NG tries Bourbon.

If you are a Bourbon Lover and visiting Frankfort, KY then you have to visit Art up at the Buffalo Trace Distillery.  For those of you not familiar with the history of Buffalo Trace it was one of the only four Bourbon Distilleries allowed to remain open during the prohibition.

A case housing old 'whiskey' prescriptions, there's even a written slip in one of the cases!!

A case housing old ‘whiskey’ prescriptions, there’s even a written slip in one of the cases!!

So for those of you who know me you know that getting me to try new things isn’t always the easiest. I am picky and if I think it’s going to hurt or burn to eat it I will adamantly refuse (I still wont eat shrimp.) Bourbon has always been something I’ve been skeptical about but my best friend in the world, Ronnie, adores more than killing Zombies (Okay maybe not *more* but it’s close.) The first tour we went on I couldn’t even finish my Bourbon, I made Brian drink mine for me. When I got to Buffalo Trace I was excited to learn it’s history more than drink the Bourbon but then I met Art.

Art pouring samples of several types of Bourbon while discussing his own personal recipes.

Art pouring samples of several types of Bourbon while discussing his own personal recipes.

I got the pleasure of meeting Art before the tour. I was perusing the gift shop and was looking over the bourbons they had available for sale, I expressed my lack of interest to bourbon and he taught me his little tricks to loving bourbon. Now, I wont tell you those tricks here, for that you are going to have to go talk to Art. As he started to describe the flavors and the history behind each taste the more interested I became. I’m a history buff, what can I say.

Barrels and barrels

Barrels and barrels

He explained the process, took us through the bottling room and even showed us the ‘speak easy’ that had been built into the distillery which lead to a large warehouse filled to the brim with barrels of bourbon.

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The large bookshelf that opens up to a warehouse of bourbon.

He talked about the specific water found in Kentucky and why it effects bourbon the way it does

One of the warehouses with the barrel elevator which connects to barrel rails that run through the complex.

One of the warehouses with the barrel elevator which connects to barrel rails that run through the complex.

The different types of warehouses effect how the bourbon ages, some houses are built to breathe with more seasons, others are a little more temperature controlled

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Some of the Barrels were considered experimental, the owner of the distillery was trying different ways and flavors of bourbon.

The more that we explored the distillery and learned the history of bourbon the more excited I got to try some (and try Art’s tricks too!) When we got back to the gift shop, we went back to the bar and were allowed to sample two different types of bourbon. I tried the traditional Buffalo Trace Whiskey as well as the Bourbon Cream, both were incredible.

Buffalo Trace Whiskey really holds the flavor of the barrels as well as the flavors that Kentucky has to offer. As I rolled it over my tongue I remembered my first night in Kentucky and the drive in, it reminded me of the Kudzu on the side of the highways and the rolling horse pastures. More importantly it reminded me of the Derby and Tammy’s Mint Julep Popsicles, which were more than a little dangerous but so totally worth it.

Bourbon Cream was an experience all it’s own, a cream liquor in a class all it’s own. Currently the only desert Bourbon on the market and worth every penny. Seriously, running out in this house is a pretty big deal. Art suggested we put it on ice cream, we can’t eat ice cream without it now. We’re totally hooked. The spices found in bourbon compliment the vanilla cream perfectly and the soft heat you get from the liquor takes it’s time before it fades.

The tour was excellent and so was the after party, Thanks Art and Buffalo Trace for the excellent time! We will be home again soon to pick up some more of our favorites.

Tour: 10/10

Friendliness of staff: 10/10

Accessibility: 10/10

 

All for now! -NG

You Asked It: ‘What got you into blogging?’

Note: So when people ask me about what I do and why or how I got into ToTTN or AngelicaDemone I always like to respond, I am going to start calling the blogs I respond to these questions in You Asked It. 


 

What got me into blogging? I honestly have no idea. I think it started somewhere when I was in middle school and just starting to realize what the internet had to offer for me. I actually started out on Blogger with your usual dark and moody teenager mind set, I wrote crazy amounts of poetry that when I now look back on I cringe due to the lack of grammar or spelling and at that age all I wanted to be was a famous writer. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes was hands down my writing idol, after all she wrote her first novel when she was 13-years-old and my 14-year-old-self would have died to be able to do that. 

So I started blogging furiously, I wrote poems, short stories, I had chapters for novels that didn’t exist with no timeline to be found. I couldn’t ever finish a novel because I have a terribly hard time ending things, I never want the adventure to stop and it always feels wrong to put an end to it. Even when I write blogs now it can be hard to stop and not just continue onto the next story in the timeline.

