A few days ago, we were blessed with the opportunity to host one of my very favorite couples in the whole world, the Campbells. Becca and I met while working as camp counselors in Washington way back in 2008. Since then, we’ve kept in touch through extensive facebook messages (thanks, Mark Zuckerberg), phone calls, and a few visits to Louisiana or Kentucky. In the past 3 1/2 years, we have both finished our undergraduate degrees (Becca is currently in grad school), gotten married, and consumed millions of calories worth of baked goods. Prior to getting married and starting our own family blogs, we shared a baking blog, which you can check out here.
Anywho, after a great deal of Christmas traveling, Becca and Chad ended up in Kentucky for a few days. Aside from our August wedding, Becca has only ever been to Kentucky in the winter. She came a few years ago in January, when temperatures were in the teens. I think we even went sledding. And soon after she left for the warmth of Louisiana, we had an ice storm. So I’m guessing Kentucky weather isn’t going to put this fine state high on the list of future living spaces for the Campbells. Still, we did what we could with the weather at hand.
For those of you living in Kentucky (or hoping to visit one day), you should know that New Years/January is not the best time to actually do anything in Kentucky. There are plenty of awesome outdoor activities around here (hiking, canoeing, horse racing, etc.), but none of those are really appropriate for winter. We had a few indoor activities in mind, including a trip to a bourbon distillery, but in case you were wondering, all of those are closed on Sundays in January. As are most of the historic homes in Lexington. So if you are in need of a good winter itinerary, here’s are my suggestions:
1. Watch a UK game.
The Campbells arrived on Saturday, the 31st, just in time for the UK vs. UofL basketball game. I’m sure this would have been more exciting for them if they had any knowledge of UK athletics or Kentucky basketball history. We assured them that this was a very important and thrilling game that we had to watch on TV. So there’s the first thing you should do with out-of-town guests: make them watch a sporting event they have no interest in at all.
2. Walk through a historic area.
We live downtown, close to a lot of really cool historic homes (and equally close to a lot of really sketchy, less historic homes). There are few things I enjoy more than running down these streets, imagining what these houses look like on the inside. Luckily, the weather on Saturday was actually quite comfortable, so we were able to enjoy a stroll downtown without freezing our tuckuses off. We took them to Wine+Market, one of the cutest little shops downtown, where we perused the wine room and drooled over the pastry selection.
Continuing our tour of downtown Lexington, we walked by Triangle Park and the outdoor skating rink, attempted to visit the Lexington History Center (which is free, but is unfortunately closed on New Year’s Eve), and showed off the old bank vault at Shorty’s.
3. Enjoy a local eatery.
I made of list of things to do with the Campbells in Lexington. Most of those activities were actually restaurants. Lexington has a lot of really delicious local eateries. So, naturally, we went to Old Chicago for dinner. Because nothing says ‘Lexington’ quite like a double deckeroni Chicago-style pizza, right? Okay. Not so local. But so, so delicious.
4. Drive by the giant Christmas tree at the Henry Clay Estate.
Eric and I stumbled upon this huge tree a couple weeks ago. It’s just so enormous that it’s awesome. I insisted that the Campbells needed to see it as well.
5. Bake a Derby pie.
Coming from outside Kentucky, the Campbells had never enjoyed a Derby pie. So, I baked this not-so-traditional-New-Year’s-dessert for our little celebration.
5. Play games.
It gets dark here around 5:30. And once the sun goes down, there’s no hope of being warm. So we spent the evening playing games while watching the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on TV.
6. Go to bed early.
After staying up until 4 am the previous night at our annual New Year’s Eve Eve party (more on that in another post), Eric and I were seriously struggling to stay awake all day. I’m a little ashamed to say that we couldn’t make it until midnight. So we said goodbye to 2011 around 10:45 pm.
7. Eat brunch.
Brunch is the best, yes? We kicked off 2012 with brunch at Stella’s, where we enjoyed wonderful coffee, food, and conversation.
8. Take a scenic drive.
I should probably take a moment to comment on the Kentucky weather at this point. We started Sunday morning around 56 degrees. By Sunday evening, the temperature was below freezing. I’m pretty sure that wind had everything to do with this. I’ve walked around Lexington on many a windy day, but this was, by far, the windiest day I can remember. Our car was getting tossed around the roads all day. But we prevailed.
We had to drive by the Lexington castle, of course. We pulled off to take a group photo, but it was so windy that I thought my camera would blow away if I set up the self-timer. So you’ll have to settle for a very wind-blown photo of half the group.
We drove down Old Frankfort Pike, one of our favorite roads in the Bluegrass. It’s lined with stone fences and horse farms, along with some really beautiful houses. This road goes all the way from Lexington to Frankfort, so we decided to stop by the capitol building (having visited the Louisiana state capitol with the Campbells last Spring). Of course, the capitol building was closed, but we took some pictures anyway.
9. See a movie.
When the weather outside is frightful, watch a movie indoors. Luckily, the historic Kentucky Theatre is just a short walk away from our apartment, so we spent the afternoon watching “The Descendants.” The theater is really cool and matinee tickets are only $5, so it’s definately my favorite way to see a new movie. I should mention that “The Descendants” is a Golden Globe-nominated movie, so it’s depressing. I always forget that movies worthy of awards don’t leave you feeling good inside. Still, George Clooney isn’t really an eyesore.
10. Eat ice cream.
I can guarantee that Eric was the only person buying ice cream on New Year’s Day, the start of a million diets. We had to give the Campbells a little taste of Graeter’s, the best ice cream around.
While our winter itinerary may have left a little to be desired in the thrill department, we played a lot of games, laughed a whole lot, and just enjoyed having some good friends come to visit. Hopefully 2012 will bring much of the same!