It is a beautiful day in Kentucky. Streaming sunshine, just the right amount of cool breeze, and a trip to Midway. Add in a couple of wonderful friends, a town right out of a Mark Twain novel, and a genuine steam engine and we had one brilliant day.
Now, I enjoy trains as much as the average person, meaning I do not plan on converting our garage into a train model haven but I think they are a marvel nonetheless. Our friend Tony however, well, I think his wife Erica may need to establish a “No Train Zone” in the future. Tony has worked for two railroad companies and enjoys his job, knows a lot about trains, and I think is in denial about his growing admiration for all things choo-choo.
To our benefit, his affinity for Thomas and friends (real-life versions of course) meant a well-spent day about thirty minutes from home, though it truly felt like a world away. Erica had invited Aaron and I to tag along on the impromptu trip when Tony informed her on Thursday that they were going to Midway to watch a steam engine roll through the town. RJ Corman, the man and company Tony works for, had recently purchased the engine from China, had it shipped over at a pretty penny, painted it with the Red and White Corman insignias, and set up its debut tour. Why? Because he can.
So we accepted the invitation partly in celebration of the completed semester and partly because I think deep down in places we don’t want to think about, we all love to watch a train go by and hear that whistle blow. Midway is also home to an amazing downtown, lined with unique shops and eateries, and Erica needed someone to shop with. I think the best way to detail our adventure would be to timeline it, so…
10:45 a.m.- Drive to Wilmore to meet Erica and Tony
11- Arrive in Wilmore and offer to drive our more fuel-efficient Honda instead of their Jeep. The environment and our bank accounts smile.
11:00-11:30- Travel to Midway, enjoying the incredibly beautiful scenery and not focusing on the windy (not wind), narrow, and shoulder-less roads.
11:30-12ish- Erica and I peroused a few shops, showing incredible willpower by not buying anything, while Aaron and Tony headed for the stone-walled, basement bookstore, replete with first-editions and plenty to occupy two male seminary minds.
12ish-12:55- Head to Heirloom, a surprisingly trendy restuarant for small-town Kentucky, for what Erica has told us should be a delicious and student-budget friendly lunch. Erica and I both order the sea scallops and mushroom rissoto, but end up with the bone-less, butter-milk brined fried chicken with sauce and arugala because they are out of scallops. Tony and Aaron both order Mary’s Burger, complete with bacon, cheese, and ketchup, both opting out of the lettuce and tomato trimmings. The food was pretty spectacular, or Yum-O to put it in Rachel Ray speak.
12:55- Train whistle rattles the windows as it blows and steams into town. Tony promptly proceeds to push Erica from the booth and run outside, followed by half of the establishment’s customers. The train was ahead of schedule and I think Tony was afraid he might miss it, which of course would be a shame.
12:56- After recovering from shock and laughter at Tony’s sudden disregard for Erica’s well-being, the three of us venture out to watch the black behemoth as it slowed to a stop for all to behold. There was quite a crowd and a Corman helicopter flew overhead to catch the scene. I take a few pictures to commemorate this special event.
1:00- Erica and I head back into Heirloom to finish our meal while Tony and Aaron get a closer look.
1:10-1:30- Aaron and Tony return, we order dessert, and Tony knocks Erica out of the booth for a second time when the whistle blows and he thinks the train might leave without him getting to say goodbye. Our dessert arrives and the three of us break into laughter and stare in astonishment at the $10 joke that sat in front of Aaron and I. We ordered the Molten Chocolate Cake, which had fancier ingredients than its Chili’s counterpart, and for $10 we expected, well, more. A UFO shaped plate cupped in its cylindrical center the 3-inch in diameter, chocolate tease. While it was delectable we just couldn’t believe that they charged twice the amount that Chili’s does for 1/3 of the reward. Lessons we learn. At some point Tony came back and we paid our bills and left.
1:30-3ish- We headed over to Soapwerks, a charming store of fragrant soaps and other girlie items; Aaron went into another bookstore and Tony sat on a bench outside. My willpower ended here as I purchased 3 pretty, hand-stitched hankies for $2 each. They will be put to good use, but probably not for their intended purpose. We peruse other stores, most of which are a bit too pricey for us, I take some pictures of the town and architechture while Aaron patiently waits for me, and we head over to Midway’s farmer’s market. Our last stop is a store that sells Amish products and the four of us leave there with some candy, two bottles of Dasani, and an orange soda.
3ish-3:45- We leave picturesque Midway and head back to Wilmore to drop off our friends so they can house hunt.
3:45-5ish- Drive home to Nicholasville, let Beau outside, and take a nap after such a taxing day.
Erica and I fully intend to return to Midway sanse our husbands and after I have procured a new job. I can’t wait to go to C.R. Lewis’ stone-walled bookstore and see if I can find some lovely first-edition to adorn my bookself back home. I am thrilled that there is such a place as Midway that makes you feel as if you have stepped out of your busy life and back into a slower, more charming time, and we are blessed to have such friends as Tony and Erica who wanted to share this special place with us.