Recently on social media, I learned about a Summer Shop Hop in Mount Washington. I have never been to this neck of the woods and decided to head down there to explore and shop. I gathered up my interns (of the school-age variety), and we set out on an adventure.
One of the best parts of my job is meeting people, especially people who are proud of their town and excited to support each other. Mount Washington is a perfect example of these qualities. Before our trip, we looked online for places to eat and things to do (besides visit the one store I knew about) while there, and really came up short. Therefore, we decided to just get in the car and go, having no firsthand knowledge of anything we would do while there. I am sure glad we took that approach.
After a short, 30-minute drive from Point A (my house) down Bardstown Road, we saw the signs for Mount Washington. Following the signs to the business district, which turns out to be North Bardstown Road, we drove around—very slowly and aimlessly—for about 10 minutes just surveying the area. We happened upon a wonderful cafe—Maggie Mae’s—because my daughter saw an easel on the street with chalkboard writing that said #eatlocal. Don’t mind if we do!
Maggie Mae’s Cafe has only been open a month and is doing an incredible business. They are a local coffee shop (the only one in town) that serves breakfast and a light lunch. We started talking with the owners and another patron and found out everything there is to know about Mount Washington. Where to go, what not to miss and the history behind the town, all learned from the locals. After taking a page of notes, complete with directions and copious tidbits of insider information, we developed a game plan for our day. This is a prime example of how talking and being personable trumps a Google search! The locals are more than happy to comply and so excited to promote their locally owned businesses. (More on Maggie Mae’s later.)
A Little Mount Washington History
In the early 1800s, Mount Washington was a stagecoach stop on the road from Louisville to Bardstown; that road is now Bardstown Road. It was also a stagecoach stop on the road east-west from Shepherdsville to Taylorsville; that road is now Highway 44. It became a city because it was a crossroads. To get there from Louisville, just head down Bardstown Road south towards Bardstown. Just a few miles past the Gene Snyder, there is fork in the road to Mount Washington and North Bardstown Road, which is where many of these local businesses are located. If you stay on the main Bardstown Road, which resembles a freeway at this point, there are strip malls and bigger institutions, such as Kroger and Walmart, along with fast food places. Also, a few of the businesses we mention were on Highway 44 towards Shepherdsville, which is a road that intersects Bardstown Road.
Where to Eat
There are plenty of fast food restaurants and chains in Mount Washington. There are lots of places to get Mexican food there as well, with chain restaurants that we have here in Louisville, such as El Nopal. I wanted to focus on the locally owned restaurants recommended by area residents though, so that’s what we’re talking about today.
Maggie Mae’s Cafe
435 North Bardstown Road, Mount Washington • (502) 759-2070
Maggie Mae’s Cafe opened its doors in July with husband-and-wife team Taylor and Jordan Hughes at the helm, and it’s been a success from the beginning. Maggie Mae’s serves locally roasted Argo Sons coffee and espresso drinks. They have homemade pastries, a light breakfast and lunch, all made from scratch, delicious and fresh. The menu is small, but perfectly suited to this local cafe. We were there late, after 2 p.m., and had everything on the menu for lunch. We ordered the fresh summer squash and corn chowder, the turkey and Brie panini with strawberries, and the Mediterranean chicken salad served in a pita. The owners are a delight, and if we lived here, I might go to Maggie Mae’s every day to eat or drink something, both for the food and the company.
Tuscany Italian Restaurant
9180 Hwy. 44 E., Mount Washington • (502) 538-8400
We did not eat here, but every local that we met raved about this restaurant. It’s the place to go in town, with a big crowd at dinner and a nice patio out back. Locals we spoke with love the pizza and the pasta. Tuscany Italian Restaurant has another location in Louisville, which has been open for seven years. The Mount Washington location opened a few months ago, filling a void in the area restaurant scene.
Half-Time’s Sports Bar and Grill
240 High Point Court, Mount Washington • (502) 904-9376
Want a burger or wings that is not fast food? Another recommended local restaurant for more casual fare is Half Time’s Sports Bar and Grill, located off of Bardstown Road near the Kroger. This place was packed on a Thursday at lunchtime, so I can only imagine the crowds during football and basketball season. In addition to normal sports bar food, they have a good selection of entrees, salads, pizza and a kids’ menu.
Sweet Sprinkles Bakery
425 North Bardstown Road, Mount Washington • (502) 538-0667
Located adjacent to Maggie Mae’s cafe is a sweet bakery, literally. Sweet Sprinkles Bakery shares a back entrance with Maggie Mae’s, and it is hard to not walk directly there after lunch. Owner Malinda Polly has a vast menu and is very flexible about custom orders. Basically, whatever you want, she will make. If you crave a hazelnut cupcake, but only want one, she’s happy to make a batch. We sampled the vanilla and red velvet cupcakes, and the icing was as tall as the cupcake. My interns gave this an A+.
