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ROAD TRIP April 2023: National Parks and Breweries

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

This trip started out with a plan to be in the convertible, however as leaving time drew closer, the chances of rain became higher. Knowing that, we jumped in the Toyota Highlander and headed North to Michigan and Ohio, with a plan to stop in Indianapolis for lunch and finally ger our national park passport stamp from Indiana Dunes. We hit rain quite a few times and was very thankful we were not in the Miata. We had several national parks planned and several breweries to stop at along the way.

After being in Cincinnati on the second day, we decided it would be better to go ahead and drive home for the night. Knowing the weather was going to be nice for the next four days, we got up the next morning and headed out in the Miata. We were looking forward to more national parks and breweries in Western Kentucky, and central and eastern Tennessee. As we headed toward home, we decided to spend the night in Lexington, where we grabbed and Uber to a couple new breweries. What a fun time that was. We always enjoy talking to the people we meet on our travels, and the last stop was full of great conversation with other travelers and some locals.


 

Indiana


The food and beer at Chilly Water in Indianapolis was delicious.

We always share a plate and split a flight of beer, each of us picking two we want to try. We both taste all four of them.


Such a creative piece of artwork. Notice the hair. This was on the wall at Chilly Water.


We went into the visitors center for Indiana Dunes National Park to get our stamp. When we visited the dunes over a decade ago with the kids, it wasn't a national park yet.

 

Michigan


Our first stop in Michigan was a brewery that was in a very unique location. The inside was very cool, but we both felt the beer was lacking. We agreed that the only beer we liked was their dunkel. Then, time for a quick rainy stop for a beach picture.



Check out Brian's very flavorful smoked brown ale from Silver Harbor Brewing Company. Talk about an experience.

Brian loves his smokey beers. He has them any chance he gets. This is the first time he has had one that was smoked right in front of him. I don't usually like smoked beers, but this was really good. I can almost smell it now.



Bell's Two Hearted Ale has been one of Brian's favorite beers for many years, so this destination was a must. The outdoor space had a really nice vibe, and seemed like it would be a great music venue, but the food and beer tasting experience was underwhelming.

 

Ohio


The next morning, we headed to Dayton, Ohio. On the list of things to see here were the Dayton Aviation Heritage NHP (another stamp), and the Wright Cycle Company Shop, which was right next door. Learning how much the Wright Brothers were involved in bicycles was quite interesting. I had only associated them with flight before seeing this. This, of course, is why we like going to national parks and museums. There is always something to learn.



Nothing like a little piece of history and lunch combined. This brewery didn't miss a single detail, when it was designed, to show how brewing is a huge part of Dayton's history. From the building and decor, to the staff attire, to the taste of the food and beer, it was like stepping back in time. The best beer on the menu was the Beet Beer. I don't even like beets, but I wanted more.



With Cincinnati came a lot of wind, another national historic site, a quick shopping trip to Ikea and another brewery for dinner.

  • The William Howard Taft National Historic Site is the house where President Taft grew up. It is full of very intricate furniture. The park ranger there was very knowledgeable and loves her job. She had been there for almost 30 years.

  • As we passed Ikea, Brian checked to see if they had the listening chair, called Poang, he had been wanting in stock. They did, so we turned around at the next exit and went back. It might be the least amount of time we've spent in that store. It is a very comfortable chair. Our Poang blog: https://www.cook-journey.com/post/a-comfortable-and-stylish-poang-chair-from-ikea-the-perfect-choice-for-audiophiles

  • Third Eye is a very good brewery. Their beer list is extensive and everchanging. The food list is minimal, but everything we had was so good. I could definitely see us going back when we are in the area.

 

Kentucky


Paducah

  • This is the place where the Tennessee and Ohio Rivers meet.

  • Paducah is on the Great Loop, which means it's a stop for boaters coming along the rivers. There's a photo below that explains it well.

  • It's also the location for quilt week every year, which apparently brings in thousands of people from all over. They were prepping for that while we were here since it was the following week.

We walked a lot. We were there on a Monday, not realizing that the town practically shuts down on Monday's. Regardless, we were able to find plenty to do. We had lunch at a place known for their steaks, but we had their chili and tamales, and highly recommended them. It was a beautiful day to enjoy lunch outside. After lunch, we made our way back to the quilt museum. We way underestimated this place. I think we said WOW at least fifty times. Right before we left, we got to see how they take down and replace the quilts and talk to the ladies about the storage process.



This is where the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers meet.

 

Tennessee


Being in Tennessee is always a pleasure. We love the backroads of this state. Angie took some of the drive time here and we hit some very hilly switchbacks on the way to a couple of the national parks and battlefields. We got a couple more stamps and learned some more of our country's history.

 

Kentucky Again

This time we're closer to the eastern, more mountainous side of the state for a while.


Early afternoon, we made it to another national battlefield. They did a great job telling the story at this one. We watched a short video and toured the museum.



We had been wanting to see what all the Buc-ee's hype was about, so what better place to fuel up. It was a bit overwhelming, but walking around, we could tell we needed to plan another trip to one for a different kind of fuel. We want to try the food there. It looked like it would be really good. We had already eaten, so we'll have to keep you posted on this one. The amount of highway signs, telling you there was going to be a Buc-ee's, was quite hilarious.


Last stop for the night was Lexington.

We Ubered to a couple breweries. The first one had a nice atmosphere, and the beer was good. It was called Rock House, because it actually began in a rock house. The owner there had asked where we were from. Based on Brian wearing his Tennessee hat, he assumed we were from there. We told him we are from the Louisville area and started talking about the breweries here. We mentioned Shippingport being our favorite, and he told us he had them at a beer festival, and really liked them. It was cool to hear they are known from out-of-towners since we like them so much.


The next brewery was a place called Ethereal. The bartenders here were very nice, and helpful when ordering food. The food was DELICIOUS! The beer, even BETTER!! My favorite was the New England IPA. It's the best I've tasted. I'm not an IPA fan, but if it's New England or Hazy, I can tolerate it. I ordered a 16oz in this one after the one in the flight was gone. Brian loved the Boxy Brown which is a coconut brown ale. It was so good. I noticed a few minutes in, that there was a little mouse staring at me. I asked the bartender about it. Come to find out, that was Kyle, and he had a friend further behind the bar named Harold. They are the Ethereal mascots. As we were chatting about them, they were showing us that they could do tricks. Lol! Brian was showing the new trick of Kyle resting face down on top of his beer glass. Next thing we know, Brian jumped and hollered out. As he was trying to gently remove Kyle from the top of his glass, he knocked him into his beer. I looked over quickly and Kyle was taking an upside-down swim in Brian's coconut brown ale. We all cracked up as Brian was digging Kyle out and apologizing. They gave Brian a new beer and stuck Kyle in the dishwasher. They were great about it, saying he had been through worse and it was time for his bath anyway.


Sometimes on road trips, there are things that you know will stick with you for a long time. This experience at Ethereal Public House is one of those times. It was the perfect ending to a great trip. The next morning, we packed up for the last time and headed home.


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shelbee1115
Apr 30, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Can’t wait to see more!

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Guest
Apr 29, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

First blog and many more to come

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