Least to say my teenage self only really had a few followers, after all my blog was more like an online diary where I could freely express my feelings which was something that was hard for me to do with friends or at home. When I was 13 I went through some fairly traumatic experiences that have haunted me to this day and writing has been one of the only things keeping me sane sometimes and my teen years were so much about that.

As I got older I stopped blogging and just started keeping journals that I would hide all over the place, I’d have three or four journals going at once and kept in various places to keep all of my ideas and thoughts organized. Most of them haven’t survived over the years for various reasons, mainly being they can be a lot to travel with and many of them became digital with laptops being more common among the rest of the population class and less with the business class. Scroll forward a few years and you’ll find me on my way to Louisville, Kentucky and contemplating novels again.

I had the idea that I wanted to document my travels but I also wanted to write an apocalyptic novel based on the idea of the US being taken over by a foreign country and what that would look like. To do this I would have to keep close detail to the places I had gone and visited, the restaurants and local mindset so I could really capture the cities I would be writing about. After all if you’ve never been to Louisville you really won’t know where 2nd street is, will you.

Fast forward to when I moved to California with my boyfriend, Brian, and started to talk to people about all of the adventures I have gone on. It was easy enough with friends and family posting about neat things on facebook but I found strangers and friends of the family being curious about the adventures that I never really thought of talking about, let alone writing about. So last October I started Tales of the Traveling Nerd, my most successful blog thus far. It has seriously been one of my favorite things to do, I love to tell my stories of my adventures or talk about the favorite beers that I’ve gotten the pleasure of trying. 

Traveling has been my passion forever. I’ve always loved adventure, getting lost, trying new things, listening to new music, learning a new language and telling a story.So TL;DR: I started blogging when I was very young to cope with some really hard traumas that I went through and then turned it into my dream job a few months ago.

The first lesson I learned when I left Vermont.

I made a few mistakes when I left Vermont, that although I learned some interesting lessons (often than not the hard way) I wish I could change some of them. The following story contains sex talk, cheating and possible triggers.

 

When I had envisioned my move out of Vermont and into the rest of the world I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I did however know that when I left Vermont I wanted to fall in love some way, somewhere, I wanted (and expected) some romance. After all I am a total bookworm and, even though I hate to admit it, kind of a romantic at heart so romance novels (I know, I know, shut it) have been a staple in my book-diet since I was 16. Wild traveling women who met a man to keep up with them? Who wouldn’t want that? I mean, when I was growing up my cousin K traveled all over the world. She even sent home a video of her bungee jumping from a cable car strung between two mountains. She found a love that not only traveled with her, but moved around the world with her. Really more than anything else in a relationship, I wanted that. Least to say K is part of the reason I travel as much as I do, she inspired me.

Back to the story,

So when I moved to Louisville I was on the prowl, I joined Plenty of Fish, proceeded to get thousands of creepy responses, I joined OKCupid, still thousands of creepy responses, and went out a LOT

In Louisville there is this strip of road that gets shut down on the weekends called 4th Street Live, basically it’s a giant fashion show for who can dress the skimpiest and attract the most women. I had a friend that I went there with semi-regularly and would play ‘who can get the most phone numbers,’ we’d tie out more often than not.

The way FSL is set up is pretty breathtaking when you first get in, perhaps mildly overwhelming for someone who has never clubbed before. There are six bars on street level and four large bars on the second level, the four large bars had different themes and large sky walks that would take you out over the street so you could watch the partying below, and that is where I met JW.

JW was in the military and based outside of Louisville when we met. I was standing over the Sky Walk, nursing my drink and people watching when he approached me. He was originally from Connecticut which really caught my ear considering I am originally from Vermont and boy was he a smooth talker. You know when you watch a TV show and the girl starts talking to the bad guy but has no idea the dude is a sociopath and you are just sitting there like: “Nooooooooooo!!!” Every time I look back on this event that is how I feel. This guy had me convinced that not only was he divorced (he wasn’t) but that he was a nice dude (again, wasn’t.) That night I got perhaps too drunk, but being the ‘gentleman’ he was he walked me home to make sure I got there safely although not without trying to convince me to bring him upstairs which I was most certainly NOT going to do.

He proceeded to text me and call me at weird hours over the next few days, usually with some good excuse as to the weirdness of the hour. One night he called me at midnight and tried to convince me to have phone sex with him, which didn’t go over at all especially when I had to work early the next morning. This pattern happened for a couple of weeks before I finally gave in and slept with him and not a day later my lesson came crashing in loud in clear when he texted me that not only was he back with his wife, he had never left her. I felt awful and betrayed but mostly I felt like the worst person in the world. I would NEVER sleep with a married person, regardless of their SO’s permission. That’s not comfortable for me. I was worried what she would think of me, what my friends would think of me. There had been many times late at night where my friends and I would sit there and pass judgments on the girls who slept with Married men and suddenly I became that girl and it was a whole lot less than pleasant.