Daddy Yo’s Frozen Desserts
240 Eastbrooke Pkwy., Mount Washington • (502) 904-9597
As we left town, it had been a total of one hour since the cupcakes, and we needed another hit of sugar, so we swung by the highly recommended Daddy Yo’s for another treat for the road. This locally owned dessert haven also has locations in Bardstown and Campbellsville. The Mount Washington location is a stone’s throw from Half-Time’s Sports Bar and Grill. The cup sizes offered are probably a quart, which means my interns are filling it to the lid. Top with gummy worms or whatever you fancy, and be on your way. Warning to guests, a quart of yogurt with toppings is no cheap adventure. So either practice portion control or be prepared to bring a lid to save your leftovers.
Where to Shop
611 N. Bardstown Road, Mount Washington • (502) 538-9306
Cordial Lee was actually the original motivation for my trip, the reason I knew about the Summer Shop Hop. I follow them on Instagram, and I am consistently remarking, “how cute” or “what a great idea” or “I never thought you could monogram that!” It is a teen/tween girl’s dream in here, with every possible monogrammable item available, along with Lilly Pulitzer accessories. Cordial Lee has an interactive monitor in the center of the room, which shows you what your monogram can look like on several of their items. Most of all, owner Shelby Lee Packer is a treat. There was a big line of customers; the place was hopping when I was there, and you can see why.
Game Day Graphics
156 N. Bardstown Road, Mount Washington • (502) 251-5359
Like Cordial Lee, Game Day Graphics is a preppy, monogramming delight of a store. Don’t let the name fool you, this store sells much more than its name implies. They do print the uniforms and T-shirts for sports teams, hence the name. They do not embroider; rather they press vinyl letters onto clothing and fabric. True story: my intern asked the price for a long-sleeve T-shirt, similar to one she had been pining for at home. The price was $20 less and when asked how long it would take to monogram the shirt, the answer was “well, about 10 minutes.” SOLD, and we bought two shirts. For that kind of service, I’d drive 20 minutes.
Missy K’s Boutique and Consignment
8206 Hwy. 44, Mount Washington • (502) 403-7893
Located on Highway 44 towards Shepherdsville, Missy K’s boutique sells both new and consignment clothes, along with a great selection of fleur de lis accessories, jewelry and some home decor. This is a large store, and you would be hard-pressed not to find something to buy.
10489 Hwy. 44 E., Mount Washington • (502) 538-7648
Set in a charming older home on Highway 44 on the way to Shepherdsville, Country Vogue is a true consignment boutique with a very large selection of wedding gowns, formal and pageant gowns. They also sell children’s clothes, along with new jewelry and accessories. I had to physically restrain my female intern from buying all the pretty dresses shown below.
Busy Lady Quilt Shop
144 N. Bardstown Road, Mount Washington • (502) 538-8800
Located on the main drag of North Bardstown Road in a stately, yellow home is the Busy Lady Quilt Shop. Inside is a large selection of fabrics and quilting supplies, as well as a knowledgeable staff willing to share its expertise. Hanging throughout the store are their award-winning quilts, many of them with blue ribbons. I don’t know the first thing about quilting, but I enjoyed perusing everything and admiring their handiwork.
Amanda’s Creations Florist, 168 N. Bardstown Road, Mount Washington • (502) 538-0330
Mount Washington Florist, 145 N. Bardstown Road, Mount Washington • (502) 538-4552
There are two florists directly across the street from each other, both of which come highly recommended by the locals, who would not pick a favorite. Amanda’s Creations Florist is located in an old service station, which is a beautiful building. Mount Washington Florist is located across the street and has old-town charm, as well.
What to See
There is no town square, per se, in Mount Washington. The area between Bardstown Road and North Bardstown Road does contain some sights to take in, though. Here’s what we enjoyed seeing:
Gazebo and water fountain
What would a town be without a gazebo or fountain? This one is a beacon in the center of town.
Sit and Visit
What struck me the most from our first stop at Maggie Mae’s is the feeling that you can just sit and stay awhile. There are benches all over town, just for sitting and visiting.
The little things
It’s the little things that endear you to an area. Mount Washington has special touches sprinkled all over town. Handpainted mailboxes on the main drag. Beautiful flowers in planters and sidewalks. A cute spin on a Beware of the Dog sign at a florist. People don’t just live and work here in this town; they love it here.
Mount Washington is a town where it takes hard work to be a local business. Competition is stiff with the mega stores and chains, but, like Louisville, the sense of pride and loyalty among residents and businesses alike is evidence enough that everyone should always #shoplocal.
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