West Baden Springs Indiana

West Baden Springs Indiana
Inside of the AMAZING West Baden Springs Resort in Indiana.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Utica Kentucky

I wanted to mention a place I love, Utica Kentucky, again.

I drove through here the other day just to look around.  I stopped by the new post office to say hello.  I talked to a nice guy working there named Paul.  He remembered the post master at the old post office, who was my best friend Charlie's mom.

Charlie lived close by.  I went home with him a few times after school.  He lived walking distance from our school, Utica Elementary.

We bought baseball cards and candy at the little store by the school.  We had fun.

My cousin, who has passed away, used to work at the Marathon station.  I have a lot of friends who once lived in the area.

The old school building is still there.  It looks like someone has bought the property.  I saw some work trucks moving around behind it.  I still love that place, and all of my old teachers- Mr. Tanner, Ms. Hobbs, Ms. Thompson, Ms. Matthews.  My memories of the place are mostly pure joy.

I crawled out of my personal swamp there and developed legs.  That school really influenced me and I still love the Utica area.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hickman Kentucky

After leaving Tennessee, we drove through some great country, and some small towns.  The most notable one was Hickman.

The downtown area we went through was dead.  Totally dead.  We did not see another person at all.  Maybe we were there on the wrong day.

This is an intriguing little town.  There are some gorgeous OLD buildings that are in need of some attention.  Some need more attention that others but.....  there is definitely something to work with here.

This town is right on the river.  There is a lot of green around it, and a downtown with potential.  In my heart I see an area like this and think, "this could really be something".

My dad said that he did some work here in the 70s and it was populated back then.  He pointed to a couple of buildings that he remembered having lunch in at some point.

I know downtown is CLOSE to the river, and there were a couple of major floods, but it would be great to see this area come back to life. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kentucky Explorer

I wanted to give another mention to one of my favorite magazines, the Kentucky Explorer.  This month's edition is a great one!  I love the cover, by the way!  There are a couple of good ghost stories for Halloween, and an odd but interesting article on Abe Lincoln's mom!  Oh, and I love all of the old photos and postcards that they always show.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Unknown Soldier Monument

We stopped at the Confederate Unknown Soldier Monument in Union City Tennessee while we were there. 

The marker was placed here in 1869 to honor the burial site of 29 unidentified Confederate soldiers.  As you can tell from the photos, it is in a pretty residential area and the monument seems to have been kept up well.

There is something very beautiful about this site.  It is nice that there are homes nearby.  The water tower is also close.  This site is part of the neighborhood.

AND, at a time when Confederate flags aren't exactly considered PC, there was a small flag next to each stone.

A couple of the flags had been knocked down recently, probably by weather.  I noticed that my dad (a Vietnam War veteran himself) was picking up the flags and placing them back in the ground.

I am proud of Union City Tennessee for maintaining this monument with a very direct connection to the Civil War.  The monument, and Union City, are worth a visit on your next road trip through the western part of Tennessee.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Reelfoot Lake and Hillbilly Junction

One really cool thing we discovered in Tennessee was Reelfoot Lake!  Oh man, the Lake demanded that we pool over a couple of times for a look.

The lake had a swampy feel to it, with the trees standing out above the water. 

We did chat with a couple of guys who were having some good luck fishing.  We saw other fisherman all around.  This is a popular spot for fishing and boating.

A lady told us about the legend of Reelfoot, which involved an Indian Chief named Reelfoot, who wanted to marry a princess from another tribe.  The lake was created when the Great Spirit stomped his foot down in anger over the marriage.  I THINK that's how the story went.

We did stop at the very cool shop "Hillbilly Junction."  This was a great tourist stop for us.  The lady running the place was super friendly.  They had a ton of flags (my dad found a huge POW/MIA flag he had been wanting for his garage).  I found some nice Civil War post cards and a Reelfoot Lake patch!  Everything was discounted the day we went too. 

We just saw Reelfoot Lake in passing.  I will have to get back to the area when I have some more time to explore!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tiptonville Tennessee and Kentucky

I recently had a very ambitious trip planned around the far western areas of Kentucky and Tennessee.  I am a little embarrassed about just how much I planned (because we had to change our plans) but we still had a nice trip. 

Our main goal of the trip was to make it up to the VERY south western point of Kentucky.

Look at any map of Kentucky.  Actually, look at a large map.  There is that little point, on the far left bottom side- there is just a spec there, separated from the rest of the state.  Its just above Tiptonville Tennessee.

I will write more about some of the sites of our trip later, but for now I wanted to talk about the Tiptonville area.

