Kentucky Road Trip {Mammoth Cave National Park}

Today I’m sharing the final leg of our Kentucky road trip!

Kentucky Road Trip
Lexington: Keeneland & Buffalo Trace Distillery
Lexington: Keeneland Spring Meet Race Day
Lexington > Louisville: Mary Todd Lincoln House, Louisville Slugger Factory Tour
Mammoth Cave National Park
Lexington: The Campbell House Hotel
Louisville: The Brown Hotel
Kentucky Derby At Home Dinner Celebration
Kentucky Derby Dinner Recipes

J. Graham’s Cafe Breakfast

We had very much been looking forward to this grand finale breakfast at J. Graham’s Cafe! We headed downstairs from our room at The Brown Hotel to the “home of the hot brown”. They were absolutely delicious and all four of us gave two thumbs up. They gave us each a recipe card and we look forward to recreating the hot brown at home.

In the 1920s, the Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. In the “wee” hours of the morning, the guests would grow tired of dancing and retire to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Bored with the traditional ham and eggs, Chef Fred Schmidt delighted his guests by creating The Hot Brown – an open face turkey sandwich with bacon, tomatoes and a delicate mornay sauce. Exemplifying our unending dedication to service – The Hot Brown Was Born!

Mammoth Cave National Park

The final stop on our Kentucky road trip was Mammoth Cave National Park. Beneath the sandstone and shale ridges of Mammoth Cave National Park lies the most extensive cave system on Earth. After 4,000 years of intermittent exploration, the full extent of this water-formed labyrinth remains unknown. With over 365 miles of surveyed passageways, Mammoth Cave is already over twice as long as any known cave and geologists think there could be 600 more miles of undiscovered areas! Another thing we loved learning about – and were slightly terrified of – are the 130 life forms found in Mammoth Cave. We kept our eyes peeled for specialized cave dwellers that have no coloring and no eyes but THANKFULLY didn’t run across any. Ha! We loved Mammoth Cave and were excited for another stamp in our National Parks Passport.

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken

We can’t drive through Nashville without a pit stop at Hattie B’s for some hot chicken! We mistakenly picked the Broadway location, which was full of sights and scenes during a spring festival. The boys couldn’t turn their heads fast enough to take it all in – the party wagon, the Harley bikers, the party bike, the glass top drinking bus, the women in a full on cat fight brawl – it was…. memorable?! We didn’t see so much crazy on our entire trip to Tennessee a few years ago. Just two days later we had our first meeting with a college consultant and John added Vandy to his list. When I raised an eyebrow he said “What? I hear they have good academics.” I’m sure that’s exxxxactly what you’re after, son. As Daddy-O says, do I look like I just fell off the turnip truck?”

I’ll be back with two hotel reviews to conclude this trip report!

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4 thoughts on “Kentucky Road Trip {Mammoth Cave National Park}

  1. So glad you didn’t see any creatures at Mammoth Cave! We visited decades ago when I was five, but I still remember the evening tour led by a park ranger to see the bats flying out of one of the entrances! My most vivid memory at MCNP was inside the caves, though. To this day I’m not sure if it was a fluke or a (misguided) prank to pull on the tourists, but during our visit the LIGHTS WENT OUT! Unfortunately at that exact moment I was separated from my parents, skipping along the path. My father frantically lit his Bic lighter and called out my name until I was by his side again. My mom always said she had visions of me plunging over the side of the path into blackness (at the time there were just chains in some places to hold you back)!

  2. My mother’s family owned part of Mammoth Cave National Park before the U.S. Government bought their farms and created the national park. Our family cemetery is on park grounds. My great-uncle and his son explored many of the unmapped areas of the cave in the 1930’s with a section of the cave being named for my mother’s cousin who discovered that area of the cave. It truly feels like my second home. Many wonderful memories of thinking the whole park belonged just to my cousins and me.

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