Nearly Native’s City Guide: 24 Hours in Louisville, KY

Traveling in the winter can be tough. Unexpected weather leads to accidents and delays that leave you wondering why you ever left the comfortable cocoon of your own bed. Call me when it’s Spring, please! However, despite the dreary skies and colder temps, I’m still always in favor of getting out of the house and mixing things up a bit. So, in the spirit of not letting things get stagnate, my manfriend and I decided to take a quick trick up to Louisville to meet some friends. While we only had 24 hours to explore, we tried to make the most of it! Here’s a rundown of what we did to help you plan your next trip to the city that’s home to the Kentucky Derby and some seriously delicious bourbon.

First, from Tennessee, Louisville is totally driveable, taking anywhere between 2 to 4 hours (in general) to get to, depending on where in the state you’re located. This close regional distance made the trip even more appealing for a quick 24-hour trip. We arrived in Louisville early afternoon, just in time for quick bite to eat before we checked in to our Airbnb.

Garage Bar: Located on Market Street in downtown Louisville, this eclectic little spot is perfect for sharing one of their brick oven pizzas on the patio. Their pizzas are great for one person (if you’re really hungry) or good for splitting if you just need a little something in your belly. While their menu changes seasonally and their craft beer list is massive, it’s easy to find something that satisfies. We had a Margherita pizza and some samples from the Ham & Cheese Bar. Highly recommend this spot for a casual bite in a popular part of town.

Next, we checked in to our Airbnb and relaxed for a bit before making our way to another spot for a some pre-sports game bites. The main even of the night for us was the Louisville vs. UNC Men’s Basketball game because go sports, so we decided to grab an early bite beforehand.

The Hub Louisville: Our pre-game meal was at this trendy sports lounge on Frankfort Avenue and we couldn’t have picked a better spot! This place was lively, had plenty of bar space and televisions, plus, pool tables. We decided to split a few of their bar bites between the four of us – everything looked so yummy we couldn’t decide on just one thing! The food was perfect for our pre-game food needs, but most notable for me was their Gin and Tonic. It might sound generic, but if you like Gin, this drink is a must-try because of their house-made spiced tonic. Seriously, it was too drinkable. I wanted to take some home with me!

From The Hub, we made our way to the KFC Yum! Center for the basketball game. This arena was a great place to watch some college ball. Even if you don’t root for any team in particular, live sports, like college basketball, can be fun to enjoy with friends. After the game we decided to head back towards the part of town that our Airbnb was in, which happened to be in the Highlands off of Baxter Avenue and Bardstown Road. This area was hopping with bars and restaurants lining the streets and people out and about for their Saturday night. If you’re looking for walkable entertainment from your apartment rental or hotel, this is the neighborhood I’d recommend.

O’Shea’s Irish Pub: We ended the evening at this cozy pub that you could tell could definitely get rowdy. I bet their St. Patrick’s Day celebration is something else! This was a great spot to end the night because we could enjoy a little live music, but still chat with each other. They also have a patio that would be great for a warm afternoon.

Sunday

We had time to grab a quick brunch on Sunday before heading back home, so we made our way to a restaurant known for its brunch called LouVino. Sadly, when we arrived we found out that all their tables were reserved for the next several hours. Obviously, we weren’t the only ones looking for some southern-style sustenance that morning. We walked out of two more restaurants due to crowds and our lack of reservation until we found one we liked without a wait. Moral of the story is: make reservations for Sunday Brunch.

Harvest: We happened on this gem of a brunch spot near downtown on Market Street. It’s hard to miss, as their name is painted across the facade of their store front. We parked on the street and made our way into this locally grown restaurant. What I mean by “locally grown” is that Harvest sources its ingredients from the local economy, turning out delicious southern dishes that are perfect for a Sunday morning. From their Fried Bologna and Smoked Pork Belly to their Harvest Salad and Farmer’s Omelet, Harvest is just the place for trying the delicious dishes you expect from the South.

After a very short, but amazing 24 hours, we had to make our way back home, but here are a few other great things to try while you’re visiting Louisville:

Why not plan your next easy getaway to Louisville, Kentucky? Seems better than sitting on the couch to me!

 

5 Ways to Get Out of That Late Winter Funk

The first (longest) month of the year is finally over, but there’s no end to the gloomy days of winter in sight. It’s easy to fall into your personal brand of hibernation, scurrying from your warm bed to your car to the gym or work and back home again only to dive under your warmest, fluffiest blanket, never to resurface again unless it decides to suddenly be summer again. How can you possibly pass the time when it feels like the cold grip of winter will just never go away? Don’t let the seasonal slump get you down! I’ve got 5 ways to help you get through the late winter funk that stand between you and warmer days.

