There hasn't been much time over the last four years that all three of my favorite college trio have been in the United States at the same time. Now that Danielle and I live in the same city, there was no longer any reason to not road trip to see Lauren in Kentucky. Knocking another state off the list, we drove up late on a Friday, barely stopping to pick up Lauren from her house on the way to diner.
Our jaunt in Burger Week Lexington consisted of $5 sirloin burgers at Athenian Grill, an adorable shack of a restaurant, where we devoured our dinner and jumped to our next location: Kentucky Native Café. This place was a dream of dreams, a fairy-light oasis found in a parking lot of all places. We were visited by the resident cat as we drank our local brews, surrounded by gorgeous and lush greenery.
In the morning, our suspicion that Lexington, KY is actually Pawnee, IN was confirmed. On the short and sweet walk to breakfast at Magee's, we got to spend some time with Darly, Lauren's across-the-street neighbor's miniature horse. Li'l Sebastian in every way, Darly greeted us with blank stares as she grazed, and Lauren regaled us with stories of her indoor-outdoor house-pet life.
Mcgee's was a jewel in the middle of Lauren's neighborhood, the biscuit and egg lovers in us were satisfied, and our caffeine addiction was sated before we headed out for some bourbon trailing. Magee's also hosts a map-wall where travelers post a bill or two from their recent or forth-coming travels. We added a little to the wall, checking to make sure the places we'd been were all represented.
Our second stop of the day was Buffalo Trace Distillery, where our tour guide Brian (also a debate coach at the local university) introduced us to all things American Whiskey. We spent some time learning, some time tasting, and the whole time smiling. Buffalo Trace is one of the only distilleries in the country that operated during Prohibition, and has since been established as a National Historic Landmark. Visiting museums is great, but this was historic and delicious, so there's that.
Filling the time in-between distilleries, we headed to the Chocolate Holler, where we wished we had more time. We downed a drinking chocolate flight in about ten minutes, maybe less, and read the sweet notes of the pay-it-forward wall where patrons had purchased future chocolates for their heroes, those they knew well, or strangers who happened to fit their requirements.
At the Kentucky Ale Brewery-Distillery, we signed up for way more than we expected, learning about both sides of the business. One of the few brew-stilleries in the United States, the variety of products offered there was impressive, and whittling down the ones we wanted to try from thirty-two options to the four tastes we were allowed wasn't easy.
To round out the day, we picked up Thai food on our way to the Berea Pinnacles, a series of hikes that provided a spectacular sunset view of the area. We had a lot of cloud cover, but what we didn't get in a bright sunset, we received in the cool breeze and a shady rest from the sunny day. We climbed some tight crags up to the summit, took a rest at the top and were thankful for headlamps on the way down, as the light escaped way quicker than any of us had expected.
Hanging with these two has always been wonderful, and getting to see a little slice of life so different from my own was a treat. Meeting Lauren's friends, seeing her little home for the last four years and squeezing every ounce of time we had before she left the country for an international adventure of her own, these all made for one restful road trip.