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Chillin In Wi-Fi Ville, Doing Bourbon Trail

September 7th, 2009 · Tags:Cities · Coffee Shops · Hotels · Satire · Wi-Fi

The first two nights out on the town in Louisville included a threesome of young women for a good cause … And the second night out included a concert on the banks of The Ohio River featuring Cracker.

Batting a thousand here in Sluggerville, if I don’t say so myself.

But … how about a Wi-Fi roundup? After all , that is my purpose in life.

Okay. I am on hotel #3 in L-Ville. My first stop was Spring Hill Suites, the Hurstbourne location:

Spring Hill Suites

SpringHill is interesting because the chain has spent a lot of money to create a swank little boutique atmosphere with modern décor. But, as cool as it is, I think they have missed the mark on some of the more logical aspects of hotel comfort — like placing all porcelain in one bathroom … drawers for clothes, etc. I mean who don’t love a lime green couch, but I have to take care of creature comforts too.

I love the free breakfast variety and the Wi-Fi is excellent. I predict more stays at SpringHill in the near future — 5 pings.

Ken at Heine Bros.

Ken at Heine Bros.

But after all that free breakfast buffet, a fellow is awful full of waffles and needs coffee.

On several drives around L-Ville I have noticed that Starbucks seems to be very slow. So, I haven’t even visited the green giant of java.

Instead, I opted for local favorites. First stop — Heine time. Yes, pronounced like bootay’s country cousin “hiney.”

http://www.heinebroscoffee.com/

Heine Brothers Coffee caught my eye on a school night, so my buddy Daniel and I strolled in Heine’s on Bardstown Road in The Highlands … but there were only a few kids studying and no crowd to speak of. The coffee lady behind the counter was interesting … that’s always a plus. No shortage of tats, too.

Enough pleasantries. I fired up my iPhone to check for Wi-Fi … no luck??? The signal was strong, and my phone found the scent immediately. But that dog don’t hunt! What I mean is I couldn’t log on.

My first Heine Brothers experience was quite lackluster, and I had such high expectations for the funky little homegrown shop — only 3 pings.

So … I packed up and decided to try more later.

After a one-day hiatus, I hit the road again. This time I had an entire day off from my “dirty gigs” job so I could explore.

Why not give the hometown favorite another try? Sure. I mean Heine’s has several locations. This time, I went for an upscale Heine. My second Heine experience was much more productive. I fired up the laptop and blogged away, with some high-voltage black coffee in my veins.

Tamara, Trevor at Heine

Tamara, Trevor at Heine

Oh and get this … there was another journalist working beside me. He had the telltale signs — headphones and a handheld recorder … playing, rewinding, playing, rewinding … I knew he was transcribing a taped interview, since I have done the drill a few thousand times myself …

So … this Heine was much moreso the suburbia hang out, but still cool in its own way. Lot’s of nice people, great people watching, friendly coffee pros behind the counter. At first I was hooked up with the Staples Wi-Fi signal nearby. Finally, Heine and my computer bonded.

Finally some Heine to write home about. Great Wi-Fi, good people, at least 2 journalists on the clock … and a nice cup of joe — 6 pings.

There are three Heine locations on the Web site, but I am told it is out of date. Regardless, very cool site.

Speaking of local brew … or beverages … or what have you, it just wouldn’t be Kentucky without the other dark refreshment … bourbon.

I wondered if I could find Wi-Fi among the whiskey barrels along the Bourbon Trail. So, I headed out of L-Ville on Bardstown Road … to … you guessed it, Bardstown. There I saw signs for the Maker’s Mark Distillery and Heaven Hill Distilleries. I went to Heaven Hill, based on its advertised Bourbon Heritage museum.

Bourbonesque

Bourbonesque

Very cool … and great marketing. Me and my fellow bourbon tourists sat in a small theater and watched a well-made extended commercial … tastefully done.

Ha … and yes, there was also a distillery tour and a free tasting.

But how about Wi-Fi? There was a signal at the guest center … but it was all sealed up … must have been the private stock.

The best thing I saw … a cool interactive display. You press a button and the machine spews out a blast of bourbon aroma from a trumpet-shaped nozzle. I wonder if you can get off to huffing the simulated hooch.

Well .. I guess hooch is a misnomer. Bourbon is upscale, and conversely hooch is whitetrash, rotgut mash.

Hey, did you know a pastor invented bourbon? See, I paid attention in the film. He was a whiskey maker and a tightwad, apparently. His whiskey barrels were scorched in a fire, and he continued to use them anyway. The result — a charcoaled process to produce what we now call bourbon. Very interesting and smooth. Very smooth.

So much bourbon and so little time …

http://www.heaven-hill.com/main.shtml

I chose not to partake of the spirits, and I couldn’t get on the Wi-Fi. I gave Heaven Hill one more chance. Nope … dozens of t-shirt designs … all a little too mediocre. If I am going to pay money to wear someone’s advertising, they better have some contemporary design — 4 pings.

OH … I totally forgot this. One of the reasons I drove out to the Louisville sub-bourbon area was to see a state park.

There were dozens of signs promoting Old Kentucky Home State Park. I stopped there. What the …? It is a visitor’s center and a replica of the house where that song was written … and that is it?

No waterfall. No cliffs for diving. No mountain to climb. Not even a rock to throw … I was slightly irritated. I guess other states have a different definition of state park.

I digress …

I headed back to The Ville and decided to try one more local coffee shop. What writer could resist a place called Quills. Not me. Good thing, too. Quills, on Baxter Avenue, not far from Bardstown Road, as are about 50 bars/grills/restaurants.

Erica, Cameron, Quills

Erica, Cameron, Quills

Wendy, Christie at Quills

Wendy, Christie at Quills

The place is homey, borders on funky. Me like. There is the upstairs/downstairs thing. One wall is lined with church pews with lots of electrical outlets for the laptop generation. There are also lots of tables … and yes … a few easy chairs, couches, a BACKGAMMON board and other games.

My new favorite barista in L-Ville made a simulation of my usual green tea frapucino … nice. There was quite an eclectic mix of people — students, old-timers, seminary types … etc.

“Good place to get some thinking done …”
- Phish

Here’s a local take on Quills:

Quills

Quills has faultless Wi-Fi … and so scratches my itch. Cool people, impeccable nightlife up the street, great custom caffeinated bevs .. And more … perfect score — 7 pings.

So any way … the more I see the more I fall for this place in Kent-ucky.

Last stop for the day … my pillow. I moved across the river into Indiana territory to hotel #2, the Towne Place Suites in Jeffersonville.

Let’s just say Towne Place and me didn’t see eye to eye from the get go. I was in a non-smoking room, yet secondhand was wafting into my shower. Second, man’s best friend is best kept in a kennel, but my hotel was pet friendly. Unfortunately my pet peeve is hotel carpet that smell’s like poo. Should I go on?

Towne Place

Let’s finish this on a positive note. The people at Towne Place were exceptional … and the Wi-Fi is faultless. I would have given another point if the pool had been bigger and open more — 3 pings.

Footnote: No matter what I thought of the Indiana hotel, the saving grace is the view of The Ohio River and downtown Louisville on the morning commute.

Know what I sayin?