A few days later, despite my better judgment, he invited me out again to FSL and said that he wanted to apologize and that there were no tricks up his sleeve. When I got there, there he was. With his wife. I was horrified but I pulled her aside to tell her what had happened anyway, I didn’t think he did. His wife, now to be referred to as M, was understanding and informed me that this was not the first time to happen. The rest of the night we had teamed up and we were going to bring this sucker down a notch by the end of the night while he stood around ‘sulking’ like a puppy who had been swatted on the nose.

The way this story ends is not nearly as satisfying as I wish it could be, she ended up staying married to him despite the fact that later during the night he demanded a threesome because he felt like it would ‘even the playing field.’ I dropped contact with both of them the next day and only saved his number so that I knew who it was that I was ignoring. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the first thing I learned when I moved out of Vermont. 

Hashtag: Writer Problems

I keep looking at my drafts folder and I have come to a conclusion: I don’t know how to end a story.

I have a ton of really fantastic stories, like the time I accidently ended up at a nude country club with one of my closest friends, or when I mistook the YUM!Center in Louisville, KY to be a really really big KFC because I had never really been on my own in that part of the country.  I’ve written a ton of them up and they are fantastic but then I get to the end and I feel really really weird, choppy and like my writing doesn’t flow. Like right now I am sitting here trying to figure out what to write next and how to transition it properly. I think I over think writing.

When I was a teen I used to write all. The. Time. I must have gone through at least five journals a year, all mixed up with entries and periods of life and usually with odd spacings like I was going to continue a poem I had started in the middle of the night and fallen asleep to the process of writing. In fact I think most of the reason I survived middle school and high school is because I wrote so damn much. I had a series of blogs that I wrote kind of teen angsty things that later refined and got more descriptive as time went on; as if the words were slipping out of your own, experienced, lips. If there was anything I have ever wanted to be in life it has been a writer. At first I wanted to write novels like my Idol Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, she wrote vampire romance and basically made vampires that were to me what Angel and Spike were to most teens of the late 90’s, early 2000’s. The female characters in her book I revered because they knew what they wanted and they would be damned if they didn’t get it. Hell, I was downright obsessed with those books. I wanted very desperately to be her and for a very long time I tried and I came up with the same exact problem that I am having now, I have no idea how to end a story.

So if any of my fellow writers have any tips I would love some advice, do you guys have similar problems sometimes? What stories do you guys want to hear?

Louisville (Loo-we-ville)

When I left Vermont I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was going out into a world by my self and it was exhilarating. I remember crossing the state border into West Virginia and opening my windows to the smell of wild flowers and the summer heat, how lost I got on my way into New York City and how I was fairly certain that I was going to die (Thankfully my Grandparents are AMAZING and guided me through the city to their apartment,) but what stands out to me the most out of the traveling I’ve done so far is Louisville, Kentucky.

Maybe it was the fact that Louisville was the first city I ever moved to on my own or perhaps it’s the fact that Louisville is seriously underrated. Go ahead, have your giggle. Every time I bring up Louisville, or the fact that I even lived in Kentucky, I generally get some pretty interesting reactions. Generally they have to do with the fact that everyone seems to think Kentucky is all Hickville but it’s really not and Louisville in particular is  very very special.

Why Louisville? Well partly because my best friend Ronnie lives there with his wife, Rehna. I met Ronnie online way back when I was 17ish and we became fast friends. Together we trolled the internet, ready to take down any uneducated fool who dared to comment idiotically on something they obviously knew nothing about, played ridiculous amounts of games and most importantly we talked. We talked about everything, he helped me get through the worst break-up of my life and I helped him open up more in his marriage to Rehna. After we met over Thanksgiving in Vermont we decided that I should move to Louisville and out of the amazing grace of their hearts they gladly shared their home with me. It was hard, four people living in a two bedroom apartment, but it was home and we had a BLAST. They had another roommate named Leigha (That’s Lee-uh not Lay-uh, sorry SW’s homies) who was one of the quietest people I have ever met but when she does get comfortable and she talks she is one of the most hilarious people you will ever meet. The other part was because my mom lived in Louisville when she was in her early 20’s and she loved it herself, my mother and I have the same taste in many many things and Louisville is just one of those things.

