Gatlinburg TN

Gatlinburg TN
I've been on a HUGE Gatlinburg area kick lately..... Here is a recent picture!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Flatwoods Monster, Braxton County West Virginia




 Flatwoods has been on my radar for a long time.  In fact, we did stop there once before.  It was several years ago and we were driving to Maryland.  We saw the Flatwoods sign and stopped.  I knew a little about the legend of the Flatwoods Monster then, but not much.  AND, when we stopped, there was a "what now?" feeling.  What should we see while in town.

Well, at that time, the answer was "nothing".  The town really hadn't done anything to exploit their famous strange incident from the 50s.  I do recall seeing an odd monster shirt at the gas station that had a werewolf looking critter on it.  That was about it.

Over the last year or so, they have obviously worked hard to change that.  There is the chair trail, which is novel.  AND, in Sutton, there is the Flatwoods Monster Museum!

While doing the cahir trail, we stopped by this small but packed visitor center/museum and had a great time.  They have a lot of items relating to the Flatwoods Monster AND they a lot of cool merch.

There have been some interesting items made to look like the monster.  A local artist has been selling a cool ceramic lantern of Braxie for years.

Talking to the staff at the museum, we learned that they are really seeing the benefits of embracing the Braxton County Monster.  The museum and the chairs have attracted a lot of trtaffic to the area.

I personally couldn't leave without picking up a super cool green, glow-in-the-dark shirt (for a very reasonable $15!).  I bought a couple of resin figures too.  Guitar picks, postcards and stickers could be purchased for under a buck.  I also scored a VERY NICE large poster made from original witness descriptions.  The poster was FREE with any purchase!  The museum is trying to capitalize on their notoriety, but they aren't trying to price gouge visitors!

Oh, I forgot to mention that admission to the museum is also FREE!  I can afford that!

We also picked up several flyers about other things to do in the area.












Sunday, December 30, 2018

Braxton County Monster Chairs in West Virginia

There is another STRANGE story concerning West Virginia......  The Flatwoods Monster is, in some ways, the mysterious cousin to the more well known Mothman.

The Flatwoods monster (aka the Braxton County Monster, Braxie, and other various names) appeared in Flatwoods West Virginia in 1952.  Unlike the Mothman, it appeared only once, and it was witnessed by just a fistful of people, mostly kids.

An object was seen going across the sky.  When the group went to investigate, they saw a a 10 foot tall humanoid creature that hissed that them!  The witnesses stuck to their story, despite decades of people trying to suggest that they saw something more earthly.

The town's of Flatwoods and Sutton (in the Braxton County area) are trying to attract tourists these days who are curious about the 1952 event.  I am certain that they are aware of the positive affects on tourism that the Mothman has brought to nearby Point Pleasant.

So- they have set up a small trail with five large and cool painted chairs.  Each is designed the same but painted differently.  If you visit all 5 chairs and get your photo taken with each one, you get a free sticker.

This is a nice way to spend a couple of hours, and we had a fun time doing the trail.  Along the way we saw a couple of nice small downtown areas, some deer, a gorgeous park, a cozy inn/restaurant, AND the fairly new Flatwoods Monster Museum (more on that later).

We were able to claim our sticker at the museum from the friendly staff there.  I have heard that the chair by the Dairy Queen is no longer there....  so at the time of this writing, I think there are just 4 chairs on the trail

The sticker is actually pretty cool.  AND, the only way to get this sticker is by doing the trail.

This area would make for a GREAT 2 or three day weekend trip to go along with a visit to Point Pleasant!






Friday, December 28, 2018

Point Pleasant West Virginia again

 A friend recently told me that he had been reading up on the Mothman.  He didn't realize that Point Pleasant West Virginia was an easy day trip to take from our area.

AND, I feel like I just find myself in this little town a lot.  I took another friend to visit last year.

We drove through Gallipolis first.  We then made our way on to Point Pleasant.  We did all of the great Mothman stuff.  Once you park downtown, everything you will want to see is within a short walking distance.  Also, I know there are lots of people who have been here for the Mothman Festival (which IS a lot of fun!) but this town is a great place to visit on a non-Festival day.  In fact, to really take in the vibe of Point Pleasant, I think you need to go on a regular day.

The Mothman statue right in the middle of everything is a must see.
 I took my friend down by the river, and we went to the easy to miss monument where the Silver Bridge collapsed.

From there, we walked over to the Grind Coffee House.  I really love this very pleasant cozy little place, and I especially look forward to a cup of coffee from there on my visits.  There are some very friendly ladies there always running the place.

