Friday, August 11, 2017

Our Big Kentucky Road Trip Part 2: Louisville

After we spent the first part of our morning at Abraham Lincoln's birthplace, we drove to Louisville.  I had originally planned to spend a day or two here and to even stay the night here.  But we didn't.  We ate lunch, stayed the afternoon and then headed to our hotel just across the river from Cincinnati.  I wanted a place more centrally located between the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter so that's why we did that.  But I honestly wish we could've spent more time in Louisville!  It surprised me.

First of all, there is SO MUCH TO DO here!  The city is also a lot bigger than I originally thought.  I guess I didn't peg Kentucky as having big cities.  I mean, it seemed like we just kept driving and driving and driving.  It's just very spread out.  And it's almost like there were several major divisions or areas within the city itself.  Our destination was the "museum row" area, which is downtown by the river.  As we entered Louisville, we saw the airport and then the Cardinals' football stadium and part of the University of Louisville campus.  Churchill Downs is located in this area, too, but we didn't visit there.  I know!  But, like I said yesterday, as long as we were gone, we still just didn't have time to see everything so we narrowed it down based on what we thought our children would enjoy most.  I've no doubt Churchill Downs is a "must see" in Louisville so we'll definitely do that next time.

We finally made it downtown and found a parking place.  Then we started walking.  I was definitely impressed with downtown Louisville!  The architecture was really beautiful, it was very clean and there were flowers and trees everywhere.  It was obvious that Louisvillians are very proud of their city.  I took a picture of this sign on the lamp post, and you'll understand why in a minute.   
We were pretty hungry by this point so the first thing we did was find a place to eat.  We almost missed this place.  It was tucked away on a side street off of the main street we were walking.  Seth just so happened to look over and see it.  Mussel & Burger Bar.  Yes, indeed.
The ambiance and decor here was on point.  And when they brought my sweet tea to the table in a mason jar, I knew they would do no wrong.  And I was right!  Ordering an appetizer for a family of five is tricky.  It's sometimes hard to find something everybody likes, particularly if you want to enjoy something "different" or even "regional."  And sometimes it might not be enough to share.  We went to an Italian place awhile back that had only four mozzarella sticks on that appetizer dish.  So we didn't get that.  Because we are a family of five.  Now, this one was tricky.  Because the appetizer menu just isn't your typical appetizer fare.  Which was totally fine with me.  But not for some other folks.  Seth chose the ground beef taquitos because he thought that might be something everyone would eat.  I would've chosen something different.  But I ended up being really glad I didn't do the choosing!

These were totally not what we expected, and yet, they exceeded our expectations.  The kids were THRILLED when these mini-taco looking things arrived at our table.  And I was thrilled with how they tasted!  So, so good!  I mean, I could've made a meal out of just these.  The pickled sweet peppers on top totally made them.  I was glad Ellie didn't want her peppers because I got to eat them!
Speaking of Ellie, she was so giddy about this!  That girl has never met a taco she didn't like!
Two sisters eating two little tacos.
Now, yall know I'm not a big meat eater.  At all.  I wasn't interested in mussels.  So a burger it was.  They had a veggie burger that sounded divine.  But you know what else?  They also had a "southern belle" burger on the menu.  Here's how the menu describes it:  fried green tomatoes, remoulade sauce, pimento cheese, pretzel bun.  sweet potato fries with smoked pineapple dipping sauce.

Yes, ma'am.  SIGN ME UP.
I mean, LOOK AT THIS.  Mercy!  It's like all the yummy southern things on a bun!  Immediately after I took this picture, I deconstructed this burger and ate it with a knife and fork.  Yes, I did.  Oh, and that smoked pineapple dipping sauce on those sweet potato fries?  Well, I need to come up with my own recipe for that!
This was definitely not your ordinary burger place.  It was so. much. MORE!  Everybody enjoyed their lunch!  Oh, and just in case you're wondering . . . Seth had the CEO Burger with gruyere cheese, truffle aioli, caramelized onions, arugula and oven roasted tomatoes.