This is honestly a remote area with a small population.  The area is however packed with history.  We found several spots on this trip relating to the Civil War.  Behind the visitor center in Tiptonville is Carl Perkins boyhood home.  There is also a prison in the area!

After leaving the Union City area, we made our way to Tiptonville and explored a bit.  From there, we drove north, towards Kentucky.

To get to that little section of Kentucky, you must really want to get to that area.  It is a long and snaky drive getting there.  This took longer than I expected.

Still, we did finally get there.  There are cornfields and a couple of homes in the area.  That's about it though.

We were proud to get to the area, and to explore.  Kentucky is a big state, and this is a very difficult area to get to.  I am glad we took the time to do it.

We saw few people in the Tiptonville Tennessee area, and we saw no one at all in the Kentucky part. 

There is a "Welcome to Kentucky" sign that almost feels more like a joke sign than a real one.  Speaking of jokes....  I kind of want to make one about the visitor center there, but that would be too easy.  There is no reason for a visitor center.

As we stood in Kentucky, we checked our GPS.  New Madrid Missouri was about 6 miles away.  We hit the go button and saw that that journey would still take us about an hour and a half.  There are no bridges close by.

We started to try to get to New Madrid, but after realizing we would have to rely on a ferry for part of the trip, we decided that New Madrid would be an adventure for another day.  We could still explore some places along the Mississippi River before heading back to Owensboro.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Union City TN

We had a nice drive going from Owensboro to Union City Tennessee.  To be honest, I didn't know a lot about the area before the trip.  I did find a few things worth checking out though.

There is a Confederate monument we noted (more on that later).  I also found a cool coffee shop!

Our first stop in town was at Higher Ground Coffee (320 W. Reelfoot Avenue).  You know how I love small cozy coffee shops, and Higher Ground is one of those perfect coffee places.

We did notice a nice line of customers at the drive thru.  Inside, the place was exceptionally clean and comfortable.  The staff was fast and friendly too!  I would really like to visit this shop again!

Elsewhere.....  I had one of those moments where things fell apart.  My battery died on me (AND I JUST bought one 2 months earlier!)!  This delayed us by about 2 hours, causing us to retool some of our trip.  That was OK though, as we were able to spend a little more time in the friendly town of Union City.

I have to tip my hat to the kind folks at AutoZone in Union City.  Oh, and for the record, I DID NOT buy my defective battery at AutoZone.  Anyway, there was an extremely helpful young lady at this AutoZone who checked and REPLACED my battery for me!  She was amazing.  I have received a refund on the other battery AND I will be doing more business with AutoZone in general in the future.

As we had some time to kill, we walked around Union City.  People seemed nice everywhere.  Strangers came up to ask about helping with our car, others nodded and said hello as we walked by.

I did pass a store front in town advertising a local pro wresting group.  That's different entertainment for a Saturday night!

Downtown was pretty too.  I can't exactly put my finger on it.  This is a smaller town, but it had a very comfortable feel.  We liked Union City quit a bit.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Barrett's- Exit 112 in Leitchfield


I am on the Western Kentucky Parkway a lot.  In fact, I have probably traveled back and forth between Owensboro and Lexington hundreds of times.

If you make that trip often, you know that there aren't a lot of options concerning a good place to stop and stretch your legs.

Well, my favorite spot is Barrett's Marathon off exit 112.  The folks that work there are friendly, the restrooms are nice, and they have a nice beverage selection (I like the fact that they carry Snapple and Jones).

Anyway, this is a nice place to stop on the Western Kentucky.

Monday, September 8, 2014

American Road Magazine

American Road Magazine is another great publication I picked up recently!

I read this one cover to cover!  Even some of the topics that I might otherwise not care much about, I found interesting.  For example, I am not a huge Burt Reynolds fan, but I enjoyed hearing abut his museum, and his work in education as I read the exclusive interview.

I REALLY enjoyed the lengthy article on drive-in movie theaters.  This was the follow up to an earlier article, so I might have to hunt down the back issue!  Anyway, I was glad to see that there are so many theaters still around, many of which were started in the 50s!  American Road did note that the future of some is questionable.  It made me want to get in my car and head to Vermont and Canada to see some of these treasures before they are gone!

There was also a great write up on Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds."  For those of you who enjoy visiting filming locations, this article is a must!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Civil War Monitor

I have been on a magazine kick lately.  I don't want to say that I was feeling nostalgic about magazines, in our internet heavy, kindle carrying times, but I realized that I have been neglecting the magazine racks at my favorite book store!

