Blogging from the road for the first time. Long post warning!
It's 9:40 am (10:40 up here in Louisville time) and the festival officially opens in 20 minutes, but there are people milling around. We left home at 4 am and started the 3 1/2 hour drive. After about an hour of interstate and nauseating hilly highway driving, we turned onto highway 101 North. This is one of the most beautiful drives I've ever experienced. Rolling hills covered in lush deep green grass, low lying areas blanketed in fog and beautiful farms are on both sides of the highway. There are fields full of cows and horses. One scrubby field had a cream and gray spotted miniature horse standing beside a bale of hay. I could have spent an hour walking along taking pictures (obviously....I took none so just trust me here. Or, go for a gorgeous summer drive). Edited: I took some on the drive back.
Apparently we left earlier last time (July 4th weekend) because we didn't get here to set up today until 9am, after most people were almost set up. Pulling in to set up when other booths are already up makes it more challenging, but we had very nice neighbors who understood when our booth stuff was spread all over the place. The weather is absolutely PERFECT and it's about time to wander and take some photos.
3pm. The weather is unbelievable. And the people we've met here are some of the friendliest anywhere.. We're in the NuLu district, also known as East Market District. According to nulu.org:
"NuLu is best known for its art galleries, specialty stores, antique shops and a growing number of local, upscale restaurants.
The term 'NuLu' is a portmanteau meaning 'New Louisville'. As home to the greenest commercial building in Kentucky, many historic restoration projects, as well as several restaurants offering organic and locally sourced ingredients, NuLu has emerged with a culture of sustainability."
What I've noticed is natural beauty in the middle of a city, but in a way that incorporates the best of both. And an interesting mix of architecture. When you get off the interstate to come down to the NuLu area, the area feels like a mix of an historical area, a neighborhood and a business district.
10:20 am, Sunday. Sitting in the booth on this glorious sunny morning, drinking my hotel coffee. We stay at the Airport Springhill Suites and it is incredible. Probably the best affordable hotel we've ever stayed at. Highly recommend. Last night for dinner, we followed the recommendation of some locals and went to Against the Grain. From their website-
"Against The Grain Brewery & Smokehouse is located in the southeast corner of Louisville Slugger Field at the corner of Jackson and Main Street. It is a former train station that features beautifully ornate industrial architecture, lending to the beauty of the dining room and brewhouse. Inside you will find one of the nations only operational, Victorian styled and 3 story 'showpiece' brewhouses. The copper clad 15 barrel brewhouse is complimented by eclectic pieces of art produced by Louisvillian artists."
David had the brisket and I had a "fun guy" mushroom burger. It was truly a memorable meal out and I finally tasted a beer I liked (Black Hearted Imp if you're looking for a dark beer with a really clean light flavor). And I don't even like or drink beer. David got Stranger Things after he realized he didn't like the dark beer. He said it was grapefruit-y and he would recommend it :)
After dinner, we went to the riverfront and walked. Louisville is full of fascinating history and the waterfront area is a large part of it. It's nice to just be out together on a date in a city we loved instantly. There are so many bikes, families, dogs, interesting architecture and fun events. It quickly became a new favorite place to visit. Residents are very proud of their city. You regularly see people with Louisville and Cardinals shirts and LOTS of Fleur-de-lis (which is the seal of Louisville) shirts and tattoos.
As I'm writing this, it is now Monday afternoon and my computer AND phone have been giving me all kinds of issues with this post. We had a great Sunday at the Flea Off and if you're ever in the area you should check it out. It is a really good mix of music, food, drinks and vendors selling all kinds of fun things. Terrariums, vintage clothing, aromatherapy jewelry, regular jewelry, records and even shrunken heads ;) There is a cocktail/beer vendor that sells Kentucky Mules, Bloody Marys, "Flea Tea" which is iced tea with vodka in it and other drinks. And of course, there are food trucks! There is also one thing (below) that I've never seen at any of the festivals we have done- seating!
We went to Louisville for the first time back over July 4th weekend and loved it instantly. It feels like a place that holds onto the past in a way of honoring what was important, but also moves forward and embraces new ideas. It has a funky 90s vibe while also being a very environmentally friendly city. We wanted to see as much as possible. On that visit, my brother told me, "Do not leave Louisville without visiting Cave Hill Cemetery". So we made sure we made the time and it was so worth it. This is where Muhammad Ali was buried. We never saw his gravesite, but we did see a tent with a guard standing nearby back in a corner and I am pretty sure that was it. Colonel Sanders was also buried here. We had a nice rainy early morning drive through this beautiful peaceful place.
So back to this glorious Labor Day weekend. As always, we met some really wonderful people. And dogs.
After two very full days, it was time to pack back up and head home.
A huge thanks to the Flea Off Market organizers, vendors and visitors for making this event what it is. And thanks to the city of Louisville for being such a fantastic place. Your city and the people in it are truly awesome and we will be back.
Thanks for reading!
~~Elisabeth and David