Then we walked down the street to our next stop.  I mean, see what I mean about downtown Louisville?!  There are these lovely little sitting nooks on almost every corner. 
And then we arrived!  The Louisville Slugger Museum!  Is this not the coolest?  Too bad my picture taking skills are so mediocre.  I tried to get a shot of the entire length of the bat, but instead of making my people continue standing there while I went across the street to try it, I just gave up.  The bat is 120-feet tall and an exact replica of Babe Ruth's slugger.
We've been to a lot of museums, many of them top notch.  This one?  Well, it definitely ranks at the top of the top!  I mean, this is probably the best of the best.  It was so well done, and everyone enjoyed it.  Even my girls who aren't interested in baseball at all.
The first thing we did was take a factory tour.  You aren't allowed to use your camera during the tour so this is the last one I took before we actually entered the factory.  It really was a fascinating process and so neat to watch the bats being made.  Each year, 40,000 trees are used to make these bats but only 10% of the logs are of good enough quality to craft a major league bat!  But, no worries.  They don't go tromping through the forest cutting down all of these trees.  Most of them have already fallen.
After the tour, we explored all of the exhibits.  This museum was very interactive.  Here you can pitch the ball, and it records the speed of your pitch.  Mason's highest speed was around 45 MPH or so, if I remember correctly.

And, of course, the great Mickey Mantle.  There were so many great visuals and opportunities for picture taking.
Of course, he had to have a picture here.  So close this year!
Behind Mason is one of my favorite parts of the museum.  It's a simulation of a 95 MPH fast ball being pitched at you.  So you stand at the plate (obviously it's behind a net), and you watch the screen as the pitcher winds up.  And then he throws the ball, and the ball actually shoots out from the wall and comes straight at you.  Let's just say I'd never want to be standing across from the pitcher's mound WITHOUT a net in between me and there! It was rather intense.

Speaking of stunning displays and interactive opportunities, this is another really neat one.  You can choose a bat, one that was really used in a game by the players, and have your picture taken with it.
Mason chose Jeff Bagwell because he was an Astro, and that's Mason's favorite team.  He's one of the ones I remember very well.  I used to watch a lot of Braves games back in the day.
And then he chose Derek Jeter's bat.  I'm not sure why?  But I guess most boys these days probably would.
You can sit on a bench in the "dug out."  Oh, and those little mini bats?  Those are "free" to everyone who tours the factory.
I can't believe I didn't get a picture of it, but Mason did purchase the real deal Louisville Slugger from the gift shop.  It's not something he'll be using during a game though.  We've already "put it up."  And on the way out we got one more picture.
So remember the very first picture in this post, the one with the light post?  If you read the banner, it says, "Home of the hot brown."  Y'all, there was absolutely no way I was coming to Louisville without eating a hot brown at The Brown Hotel!  I blame that on my mother.  You see, she has subscribed to Southern Living magazine for as long as I can remember.  Years and years and years.  And, of course, I do, too.  So the one thing I've always associated with Kentucky from a culinary standpoint is the hot brown.  You can find it at a lot of the restaurants and cafes across Kentucky.  But I wanted the original.  I've no idea how many time The Brown has been featured in Southern Living.  But they can thank that magazine for our patronage that day!
There are several restaurants in the hotel, but we decided to eat in the lobby bar area.  I mean, we'd just not too long ago eaten those humongous burgers.  But, again, we weren't staying in Louisville and needed to head north so I told Seth we just HAD to.  Isn't the lobby gorgeous?!
And this is the infamous hot brown!  This is actually HALF of the hot brown!  I ordered one and explained to our waiter that Seth and I were going to share it.  He was kind enough to halve the order for us before it even came to our table.  So what is a hot brown?  It's a thick slab of Texas toast topped with thickly sliced turkey breast, bacon and tomatoes, all slathered in a rich Mornay sauce.   
When we sat down at our table, Mason whispered to me that he really didn't think we should be here.  White table clothes, elegant stemware and flatware, rich draperies and fabrics everywhere.  It really was a grand place, particularly through the eyes of the children.  I told him it would be just fine but that it was also important to use very good manners.

