Road Trip Wrap-Up in the Time of COVID-19

Our travels this summer might not yet be back to what they were in pre-COVID times, but we did actually go somewhere this year! Since we weren’t quite as busy as we have been on previous vacations, I’m just going to take a look at the whole trip instead of going day-by-day.

On Monday, we left for a short trip to Bowling Green, KY. Any visit to Bowling Green includes a meal from Zaxby’s. Fortunately, we have always done carryout, so that wasn’t even any different from our usual dinner.

On Tuesday morning, we drove into Nashville to visit Cheekwood Estate and Gardens and see the Nature Pop! Lego exhibition by Sean Kenney. Both the sculptures and the estate were breathtaking!

We also drove down to the Cumberland riverfront to get a look at the Nashville skyline.

We were going to get lunch at Hattie B’s, one of the locations in Nashville known for hot chicken, but the line was unbelievably long, so we went to Chaney’s Dairy Barn and had ice cream for lunch instead!

Our day ended with a beautiful double rainbow!

On Wednesday, Bunny and I went with her grandparents to tour Western Kentucky University, where she is planning on attending after she finishes at community college:

And on Thursday, we visited the Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green, where we saw not only an authorized replica of Marine One, but also an aircraft flown by every astronaut who walked on the moon!

We also had an early birthday celebration for Bunny that night:

We were up early on Friday morning to head home, but we did stop for donuts at the Donut Bank on the way:

It was a little challenging coming up with fun things to do outside in the summer heat, (I wanted to go to a Bowling Green Hot Rods game, but between the temperatures and the fact that I’m still a little hesitant to be in a big crowd, even outdoors, made me table that for the time being), but we found something to do every day, and it was so nice to get away for a bit!

Tasty Tuesday–Gerard’s 1907 Tavern

We were in Bowling Green, KY, for my birthday last month, a town with restaurants that are mostly unfamiliar to me. I knew I wanted to try something different, so after some Googling, I found Gerard’s 1907 Tavern, which is located in a historic building right by Fountain Square Park, and just down the hill from Western Kentucky University. It turned out to be a great choice!

Both the outside and the inside of the building look really cool. I love the exposed brick, the light fixtures, and the ceiling beams…but I especially love the sense of history in the place!

The food was excellent. Since it was my birthday, we splurged a bit. We tried an appetizer of fried pickles and jalapeños with a homemade buttermilk sauce. They were delicious, and some of the jalapeños were amazingly spicy (for me, anyway…Ryan was unfazed). We also got drinks. Ryan had an old-fashioned (he approved), and I had a Paloma, which was quite tasty. We both ordered sandwiches for our entrées. Ryan had the Cuban, which he said was prepared just right, and I had the GT burger, which was topped with Henry Bain sauce, gouda, slaw, and tobacco onions. The burger wasn’t as rare as I prefer (unless I’m at Seamus, it never is), but the meat was good, and I loved the combination of toppings. We both had the hand-cut fries on the side, and they came with a great roasted red pepper ketchup.

I’m really glad we had the opportunity to try someplace new, and were rewarded with a great meal in the process!

My First 39th Birthday

I’m really lucky, because my first 39th birthday (you know, like Jack Benny), actually started last month when we were in Chicago. My mom took us out to dinner at the Schnitzel Platz, where I had liver dumpling soup, Rahm Schnitzel, and hazelnut cake. And I got to hear “Happy Birthday” played on cowbells! It was a very fun night!

Today, the Fab Five and I took a tour of Mammoth Cave, and then hiked down to the Green River. It was really interesting and different, and we had a lot of fun…we even got to see deer and a turkey while we were out!

White Castle brought back my favorite strawberry lemonade smoothie just in time for my birthday, so I had to get one:

And then Ryan and I went to Gerard’s 1907 Tavern in Bowling Green, where we enjoyed a very nice meal:

We also had a nice walk around Fountain Square Park. I wore Pinup Girl Clothing, of course!

Back at Ryan’s parents’ house, we had a delicious strawberry birthday cake for dessert:

I really enjoyed my first 39th birthday…I wonder what my second 39th birthday will look like?

Capitol Arts Center

Like bowling alleys, old theaters also tend to have cool, vintage signs. But theatre signs tend to be even more vintage than the ones you find at bowling alleys, often by several decades by the look of them!

The Historic Railpark

One of the things I really wanted to do when we were in Bowling Green, KY, last month was visit the Historic Railpark and Train Museum at the former L&N (Louisville and Nashville) depot.


We started with a guided tour of five restored train cars. First, we got to see the engineer’s point-of-view from the E-8 Engine:



Next, we went through the 1921 Railway Post Office Car, and learned the story of Owney, a stray dog who became a postal mascot:

The Duncan Hines Diner Car (yes, that Duncan Hines…a food writer after which the cake mixes were named. He was a real person, and a Bowling Green native!) may have been my favorite car…I felt like I had stepped into a scene from White Christmas!



It was interesting to see the different classes of travel available in the Towering Pine Sleeper Car, as well as how cleverly they stored things in the walls and ceiling of the train. This time, I felt like I was in an episode of I Love Lucy!

Finally, we walked through the L&N Presidential Car, which was reserved for the president of the railroad, and contained a dining/conference room, kitchen, sleeping compartments, and a bathroom:

After the tour of the interior of the train cars, we walked around outside to see how they were all different.


We also saw the L&N Caboose and a Hospital Car, which is in the process of being restored:



There is also a museum inside the old depot:

The big waiting room of the depot is still beautiful. We learned that in addition to the segregated waiting room, there was also a small waiting room set aside for single women who were traveling alone. We especially liked the tile floor, which was laid with intentional mistakes here and there:



I’ll be honest…I didn’t really know what to expect before our visit. But it ended up being an amazing tour! It was like stepping into the past for a bit as we walked through the various cars. And the exhibits in the museum were very informative, and had some great items on display. I loved our visit, and I hope to go back someday and see the medical car once it’s finished!


Chaney’s Dairy Barn

When we travel, I like to look for fun experiences we wouldn’t necessarily be able to have back home. One such experience in Bowling Green, KY, was visiting Chaney’s Dairy Barn, which offers family farm tours on Mondays and Fridays during the summer for $8 a person.



It was a hot, sunny day, and we were very grateful that our wagon ride from the ice cream parlor to the farm, even though short, was covered!


We got to see a seven months pregnant cow and two calves, including one that was less than a week old! We just missed out on seeing their new robotic milker, but we did learn a lot about how technology is used on dairy farms!


Ladybug even got to help out with a demonstration…she had her finger hooked up to a milking machine, which she thought felt very weird!


After our visit with the cows, we returned to the ice cream parlor for our free scoop of ice cream (a highlight of the tour!) and a look around the gift shop.I tried the most Kentucky sounding flavor they had…bourbon crunch. It was delicious!



This was a really fun place to visit, and we learned a lot while we were there!

Hardin Planetarium

The second day of our trip to Bowling Green, KY, was a Sunday, and we discovered that the Hardin Planetarium, located on the Western Kentucky University campus, had a free show on Sunday afternoons. Of course we had to go…the show was focused on New Horizons and Pluto!


There were some great displays in the building, and the show was fantastic! I think we all learned something, and we also found out that the shows change about every six weeks, so there is clearly always something new to see at the Hardin Planetarium!