A Weekend in Louisville, KY

As much as I love good ol’ STL, it’s nice to pack up a few things and get away for the weekend. Whether you’re wanting to drive to another city for a different kind of nightlife or escape to the countryside for stargazing and quiet, there are many places to travel for a great weekend outside the ‘Lou. This month I bring you Louisville, Kentucky.

Where To Stay

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21c Museum Hotel
This gorgeous and modern hotel is high on the list of places to stay in Louisville, KY. The award-winning hotel is smack dab in the center of everything you’d want to see and do in the city. Walking distance from the Muhammad Ali Center and Louisville Slugger Museum–yes, these are places you’ll want to see–and a delicious breakfast spread that will make you question eating outside the hotel. And if you feel like missing local art museums, explore the hotel because it’s an art museum! The pieces displayed in both rooms and around the hotel lobby are drool-worthy.

The Brown Hotel
Not the best name, but you’ll feel like royalty as soon as you step into this hotel. The lobby alone is enough to have you awestruck with their dramatic archways and chandeliers. The Brown Hotel is right in the heart of downtown and less than a mile away from the KFC Yum Center–you read that right, the Yum Center.

Where To Eat

Wild Eggs
There is a reason this restaurant has been named “Best Breakfast” spot by Louisville Magazine, they have the best breakfast and be prepared to wait for it as there is always a line out the door. Need some recommendations? Try the Breakfast Nachos, the Kelsey “KY” Brown or the Sweet Home Apple Bourbon pancakes. Actually, try them all. You can’t possibly go wrong.

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Havana Rumba
If you love Cuban food, Havana Rumba is calling your name. Even if you don’t like Cuban food, this place is still calling your name. Try one of the three locations in downtown Louisville and get your stomach prepared for all the delicious food. Whether you want to stop in for lunch or dinner, there will be a slight wait as Havana Rumba is always busy. Vegetarian? They have many options for you, including my personal favorite Coca Vegetariana–Spanish style flat bread with caramelized onions, peppers, tomatoes, Monterrey Jack and goat cheese. Can you say, “yum?” YUM.

Toast On Market
The atmosphere plus the food make Toast on Market the perfect place for you to stop by for breakfast or lunch. Open only until 2pm, the sandwiches are spectacular as is their grilled cheese–I’m still dreaming of the Garlic Cheddar Grilled Cheese. Stop in for a quick bite to eat before roaming around the rest of Louisville.

What To Do

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Copper & Kings American Brandy Distillery
Sample smooth and warm Brandy that will turn a Brandy enthusiast into an obsessive and a Brandy hater into a lover. Discover the architecture and the philosophy of why the distillery and the grounds were built the way they were. Travel through their stills, rickets, event spaces, and my favorite part, the rooftop.

Old Louisville
Take a walk along Old Louisville where a unique collection of houses and streets built in the 1800’s that will make you stop and wonder, “who in the world lives in these beauties?” Wander around Central Park which was once the sight of a world’s fair when Thomas Edison introduced the electric light as the main exhibit. I recommend taking the Haunted Ghost Tour of Old Louisville. It’s one of the best ways to experience the city.

This post was originally published on my weekend guide on ALIVEMag.com. Check them out.

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A Weekend in St. James, MO

As much as I love the good ol’ STL, it’s nice to pack up a few things and get away for the weekend. Whether you’re wanting to drive to another city for a different kind of nightlife or escape to the countryside for stargazing and quiet, there are many places to travel for a great weekend outside the ‘Lou. This month I bring you the quiet, small town of St. James, Missouri.

Where To Stay

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The Painted Lady
Located right off the highway, The Painted Lady is a cute and unique bed and breakfast that accommodates all guests. The house is beautifully decorated with interesting antiques, comfortable beds and deep Jacuzzi tubs (with incredibly strong jets!). Innkeepers Sandy and Wanda Zinn keep the five rooms (Melanie, Little Tara, Scarlett, Prissy and the Guest House) immaculate and you might never want to leave.

Greenstay Hotels and Suites
For those of you who want an easy check-in and a quiet night, Greenstay Hotels is the place for you. Not only is the St. James Winery located right across the road, but it’s conveniently located off the highway and close to all major restaurants. This is the perfect stop for that weekend getaway.

Where To Eat

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Just a Taste
Recently opened and located right in the heart of town, Just a Taste is the wine and coffee bar of our dreams. The building, originally built in 1907 in the spirit of the St. Louis World’s Fair, accommodates the menu’s range of wine, whiskey, beer and cocktails. The owners, Eric Taylor and Casey Stuck, merged their two talents and passions–Taylor’s love for wine and Stuck’s passion for beer–into one fantastic location. Even though they don’t identify as a wine bar, coffee shop or pub, we can confirm their wine, espresso and beer on tap are pretty excellent.

Sybill’s
Friendly is an understatement when it comes to describing the staff at Sybill’s Restaurant and Gift Shop. Their fresh, flavorful menu–we recommend the Caprese– and large array of wine make this restaurant an oasis in this small town. One of the best parts about Sybill’s? The restaurant is committed to the environment and is a community leader in waste diversion and recycling efforts.

Country Bob’s
You can’t miss Country Bob’s Diner when you pass through St. James. The food is some of the best Southern comfort food you can get your hands on. Get up early for their Saturday and Sunday Breakfast Buffet to try the biscuits, gravy, bacon and pancakes. You won’t regret it.

What To Do

St. James Winery
With more than 160 acres of vineyard growing more than a dozen types of grapes, award-winning St. James Winery is a great place to get away to for the weekend. Start early and sample a wide selection of wines, ranging from very sweet to extremely dry. Our favorite thing at the moment is the Cranberry Sweet Wine–perfect for those family gatherings around the holidays.

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Public House Brewing Company
This recently opened brewing company has already had a successful run in Rolla and has brought good brews to St. James. Situated next to the winery, this is the perfect spot to grab dinner after spending the day at the winery. And all you have to do is walk on over–no driving needed! Head on over on a Saturday for a night of local (and not-so-local) artists in their taproom and try the award-winning Rod’s Cream Ale. Cheers!

Vacuum Cleaner Museum
Definitely an odd stop along the way, but still very interesting. If you’re not intrigued by their billboard on the side of the highway, you’ll be intrigued by their collection. There are more than 600 vacuum cleaners (all in working condition) including novelty cleaners such as the Hoover Constellation–a vacuum that is built to float like a hovercraft. No, really.

Meramec Caverns
One of our favorite places for a weekend getaway is Meramec Caverns. Whether your thing is camping and canoeing or delving into the depths of an old cave, Meramec is sure to have something for you. Feeling daring? We recommend taking an adventure along the tree tops on a zip line or embarking on a nightly lantern tour of the caverns.

Originally on my weekend guide on ALIVEMag.com. Check them out.