West Baden Springs Indiana

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Mussel and Burger Bar- Louisville

I took just a couple of photos at the Mussel and Burger Bar in Louisville.

The place serves some unique food- I don't think I have seen a place where mussels and burgers are their main menu items.  I didn't give the mussels a try (and I probably never will) but we loved our burgers.

We had the local burger with heirloom potatoes served with garlic aioli.  It was over $16, but for downtown Louisville we were happy with the quality and the price.

In fact, it was one of the few restaurants in the area open the evening we were there.  I think some of the places nearby are open for lunch, catering to the weekday work crowds.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Brown Hotel- Louisville Kentucky

We hit the Brown Hotel while in Louisville too!

This hotel was built in 1923 and it is credited as the birthplace of the Hot Brown Sandwich.

We agreed that this was a hotel to try to spend some more time in, but for now, here are a few photos I took of it.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Seelbach Hotel- Louisville Kentucky

Another historic hotel we stopped by while in downtown Louisville was the Seelbach.  Like the Galt House, I will have to go back again on a day when I have more time.

Many famous people have stayed here, including Presidents, and gangster Al Capone.  F. Scott Fitzgerald hung out here, and the hotel served as inspiration for a hotel in his famous book, the Great Gatsby.

On a very unrelated side note.....  I do love reading the classics, but the Great Gatsby just didn't do it for me.  Maybe I need to reread it again?

We did hang out briefly at the Starbucks that is inside of the Seelbach.  Maybe I should take a copy of the Great Gatsby with me next time, and read it while there?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Galt House- Louisville Kentucky

I had just a few minutes to go through the Galt House.  The Galt House has been a legendary hotel in Louisville since the 70s, though the name was used for a couple of hotels in town since before the Civil War.  In fact, the name of the hotel pops up in several books I have read on the Civil War.

I took a few photos.  here they are!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Random Shots of Louisville

I briefly swung through downtown Louisville again......

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Random Eastern Tennessee Photos

Here are a last few random photos before I switch topics on the blog...  They have nothing in common, other than I took them while driving around the Great Smoky Mountains area.

Friday, May 19, 2017

"Bear in the Back Seat- Adventures of a Wildlife Ranger" by Kim DeLozier and Carolyn Jourdan

During our recent trip to the Gatlinburg area and the Great Smoky Mountains, I wanted to take a book with me relating to the park and the area to read.  There are some interesting ones...  some of which I have brought up here before (I mentioned another similar book by Ranger Dwight McCarter here). 

On this trip, I took Ranger Kim DeLozier and Carolyn Jourdan's fun and easy to read book, "Bear in the Back Seat: Adventures of a Wildlife Ranger in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park" with me.

Kim DeLozier is basically giving fun, interesting, and sometimes sad stories about his adventures, mostly relating to bears and other wild animals, as a Ranger in the Great Smoky Mountains.  Each chapter is a short, stand alone tale where Kim talks about a personal adventure that happened to him.  This is one of those great books that can be appreciated by anyone.  Very young readers will find the short chapters easy to read and understand.  The whole book has enough substance to make a veteran book reader feel like they are getting a lot for their money with this one too.

DeLozier really opens himself up here too.  He isn't trying to falsely write an account of a big, heroic ranger.  He is very honest about mistakes he makes.  He lets the reader know that there have been times in his career (early on) when he was more worried about how he would appear to people watching him than doing his job correctly.  In the back of the book he even (humbly) prints a list of things he learned while being a ranger.  He also talks about having to euthanize animals (for humane reasons, and for the safety of humans).  The author is open about his mistakes and his feelings- making him a very relatable person.

Ranger Kim also gives the reader a lot of great stories relating to skunks, squirrels, falcons, cows, wild hogs, and poachers... but the stars of the book are easily the bears.  Motherless cubs, elderly bears, and bears willing to do anything to get back to the Smokies once taken away are all main characters.

Kim's main reason, I believe, for writing this book is to educated people about bears in the park, and how to help protect them.  He stresses the importance of leaving them alone and not feeding them.  He explains very clearly that feeding the animals (and teaching them to feel comfortable around people) LITERALLY leads to death for wild animals.

