Norwegian Dawn

Norwegian Dawn
The cruise ship Norwegian Dawn, by the Big Fiddle in Sydney Nova Scotia.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Kentucky Castle- Lexington Kentucky

I have passed by the Castle in Lexington hundreds of times.  The place is so well known.

AND, it seemed like FOREVER it sat there, mysteriously.  It looked big and amazing....  but it was just there, inaccessible. 

Over the last few years, however, it has become an open business.  You can rent a room for the night there, and they have an upscale restaurant.

I don't think a lot of people realize that it is now open.

So I went there the other night with several friends for dinner!

Also, the night we were there, they were having a daddy/daughter/princess dance.  It was very sweet seeing all of the dads coming in with their little girls, everyone dressed up.  You could tell that the girls were super excited to be going out, with their fathers, to a castle!

Oddly, there were some "princesses" (think Disney) at the event for photo opportunities.  I did see a lot of little girls in line to get pictures with the Cinderella look-a-likes.

We were seated in the restaurant area.  It was kind of open, so crowds from the restaurant area mingled with the daddy/daughter crowd.  This was pleasant, except for music from the daddy/daughter event coming into the restaurant.

The food was very nice, and we all thought the service was great.  They are trying to be upscale here though...  my wife and I spent around $80 for the two of us......

It was very nice exploring the inside of the Castle.  Again, the unique building for the state is a well known land mark...  while also being mysterious for so long.

The inside didn't seem as castle like as I expected.  Then again, I am not really familiar with what the inside of a castle should look like.  BUT, the inside did look impressive.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Historic McDowell House Museum in Danville, Kentucky

We spent a recent day in Danville, and I finally got around to seeing some of the unique museums there.  Our first stop ended up being the Historic McDowell House Museum.

Dr. Ephraim McDowell called this his home, and he would make history by performing the first surgical removal of an abdominal tumor.  He performed the surgery on Christmas, 1809.  The patient was named Jane Todd Crawford.

According to our tour guide, Ms. Crawford noticed something was wrong, and she went to some other doctors, some thinking that she was pregnant.  They tried to help her with her "pregnancy".  Fortunately, Dr. McDowell was about to help her figure out what was going on, and he helped with the removal of the tumor.

Ms. Crawford was a religious lady, and she refused alcohol to help her through the surgery.  She sang hymns to help keep her calm through the process.  As you can imagine, many of the conveniences we have now for such a medical procedure were unknown and not available.

Period furniture and other items are displayed through the home.  There were some cases of instruments that Dr. McDowell would have used during his career.  Bottles of medicine were also displayed.  On the tour, there is a pharmacy where McDowell would have spent time. 

Our guide pointed out a piece of a tree that had craftily been transformed into a trunk case which was displayed beside a bed.  She mentioned that the case was owned by Jefferson Davis!

This was a great house tour, and we were really impressed with all that there was to see.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Burke's Bakery in Danville Kentucky

Some friends told us about Burke's Bakery in Danville.  Have you ever been there?

Burke's is such a throw back!  Man, the place just felt like the 50s or 60s!  Check it out!

Also, we heard that their prices were a throw back too... and they were!  Their prices were super cheap!

The shop is small and efficient, but this is a must visit place if you are in Danville!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Great American Dollhouse Museum in Danville Kentucky

We finally made it to the Great American Dollhouse Museum in Danville!

I figured this would be a pretty cool place to checkout but it truly exceeded our expectations.

It was about $8 admission, and we were probably here a couple of hours. 

There are TONS of houses to see, and each one is impressive.  I took a lot of photos, but the pictures really don't do the dollhouses justice.  I love how, in some of the photos, you might not know that the photo is from a dollhouse without being told.  The details are so perfect.

I particularly likes the faces on many of the dolls.  Some were VERY life like. 

They are all in clean, clear cases.  When I heard about this museum in Danville, I thought that it might be cluttered looking...  but it is not.  The houses look nice, and the displays are organized.  This is an upscale museum that is very classy.

We loved the gift shop too.  I bought a patch, 2 postcards, and 3 metal miniatures that I will paint and I spent less than $8.

Check out my photos!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President" by Candice Millard

Candice Millard has written a very interesting and enjoyable book on the assassination of POTUS #20
, James Garfield.

This book was very easy to read with good detail and great descriptions of the characters involved.

