Thursday, December 26, 2013
Monday, December 23, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
We spent another weekend here recently, and it is always such a great treat. The town and the surrounding buildings have a little bit of an unreal feel to them. This seems more like a place you once read about in a book than an actual place on a map. If I were to imagine and try to create the perfect small town historic hotel with great upscale and antique shops around it... I wouldn't bother. The perfect area I described exists in Lebanon Ohio.
We drove up on a Saturday morning. Check in wasn't until 3, but that was OK, we spent hours casually walking through the various shops nearby. We saw some great photos, paintings, clothes, and foods that were very unique. I will post some of the photos I took around town later, but you can easily spend a day or two just walking around the shops!
We had a nice conversation going with our waitress at the Tavern. She told us of a couple of personal ghost sightings she had had while working! I do love a good ghost story, but I love fun history and historic figures even more. Check out the Golden Lambs web site for more info on the various Presidents and literary heavy weights who have stopped by.
The Golden Lamb is very cool about letting people walk around and check things out. In fact, they leave all of their historic rooms open so any visitor can look inside.
While we were there, many locals told us about ANOTHER film that was just filmed in the Lebanon area. This one is called "The Christmas Spirit". I haven't been able to catch this one, but if anyone knows of a DVD release date, please let me know!
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Thursday, December 12, 2013
We were able to visit the HUGE monument to Jefferson Davis near Hopkinsville recently! This one has been on my list for some time.
The monument is very similar to the monument to George in DC, but it is a little smaller at ONLY 351 feet!
I was especially excited about making it to this site, as I was able to see the site of the Confederate President's death while in New Orleans a couple of months earlier. Also, I do enjoy all of the historic sites we have in Kentucky relating the top guys on both sides of the Civil War.
The site is very close to Hopkinsville, and the drive out out is scenic. The day we were there, we had the place pretty much to ourselves. The staff there were great. The guy who took us to the top of the monument was a vet and a local hunter. He and my dad talked a lot about that, in addition to the history of the monument.
There was a very friendly lady in the gift shop who knew all about the books they sold, and I believe she had read them all. I made a couple of purchases based on her recommendations.
I made a stop at the post office next door too. The very cool postmaster there was happy to postmark my Jefferson Davis stamped items for me. I was happy to get them marked at the PO built pretty much exactly where Davis was born.
This is another great site that is under appreciated. I think many people have heard about it, but haven't made the trip out to see it. I am sure that there are many others who are simply unaware of it, but I am glad I finally made it out to see it!
Monday, December 9, 2013
I feel comfortable in saying that if you make it to Springfield, you have to do all of the cool Lincoln things, AND you must have a meal at Cozy Dog.
Yes, this is a great novelty food place that is fun to visit just because of its history and decor- but it also has GREAT FOOD!
I think they put a little chili powder in their corn dogs, and man does it work! Its not enough to burn or anything, but it really kicks the flavor in! My wife doesn't like hot foods, but she liked the little touch added by the powder. I totally want one NOW!
Cozy Dogs' founder claims that he started making them in the 40s in the Springfield area!
A ton of memorabilia relating to Route 66 and to the business hangs on the walls of the restaurant.
We love the Cozy Dog logo, which is very sweet. It shows a boy hot dog and a girl hot dog hugging each other. We had to buy just about everything sold inside showing the logo.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Why go to Springfield? Well, our hero Abe Lincoln spent a lot of time there before becoming President number 16! And because of that, there are a lot of sites devoted to him in the area.
So, we arrived in the evening with no expectations. We figured we would hang out at the hotel, and just enjoy being in Springfield.
AND, we were excited about staying at the President Abraham Lincoln Double Tree Hotel. I thought staying here would be novel, PLUS it was close to almost all of the Lincoln attractions. It was a block or two walk from the Lincoln Home, the Museum and Library, and the law office.
We REALLY liked this hotel! The staff was great the entire time we were there. Though it is part of a chain hotel, it had a unique, individual vibe to it. This is an attractive hotel.
I was excited about eating in the Globe Tavern at the hotel. Sure, this isn't the same Globe Tavern that Abe and Mary hung out at right when they moved to Springfield, but it is still the Globe Tavern.
