My Old Kentucky Home

Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky

A view of the famous twin spires of Louisville’s Churchill Downs.

Even though I adore Southern California, there are times that I long for the lands of my youth: the Midwest. I spent the first decade of my life in the quaint and stunning scenery and history that is Cincinnati, Ohio — and no native Californians, I didn’t live anywhere near a farm. This week I took a trip to Louisville, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee, to visit my family (the sweetest people on Earth!) and got a taste of that Midwestern and Southern charm I’ve been without for so long. I know these cities aren’t generally top of mind for travelers, but they really are worth visiting. If you like nature, history, art and a lot of quirk, it’s a no-brainer. Here are some of the highlights:

Lynn's Paradise Cafe, Louisville, Kentucky

Lynn’s Paradise Cafe — Louisville, Kentucky: This quirky brunch spot will keep you entertained even while you’re waiting to be seated. 

Lynn's Paradise Cafe, Louisville, Kentucky

An equally quirky shop inside Lynn’s is like an Urban Outfitters on steroids. 

Lynn's Paradise Cafe, Louisville, Kentucky

More fun outside of Lynn’s … 

Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky

Betting on the races at Churchill Downs: A must. A mint julep to top it off: Priceless. 

21c, Louisville, Kentucky

Red plastic penguins “migrate” around downtown Louisville’s 21c hotel. Even if you can’t afford to stay here, it’s worth taking a look inside. 

21c, Louisville, Kentucky

One of the many fabulous exhibits inside 21c’s art gallery. Viewers can interact with letters floating down a projector screen. 

Miller's Grocery, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Fruit tea at Miller’s Grocery in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. They aren’t kidding about the size. I missed the famous buffet, but apparently it takes “all you can eat” to new levels. 

Cicadas, Murfreesboro, Tennessee

These little buggers look nasty, but they’re pretty harmless. A fixture of my youth, cicadas, as I learned on this trip, only come out in swarms every 13 years. This year? They were everywhere! 

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