Fishing & Boating in the Northwoods

An Evening in Lexington KY

gratz park inn entrance

We ended our tour of Woodford and, after sampling some excellent “bourbon balls”, met Niki and Mary from the Lexington Kentucky Convention and Visitors Bureau at the Cheapside Bar and Grill.

Cheapside Bar and Grill

The Cheapside is an upscale restaurant in downtown Lexington serving excellent food from a menu loaded with varied and interesting items (like Chipotle Meatloaf, Harley Hog BBQ, Pan-Fried Whisky Rib-Eye and Duck Enchiladas).

As we dined on succulent sandwiches, Niki and Mary shared with us some interesting facts about the area. Seems as if this section of town was quite infamous during the forgettable period of US history that embraced slavery. This area of Lexington – known as the “Cheapside” – was a huge slave trading locality in Kentucky. It was also one of the most well-known slave markets in all of the south. (Note that the Cheapside Bar is now permanently closed.)

Even President Lincoln supposedly once observed as Africans were beaten and families were forever separated as they were auctioned and sold in the courtyard. The conversation drifted to another topic of interest that involved Kentucky in another deeply divided dispute: the Civil War.

lobby at the gratz park inn

Perryville Battlefield and the Gratz Park Inn

Not far from Lexington is the small town of Perryville, the site of one of the fiercest battles of the war, with casualties in excess of 7,500. We would be journeying there tomorrow, to witness for ourselves the pristine condition of the battlefield, almost exactly as it appeared on a fateful day in October of 1862.

For now, though, it was time to retire to the Gratz Park Inn for the evening. (Note: It is now called the Sire Hotel.) Here is some well-preserved Kentucky hospitality and southern charm in a building that was originally the first medical clinic west of the Allegheny Mountains.


It has been meticulously restored to period splendor. With large and comfortable suites and guest rooms, a small and cozy library, and a five-star restaurant, Gratz Park is a slick example of luxury in a boutique type inn. We enjoyed a nightcap – bourbon, neat, of course – in the on-site restaurant, Jonathan’s, along with some homemade ice cream.

guest room at the gratz park inn

Adding Jonathan’s to our growing list of places to revisit on our next foray into Kentucky, we headed to our room and collapsed into the king bed and its Tempur-Pedic® mattress. My brother-in-law has coined a phrase that fit like a glove in this instance, and I feel free to use it, regarding the occasion at Gratz Park Inn: “This is really livin‘!

Read about the next leg of our Bourbon Trail trip: The Mark of a Maker

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R. Karl

Angler, Author & Epicure

Fishing since the age of eight.  Seriously writing since the age of 16. Chef and foodie from the age of 22 years… and counting. So much to learn and so little time. I have enjoyed every minute of it all.  Whether on the water (where I like it best), in the kitchen, or at the keyboard, churning out content, I feel like I have found my place.  I am sharing it with you in the hope that some of what I love to do will rub off on you. I hope to see you On the Lake!

R. Karl