I noticed that they didn't have any bags of their Mothman Coffee available.  I mentioned this and they put a couple together for me.

They didn't have any of their Mothman cookies either.  They said that, as soon as they put them out, they were purchased.

We walked around town a bit.  There is the very nice antique shop nearby that always has some interesting things.  There is a newer boutique shop too that is very nice.

We went to the Mothman Museum too, which is always impressive.  They are now charging $3.50 to get in, which I think is a bargain.  I am sure they make most of their money from the gift shop though.  Everyone needs a t-shirt.... and a sticker.. and a book.. and a plush Mothman.

The museum has mostly been unchanged over the years, though they now have the counter, seats, signs and other items from the old Harris' Steak House.  It is a very appropriate place for these relics.

Before leaving town, my friend and I went down by the theater, seeing the other monument to the Silver Bridge Collapse on the other side of the flood wall.  There is a great mural painted there showing where the bridge was.

Before we left the area, I did take my friend out to the area with the igloos.  This is a must see when it comes to the Mothman legend, but the area gets creepier all the time.









Thursday, December 27, 2018

Gallipolis Ohio

So, the other day, I was listening to a great podcast I have recently started listening to, "Astonishing Legends".  This is a great podcast that really covers a lot of ground.  AND, the hosts are really in tune to what they are talking about.  They often talk about some far out stuff, but they do their research....  and they obviously give a lot of thought to the subject matter on their shows.

The specific show I was listening to was from a several hour multi-part series they did on the Mothman.  I love the Mothman and have read up on it a lot.  I have been to Point Pleasant West Virginia several times.  Well, on this show they brought up Gallipolis Ohio, kinda the sister city to Point Pleasant.  They talked about John Keel (author of the Mothman Prophecies) and how he stayed in a hotel in that town when he visited the area.  One of the hosts looked up the old hotel, and found that it is now the Regency Inn in Gallipolis.

You know, that is the sort of thing I am doing all the time.  If I hear that something happened somewhere of interest, I am always checking to see what is there now, or if there has been a name change!

Anyway, a buddy was curious about the Mothman, so we planned a day trip out to Point Pleasant, with a brief swing through Gallipolis.  This was my first time here, and I really thought it was a neat little place.

We went to the post office, which was a friendly place.  We drove around a little.  We noticed a couple of replica Columbus ships were in town.  Man, I really regret that I didn't check this out more thoroughly, because I read that you could take a nice little ride for just a few bucks.  We had kinda planned this trip out carefully, and we didn't have time to deviate.

We also drove by the Regency Inn, just to see it, before we drove on over to Point Pleasant.









Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Favorite Cities outside of Kentucky

There are so many great, short day trips you can take to other states all around Kentucky!  I could probably name a hundred if I tried, but I want to keep this kind of short and bring up a few that I love.

Starting south....  Tennessee has a TON of great towns that are simply poppin', and many that are small, and off the beatin' path, but still very interesting.  Nashville has it all.  Downtown is always active and fun.  There is nightlife, great restaurants, fun places to stay, AND history.  PLUS, there are some great towns in their own right close by (Franklin, Hendersonville, Smyrna, and other places come to mind).

On the Eastern side of the state is the Great Smoky Mountains area and Gatlinburg.  We simply can't get enough of this area.  You can take 10 extended weekend trips there and do something entirely different each time.

Leaving out of the eastern part of Kentucky, I find myself taking short trips through West Virginia here and there.  The state is a great road trip state....  with lots of random roadside attractions.  I took a friend to the cool and strange town of Point Pleasant the other day.  We stopped at Hillbilly Hot Dogs on the way home.  Well, a week later, he found himself craving HHD again.  He made a nearly 5 hour round trip just to drive out there again!  I did not make that up!  I was lucky enough to make it to the Flatwoods area recently too!  LOTS of strange activity has gone down in this state, if you are into cryptids and UFOs.

In Indiana, we find ourselves going to Indianapolis at least a couple of times a year.  As far as major towns go, Indy is clean and easy to navigate.  It is by far one of my favorite large cities.  AND, I always have to mention Keystone when I bring up Indianapolis.  This is a great area to stay in when exploring the area.  Oh, and a halfway point for us when we go to the Circle City is Madison.  This is a great town to explore too.

My dad and I have taken several short trips into Illinois.  Like West Virginia, there are just some nice small towns to drive through, and lots of great, rural sites.

