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    The Louisville we love doesn’t fit into boxes. It can’t be ranked first, second, third. It’s the moment the stage lights come up on your favorite local band. Or the way the bridges mirror themselves in the Ohio. Or the mail carrier who has watched your kids grow up. That’s what makes this city great. And that’s what’s in this year’s Best of Louisville issue, with staff, contributors and folks we’ve written about all weighing in.

    No categories.

    No limits.

    Simply the best.

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    THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL   ~   OUTDOORS   ~   PEOPLE   ~   FOOD   ~   ART

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    WHERE I LEARNED TO LOVE E.B. WHITE

    These days, a weekly trip to Carmichael’s is a must.
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    ALL THE HOLLOW EYES

    Caufield’s Novelty on West Main Street is one of my favorite local haunts. My brother and I have made it a tradition to make an annual pilgrimage in the fall, so we can relish all of its ghoulish glory. It’s not officially Halloween until I’ve stood before their infamous wall of ghastly masks, whose hollow eyes seem to follow me throughout my visit.”

    — Shae Goodlett, illustrator
    Illustration by Goodlett.

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    “In the last 10 years, New Albany has really boomed. I love the Saturday farmers’ market. There can be snow on the ground and people still come out. I think it rivals some of Louisville’s neighborhoods for sure.”

    — Roza Segoviano, owner of La Catrina

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    Weightless Float Center is my favorite place to have a spa day. Love the infrared sauna and the float tanks to help reset from the overstimulation of day-to-day life.”

    — Gabriella Gaona, co-owner of the Inner Warrior yoga studio

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    LOUISVILLE LEOPARD PERCUSSIONISTS GIVE THEIR BESTS

    “Alligator tail at Mike Linnig's.”
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    “There are so many great houses in Louisville if you’re looking for them.”

    — Naomi Penner, founder of the Houses of Louisville Instagram page
    Photos from @housesoflouisville

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    WHERE I UNSTICK MY TONGUE

    When was the last time somebody told you to relax the muscles in your mouth?
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    “I’ve been lifting weights and taking supplements for 30 years. The staff at Next Level Sports Nutrition asks ‘What’s the goal?’ and matches individual needs.”

    — Bland Matthews, founder of BerserkerBrew coffee

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    Photo by Joon Kim

    “The Glenview post office is like stepping back in time.”

    — Mike Berry, retiring Kentucky Derby Festival CEO

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    THE BONES AT ST MARTIN OF TOURS

    After being delicately packaged in Rome, bones arrived at the customs office in Louisville on the last day of 1901. They belong to Saints Magnus and Bonosa, who lie in twin illuminated glass cases at the front of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church on South Shelby Street. They’re dressed in maroon velvet and socks and gloves, their skulls fitted with crowns.

    The fourth-oldest parish and one of the only remaining antebellum-style buildings in Louisville, St. Martin of Tours was built in 1853. It drips with gilded Catholic history. Gold and robin’s-egg blue adorn the ceiling. Munich artists crafted the Gothic stained glass and provided the carved marble scenes above the pews. The massive pipe organ on the mezzanine dates to the 1890s and is one of the last remaining electric-action organs from that time.

    The doors at the corner of Shelby and Gray streets never close. Make a pilgrimage to see the bones. Go at night.

    — Jenny Kiefer

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    ’90s MOVIES AS REALTOR ADS

    In a series of real estate ads debuted last fall, Michaelle Warner taps into her love of costumes and film.
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    “Best place to buy a Derby tie: Peake Ties (online and pop-up locations).”

    — Mike Berry, retiring Kentucky Derby Festival CEO

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    “There’s a reason attendance at U of L women’s basketball games ranks in the top five nationally.”

    — Jessica George, executive director of Revolutions Per Minute

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    “I’ve been hanging out and working out at Title Boxing Club on South Hurstbourne Parkway, and the people who work there have been super-cool. And I’ve lost about 15 pounds in the past month.”

    — Adam Mescan, photographer
    Photo by Mescan

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    “I love Mr. Gatti’s because I get to eat cheese pizza and play all the fun games. My family loves it too!”

    — Atonia Parks, 2018 Super Kid from King Elementary

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    URBAN EDEN

    The air inside Mahonia on East Market Street smells of spicy soap and rich dirt.
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    CIVIC PUNS

    A bi-weekly newsletter? Not a sexy concept. Details on road pavings, committee hearings, meet and greets. An informed citizenry is important, but, man, bureaucracy is dry — although Metro Councilman Brandon Coan and his legislative assistant, Jasmine Weatherby, don’t think so. Their newsletter for District 8 (the Highlands and Tyler Park, mainly) keeps it light and pun-y.

    In “The Notorious B.I.D. Edition” Coan advocated for a Business Improvement District (B.I.D.) in the Highlands. Others have included “Tree’s Company,” referring to the city’s tree ordinance and, more recently, “Stuck in the Middle with You,” in reference to the city’s budget process and other Highlands-area projects being halfway between start and finish.

    The newsletter’s crime report typically nails a zinger: “Here Kitty, Kitty” (about a “cat burglar” stealing from unlocked cars) and “Take Me to Church” (with Coan begging, “Please for the love of G-d remember to lock your vehicles”).

