Kentucky Travelogue 3 – Frankfort & Versailles

Before we set off for Frankfort, we were treated to another over-the-top Central Park B&B breakfast of orange ricotta pancakes, sausage, cheesy scrambled eggs and a poached seckle pear with berries.  Normally the only thing I consume before 11 am is a humongous cafe au lait, so all this early morning culinary effort is somewhat wasted on me.  I don’t know why the Bed & Lunch concept hasn’t taken off, but when it does, I will be in my element, food-wise.

Once again, the ride was beautiful.   If there is an unattractive part of KY, we did not see it on our trip!  One of the things we like to do when we visit a state is tour the State Capitol and the State History Museum.  The two are typically right next to each other and are a great way to spend an interesting (and usually free!) afternoon.

Frankfort is a lovely little town with a very Mayberry vibe that doesn’t seem to have anything going on in it except being the state capital.  Instead of being set in a bustling urban center, KY’s capitol building is in a quiet, park-like setting.

The gorgeous KY State Capitol

The gorgeous KY State Capitol

The Governor's Mansion is directly across the circle.  It was built in 1912-14, and patterned after Marie Antoinette's villa.

The Governor’s Mansion is directly across the circle. It was built in 1912-14, and patterned after Marie Antoinette’s villa.

Now THAT is a hanging basket!

Now THAT is a hanging basket!

We arrived just in time for the 11 am tour which was led by the adorable Miss Stephanie.  It was very obvious that Stephanie loves both her home state and her job.  There’s something wonderful about watching someone do their job with joy and enthusiasm, isn’t there?  I don’t know how or why, but KY’s capitol is ranked by AAA as the 3rd most beautiful in the nation.  I mean, where did the $ come from?, because this place was fancy!!!

Naturally there is a statue of Lincoln directly beneath the cupola.

Naturally there is a statue of Lincoln directly beneath the cupola.

Inside the cuppola - it is fitted with LED lights that shade the dome pastel colors that change every few minutes

Inside the cuppola – it is fitted with LED lights that shade the dome pastel colors that change every few minutes

Looking up to the third floor.

Looking up to the third floor.

A view from upstairs

A view from upstairs – I have never seen so much marble in one place in my life!

The KY Supreme Courtroom.  Yes, I know this is a terrible picture (cavelike room - no flash allowed).  The point is this ugly room is the most valuable in the building because the walls are mahogany, and the ceiling is entirely covered in copper!  Seriously, where did the $ come from to build this place!?

The KY Supreme Court courtroom. Yes, I know this is a terrible picture (cavelike room – no flash allowed). The point is this ugly room is the most valuable in the building because practically everything is mahogany, and the ceiling is entirely covered in copper! Seriously, where did the $ come from to build this place!?

Miss Stephanie completed our lovely tour by cluing me in to where I could get a delicious KY Hot Brown – a treat I most definitely wanted to try on our trip.  She pointed us across the KY River to Gibbys, which was a great place for lunch, and conveniently located a few steps from our next stop, the Thomas D Clark Center for KY History which houses the state history museum.  But let’s get back to the food.  The KY Hot Brown is a sandwich created at the Brown Hotel in Louisville during Prohibition.  Gotta have something to go with that bootleg bourbon right?  You take a slice of toasty bread, lay on some turkey, maybe a little ham, tomatoes and bacon, smother it all in Mornay sauce goodness and broil it till it’s all bubbly and oh-so-fabulous.  I’ve already made this twice since we got back, and I have many ideas for variations, but that’s a later post.

Gibby's - where I was introduced to the delightful concoction that is the KY Hot Brown.

Gibby’s – where I was introduced to the delightful concoction that is the KY Hot Brown.

My first KY Hot Brown.  It.  Was.  Delicious!!!

My first KY Hot Brown. It. Was. Delicious!!!

After lunch we spent the afternoon at the KY History Museum and took a tour of the Old State Capitol which is about a block away.  There is a very small fee for both ($4) and well worth the time spent.  The old capitol was in use from 1830 to 1910, and  is very small and plain in comparison to the new.  However, it has one really cool feature – a “floating” staircase, meaning it has no support from underneath, but supports its own weight by the precise placement of the stones.  It’s other claim to fame is that the only KY Governor to be assassinated, William Goebel, was shot here.  There is a creepy marker on the sidewalk out front to indicate where he fell.

The floating staircase at the Old State Capitol.

The floating staircase at the Old State Capitol.  Isn’t Physics fun?

About a half hour’s drive (another scenic one) took us to the Rose Hill Inn in Versailles (pronounced Ver-SALES, I swear) where we would be staying for the Lexington portion of our trip.  The Rose Hill is run by a “retired” British couple, Alder and Gill Blackburn.  The Mr. was on his own while we were there, and he seemed the tiniest bit over his head.  The house is decorated Victorian style or at least with antiques, but the bathroom in our room was 100% “2011 Lowes” (not that that’s a bad thing, it just doesn’t go in a Victorian era home).  A modern 6-light fixture in our bath had 4 burned out bulbs, rendering the room cave-like.  When I asked for a little more light, things got weird.  These were some funky lightbulbs that Alder didn’t know how to change, and he seemed soooo upset by that fact.  So we said we’d take care of it (what!?) and John hopped up on a chair to do it, but he couldn’t get them out either.  Before these two started using all manner of pointy objects to prise the bulbs out and potentially trash the fixture or electrocute themselves, I suggested we google the bulbs and find a You Tube vid or something, which J & I ended up doing.   We finally figured it out and John got the job done, but let me say, I think diffusing a bomb has fewer steps.  So now I know never to buy a fixture that takes that kind of bulb!  Sorry I can’t remember what they were called; I’ll just never forget what they look like…

On the plus side, John and Alder discovered they are kindred spirits – both work(ed) in the Pharma industry and both root for Tottenham Hotspurs.  While we were there John read the slightly fictionalized account Alder published of how they became innkeepers.  I believe it was titled “Semi Retirement”.  I forgot to ask Alder if the part about two drunk female guests inviting him for a roll in the hay was fact or fiction.  Brits are pretty self-deprecating, so I’m going to go with the former.

Rose Hill Inn, Versailles KY

Rose Hill Inn, Versailles KY

Handyman chores complete, John has a well-deserved glass of wine on the comfy front porch.

Handyman chores complete, John has a well-deserved glass of wine on the comfy front porch.  He was warned not to wear that Duke shirt in Lexington, so it made its appearance in Frankfort!  ; )

We had a surprisingly “fail” dinner at the highly-rated Melissa Cottage Cafe, so no shout-out there.  Tomorrow we start our 2 days of horses and bourbon in the Lexington area, and wow – did we learn A LOT!

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