Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Our Overnight Trip to Kentucky

Earlier this month, Shawn and I took an overnight road trip to Kentucky to visit the new Ark Encounter.  While we were there, we also went to the Newport Aquarium, the Creation Museum, and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express.  Since I'm behind on my blogging, this post is a combination of pictures and my reviews I posted on Trip Advisor to tell the story of our weekend.

We visited the Newport Aquarium earlier this month and after reading mixed reviews on Trip Advisor, I wasn't sure what to expect. We arrived on a Friday morning shortly after they opened and had no wait at all to get in. I had ordered and printed our tickets online so we were able to immediately go right in. Since they had just opened, there wasn't much of a crowd at all. We toured all the exhibits and in fact were finished way before I expected us to be. I'd say we were there a total of two hours including trying to find a parking spot and getting to the aquarium once we parked. The aquarium was nice and I could of spent hours standing there watching the very active turtles, and then the big aquarium animals - sharks, sea turtles and stingrays.

After we left the aquarium, we had lunch at a place called Pompeii's.  It was a little mom and pop Italian restaurant.  I had the spaghetti and meatballs and Shawn had the lasagna.  Both meals came with salad and bread.  For dessert we went to Graeter's Ice Cream shop.  Both were just alright, but I wouldn't visit them again if in the area.

After lunch, we checked into the hotel (see pictures and write up below) and swam for a little bit and then got ready and went to the Ark Encounter.  After the Ark, we headed back into Florence for dinner at Chuy's and then back to the hotel to rest my tired and swollen piggies for the night.  

We ate our first Chuy's on the evening of August 5 in Florence, KY and since then, we've eaten at two others near us - one in Louisville, KY and the other in Bowling Green, KY (actually twice now). This place is seriously good!  At the one in Florence, I had their chicken and steak fajitas and their steak was out of this world. It's like I can't get enough of it! Between the steak and that yummy jalapeno ranch dip, oh my! My husband had the comida deluxe dinner and enjoyed it. You definitely get alot of food and leave full. While I don't remember our waitress' name, she was friendly and took good care of us. We also had a piece of the Tres Leches cake to go. WOW!! One of my fave desserts ever!

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Florence, Kentucky which was centrally located to all of our destinations.  
Nice hotel, and nice stay. Room was clean, comfy, and decorated nicely. Hotel staff was friendly. Would definitely stay here again if in the area.

Had a few concerns and addressed with the front desk - pool water definitely wasn't heated and was chilly - front desk said they would let maintenance know. We didn't swim again so not sure if it was taken care of or not. Our other concern was that housekeeping needs to wipe down the headboards when cleaning the rooms for the next guest.

Our only negative comment would be the free breakfast we were supposed to get with our room. I booked the rooms that came with two free breakfast buffets. Waited entirely too long for the buffet to be refilled with food and it never was. Decided to leave and go elsewhere for breakfast. The restaurant was definitely the worst and we ended up at the Waffle House. At checkout informed the front desk of this and we were given a $30 discount on our room.

The OCD in me wants to move that picture that is behind the lamp!

On Saturday morning, we got up and tried to have breakfast at the hotel buffet, but that didn't pan out well and we ended up at a Waffle House.  I didn't want to go there, but the food was really good and I'm glad we stopped.

After breakfast, we headed to the Creation Museum.  We had bought a combo ticket for it when we bought our Ark Encounter tickets.  I really didn't read up much on it since Shawn wanted to go.  It was similiar in some aspects to the reading of the Ark, but it was definitely big, crowded and hot.  I started having an anxiety attack and had to move through that place fast without seeing much of it.  I probably should of investigated it more and planned to get us there earlier in the morning to beat the rush!  They did have a huge botanical gardens that I was excited about walking through and taking pictures, but by the time we got outside, it was rather warm and I started getting sick to my stomach and told Shawn I was just ready to go.  We still had about a 4 hour drive back home and I was spent.  I was bummed too because there was an IKEA store about a half hour away that I wanted to visit too :(  But there is one in St. Louis and we will be there in December so I'll go to that one.

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