We had so much great conversation and good laughter around this table!  I mean, we eat together, even if it's just the kids and me, at the table every single day for breakfast, lunch and supper.  We have lots of conversation at our own table at home.  But I found myself thinking that the conversation here was different, so carefree, so unencumbered by the work of the day and other responsibilities.  It was a sweet time. 
Now.  Since we'd eaten not too long ago, nobody was really hungry.  But, we're always in the mood for ice cream!  So the kids ordered ice cream.  But when they brought it out, it was definitely not your ordinary ice cream.  It was fancy ice cream!  Everybody was excited!

And here's the other half of my hot brown.  I'm telling you, the thing is HUGE and definitely enough for two people to share, even if you're hungry!
And there was one more thing I just HAD to order.  Derby Pie!  Me, oh, my was this thing ever delicious!  Unfortunately, we had to share it amongst the five of us.  Because I really wanted to eat the whole thing all by myself.
And that was our afternoon in Louisville.  I really wish we could've stayed longer and explored the city more.  But we headed up towards Cincinnati where we stayed in a hotel for the night.  I really think this particular day at Abe Lincoln's memorial and in Louisville was one of my favorite during our trip.  But, there's still more!  The next day we visited the Creation Museum.

One more thing.  Remember yesterday when I was talking about our little hike in Mammoth Cave National Park and Seth's comment to Hannah Kate during her little melt down?  He told her that sometimes it "feels good to hurt," meaning the kind of hurt after a strenuous workout.  I told you to remember that.

What I didn't mention was Seth's near face plant on the way up the 56 steps to Abraham Lincoln's birthplace memorial earlier in the day.  Our tour guide had already given everyone strict instructions about not running up those stairs because she didn't want anyone to trip and fall and get hurt.  We had to remind the children several times during those 56 steps.  Seth goes bee-bopping on up to the top, and he's the one who gets tripped up and nearly hits the concrete.  He blamed it on the flip flops.

So while we were sitting at the beautiful Brown Hotel enjoying our hot brown, ice cream and derby pie, Seth remarks, "My big toe is sore."  I have to say that Seth has had all sorts of ailments with his toes lately!  So I asked him why his toe was sore.  I'd forgotten about the incident that morning.  He's all like, "Well, don't you remember I stubbed my toe this morning on those steps?"  No, I didn't realize you stubbed your toe.  

And then Hannah Kate, all sweetly and innocently and very seriously looks at her daddy and comments, "Why, dad, sometimes it feels good to hurt a little bit.  That's what you told me yesterday."

I. died. 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Our Big Kentucky Road Trip Part 1: country music, fast cars, caves and presidents

You know what's funny?  When the orthodontist or the lady at the grocery store or your friends ask your children what they're going to do over the summer break, and they enthusiastically respond, "We're going to Kentucky!"  And then there's, like, a brief period of dead silence.  Because you know exactly how to react if someone tells you they're going to Disney World.  But Kentucky?  So, yeah, it was a little hilarious at times.  I even had someone tell me, "That doesn't interest me at all or sound like any fun."

Well.  My kids have been begging to go to the mountains ever since Seth and I got back from our big Montana/Wyoming road trip.  We've talked about going to the Smokies but just never went.  And since you pass through Tennessee on the way to Kentucky, that sounded good to me.  The whole thing that even started this idea was the construction of the life-sized Ark in Williamstown, KY.  I really wanted to go, and I really thought it would be a neat experience for the kids.  At that point, I really didn't know much about Kentucky.  I mean, I could've told you bourbon, horse racing, bluegrass, hot browns and basketball.  So I began researching to see what else I could find, and that was the beginning of a family road trip with the main purpose of visiting the Ark Encounter.  I felt like the distance, though far, would be manageable with all three kids and would give us a good idea of how a more "intense" road trip might go (because there's lots of places I'd love to take them!).  I also thought there would be something for everybody, from the twelve year old all the way to the five year old.  And that was the beginning of a plan that took shape last fall.