  1. Try a new workout: Okay, so I know we’re not all gym rats, but a good endorphin rush can really help your mood. So, why not try something that will take you out of your regular (or not-so-regular) workout routine? If you love weights, why not try a high-intensity workout that mixes weights and cardio like Orange Theory, Barry’s Bootcamp, or Boxing? Want a little less impact, a little more stretch and strength? Try a Cycling, Barre or Hot Yoga – at least your sweat will distract from how cold it is outside. Maybe a good old fashioned hike is perfect for you or something less traditional like a trampoline park. The options are endless and so are the benefits.
  2. Plan a weekend getaway or your next big vacation: What better way to make time fly by than to plan your next adventure? While it doesn’t magically make the cold go away, it helps to have something to look forward to. Whether it’s somewhere colder for a winter weather activity or a warm sandy beach, making time for new experiences is always fun and can help you cure those late winter blues. I’ve scheduled a few weekend trips to see friends and a trip to Europe this summer and counting down the days makes summer seem not so far away! Here are the 50 Best Destinations in 2018
  3. See a Concert: While planning excursions to far off lands can  be awesome, there’s usually great things to discover in your own back yard. A night out on the town to see your favorite artist or maybe someone new is a fun way to forget the cold. Even if you have to sprint from your Uber to the concert floor just to avoid a cold snap, it’ll be worth the great time spent with friends or loved ones enjoying a little artistry. Concert’s not your thing? Try comedians instead!
  4. Take a class: Take an artsy alternative and try a painting (and wine) class or maybe cooking is your thing – there are classes for that too! Maybe you’ve always wanted to try your hand at making the perfect cocktail or you’ve always wanted to try glassblowing, what’s stopping you from trying it now? Classes can be an awesome way to come out from behind your big fluffy blanket and hang with friends or loved ones.
  5. Plan a party: There may not be much to “celebrate” when freezing temperatures or slippery roads wreak havoc on your routine, but that’s exactly why this time of year is perfect for throwing a party. All you need is a theme, your libations/snacks of choice, and willing participants. Plan a pajama party, a wine and cheese night, trivia night, mid-day brunch, or a trusty dinner party to spice things up for you and you friends. Or try celebrating a wintery holiday – Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, or Mardi Gras. Not only will you have something to look forward to, but so will all of your favorite people!

5 Tips for a Weekend Ski Trip from a Newbie

First, let it be known that I’m no ski expert. I wasn’t clipped in to my first pair of skis by my parents at the age of 4, nor did I go on any kind of high school ski trips that might’ve helped me now that my joints aren’t nearly as forgiving when I eat it in the snow. Thankfully, I was fitted with my first pair of figure skates when I was 4 because my mom had this overwhelming need to ensure that I was good at things she never got a chance to try when she was a kid. While this did help my balance on skis (and I’d been skiing one* other time), I had a long way to go when we arrived at the Whitefish Mountain Resort in Whitefish, Montana. I won’t lie, the first run was a rough one, but after some practice (and tough love from my manfriend), it was (mostly) smooth sailing! Even if you’ve never been skiing or snowboarding before, don’t let that stop you from giving a weekend on the slopes a try – it can be a super fun, active way to get outside with your friends when you might otherwise be in winter hibernation. Here are a few tips that I learned from planning our ski excursion that will help you prepare if you’re a snow sport newbie like me:

  • Understand your surroundings: Research your destination to learn about what type of snow you’ll encounter and what typical conditions are. Whether you use Google or more experienced friends, getting an idea for whether it’ll be icy or more like “powder” or “packing snow” will help you when you’re getting ready to go down the mountain. Also, if you’re headed somewhere with colder temps, packing more sweat- and snow-wicking layers is key. Conditions can vary from the Appalachians to the Rockies to international mountains, so it’s important to know that one experience can be very different from the next. Also, when it comes to lodging, look for AirBnB’s nearby – ours was on the mountain and part of the resort, making it super convenient and cheaper than a hotel.

  • Buy your tickets ahead of time: Look into purchasing lift tickets and gear rental passes ahead of time. Sometimes, you can score deals by purchasing ahead or in a group, plus you can skip some lines on you first day on the mountain! While you’re at it, make sure to look at the mountain’s website for any additional fees or specials you might want to be aware of.
  • Invest in a few key pieces: If you’re nowhere near an expert, like me, but you enjoy snow-based outdoor activities, it might be worth investing in a solid pair of snow pants and a coat that keeps the snow melt out. The North Face has some nice options that aren’t crazy-expensive like some other more dedicated ski/snowboard brands. Here are my pants and my coat. I run cold so I got a 3-in-1 jacket with a few layers. I also sprang for my own helmet, goggles, and gloves because I know I’ll ski again. Don’t forget a face mask to guard from the wind!
  • Don’t let it go to your head: I was definitely the beginner of my group of friends, but I wasn’t afraid to admit that to myself and to them. I did, however, test myself by going down some difficult runs that proved frustrating (there were definitely some strong words exchanged between me and my SO), so I learned there’s no shame starting on the bunny hills to build confidence. If you fall, you fall. It’s just snow! If you feel like you’re out of control, fall on your butt, it’s okay! Also, make sure you know the categories and names of the runs on the mountain. Green runs are easiest, then Blue, then Black and Black Diamond are hardest. You can bet I stayed away from those black runs because I just wasn’t quite ready for those.

  • Stop and look around: Of course, concentrate on the run while you’re in motion down the mountain, but make sure to take time to stop and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings. One of the best parts of a ski trip is getting outdoors in the snow with friends and family. If you don’t take time to stop and take a look around, you might miss the beauty that mountains have to offer. Stopping also allows you to catch your breath if you’re sick of falling your butt like me 🙂

So the next time someone asks you to join their ski weekend getaway, don’t turn it down simply because you’re a newbie. If your friends are as a great as mine, they’ll have patience on the slopes and be happy you joined in on the fun. You never know, you might actually really enjoy it!