September 15, 16, 17 and 18, 2012 – Lexington Kentucky – Visiting Jack and Kathy Kelly

Saturday – September 15th

Our prime reason for coming to Lexington was to spend time with Jack and Kathy Kelly.

As first cousins, Jack’s mom and my dad were brother and sister, our relationship goes back to 1945 when we first met … and when he still had very little hair.

 

That evening we drove to Danville and saw the Center for the Arts at Centre College

where this fall the Vice Presidential debate between Paul Ryan and Joe Biden will take place, and then found a truly “local” restaurant.

Sunday – September 16th

Kathy arranged for us to participate in an auto tour of some of the more rural areas of Lexington.  After passing through a couple of upscale neighborhoods,

 we drove by the Bloomberg/Delong mansion.

 

 With over 24,000 sq. ft. of living area, it is the largest home in Lexington and has one of the largest entry foyers in the country, some 84’ long with a fireplace, double staircase, and an upstairs gallery.

Throughout the tour, we passed by many horse farms,

 

grazing thoroughbreds,

barns, many with paintings, a tradition which originated with the Pennsylvania Dutch,

 

Nearly treeless pastures,

Tobacco fields (which are not cut, not picked, when their leaves turn amber in color),

Narrow, stonewall-lined roads,

Where avoiding the ever-present bikers was often a challenge.

 

One of our final stops was at the Grimes Mill Winery … where we were able to sample some delicious vino!

 

And there was the lonesome RV we spied in a field.

 

Monday – September 17th

Today was the first really rainy day we’ve had on this trip.  However, we used the time to take a tour of part of downtown Lexington and the

 

Undoubtedly, the most famous “resident” is Henry Clay whose burial monument towers above everything else in the cemetery and is visible from downtown Lexington.

 

 

Clay  1777 – 1852), one of the most influential men in the US during the first half of the 19th century who was not president, was a lawyer, politician and skilled orator who represented Kentucky separately in both the Senate and in the House of Representatives. He served three different terms as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and was also Secretary of State from 1825 to 1829.

Henry Clay made numerous attempts at becoming president, making five serious runs. He secured a major party nomination three of those times and lost all three elections.

He was dubbed the “Great Pacificator,” as he brokered important compromises during the Nullification Crisis and on the slavery issue.  As part of the “Great Triumvirate” or “Immortal Trio,” along with his colleagues Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun, he was instrumental in formulating the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Compromise of 1850.

Equally impressive is the towering American Basswood which stands beside his tomb and began its life prior to the signing of the American Constitution.

 

Also interred is John Breckenridge, the nation’s youngest Vice President (assuming office at the age of just 36), serving under James Buchannan … although we were never able to find his grave site.

As with the Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vermont which we’d visited this summer, we saw a number of interesting grave stones; some etched,

 

 

others employing stained glass (or a plexiglass substitute),

and still others very ornate.

 

Just prior to leaving we stopped at the site of the soldier’s section, in which the graves of Civil War and soldiers from other wars are arranged in concentric circles.

 

Tuesday – September 18th

Today, the weather was rainy and we spent much of the day doing some housekeeping, paying bills and reading … the first really “down” day since leaving home.

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