In the meantime, I began researching (Pinterest) for some other Kentucky landmarks that we could visit.  I didn't realize how much there is to do there!  I basically narrowed it down to caves, a little hiking, waterfalls and Abraham Lincoln.  I found a few other little surprises on the way.  After I knew where and what I wanted to visit, I put everything into my Roadtrippers app.  It then told me the best route to take and the distance in miles and time between each stop.  Once I had that, I assigned dates to each place we wanted to visit.  So we knew exactly where we were going and on what day.  I built in enough time to also give us two extra days, just in case something happened or we got behind schedule.

I didn't immediately make hotel reservations, but I knew in which cities we were going to stay (with the exception of one stop).  I would've preferred to have done that before we left, but I didn't.  It worked out perfectly though and, in some ways, better.  We did not have any trouble finding a hotel.  I also had several people ask me what kind of room we get or if we get more than one room.  Ummm, no.  Yes, it's tricky with a family of five.  And it can be crowded.  But I'm not about to pay for two rooms yet because Ellie is still little enough that she can sleep on a couch bed or a roll away bed or even with us if need be.  We also used Seth's hotel points for the majority of the nights, and there are sometimes restrictions with those regarding which rooms you can get.

We stayed in the same hotel only twice along the way.  So, pretty much every morning we were packing our bags and checking out of a hotel.  It really wasn't a big deal.  If you care to know my organizational system, I used packing cubes.  These things are AWESOME.  Each person had a set of cubes.  The boys had gray, and the girls had pink.  Undies and socks were packed in the smallest ones.  Ellie's little clothes were packed in the next size up.  Mason's and Hannah Kate's were in the next size and separated by tops and bottoms.  And then Seth and I used the largest cubes.  These were a dream because they helped those who aren't as organizationally minded as myself (which is pretty much everybody else in my family!) still stay organized and neatly packed.  So jumping up each morning and heading out with our suitcases was no big deal because they pretty much stayed packed and organized the whole time.  We had only two suitcases with us so there also wasn't a lot to haul.  And then I had another bag for shoes and a small tote for toiletries and such.  That was it.  I brought trash bags to put our dirty clothes in at the end of the day.  I didn't plan to wash clothes while we were gone because I am not at all a fan of laundry facilities in hotels, and we weren't staying anywhere long enough to take advantage of laundry valet services, but I ended up washing a few things twice.  Besides that, I brought home two large garbage bags full of dirty clothes that had to be washed when we got back.  But I didn't even care!

There were a few nights that our hotel rooms were small.  There wasn't even enough space for a roll-away bed, and there wasn't a sofa.  So we had three people in one bed and two in the other.  But it was fine.  I wouldn't want to do that every time.  There were some nights that we had two beds and a sofa bed.  And then we lucked up on something we'd never seen before.  For the same rate as a single room, we ended up with a suite of sorts that had a separate room with bunk beds in it!  So Hannah Kate and Ellie slept on the bottom full-sized bunk, and Mason slept on the top twin bunk.  Seth and I had a king sized bed in the other room.  But that was only one night.  Now we were gone nine nights.  So I can honestly say we were all ready to sleep in our own beds after that, but the whole hotel situation was fine.  We just slept there.  We didn't have to spend any amount of time in a room because we were gone all day everyday of the trip.

I did take some snacks and bottles of water.  Other than that, we ate the hotel breakfast because that's free (most of the time).  And we'd eat one big meal a day (we tried to find places with salads and veggies and such) and then a smaller meal or snack.  We ate lots of ice cream.  Lots and lots of ice cream!