The culture of Louisville is unique in the sense that it is a lot of the Northern Culture with mostly the good Southern Mannerisms and enough of both the West and East coast fashion influence to create a style all it’s own. The musical aspect is another really really strong part of Louisville and the Local Bands rock the town regularly and will more than gladly have a beer with you provided you can find the bars they enjoy most. Beyond the people though you have places like Bardstown Road where most of the locals spend their time (Oh man do I miss Cahoots) and you can find secret places like Baby D’s Bagels (Insert picture of homer drooling,) as well as some incredible restaurants.  The falls of the Ohio is another part of that area that astounds me. It’s on the Indiana side of the Ohio River but it’s worth the quick drive over if you get the chance. The rock bed you walk out onto is covered and filled with fossils; on warm days it is amazing to walk out onto the ledge, pop open a book and enjoy the sun with the sound of the river roaring by.  It’s comfortable in the sense that it’s a little-big city that fits just right, or at least just right for me.

At some point I will type up some of the stories of Louisville for you, including when I moved there and mistook the Yum! Center for a Giant KFC and the first time I met my crew at The Levee.

Cheers for now!

-NG

Dealing with Home Sickness

So you know when you have a favorite food that you just don’t eat for a really long time because you had eaten so much of it you just couldn’t stomach it any more and then finally 6+ months later you try it again and it’s right back at the top of ‘best foods in the world?’ Well that’s how I feel about Vermont. It’s kind of funny actually because when I left I swore up and down that I wasn’t going to miss Vermont, I wasn’t going to miss the cheese or the maple syrup or the soft-serve ice cream and I certainly wasn’t going to miss the snow. Now a year and a half later I find myself missing exactly all those things, especially now that I am in San Diego.

I keep looking outside expecting the trees to be changing color (they did in Kentucky) but they don’t here. They didn’t in Louisiana either, and I clearly remember on February 20th (my 22nd birthday,) sitting out on the steps in front of the ghetto ass house I was living in, in just a t-shirt and shorts and swearing it was the hottest I have ever been in my life. Little did I know that it was going to get a LOT hotter REALLY fast as Hurricane Season tends to do. As I work my way across the US and the rest of the world I find myself comparing what I am currently experiencing to the home I grew up in and I have come to a couple of conclusions:

1. Vermont is a lovely state albeit somewhat sheltered from many of the things the rest of the country has to deal with, which makes it seem like sort of a paradise sometimes. For example the amount of crime you deal with in different cities.

2. Okay so maybe just one massive conclusion.

What can I say, growing up in Vermont keeps you sheltered from a lot of the world. In Vermont I never really experienced wide spread Racism, Homophobia, Religious Persecution or Massive shootings (while I didn’t experience them first hand New Orleans has Mass Shootings about once every couple of weeks.) Sure every state has a fair amount of Political Corruption (here’s looking at you Louisiana) and economic issues but Vermont had(has?) NOTHING compared to the rest of the country. Even now I am sitting here at my desk currently unemployed, although I should be, and wondering how hard could it possibly be to get a job in a city that has 1.32 million people. Oh wait… That’s right. 1.32 million people compared to Vermont’s population 626,011. That is 2.10 times MORE people than Vermont in just ONE city. I would say that it’s claustrophobic but west coast cities are much different from east cost cities and instead of growing up they grow out.

So how does someone cope with all of these changes and vast gaps in cultural understanding? I personally just accept that things are happening and instead of fighting them, I learn from them. I wasn’t always like this though, this Christmas will be my second Christmas away from home and on my first Christmas? I fought, I cried, I screamed, I almost bought a plane ticket home and said screw traveling. That was back in Kentucky. I used to see the way people had adapted to their cities and question why some people just couldn’t get their shit together (New Orleans is a prime example of this.) Then I stopped getting angry and upset and started listening. I would sit down with the locals with a cup of tea or a beer and I would shut up and listen to all that they had to say. The stories that came out of simply listening changed my perspective on many many things including acceptance.

One story sticks out to me the most, just watching him talk about surviving Katrina was haunting to me. His eyes zoned out, as if he could see through the wall of the dark, musty, bar and simply saw himself surviving something no 16-year-old knows how to cope with. He gave me a sheepish smile as he admitted that the only reason he coped the first three nights is because he was stoned, I couldn’t blame him though as he had been stuck up in a small crawl space with a box of cereal and one gallon of water, listening to the gun shots echoing off the rooftops. That is a terror I will never know and my heart went out to him, he was still tortured by it.

As I read this blog over to make sure everything sounds the way it should I realize that I have no idea how I am going to wrap this post up. I still deal with homesickness, I am still learning so much about the differences in the world, I am still here listening and I don’t see that changing any time soon.