"Bear in the Back Seat" is a great book about animals in the most visited National Park in America.  The stories are sweet and touching and they are written in a very personal way, by a Ranger we can all relate to.  This book gets my highest possible recommendation.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Old Mill Pottery House Cafe & Grille in Pigeon Forge Tennessee

We went to the Old Mill Pottery House and CafĂ© while we were in town.  In fact, we went a couple of times!

We loved stopping here last time we were in town, and we really wanted to get back.

The price is right and the food is perfect!  I would say that this is one of the tastier places to eat at in town, while also being very affordable.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Pigeon Forge Mill in Tennessee

Here are a few random photos from the Mill area in Pigeon Forge Tennessee. 

The gristmill has been around since before the Civil War, and it actually was used to help make clothes for soldiers!

Now it is a very happenin' area with several shops and restaurants nearby.  A very popular restaurant and gift shop are inside.

A wedding was going on the day we were there!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Alcatraz East- Pigeon Forge Tennessee

Easily one of the most unique, bizarre, and interesting museums I have visited in a LONG time is the Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge Tennessee.  This museum was formerly located in Washington DC and was called the National Museum of Crime and Punishment while there.

This museum moved to the area late last year (just before the fires hit) and it seems to be going strong.  There was a good crowd there the day I visited.  Adult tickets were $25-$35 (general admission-VIP ticket) and kids tickets were as cheap as $15.  We did the general admission ticket, and we still killed over 2 hours here.

If you have spent much time in this area, you know that ticket prices for ANY attraction can be steep.  In my opinion, the ticket price for what you get here makes this a good value...  especially if you are fascinated with crime and its history.
There were several items that I wanted to see.  One thing that really impressed me was a relic relating to the Salem With Trials (if you've been by this blog before, you know about my interest in the event).  Well, Alcatraz East has a very cool item relating to trial judge Samuel Sewell.  This one item gives Alcatraz East a leg up on many witch related attractions actually IN the city of Salem.  If you have visited Salem, you know that authentic items relating to the trials are very rare to non-existent.

You may also remember that a little over a year ago, we visited Austin Texas, and I read the book, "A Sniper in the Tower" about the very tragic shooting that occurred at the University of Texas at Austin in 1966.  Well, the museum has a case of items relating to that event, including one of the shooter's rifles.

Another sad crime that I almost feel a bit of a personal connection to involved the Pizza Bomber case out of Erie Pennsylvania that occurred in 2003.  If you aren't familiar with that one, look it up.  It was a very strange one, with an absolutely tragic ending that baffled authorities for years.

In 2003, we lived in Cleveland, and we just happened to be in Erie a lot in the early 00s.  We would go see their minor league team, the SeaWolves a lot.  There were a couple of nice concert venues in town we would frequent too.  At that time, Erie was almost our second hometown... and this crime was so disturbing.

Anyway, I could go on and on about that.  But I did want to see the small case of items from that crime, including the collar bomb.

The museum also had a room devoted to 9/11 that showed a film, and contained many items relating to the attacks.

There is a great (and informative) display on the 4 presidential assassinations too.

There were many other displays and items that impressed me (there were entire sections on the old west, pirates, witch trials in Europe, etc).  I felt that each section was very impressive, and the museum prides itself on authentic relics.  Several of the staff I talked to during our visit boasted of the fact that 95% of the items displayed are authentic.

As far as museums go- having so many actual items is impressive.  Sure, there are a lot of sign and wall displays to read here, but they hit it out of the park on authenticity.

AND, being that this is the Crime Museum, there is something... well, dark about it all.  There are actual murder weapons here.  Heck, the place is full of items directly related to (and mostly involved in) famous crimes.

I talked to one staff person who mentioned that there has been some criticism, especially relating to certain items displayed at the museum.  That criticism I think is fair, but if you are putting down $25+ to visit the Crime Museum, you know what you are in for.  Still too, this IS a museum, and it is a museum that feels complete.

I haven't even mentioned some of the museum's most talked about items.

One area that could use some improvement here is the gift shop.  I wouldn't want to see shirts with actual items used in crimes on them.... but the gift shop was skimpy.  Most of the items sold were very generic, and you could get them somewhere else.

Anyway, I like this museum a lot and I think it is a great fit for Pigeon Forge.  I would LOVE to see more MUSEUM type attractions in the area (right now, there is just Alcatraz East and the Titanic Museum).