So.  Here we go.  We left on a Sunday after church.  I really wanted to make it to Nashville that first day, but we didn't.  We stopped just north of Birmingham.  We'd been driving for about six hours and decided we'd rather go to bed early.  But I learned that we can easily get to Nashville in a day if we need to.  If we would've left that morning instead of afternoon, we definitely would've stayed that first night in Nashville.

And, speaking of Nashville, we woke up early the next morning and headed out.  The kids were so excited to drive into Tennessee because that's a state they'd never been in before.   
We didn't plan to do anything in Tennessee, but we decided Nashville would be a great place to stop and eat lunch.  Seth really wanted BBQ (because, Nashville and Tennessee). I hadn't planned ahead for this so I just used his Yelp app (he is OBSESSED with yelp . . . and by the time our trip was over, I downloaded the app on my phone, too).  Anyway, it lists all the restaurants near you, including ratings, menus and pictures of the food.  Did I mention Seth is obsessed with this?!  So I searched "Nashville BBQ" on Yelp and chose the first one that popped up.  It gave me directions so we were on our way.  What I didn't know was that this particular restaurant was right next door to . . .
The Grand Ole Opry!!!  Now, I have to admit I've never been here before.  I also have to tell you that I had to explain to my kids what the Grand Ole Opry is, and they still didn't get it.  But after we ate, I told them that we HAD to go take pictures here since we were right next door.  We didn't do a tour or even go inside.  Maybe next time.

So I have to admit that the Grand Ole Opry didn't look like what I imagined it to look like. I don't know.  That's not necessarily a bad thing or a good thing.  When I think Grand Ole Opry, Hee Haw immediately comes to mind.  Anyone born after about 1980 has no idea what I'm even talking about!  And Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers and the Mandrell's and Randy Travis and Johnny Cash and Hank Williams and Merle Haggard.  But country music has definitely evolved.  At least they still have Dolly's picture up there.
So now we can say we've been to the Grand Ole Opry House.  We stayed long enough to get a few pictures and then continued north.  The kids were so excited when we crossed the state line into Kentucky.
At the time this picture was taken, I didn't realize the significance of the log cabin.  We ended up visiting two of the three landmarks on this mural.  Believe it or not, we did not visit Churchill Downs.  When you do a trip like this, and you don't have endless time, you have to make some choices.  I knew my kids wouldn't understand the significance of Churchill Downs at all.  None of them ride horses.  So, yes, we went to Kentucky and didn't go to Churchill Downs!
Early in the afternoon we arrived at our first stop - Bowling Green!  I'd heard of Bowling Green.  But that's about it.  It ended up being the most delightful town!  Maybe it's a city. I don't know.  It certainly didn't "feel" like a city.  As a matter of fact, I think Bowling Green hasn't decided if it wants to be a city or if it wants to be a rural country-side!  Because there's the city part, yes.  But just about every corner you turn will then take you out into rolling green pastures, rambling farm houses and ranches, crops and long country roads.  It really was beautiful here!  And the town was so clean!  I kept telling Seth how clean it was.  There was no litter, no trash, no building blight.  It was just a really nice place.

