Friday, June 28, 2013

Cross Country Drive (05/27/2013 – 06/08/2013) (Summary) Second Half

Listing all the NPS units and brief summaries in our cross country drive turned out to be lengthier than I imagined, which means a separate post for the non-NPS-related places and attractions is needed.  With so many other places to see but so little time, here are the other things we sampled through:

(1) Biltmore Estate - Located in Asheville, NC, this mansion built by George Vanderbilt is one of the largest attractions of the area.  It is coined as "America's Largest Home" and visitors will see why once they set foot on the grounds.  This Châteauesque-style building has 250 rooms, and the estate features many gardens and even a winery.  Tickets are expensive, but purchasing them 7 days in advance saves you $15.

(2) Moog Music - Also in Asheville is the home of Moog Music, makers of analog electronic synthesizers.  Fans of electronic music will be more than familiar with this company.  Even lovers of classical music should recognize Wendy Carlos's Switched-On Bach on the Moog.

Louisville, KY
First time to Louisville was delightful experience, far exceeding expectations.   

(3) Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory - Makers of the Louisville Slugger brand baseball bats, tickets includes a factory tour demonstrating  how wooden bats are made.  Baseball fans will get a huge kick touring the museum exhibits.  Even for a non-baseball fan like me had good fun.  Of course, cannot miss the largest bat in the world, leaning outside the building.

(4) Kentucky Derby Museum - The Churchill Downs is the horse racetrack which is home to the famous Kentucky Derby, the first leg of the U.S. Triple Crown.  The museum has exhibits regarding the history of the event, but most importantly includes a tour of the stands and racing grounds.  Maybe attending the Kentucky Derby once would be an interesting experience in the future.

St. Louis
Would have also liked to spend a bit more time here.  The famous Gateway Arch is managed by the NPS and was already mentioned in the previous post.      

(5) Annheuser-Busch Brewery Tours - Many beer connoisseurs will refuse to acknowledge Budweiser as legitimate beer.  However, being the largest brewery in the U.S. and the largest brewery in the world in terms of revenue, the self-proclaimed King of Beer is no doubt one of the most recognized brands in the world, even after the acquisition and merger with InBev.  Based in St. Louis, Annheuser-Busch offers free, yes, free tours of the gigantic brewery, which also allows visitors to see the Budweiser Clydesdales.  Of course, at the end of the tour, visitors are treated to 2 glasses of free beers (and fountain drinks for minors).

Kansas City
Did not really see any sights in the city, but hands-down, the must have here is Kansas City style Barbecue.  

(6) J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain - Kansas City is one of the cities that has the most fountains, second only to Rome.  Located in Country Club Plaza, the upscale shopping and dining district, this memorial fountain is the most famous one in the city.  The fountain is named after J.C. Nichols, the urban developer and planner of Kansas City in the 1920s, which mainly consists of 4 sculptures of figures on horses, supposedly representing 4 rivers in the world, the Mississippi being one of the them.

(7) Jack Stack BBQ and BB's Lawnside BBQ - What do you do when you can't make up your mind regarding which BBQ to try?  ...  you sample them both ....   Jack Stack BBQ is one of the top BBQ places in KC, having 4 locations in the city, the latest being in Country Club Plaza.  Since we were strolling in the area, we ordered some burnt ends to-go.  It was simply delicious ~~~   Later for dinner, we settled with BB's Lawnside BBQ, which combines the other famous KC feature: blues music, featuring live music everyday.  That night, unfortunately, we could not stick around for the evening performance, but we got treated to one full song during their on-stage rehearsal.   

And then after Kansas, it was all national parks again~~~~

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