Like I said, I could go on and on.  I would love to hear from anyone else who has some favorite cities just outside of Kentucky.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Caves around the area

Some of my other favorite things while I am on a rant......  I LOVE visiting the caves in Kentucky!  Mammoth Cave is a great place (and I probably visit there several times a year).  Sometimes we go and don't even do a cave tour!  There's a lot of area to cover above ground there too!  AND, there are so many different tours you can do there.  You can visit the park a dozen times and have a totally different experience at each visit!

Carter Caves is great too.  I was hoping to catch a movie there this year, but it just never worked out.  I really enjoy driving out there anytime.

AND, this year especially, I visited several caves in the southern part of Indiana and in Tennessee!


Monday, December 24, 2018

Coffee Shops around the area


It has been a crazy year around here!  It's been a lot of fun, most of the time, and we have hit the road as much as possible!  Also, 2019 will mark 10 YEARS that I have been doing this!

I thought I would take a moment to mention some of my favorites around.

I talk about coffee a lot, and I have several favorite coffee shops.  IN Kentucky.......  I have several shops I LOVE.

In Lexington, we have a lot to choose from.  I like them all, but I have spent a lot of time at the Starbucks on Richmond Rd.  I know, it is a chain place, AND a Starbucks....  but this one is special.  Seriously.  I talk to a lot of people around the area, and I'm not alone in my endorsement of this particular shop.  They have a VERY helpful and friendly staff and if you go in there a couple of times, they will get to know you.

Owensboro has a couple of great indy shops now.  I really love the Creme still.  I have been raving about those guys forever.  It is so cozy and its located in the truly revived downtown.  They have really done something special.  Owensboro also has the fairly new shop, the Spot.  Its not slick as the Creme, but it has just as much pop.  They ell local art and have a lot of local music going on.

When I am in Louisville, I ALWAYS have to grab some Heine Bros.  They have a shop EVERYWHERE in town, and they usually have plenty of seating.  AND, they have great coffee.  It's a chain, but its a local chain!

In downtown Richmond there is Purdy's Coffee!  Purdy's is really hitting it out of the park.  Probably once a month I make a special trip to Richmond just to hang out there.  The coffee (and food) is good and they are very community oriented.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Nellie's Restaurant- Newburgh, Indiana

Check out Nellie's restaurant in Newburgh Indiana!  We stopped by here when we were passing through the other day and LOVED the place!

For a little over $10, I had a HALF POUND patty melt and a huge side salad.  Two people could have split this meal easily!  In fact, half of the patty melt went home with me.

We had great service....  the staff is friendly and the restaurant is clean.


Saturday, December 22, 2018

Cinco De Mayo Mexican Restaurant in Lexington KY

We had an odd experience lately.  We had some friends come by, and we decided to go to Joe Bologna's in Lexington for pizza.  We USED TO love that place.  Well, for some reason it just wasn't working for them.  Asking for a table of 5 really threw the staff there off.  AND, we went at an off time and there wasn't a crowd there.  Still, we waited for at least 20 minutes for a table to be cleaned.  After being seated, we probably waited another 10-15.  I am not sure what is going on there now, but it is not what it used to be.  We ended up leaving and walking over to Cinco De Mayo.

A VERY friendly host welcomed us and seated us immediately.  Within minutes, we were enjoying some great food!  Check out the photos!

Our drinks were constantly refilled and we had a great time.  Our waiter and the staff was on top of everything!

We were all impressed and we will definitely be going back.  This is my new favorite restaurant in the area!




Friday, December 21, 2018

The Spot at Towne Square Mall in Owensboro

 I was in Owensboro for a bit during the holidays.  I almost always swing by Towne Square Mall...  well, just because.  Lots of happy memories there!  AND, they are still kicking.  The place still has a lot of nice shops.

I do miss the fountain though.  They decorate it up in the middle (where the fountain used to be) at Christmas, and that looks nice.  I remember being in high school drama, and we were doing a performance of "Charlotte's Web".  We performed some of it in the mall one day.

Anyway, I stopped by and I was glad to see that the coffee shop, "The Spot" has opened up a second location here!  It is where the old Baskin-Robbins ice cream place used to be.  There are some chairs and tables out front.

It looks like they opened on black Friday.  I am glad to see some small local businesses setting up shop in the mall, and I am glad to see The Spot open a second location.  Please make a point to support them when you can!






Thursday, December 20, 2018

"Hermitage" Home of Andrew Jackson

 Here is a  1910 Helmar Tobacco Card I found recently.  it shows "Andrew Jackson's Home, the Hermitage, Tennessee".