I #RidePosted up to Lexington, Kentucky from Charlotte, North Carolina the other weekend for my college friends’ long-awaited wedding. I was lucky I found someone to share the trip – flights were insanely expensive! This was one of those weddings that served as part-reunion, part college flashback, and 100% celebration. It was a complete blast. People were converging down upon Lexington from all over the country and luckily, the city survived us all. I’ll give you the breakdown of our trip and a few tips on some fun things to do if you ever make the trip to Lexington:
The Road Trip
My RidePost travel companion and I met up Friday morning at a Starbucks that was the halfway point for us both: Welles was coming up from Rock Hill, SC while I was coming down from Cornelius, NC. Finding the proper meeting point can always serve as a challenge, especially when you are dealing with high-traffic areas that are susceptible to rush hour surges. We managed to find a spot that came right before our highway exit for 85S, which took us to our western route on I26W to US74W all the way through to Knoxville, TN.
The timing of our trip couldn’t have been better. We were driving through the Great Smoky Mountains during the best time of the year – the leaves were all changing and we saw some amazing color on the trees as we wove our way up over and around the mountains. For me, nothing is better than a fall drive – especially in a place where you can see the autumn season at its best.
Knoxville was our halfway point, where we hopped on to 75N clear up to Lexington. I’ll warn you that after driving through Knoxville, there aren’t many fast food options, so if you’re particular with road trip food I’d plan to stop before passing by Knoxville. Welles and I stopped in Jellico, Tennessee for a quick bite at Wendy’s and to fill up on gas. Be advised that aside from Jellico, there aren’t too many other places to stop on the 3 hour Knoxville-Lexington leg!
Where to Stay
The trip in total was about 6.5 hours – not bad at all on a nice day. We arrived to Lexington where most of the wedding goers were staying at the Hilton right on Triangle Park. The location couldn’t have been better – we parked the car and were able to walk wherever we needed to go after that. I had initially been chatting with a fellow CouchSurfer who lived right in downtown Lexington, though in the end decided to stay with friends at the HIlton instead. If you are looking for a place to stay in Lexington, I would check out CouchSurfing! They had an ample list of hosts that all looked very cool and were well-located within the city.
The Fun Stuff
So on to the fun things to do in Lexington: Friday night we went to Tin Roof for drinks/dinner. This marks my third visit to a Tin Roof – it’s a Southern chain that has your typical bar food, but they always host live, local music. So it’s an interesting blend of a chain meets a local touch. I’d recommend checking out Tin Roof if you find yourself in a southern city – always fun times to be had, especially if you are with a larger group of people. After Tin Roof we walked back to DeSha’s, which was right across from the hotel. I ended the night with a healthy dose of GoodFella’s pizza – the pizza box was so large we had to turn it on its side to get it into the hotel room. Seriously, biggest pizza box I’ve ever seen. Late night pizza – worth every penny.
Saturday we woke up and headed to Doodles for some brunch. Great spot! I had the huevos rancheros – delish. Scanning the plates across my table, I’d also recommend the Egg Doodle – which puts a modern spin on the classic “egg in a hole.” We sipped on orangina and bloody mary’s on the back porch while hanging out with Bacon the cat. I’m declaring Doodles my top recommendation for Lexington.
After getting our morning grub on we walked around a bit and stopped into McCarthy’s Irish Bar, which sits across the street from a horse-riding green smack dab in the middle of downtown Lexington. This was your typical Irish pub – large bar, dark interior, jam packed with wall coverings ranging from sports paraphernalia to souvenirs from the Emerald Isle herself. Plus, getting a glimpse of a horse competition in the middle of the city was pretty awesome.
After exploring Lexington for the day we continued Saturday with the wedding ceremony at St. Peter Catholic Church, with the reception following at the Carrick House. Beautiful venues, both with a nod to old-school Lexington. Post-wedding, we finished the night at SkyBar -where we got to experience the full Lexington club scene, paired with beautiful views of the city.
The Next Trip…
All in all, Lexington exceeded my expectations on several levels. With more time, I’d like to return to tap into a bit more of the horse and bluegrass heritage of the city. On my list: the Kentucky Horse Park, the Festival of the Bluegrass, and a day at the races of Keeneland. What else did I miss? Let me know in the comments!
Here are some photos from the trip:
The journey begins! Nothing but crisp blue skies…
Crossing the Tennessee State Line…
Beautiful autumn colors, everywhere…
Winding through the mountain roads…
Passing through Knoxville…Lexington-bound!
Crossing the Kentucky State Line
Welcome to Horse Country
Doodles Breakfast & Lunch – look out for Bacon the Cat!
Horses in Downtown Lexington
McCarthy’s Irish Bar in Lexington, Kentucky
Sad to leave Lexington…but lucky to have another beautiful driving day in the mountains!