As you may or may not have been aware, Jessie and I just concluded a road trip to move her from Denver back to Baltimore — where she belongs!
We drove a small moving truck filled with her
crap precious belongings 1,800 miles over three days. Among long days of driving and stops in multiple cities, one place snuck up on us to steal our hearts: Lexington, Kentucky.
We had a lot of plans for this road trip, whether it was getting tattoos together (didn’t happen, but might happen anyway in Baltimore), hanging out in St. Louis, hanging out in Louisville, or spreading our trip over four days to give us more time to see these places.
None of these things happened, for various reasons. For anyone accustomed to multi-city trips, such plans are often abandoned. On Saturday evening, we decided to ditch Louisville and drive the extra hour to Lexington, just to put us that much closer to our final destination.
We had zero expectations for Lexington, and that is typically when a city sneaks up and surprises you.
The Distillery District
Alas, I have no pictures from Lexington. I used to be good about taking pictures of the places I visit, I swear.
We got into Lexington late Saturday evening and found a hotel on the northwest side of the city with rooms available. (The hotels were surprisingly crowded this weekend, and I suspect it had something to do with a University of Kentucky event.)
After decompressing a bit in our room, I convinced Jessie that 10pm was far too early for us to go to bed while staying in a city we had never seen before.
Fortunately, I found an ice cream shop next to a brewery not far from us. Jessie was convinced. We got an Uber down to Manchester Avenue.
What we did not know if that this strip heading towards downtown Lexington was once an industrial zone. According to our friendly Uber driver, the area had recently been re-zoned to allow for commercial development.
Cruising between rows of warehouses and industrial garages, our driver explained that the particular area we were headed could get pretty crowded on the weekends.
He pulled into a non-descript parking lot behind a similarly non-descript warehouse, and we were blown away to find dozens of cars parked there, with lights and signs for all sorts of businesses.
First was Barrel House Distillery and their bourbon-tasting bar, Elkhorn Tavern.
Then, we saw the ice cream shop, Crank and Boom (more on this later), followed by a brewery and taphouse, and a pizza joint.
We wandered along a cobblestone walkway to the end of the strip, just enjoying the outdoor patio complete with fireplaces. But we came here for ice cream.
Crank and Boom is an ice cream lounge where patrons can enjoy homemade ice cream, as well as specialty cocktails and coffees.
I went simple with my order: Bourbon and Honey ice cream. It was fantastic. Jessie went a little more whimsical with Kentucky Blackberry Buttermilk ice cream over brownie pieces and covered in hot fudge.
Next, we hit Elkhorn Tavern to sample the local booze. The bourbon was good. The ambience of the tavern was cozy, like an old hunting lodge, and the bar tenders were very friendly.
Sufficiently buzzed, we decided to call it a night. Also, the bar was closing.
The next morning, we found a breakfast spot called DV8. This too, was a locally-owned place with an eclectic menu and the friendliest owner. He constantly made his way around to each table to refill drinks, ask if you needed anything else, and otherwise greet you with a smile and a pat on the back.
Worth a Return
As much as we would have liked to explore Lexington, we had to hit the road. We set off on Sunday morning in our little moving truck across eastern Kentucky and into West Virginia. Our enjoyment of this underrated city was only compounded with a beautiful drive through the Appalachians to close our journey.
Lexington is about eight hours from Baltimore. We will definitely be going back!