This past weekend, Dom and I went on our second annual Thanksgiving road trip (I say “annual” in the hope that it becomes a yearly jaunt, regardless of my country home-base). Last year, we explored Pure Michigan; this year, we were off to Indiana: The Crossroads of America and Kentucky: The Bluegrass State.
As Indiana’s nickname not-so-subtly implies, Indiana doesn’t really have much going for it, other than the fact that many a-highways cross through the state. Therefore, it is not too surprising that our first four hours spent in Indiana were driving down the I-65, en-route to Louisville, Kentucky. However, an additional 40 minutes were spent in Rensselaer, Indiana; 10 of those minutes walking around a deserted town square in the rain, searching without success for a place to eat, and the remaining 30 minutes spent scarfing down a veggie omelette in a diner whose name is still unclear to me, and taught me that even in America, one can not always assume that water will be served without asking.
We made it to Louisville fairly smoothly, despite the dense fog and constant rain that seemed to chase us all the way from Chicago. After checking into our B&B in Louisville’s historic district (and the owner giving us homemade piecaken to accompany our afternoon tea?), we started off for downton and “Light Up Louisville”, the city’s annual kick-off-the-holidays festival. Now, I say “holidays”, but realistically, I should probably say Christmas, because there was definitely no sign of any other holiday existing that evening. And while a part of me finds this upsetting, the larger part of me enjoyed listening to local choirs sing Christmas carols, viewing the lights strung across the streets, and smelling the sweets from the German market. Dom successfully found currywurst and mulled wine, while I happily held off until gorging myself on shrimp and grits from Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse. While we attempted to take the bus back to our B&B (I have a new mission to take public transportation in all the cities I visit after listening to a great episode of The Weeds in which Matthew Yglesias does just that), we opted for walking the 2 miles back after seeing that the bus was 30 minutes away.
To continue our walking theme, we set out Saturday morning on a stroll through Historic Old Louisville, where the streets are lined with beautiful colonial homes and a perfectly manicured median. After finding a park and swinging for a solid 10 minutes (I’ve decided that if I ever own a home with any type of yard, I am most definitely building a swingset), we set off once again for the Crossroads of America.
Our next destination: Corydon, Indiana, population 3,119. Why be content with one “Light Up” festival if you can experience two back-to-back? Although the rain was unrelenting and the as-advertised carriage rides around town were nowhere to be found, “Light Up Corydon” was adorable (albeit a tad too religious-ey for my liking– i.e. I’ve never seen so many nativity scenes in one place before). It is also worth noting that Frederick’s Cafe makes a delicious tuna melt, and the freemasons of the New Albany Masonic Temple are expert donut-makers.
Since we successfully checked off one night in Indiana, we didn’t feel too bad about looping back to Louisville to end our weekend with zip lining through mega caverns. While the Louisville Mega Cavern website boasts they have “the world’s only fully underground zip line course”, I assure you that even if there were other underground zip line courses, this would still be well worth your visit. It is hard to describe the feeling you get while zipping down 900 feet of wire, feet dangling above the dark caverns that surround you. Suffice it to say it’s an absolutely awesome feeling that everyone should experience at some (or multiple) point(s) in their lives.
In order to ensure Indiana didn’t feel too unloved, we made one final pit stop in Indianapolis for dinner and indulged in the most delicious and heartwarming cajun creole food at Yats (thanks to Todd’s suggestion). If you are ever driving through the Crossroads of America, make sure that path includes Yats; order the chili cheese crawfish, and you will suddenly think fondly of Indiana.
And, after returning the car with an additional 726.5 miles more experience driving around real America, we managed to get home in time to sip a cup of tea and watch Doctor Who, before quickly falling asleep.