Preservation, Travel

Homes in Lexington’s South Hill Historic District

Whenever we visit Kentucky, we are frequently struck by how many very old homes still stand. Here in Indiana, buildings from before about 1850 are rare. Not so in Kentucky — we’ve seen homes built in the late 1700s there.

The South Hill neighborhood in Lexington is just southwest of downtown. You can see the city’s tallest building, Lexington Financial Center, from all over the neighborhood — indeed, from many places in the city.

South Hill’s homes were built from the early 1800s through the early 1900s, and are a mix of architectural styles. Here are a few of the homes.

South Hill Historic District
South Hill Historic District
South Hill Historic District
South Hill Historic District
South Hill Historic District
South Hill Historic District
South Hill Historic District

Nikon Df, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor

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Travel

Photos from four whiskey distilleries

While Margaret and I were in Kentucky a few weekends ago, we visited four distilleries. Two were in Lexington, and the other two were in nearby Frankfort. We’ve been on enough distillery tours now that there’s little new for us to learn about the whiskey-making process. We just want to cut right to the tasting at the end! Fortunately, during COVID, many distilleries are dispensing with their tours in favor of quick tastings, either outside or in a very well ventilated space. That’s just fine for us!

The first distillery was Bluegrass Distillers in Lexington’s Fayette Park neighborhood. They started with a tasting, and then walked us quickly through their small facility. Their most interesting spirit is a bourbon distilled from blue corn.

Bluegrass Distillery
Tasting
Bluegrass Whiskey

Our next stop was at Castle and Key Distillery near Frankfort. They were open only for walks around the grounds, although you could buy flights of their product to sample while you were there. They distill gin and vodka in addition to bourbon and rye. We sipped every spirit they offered and thought their Autumn 2019 gin was the most delicious. This site was originally the Old Taylor Distillery, and its sign still hangs over the main door.

Castle and Key Distillery
Castle and Key Distillery
Castle and Key Distillery
Castle and Key Distillery
Castle and Key Distillery

Next we visited the Glenns Creek Distillery, which is on the original site of the Old Crow Distillery. If you ever visit, do not let your map application take you down Hanly Lane to get there, as we did. The last segment of it is barely one lane wide with a steep dropoff on one side. It is a butt-puckering, white-knuckle drive. When we left we went the other way — and within a half mile passed Castle and Key, on a wide and safe state highway. Had we only known!

Where Castle and Key was polished and shiny, Glenns Creek was, well, decrepit and dumpy. But we had the best experience of our weekend there. They offered only a tasting, but the fellow who led it was fun and entertaining. He is also one of the distillery’s owners. He grew up in Panama, played professional basketball for a while (including a stint with the Indiana Pacers), and has turned to distilling later in his life. His stories were incredible. So was their OCD #5 bourbon.

Glenns Creek Distillery
Glenns Creek Distillery
Glenns Creek Distillery

Finally, we returned to Lexington to visit the James E. Pepper Distillery. This is an old name in distilleries, but it is only recently reopened after a 50-year hiatus. Really, this is a new distillery with an old name. It looks like they are only now beginning to sell whiskeys they distill on site; previously, they sold whiskeys they bought from other distilleries (mostly the giant MGP in Indiana). Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

James E. Pepper Distillery
James E. Pepper Distillery
James E. Pepper Distillery
James E. Pepper Distillery

Nikon Df, 28-80mm f/3.4-4.5G AF Nikkor

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Lexington Cemetery

Military graves in Lexington Cemetery
Nikon Df, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor
2021

Lexington National Cemetery is a one-acre section of Lexington Cemetery containing about 1,700 graves. It was created in 1861 for Civil War dead. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but the graves are arranged in concentric circles around a central memorial.

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Photography, Travel

single frame: Military graves in Lexington Cemetery

A scene from the military section of Lexington Cemetery.

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Travel

Cherry blossoms in Lexington Cemetery

I love a good cemetery. So, it seems, do the people of Lexington, Kentucky. Their largest cemetery, Lexington Cemetery, was full of people on the spring afternoon Margaret and I visited.

I’d never seen a cemetery with so many people in it. There was no funeral — people were just there to enjoy it, as they would a large park. At first I thought it was a little odd, so many people walking and relaxing in this place of the dead. I like doing that, but I think I’m unusual. I usually have cemeteries largely or entirely to myself. Not in Lexington!

The flowering trees were in bloom on this early spring Saturday. Margaret and I walked and photographed the lovely scenery. And then we came upon the cherry blossoms.

A long lane in the cemetery was blocked to cars, and was full of people strolling slowly through. Easily a dozen people had brought a photographer with them to make individual and group portraits here. We had never seen anything like it!

Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery
Lexington Cemetery

Nikon Df, 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G AF Nikkor

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Balcony at the Palmer House

Balcony at the Palmer House
Apple iPhone 6s
2020

I’m sad that Margaret and I won’t be able to make our annual wintertime trip to Chicago this year. It had become a tradition of our marriage. But Chicago requires travelers from Indiana to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, making the trip impractical. Even if we did go, our unwillingness to eat inside a restaurant would make avoiding hunger challenging.

We used to go every December to enjoy Christkindlmarkt, take in a show, and finish our Christmas shopping. Then Margaret took a job where December is the busy season, and we started going in January as a way of relaxing after the holidays.

Chicago is not a popular destination in the cold and snowy months, which is why we go then. We get such great deals on hotel rooms! Last year we stayed in the gorgeous Palmer House for what it would normally cost at a suburban box hotel.

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COVID-19, Photography, Travel

single frame: Balcony at the Palmer House

A view of the gorgeous Palmer House Hotel lobby in Chicago.

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