be THE PERFECT book for a person just developing an interest in cryptozoology.  Anyone with an even minor interest in the topic will want to read this, but it would be a great starting point for someone just getting in to the subject.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ron Franscell's "Crime Buff's Guide To Outlaw..." Series

I read a lot of books on travel, and I really enjoy reading the non-traditional travel books.  I like the Haunted and Off the Beaten Path type volumes.

So, I downloaded Ron Franscell's "Crime Buff's Guide to Outlaw Arizona" not too long ago.  I was able to download it for free through Amazon Prime.  Anybody else out there getting the free books to borrow from Amazon Prime?  They have been hit or miss (mostly huge misses, to be honest).  THIS was a hit though!

Ron has a certain boldness many other's who write about true crime do not have.  He gives specific addresses and coordinates to sites he talks about!  And, he does not subscribe to the "its too soon" way of thinking.  He covers the old crimes, and the very recent ones.

I picked up a physical copy of "The Crime Buff's Guide to Outlaw Washington DC" after reading the book on Arizona.  I enjoyed it just as much.  I have a huge personal preference for actual books (paper, glue and cardboard) ESPECIALLY when it comes to a guide like this.  I will be getting all of these guides and I want them all on my travel book shelf.  I can quickly pick them up, make notes in them, put newspaper clippings inside of them, etc.  I will take the book with me when I travel to that location, and it will become somewhat of a souvenir when I get back.

I think most of us are interested in visiting crime scenes, to be honest.  There is something moving about visiting a place like Ford's Theater.  In the introduction to the guide, Franscell mentions, "Being there is not just a good way to understand history, but in some places, it helps you grasp the desperation and the loneliness of the people who were there before you, especially in places where our imagination, myth, and history entangle.  Places where the past exists just beneath the surface of the present."

The guides by Ron Franscell serve as a great intro to the strangeness that has occurred in an area.  Even if you have no plans of visiting the specific sites, you might want to know just a little bit about the local legendary crimes.  The Washington DC book gives a very nice, and very short section to the Lincoln Assassination, and the Watergate Scandal (among many other lesser known crimes).

This might be the brief bit of information a leisurely researcher might want, and it might be a nice starting point for someone just developing an interest in researching these events.  Franscell also makes suggestions for further research and reading.  I kept a pencil and paper handy as I read.  Some places and events I wanted to look up at a different time.

This is easily my favorite newer series of books to come out in sometime.  I hope Ron plans on covering more areas soon!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

"I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson

Oh yes, it is a good season for reading books about zombies and vampires!

For the longest time, I thought all good horror started with Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" one of my all time favorite films.  BUT, I think "I Am Legend" might have one up on NOTLD.

The book has been made into a movie more than once.  I really liked the Will Smith version, but the book is what you want!

There are some odd concepts in the book that are used in other similar horror stories, but Matheson really paints a vivid picture.  The whole idea of being seduced by a vampire is old, but it is very different in "I Am Legend".  Also, this is more of a good sci-fi novel than a ghost story.  In fact, there is a good amount of science and logic here.

I love the ending too.  There is something exciting about Neville's (the main character) knowing his fate, and realizing it's significance.  He knows what is about to happen, and he accepts it.  The ending is very dark, and very cool.