Vulcan Park

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At the top, a 56-foot cast iron statue of Vulcan, the Roman god of the forge and metalwork, which symbolizes the iron origins of Birmingham. He was created in 1904 and appeared first at the 1904 World’s Fair.
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Views from the top:
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Stone Mountain GA

The largest bas relief sculpture in the world.
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Confederate Memorial: Jefferson Davis, Robert E Lee, and Stonewall Jackson.
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90 X 190 feet. The deepest point is at Lee’s elbow, 12 feet to the surface of the mountain’s surface.
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The Biltmore

Phyl’s rule: if you’re within 500 miles, you must tour the Biltmore Estate.
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The view from the veranda:
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Because it was hot and humid, a little ice cream seemed like a very good idea.
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But Phyl had no idea how big a brownie sundae was. A closer look =)
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Energized, we were ready for the gardens and greenhouses (one hot, one cool).
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Lexington KY

Mary and Billy restored this 1930s cottage – it’s the cutest house on the block (in the neighborhood?). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Because Billy is a master woodworker, it’s important to check out details.
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Thank you, Mary and Billy, for your hospitality. In the afternoon, we drove to Gatlinburg TN.

Ashford Stud Farm

We drove to Lexington KY this morning where Mary and husband Billie have a cottage. Mary called this morning and was told the tour would begin at 2:45. The property was gorgeous.
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Donnel, from Ireland, was our guide for the next hour. We were the only people on the tour and it was free.
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One of four horse barns, each with maybe 8 horse each. Horses are checked every 20 minutes 24/7 to see if everything is ok.
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Each stall gets a fresh thick layer of straw each morning.
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Each stall has a brass name plate with the horse’s name and his dam and sire.
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Stud fees can vary, but one of the most expensive was $85,000 each time, about 200/year – that’s $17 million/year. Donnel will soon travel to South America soon with several stallions for the breeding season.
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Each horse gets a special mix of gourmet food.
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The most memorable (productive?) stallions are honored by never leaving the farm.
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American Pharaoh, this year’s Triple Crown winner, will come to Ashford Stud Farm later this year. Thank you Mary for arranging such a special and memorable tour!

To Cecilia KY

Phyl and I got up early and drove to Mammoth Cave National Park. We decided to take the Domes and Dripstones tour, listed as moderately difficult, 500 stairs. No problem, we thought, since we both regularly walk up to 6 miles/day.
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The tour was great and the 54-degree temperature was refreshing while the heat and humidity outside were AWFUL! After the tour, we walked to see the natural entrance to the caves.
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The final set of stairs!
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We both discovered that walking 6 miles on flat ground did NOT prepare us for all the up and down climbing on the cave tour. Were were painfully sore for the next three days.
Our next stop was Phyl’s cousin Mary’s house in Cecilia.
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Mary is a high school librarian in Lexington.
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Mary took us on a local tour of the sights including this log cabin where Abraham Lincoln’s father did the inside carpentry in 1805.
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We met Mary’s sister Barbara for dinner.
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Vacation part 2

I hung out at the airport for about an hour and waited for Phyllis’ plane to arrive.
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We went back to the same hotel where Thais and I stayed thinking we had a room for the night. At least that’s what Thais had booked. However at 3 pm or so, we got a call from the front desk to come down and pay for that night or … leave. We decided to leave, drove to Bowling Green KY, and got a (much less expensive) room for the night. (Thais called the hotel the next day to complain, received profuse apologies, additional reward points and a free night’s stay in the future.)