We purposefully stopped in Bowling Green because of this:
The National Corvette Museum!  I had no idea there's a corvette manufacturing facility in Bowling Green and a museum.  I could care less about cars, and I'm certainly not into fast cars.  But I knew someone would really enjoy this.
When you walk into the building, you enter what I called corvette row.  It's a huge hallway area lined with corvettes parked along the sides.  When a custom-made, special-order corvette comes off the assembly line at the plant across the road, it's brought here until its owner comes to pick it up.  I think it'd be so cool to be there on one of the days an owner comes to pick up his (or her) new ride.  But that didn't happen on this day while we were there.  I told Mason to pick his favorite and stand by it.  So he chose the silver one.  I totally can't remember the specs, but it's a 2017 something-real-fancy-or-another that will set you back a lot of cash!
My girls could care less about cars, too, but they also had fun here.
We did a tour of the museum with a tour guide and then we went back through all over again by ourselves.  I'm so glad we went with a tour guide because he was really good and gave us so much information that I otherwise wouldn't have known or stopped to read along the way.  We took a few pictures when we went back through.
I'm not sure why this is necessary.  But my children like to take pictures with their arms flailed in the air.
So when we got back home, and I was going through my pictures, I totally could not remember the significance of this particular car.  I mean, we saw SO MANY cars that day, from the first ones built way back when to now, all different colors and styles and wheels.  But, again, I just don't know my cars.  I knew this one was "important," but I couldn't for the life of me remember why.
Thank goodness I took a picture of the wall!  This car reached a top speed of 183 MPH at this track in Germany in 2012.  There was a dash-cam on this car, and that's what you watch on the television screen above the car.  It was pretty crazy.  I'll stick to 55 MPH, thank you very much.
And, so, do y'all remember in 2014 when there was a sink hole at the museum, and it caved in, swallowing six or so corvettes on display?  It happened at, like, 5:30 in the morning so no one was there, but security cameras recorded the whole thing.  Eight corvettes were swallowed up by the 30-feet deep hole  Yeah, I didn't remember that either, but it was a big deal.  Long story short, they recovered the corvettes.  They were able to completely restore two of them, and they are working on one more.  But the others they were not able to restore and instead use them in the display commemorating this event.  Here's a video of the camera footage of the collapse.

So this kid likes cars.  It amazes me that he can casually see a car driving on the interstate and immediately knows make and model.  He's often talking about this one or another.  I have no idea where he learned this.  We've never even been to a car show!  Anyway, he thinks he found his new ride.
I told him this is a good incentive for sticking to those plans about being a dentist.
And this little one was cracking me up.
Everybody wanted a turn sitting in the driver's seat.
And that was our afternoon at the National Corvette Museum.  Afterwards we drove around a bit and then went to eat supper.  Remember when I said we ate a lot of ice cream?  We found this dairy out in the middle of the country side and took the kids for ice cream after supper.  I also learned that Kentucky has fantastic sunsets!
The next morning we headed to our next adventure - Mammoth Cave National Park.  I had made reservations for a cave tour.  And I'm so glad I did!  When we got there, most all of the cave tours were booked.  We did the Domes & Dripstones tour.  It was rated as "moderate" with "a lot of stairs" and lasted two hours.  I wasn't sure how Ellie would handle it, but Seth and I talked about it and agreed we would go for it.  There were other "easy" cave tours with shorter lengths of time, ones that were more recommended for young kids, but we wanted to experience as much as we could.

Caves and cameras don't go together at all.  I didn't even try.  So this is all you're going to get of our cave tour (It's a constant 54 degrees - heavenly!!! - in the cave, hence the long pants because I didn't want to hear anybody complaining they were cold!  Honestly, I could've done it in shorts, too, because it felt THAT GOOD!).    

If you were to ask Ellie right now what her favorite part about our Kentucky trip was, she'll tell you the cave!  I was shocked!  She LOVED it!  She never complained, and she walked the entire thing (stairs and all) by herself.

After the cave tour, we wanted to do a little hiking in the park.  Since we weren't sure how the kids were going to do with this or how strenuous it was, we chose the shortest trail we could find.  And it started out great!  There were rocks to climb.
And, I mean, it's necessary to climb every big rock for a picture.
Case in point.

But, you know how these things sometimes go.  You start down one trail and then see a sign and really want to follow that other trail.  Especially if it goes to a river that might be flowing with cold water because it's really hot and muggy.  So we kept walking.  And the farther we walked, the worse it got.  Let's just say one of our children DOES NOT LIKE hiking.  At all.  Period.  It's probably not who you think either.  It's not Ellie (shocking)!  It's definitely not Mason.  Can I just tell you that Hannah Kate was DONE.  She wanted NO MORE of it.  It was definitely hot and sticky by this point (which surprised me a bit).  And we'd been on a two hour cave tour.  And we ended up hiking nearly five miles by the time we got back to the truck.  So, it was totally understandable.