The very basic story involves a humble politician from Ohio, James Garfield, going to the Republican convention in 1880 to nominate another politician (there is a very cool Civil War connection here).  Well, as the convention goes along, Garfield ends up getting the nomination and later the title of President.

Unfortunately, after becoming president, an assassin strikes and shoots Garfield.  Garfield does not immediately die, but he does eventually pass away after some very questionable medical care.

Garfield's life intersects with many interesting players, and each is fascinating.  Alexander Bell offers assistance to Garfield's medical team.  Abraham Lincoln's son, Robert Todd is on the scene.  Sadly, he finds himself present during several Presidential assassinations.

Charles Guiteau, the villain of the story, obviously makes a strong appearance.  The author's description of him and his behavior really give a vivid image of a mentally ill assassin.  Guiteau literally thought he would be viewed as a hero after the shooting.

The author does a fine job of telling this story in a very understandable way for a modern reader.  Sure, most of us know the name James Garfield, and we might even know a little about him, but Millard's writing makes him human and relatable.  You appreciate him more after reading "Destiny of the Republic".  AND, the reader feels robbed of the fact that his life was cut short.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

George Armstrong Custer Birthsite Memorial in Rumley Ohio

You know, I have been reading up on all of the odd, strange, unique, and heroic characters from the Civil War for some time now.  I literally have a "to visit" list of birth site, headquarters, and buildings relating to the Civil War and all of its major players.

Well, somehow, this one was not on my list.

Luckily, my pal John is up on these things too, and while hanging out with him not too long ago, he said that we needed to get to Rumley Ohio to visit the birth place of George Custer.

Rumley is a town that you have to want to get to, to get to.  It is not on the way to anywhere else.

There is a nice statue of Custer, and, at the foundation of his childhood home, there is a covered area with pictures and information on his life.

There is an old church that looks to be converted into a museum, but it was not open on the day we went.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Rebecca's Bistro- Walnut Creek Ohio

OK, my favorite restaurant in Walnut Creek is easily Rebecca's Bistro.  THIS is the place that the locals say you must go to.  Ignore the bigger flashier places.

Tourists have caught on to this place too.  They get a good crowd and I can see why.

On our last visit, I had a Cuban sandwich and some of the best tomato soup ever.  My wife had a salad that she loved too.  Oh, and they have some special tea that they make there.  I can't exactly describe it, but it is a ginger type of iced tea, I think.  It is special.

Rebecca's is cozy and friendly.  We have stopped by a couple of times now and we love it. 

This is a place that simply hits all of its marks.  Its clean, the people working there are friendly and cheerful, and the food tastes fresh and perfect.  They know there is a lot of competition in the area and they are giving a 100% to their customers.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

New Grounds Cafe in Walnut Creek Ohio

New Grounds Café is right by the Wallhouse Hotel in Walnut Creek.  I have actually passed by here on our previous trips and thought it might be an interesting place to stop.

This restaurant is very deceptive.  From the outside, I wasn't sure if it was coffee shop or a general restaurant, or what exactly.

Once inside though, we realized that this is just a cool place.  It is huge too.  They had lots of seating, a pool room, a reading room, a big screen tv, etc.  If I were a young kid in Walnut Creek, this would be my hangout.

It seems they are doing the Christian café thing that has become sort of common these days.  I am not sure exactly what all they are doing, but I did see a book donation box, and a community message board.

This place reminded me of the arcade type cafes I remember from the 80s.  Big, roomy, lots going on, AND good food!

We ordered a small pizza and calzone and they were both great and filling.  In fact, either one would have been a meal for two.  We took enough back with us to make another meal out of it.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Chalet In The Valley, Millerburg, Ohio

On our last trip through the Sugarcreek and Walnut Creek areas, we realized we would be there on a Sunday!  Well, there aren't a lot of businesses open on Sunday, but we were lucky to find Chalet in the Valley  in the nearby town of Millersburg open!

The restaurant is going for a Swiss theme.  The building looks the part on the inside and out.  All of the waitresses wore cute red outfits that seemed Swiss.  It made me think that they should be pictured on a box of hot chocolate products.

On Sundays they do the buffet thing here.  With drink, it was around $20 a person, but we felt like our meal was well worth it.  AND, after a couple of trips through, we felt like we had gotten our moneys worth.

Their weekly menu looks great though, and I am going to have to get back here sometime to enjoy those items.