So, I picked up the Civil War Monitor the other day.  This is a great magazine on many levels.

I loved the photos in this one!  There is an amazing article, full of large photos showing Civil War soldiers who had limbs amputated.  I don't mention this in a morbid way......  it was nice seeing the proud faces of the soldiers, and I liked reading about how many were doing OK afterwards.

I am sure many of you remember hearing about the recently discovered photo of the Abraham Lincoln funeral procession in New York City.  There is a brief write up on the picture in this issue (and the photo is shown in a nice large version).

Plus, there are many stories about various battles, all are informative but brief.  I feel like there are some stories in this issue that I might want to find more info about later.  Time to buy more books!

I really want to stress how much I liked the treatment to photography in the Civil War Monitor.  These aren't cheaply found, pixelated pics robbed from the web like other magazines might be tempted to use.  This is a quality, well put together magazine!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Carpetbagger blog

Hey, I just wanted to give a quick thumbs up to a blog that I just stumbled across, the Carpetbagger.  Check this out-


Blogger Jacob has done a great job documenting some cool places.  I have noticed some that I have been to, and there are MANY that I am itching to get to.  I am frankly jealous of some of the sites he has covered that I haven't!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Jerry Bransford- 5th Generation Guide at Mammoth Cave

I was disappointed on my last trip to Mammoth Cave.  Well, as I mentioned, I had a lot of fun, but I was hoping to meet Ranger Jerry Bransford.

I have mentioned Jerry Here before- if you haven't done so already, check out this link from the Times about him.

Jerry Bransford is a fifth generation tour guide at Mammoth Cave.  He is the great-great-grandson of Materson Bransford, who was, VERY LITERALLY, one of the original tour guides/explorers of the cave (during recorded times).  If you read up on the early cave adventurers, the Bransford name comes up a lot.

So, since I was unable to say hello to the legendary Jerry Bransford, I sent a note to him.  He very generously wrote back and sent some great info about Mammoth Cave, and the National Parks in Kentucky.  Though he is proud of his family legacy, I felt that the humble Mr. Bransford wanted to keep the focus on National Parks, and their significance.

Thanks to Jerry, I was able to watch a couple of great movies about Mammoth Cave, and another film about all five of the National Park Units in Kentucky.  Jerry appears in both.

There are some great quotes from him in the movies.  He mentions how, when he was a teen he came to the park and he was not allowed to eat in the hotel restaurant.  Later, he was asked to be a part of the park because of his heritage.  Its a great statement, and a bit emotional.

Anyway Jerry, I hope to catch ya next time I am at the park!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Lincoln State Park near Springfield Kentucky

The Lincoln Homestead State Park near Springfield is a great state park that is a bit off the beaten path.  Like most of the other Lincoln related sites, you have to snoop around a bit to find it- but it is sure worth the effort!

There are two AMAZING cabins relating to the parents of Abraham Lincoln here.

There is the Lincoln Cabin on the property.  If I understand correctly, this is a reconstruction of the cabin that young Thomas Lincoln (Abe's dad) lived in.  It was built where the original cabin was located though, giving it some serious authenticity.  Even more exciting is the fact that inside of the cabin is a corner cabinet made by Thomas.  There is a bed there that they believe he also made.

A short walk from the Lincoln Cabin is the Francis Berry House, which is a very nice ORIGINAL two story cabin.

Nancy Hanks, Lincoln's mother, was living here while dating Thomas.  This cabin was located about a mile down the road but it has been moved to its current location at the park.  AND, legend has it that Thomas proposed in front of the very fireplace inside of this cabin.

One VERY cool feature about this state park is that the cabins and displays are pretty much totally open!  You can actually touch the corner cabinet made by Thomas.  You can walk around freely inside of the Berry home.

Also the Mordecai Lincoln home is a short drive from the cabins.  Mordecai was Thomas' brother.  It was not open, but you could get a good look around the grounds.

Back at the park near the cabins is a very nice memorial to Nancy Hanks.  Also on the grounds is a replica Blacksmith shop.

We really liked the casual, self guided tour here.  We were literally the only people around and felt like we had the place to ourselves.

There was a very friendly fellow at the gift shop where you bought your ticket (at a VERY reasonable $2.50).  He told us about the park, and we talked some about the various Lincoln Cabins.  It is nice to see people working at the parks who care about them!

Anyway, this is a great park that any fan of Lincoln should visit.  I know in the past they have done reenactments of the marriage of Thomas and Nancy.  It would be exciting to see that tradition brought back!