    Coan and Weatherby have even delivered a “Haiku Edition.” A taste:

       Here we sit like birds,
       like the Castleman statue
       in the wilderness.

    — Anne Marshall

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    South Louisville Antique & Toy Mall. I’m always on the lookout for vintage battery-powered tin robots and ’60s-era HO scale slot cars. I once found a childhood favorite of mine: a 1960s battery-powered metallic-red VW Beetle with functioning headlights. Added bonus: Next door is Bullitt Speedway, an awesome slot car track!”

    — Scott Scarboro, artist

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    “My family lives pretty close to Slugger Field and we always walk to Louisville City FC games. We normally take a few laps around the stadium and let our kid go wild in the playground area while I enjoy my Against the Grain beer and fried double bologna sandwich. The fans chanting during the entire game elevate the whole experience and keep the energy alive.”

    — Adal Castellon Jr., owner of Spanish Fly Barbershop

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    EVERYTHING FM

    Unlike other stations, 88.1 plays every genre, in no particular order.
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    A BREAK FROM THE TO-DO LIST

    I unknowingly passed this sacred space on Hubbards Lane en route to Target countless times — a fact that pretty well sums up my state of mind pre-meditation: unaware, in a hurry, on a mission for something. Then, a few years ago, I searched online for local meditation resources to help me cope with mounting stress, impatience and general grumpiness. I embarked on a six-week intro to meditation course at the Drepung Gomang Center, a simple ranch-style house adorned with a few bursts of red and gold that set it apart from the rest of this residential stretch. It’s difficult to succinctly sum up what I learned at the center, but I’m pretty sure I used the words “life-changing” in attempting to convey the experience to my husband. Drepung Gomang offers mindfulness instruction, classes on Buddhism, compassion-themed camps for kids, community meditations and more. It’s free to drop by the stunning shrine room, though donations are always welcome. Just be sure to take off your shoes, silence your cell phone…and remember to breathe.

    — Sarah Kelley

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    COCKEYED STREETS

    I love our streets that change names multiple times.
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    “One of my favorite things to do is to pass time wandering through a maze of old house parts and antiquities. I have traveled all over the states in search of salvage yards, and I believe Architectural Salvage on Broadway is one of the best in the country. I love searching out the perfect oddity to add character to my building projects. I always find myself with something in my hand that I can’t leave behind. Architectural Salvage has been around since 1985, with over 24,000 square feet of interesting things. And this museum is free!”

    — Tom Edwards, owner of MozzaPi

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    “DO GOOD”

    A glint caught my eye this winter as I was sitting at a red light at the corner of Jackson and Jefferson streets, about to pass through the homeless camp growing beneath the overpass. On the northwest side of the intersection, metallic-silver letters spelled “DO GOOD.” They acted like a mirror, shining on the concrete. The message seemed to be a pointed signal to reflect on the city’s growing homelessness crisis. Left by a mystery messenger, it was a chance for introspection, comfort, regret. Since then, more shiny letters — “Everything has led to this” — have appeared nearby.

    On a cold and rainy morning in February, a half-dozen dump trucks and a bright-orange backhoe cleared out the homeless camp. “Do Good” disappeared. But beneath the concrete-colored paint, I still see the residue of the message each morning as I drive by.

    — Michelle Eigenheer

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    “WELCOME TO LOUISVILLE”

    I make a monthly trip home to visit my folks across the river in Sellersburg. To avoid paying tolls, I take the Sherman Minton Bridge, and on my way back almost a year ago I noticed something new adorning one of the bridge’s huge concrete pillars. In bold black letters, with accents of turquoise and yellow: “Welcome to Louisville.” Somebody had spray-painted these words on the wall just around the curve as you exit the bridge on I-64 East. The roughly four-by-four-foot greeting caught my attention not only because of its retro style but because it was in an incredibly dangerous area of the interstate. No shoulder along this small stretch of the road, no lighting at night. Every time I pass it, I commend the brave soul who risked being barreled over by a semi just to paint it.

    — Katie Molck

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    THE LIBRARY HAS CHANGED. MY LOVE FOR IT HASN'T.

    You can still find me settling in with a good book.
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    “A weekly stroll through the Middletown Peddlers Mall. The familiar, comforting smell of musty furniture, the hidden riches uncovered by digging through an oversized basket, the mystery within every booth. If I HAD to pick my all-time-favorite find, it would be the vintage Yves Saint Laurent platform shoes that magically were in a size seven.”

    — reader Taylor Logsdon

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    “Louisville has those cool manhole covers that feature the city name. I collect them, and so do people around the world. It’s a nice photo op for your travels. Some feature things the city is known for.”

    — reader Gary Baker

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    “At Nail Therapy Studio in St. Matthews, you can get gel polish, dip polish, natural polish — but no acrylic, which means the shop always smells fresh and clean.”

    — reader Leslie Donhoff

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    THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL   ~   OUTDOORS   ~   PEOPLE   ~   FOOD   ~   ART

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    Back to the top

     

    This originally appeared in the July 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine as part of our annual Best of Louisville issue. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Cover typography by Brian Patrick Todd

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