It was somewhere along that way that she was all red faced and teary eyed and really tired of walking, and her daddy told her, "Awe, Hannah Kate, it's okay.  It feels good to hurt a little bit."  Remember that . . .

On the way out, I made Seth stop at the sign so I could get a picture because we missed it on the way in.  Maybe you can't tell, but they were so aggravated because they did not want to get out of the air-conditioned truck.  And Hannah Kate is about to explode.  But I got my picture!
We thought we might visit Abraham Lincoln's birthplace after we left the park, but it was already closed.  What we didn't realize until the next morning was that somewhere along the way, we had crossed over into the Eastern time zone.  That was something I hadn't done my research on.  Our smart phones and smart truck automatically updated while we were in the park, and we didn't even know it!  Seth's fitbit didn't update so we were a little confused, but we still didn't figure it out until the next morning.  It worked out perfectly though because we wouldn't have had enough time at Abe Lincoln's.  So we found a hotel room for the night and set out again the next morning.

So.  Here's the deal.  A couple of years ago, I read Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln.  It was absolutely fascinating.  And during the past two years, the older kids and I have studied the life of Abe Lincoln during homeschooling.  I never realized that he was born in Kentucky.  I had always associated him with, of course, Illinois, and Indiana.  But he was born in Kentucky, and his family moved to Indiana when he was eight years old or so.  I was thrilled when I found this in my research of Kentucky!  (I know.  Homeschool mom.) 
First of all, there are three separate Abe Lincoln historical sites.  A few miles down the road is the museum, and there is another site about 20 miles away that was his childhood home for a bit.  We visited only his birthplace.  My kids were actually excited about this (living history!), and I can honestly say this was a really great experience!  Remember when I said they like to take pictures with arms flailing?
This memorial was built right on the spot of land it is believed sat the cabin in which Lincoln was born.  There are 56 steps leading up to the memorial because he was 56 years old when he was assassinated.  There are 16 windows in the building because he was the 16th President of the United States of America.

Inside the building sits this cabin.  This is not the actual cabin Lincoln was born in, but it is symbolic of the one in which he was born.  He was constructed out of wood taken from a cabin the property and dating back to the early 1800s (although the rings on the logs date back to the 1820s, not as early as his birth year of 1809) that was knocked down and then reassembled.

The property was knows as Sinking Spring Farm because of an underground spring that provided fresh water for those living here.  

Lincoln's father purchased this property (or so he thought), but there was a title dispute that cost him the land.  Abraham was still a little tot when they moved up the road a bit to Knob Hill Farm.  There was another title dispute with that property so that's how they ended up in Indiana.

We toured this site with the help of a tour guide, and she was a good one.  The property is gorgeous!  I'm sure the family hated to leave after that title dispute.  There is a very nice visitor's center on-site, too.  

I thought I took a picture, but I didn't.  Abraham Lincoln's family Bible was on display here.  My favorite quote of his is this:

In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.

One of the things I've enjoyed the very most about studying history from a Christian, Biblical worldview is learning about the personal lives of these men and women who were so brave and sacrificed so much in the early days of our country.  Many of them were godly men and women whose relationship with the Lord shaped their lives and influenced their decisions in a profound way.  They weren't perfect.  But no one is.  

And then there's this.  It's so amazing to me that Abraham Lincoln was, for the most part, self-taught.  After his mother died, he didn't go to school anymore.  He stayed on the farm (as most young teenage boys did) to help his dad.  He had very little "formal" education.  And, yet, he became a lawyer (without even going to law school, which largely didn't exist at the time) and eventually President.  I told Mason just last night in the midst of a challenging assignment, "You can do this.  You CAN do this!"    
So that was the first three days of our road trip.  We left Abe Lincoln and headed north to Louisville (such a fun city!) where we spent the rest of the day before moving on up towards Cincinnati.