I had a Horshoe Hamburger, a local item that the staff at the Globe recommended. It was a burger and toast covered in french fries and then with cheese. It was amazing, but it seemed more appropriate to have this sort of meal at a minor league ballpark.
The meals here were huge and reasonably priced for a hotel. Our second night here we shared a nice sized salad and a club sandwich for about $15.
We walked around downtown quit a bit while in Springfield, and it felt like a bit of a ghost town. Maybe it is just that we have been in several larger cities recently, and the place felt a little more vacant... but we kind of felt like we had the town to ourselves.
For our full day in Springfield, we made sure to get up early, and to be at the Lincoln Home, managed by the National Park Service, right when it opened.
We went on the first tour of the day, after watching a nice short film in the visitor center. Oddly, we were the only Americans on our tour group. I was still surprised when our tour guide asked what Abe's wife's name was and no one else knew.
Our guide, Bill, pointed out all of the original furniture in the home. I was personally very excited about seeing mirrors that Mr. Lincoln would have looked directly in.
And there was something almost supernatural about just being in his old home, and in walking through the front door that he must have walked through thousands of times.
We spent some time chatting with another ranger after our tour was over. He told us about the National Park Services efforts to preserve the area, and some of the homes.
One of the other homes across from the Lincoln Home has been made into a small museum with various models of the Lincoln Home, shown during different phases of upgrading. The home also has various relics found on the old Lincoln property.
Before leaving the area, we did stop at the gift shop to pick up some postcards and a patch. I also wanted to see if there were any books on Lincoln that I couldn't live without.
At the gift shop, I started chatting with yet another ranger about Abe, history, and other topics.
I really wanted to explore the area around the home more, and to talk to all of the rangers some more too, but we had to budget our time. We still had museums, law offices, and burial sites to explore!
It was still exciting talking to all of the rangers (and later, other staff at the other sites) who care a great deal about Lincoln and history. The people in this area care about what they do!
After spending more time at the Lincoln Home than we anticipated, we headed over to the Lincoln Presidential Museum.
With our AAA discount, it was a little over $20 for the two of us to get in to the Museum. This was still a great value, but it was by far the priciest attraction we saw in town (all of the others were free).
AND, just like at the Lincoln Home, we talked to several enthusiastic staff eager to talk about Abe, the museum, and its displays.
The main area in the museum is huge, and a wax family of the Lincolns stands out, waiting for you to take your photo with them in front of the White House.
There are some very well done wax figure type displays throughout the museum, including tributes to various moments in Mr. Lincoln's life.
It was interesting seeing the replica Indiana cabin, after visiting the actual site (which is basically a bronzed foundation) some time ago.
AND, debatably the coolest thing on display at the Museum is the Everett copy of the Gettysburg Address. Yep, it was exciting seeing that!
We walked across the street to the Lincoln Library. They do have some displays on the first floor, but this is mostly a resource for researchers. It is still worth going into for a few moments.
After we spent some time at the Museum, we made our way to the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices.
The rooms where Lincoln would have practiced law are nicely preserved, and furniture and other items are displayed in a way that Lincoln (who was known to be sloppy) would have maintained.
The tour here was brief and a bit informal. Others joined our tour about half way through. Knowing that Abe walked these floors (our tour guide pointed out that they are the same ones from Lincolns time as a lawyer) is exciting!
We briefly took a break from Lincoln sites to stop by the Cozy Dog Drive In in Springfield! I'll save that for another entry but a corn dog break sounded perfect while in town!
After our stop at Cozy Dog, we went to visit the final resting spot of Mr. Lincoln, at Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Actually, it took many years before Abe found his ultimate resting spot in the Tomb, but you can read about that elsewhere. Abe had many adventures in life, and he had several in death too, from the train trip following his assassination, to a failed attempt to hold his body for ransom.
Also inside of the monument are the remains of 3 sons and Mary Todd Lincoln. The only family member not here is Robert. He is in Arlington.
AND there is something very sweet about being able to visit Abe and his family here. He is our most admired President for a reason. I think he was a good guy with a good heart. The books I have read all note his honesty and kindness. Kids loved him. Unlike some politicians, he was not motivated by ego. Going to Springfield was a bit of a pilgrimage.