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where to eat....
An Innkeeper's Journal
Sunday, 10 May 2009
Garden Tour in Old Louisville: July 11-12, 2009
Now Playing: posted by Nancy Hinchliff

Old Louisville Hidden Treasures
Garden Tour

Old Louisville is a diversely populated section of the city that in some areas approaches Manhattan-like density. This gives both public and private green spaces an environmental as well as an aesthetic importance. Neighborhood organizations are working to restore Central Park, in Old Louisville, an Olmsted creation that celebrated its centennial in 2004; pocket parks, landscaped spaces that replace demolished structures, are adopted by private owners and neighborhood associations; greens along heavily traveled thoroughfares provide visual respite for pedestrians and drivers alike.

Individual garden owners’ talents, effort and dedication to fine landscaping on their own properties contribute to the quality of life for all in the neighborhood. Their gardens display urban landscapes that help to reduce air and noise pollution and decrease the effects of summer temperatures. Their gardens complement the aesthetics of the fine architecture and inspire other residents to create further green spaces.

In 1993, two Old Louisville residents and activists in the preservation of this Victorian treasure presented to the Second Street Neighborhood Association the idea of a garden tour that would encompass and benefit all of Old Louisville. Ten years before the Central Park Centennial, the Old Louisville Hidden Treasures Garden Tour was initiated. Over the years, the tour has enjoyed the support and backing of the non-profit Second Street Neighborhood Association, as well as sponsors and volunteers from many parts of Old Louisville and the Metro community at large.

Proceeds from the Garden Tour help improve and preserve this part of Louisville Metro’s heritage in various ways, such as the purchase and maintenance of period lighting, benches, flower urns and ornamental trash receptacles, a newly instituted tree-planting program, and support of other community organizations that improve living conditions for many of our residents. For more information on the history of Old Louisville, please visit and

Old Louisville’s gardens offer visitors variety in design, with a range from the traditional and formal to the quirky. Turn-of-the-twentieth-century carriage houses often form the rear enclosure of the properties, and many times their façades are incorporated into the garden’s design. Huge old trees, found in many gardens, provide welcome shade on hot summer days and inspire creative development of shade gardens. Just as the residences are frequently adorned with gargoyles, balconies and turrets, the gardens display a spectrum of ornamentation, from the Grinch to chandeliers to a kayak.

The landscaping efforts of Old Louisville organizations and individual property owners have played an integral part in the revival of one of the nation’s historic neighborhoods. During its fifteen-year existence, by showcasing and encouraging these efforts, the Old Louisville Hidden Treasures Garden Tour has significantly contributed to this progress by enhancing a treasured part of Metro Louisville, the “City of Parks.”


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Posted by nanhinchliff at 7:49 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 9 May 2009 8:33 AM EDT
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Thursday, 30 April 2009
Mood:  party time!
Now Playing: Drink up!: Mint Juleps for Kentucky Derby Day: Saturday, May 1st

Aleksander House Mint Juleps
2 Cups water, 2 Cups sugar
Large handful Kentucky Colonel Spearmint leaves
Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Derby glasses or silver mugs
Straws, cut to about one inch above glass or mug

Simple Mint Syrup
Combine water and sugar in a small sauce pan.
Boil 5 minutes to make a simple syrup. Pour into storage container.
Add mint leaves, cover and let steep overnight.

Mint Juleps
Place 1-2 ounces of simple syrup into glass or mug.
Add a sprig of mint and crush with a wooden spoon.
Fill glass with finely crushed ice.
Pour 1-2 ounces of bourbon over ice.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh, add a short straw and serve.

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Posted by nanhinchliff at 8:04 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 30 April 2009 11:06 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Mood:  chillin'
Now Playing: The Ghosts of Old Louisville
Old Louisville, located in the nation's 16th largest city, is the third largest historic preservation area and has the largest collection of Victorian mansions in the country. It's streets are lined with beautiful late 18th and early 19th century mansions. A National Preservation District, Old Louisville has more than 1,400 homes in a forty-eight block area.

These grand homes, built in seven major architectural styles of centuries past, sit along miles of tree lined streets, courts and avenues. According to legend, many of Old Louisville's mansions, buildings and churches are inhabited by a variety of ghosts, mostly friendly.

Locals are convinced that a young girl with black hair haunts the neighborhood to this day. Although she died 90 years ago, it is said that she still waits for her betrothed on the steps of the First Church of Christ Science, only three blocks from where I live.

And on the next street east of me, is the "phantom of Brook Street", a young girl attacked and murdered by two vagrants in the very home where she was employed. Although that home was demolished years ago, it is said her ghost comes to work daily. Other ghosts, such as the Widow Hoag and the Iceboy can be seen from time to time lurking in the shadows.

Get in the spirit, come take a tour of this beautiful, ghostly neighborhood and experience it for yourself. And while you're here, spend the night in our beautiful bed and breakfast, in the heart of Old Louisville.

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Posted by nanhinchliff at 2:30 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 30 April 2009 11:07 AM EDT
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Saturday, 25 April 2009

Located in the heart of historic Old Louisville on an out of the way side street is 610 Magnolia, from the outside, a small, unpretentious building with no indication that it is, indeed, one of the finest restaurants, and maybe the finest restaurant in Louisville. If you were to walk by during the day, you would never guess that on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, an extraordinary chef was creating extraordinary cuisine.

Offering his guests a combination of southern hospitality and urban sophistication, he has created an interior which is a simple statement in elegance with the original wooden beams along the ceiling, mullioned windows, and French doors leading to alovely garden patio. Inside the restaurant are highly polished mahogany tables, Frette linens and Riedel crystal that add up, along with the unsurpassed wine list, to a truly unique dining experience.

Chef Edward Lee has been cooking professionally for 10 years in America and Europe, training under Chef Frank Crispo in New York. At 25, he opened Clay, a successful Asian-inspired restaurant in the NoLiTa section of Manhattan. "I was the chef, the manager, the dishwasher and the host there. After five years, I was looking to rise to the next level."

He discovered 610 Magnolia eight years ago, while researching the best American restaurants. A regular customer in New York who was also a Louisville native, told him about the restaurant and its eccentric chef, Ed Garber. When Lee visited Garber during Kentucky Derby week 2001, they began a mentor-apprentice relationship that resulted in the passing of the torch from one Ed to another. Garber closed 610 Magnolia in July. Lee, in partnership with businessman Brook Smith, reopened 610 Magnolia on September 11, 2003.

610 Magnolia has reopened, in 2003, under the leadership of Edward Lee, a former innovative New York City chef who has studied under Ed Garber, the former chef and proprietor. The restaurant is now open to the public three nights a week. The restaurant focusses on New American cuisine, blending the eclectic with classical European techniques to produce a contemporary and exciting approach to dining that has always been the benchmark of 610 Magnolia. Chef Lee brings to the diners of Louisville a top tier dining experience comparable to the finest restaurants in this country.

Chef Lee believes that a true dining experience requires an entire evening. So there is only one seating nightly. "Your reserved table is yours for the whole evening,” he said. “That's what it takes to make a dinner memorable." The menu changes week-to-week depending on the seasons. The restaurant is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tables will not turn. Reservations are required. A full bar serving a small a la carte menu opens at 5:30 p.m. 610 Magnolia is also available for private events.

Posted by nanhinchliff at 5:56 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 25 April 2009 6:10 PM EDT
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