When trying to choose between tours in Louisville, there are quite a few decisions to make! Ghost tours, historic tours, architectural tours, day tours, evening tours, walking tours, bus tours... I finally settled on one of the tours offered by the Historic Old Louisville Visitors Center - the "Lantern Ghost Walk." As the name implies, this was to be a walking tour; however, despite weather predictions to the contrary, the night of the tour included quite a rainstorm. Nice for ambience, but not so nice for walking.
As it turned out, my companion and I were the only people for the evening's tour and our guide, a delightful, knowledgeable and affable gentleman by the name of Peter, suggested we take the bus rather than brave the downpour. What followed was an absolutely enjoyable series of stops at historic homes accompanied by a smattering of architectural information on the properties and a number of fascinating ghostly tales.
The "Lantern Ghost Walk" also included entrance to the historic Conrad-Caldwell House at Saint James Court. Unfortunately, though we brought our lanterns for this part of the tour, the storm had passed by the time we arrived and the evening light streaming through the windows made the lanterns completely unnecessary. Spring and Summer tours should start later so the house is dark for this part of the tour. Also, we were able to see only the first floor of the house, which was truly unfortunate. If you want to be able to enjoy the beauty of this magnificent estate, I would strongly suggest you visit the house during the day. You'll pay a modest admission fee and won't get the ghost stories, but, you'll be able to experience this architectural masterpiece as it should be seen.
Overall, the tour not only met, but exceeded, our expectations! If you are looking for an enjoyable evening activity that’s slightly different than “regular tourist fare,” the “Lantern Ghost Walk" in Old Louisville” could be just the thing for you! (Note: They also offer an “Old Louisville Ghost Walk” if you prefer a daytime tour…though where’s the fun in a daytime ghost tour?)
CAVEAT: Although at the time of this review all the on-line information still says the Visitors Center (from which all tours depart) is located at 218 W. Oak Street in Louisville, that information is incorrect! The Visitors Center has moved to 1217 S. Fourth Street.
HINT NUMBER ONE: Ask about a free sample of a "Happy Ball" (bourbon candy) if your guide does not offer one. These are amazingly delicious and are included in some of the tours. You will not believe how delectable they are!
HINT NUMBER TWO: The "Old Louisville Grand Walking Tour," also offered by the Visitors Center, follows the same route as the "Lantern Ghost Walk." If you are like me, you will not want to take the same route twice with only the information being shared differing for each tour. The “Grand Walking Tour” is billed as showcasing “the spectacular Victorian architecture and fascinating history of one of the nation’s premier historic neighborhoods,” while the “Lantern Ghost Walk”…well, no further explanation necessary on that one!
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