Finding the Headwaters of a Landlocked Town

As the official first entry of the Lexington-based portion of my blog, I decided to seek out a little-known Lexington spot, elusive to even lifelong residents such as myself.  Recently I happened to drive down Broadway just past Triangle Park when I re-noticed a peculiar overhang jutting out from the Hyatt Hotel.  I say “re-noticed” since I have made note of the structure in the past, but had never given it more than a fleeting wonder.  I parked alongside Rupp Arena, the absence of a UK game made normally rare parking spots common and easily procured.  I assumed my midday adventure would hit an immediate roadblock. My paranoid mind imagined the illusive overhang must have been some Bilderberg Group secret society hangout, or at bare minimum, the location for some obscure invitation only Eyes Wide Shut party.  Instead, the lady at the front desk was quite happy to chat with me, embodying southern hospitality despite my homeless appearance.

“It’s actually the hotel pool.  That balcony is attached to the indoor pool.”

The Hyatt has a pool?!?  When did this happen?  How could I have missed such a thing?  I inquired further.

“Yes sir, anyone staying here has access.  There is a window in the entry door where you can view the pool and balcony.”

I thanked her and headed to the pool via the hotel bar.  Unfortunately my long hair and scruffy attire, coupled with an aura of self-doubt, caused immediate approach from the bartender.

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“Help you sir?”  I was the only person standing in the huge expanse of a restaurant slash atrium slash bar.

“Nope, just heading to the pool.”  Damnit! Bad return….

“Are we a guest here?”  I hated to break it to him, but I wasn’t a guest, and he was an employee, so no, “we” aren’t guests.

“No but that lady at the desk said I could take a look at the pool.  That alright?”  I tried not to giggle at his attempted blue-blood demeanor, especially since there was an Ale-8 slushy machine directly behind him.

“Oh, well of course sir.  I can’t let you in since you’re not a guest,” (wouldn’t want anyone stealing the pool water), “but you’re welcome to look thru the door.”

I bade him thanks and began my zigzag trip through the tables and chairs.  Sure enough, I found the hidden pool.  There is a pool in downtown Lexington!  It had lounge chairs, access to the bar and a door that led to the mysterious overhang that turned out to be a beautiful cantilevered balcony with a glass rail, and since it was a Monday afternoon, the pool was totally deserted.  I vowed right then and there to return to the Hyatt.  With yet another Kentucky winter fast approaching, I could use a secret downtown oasis.

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I once read that the Mississippi Delta began in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel and ended at Catfish Row.  As a child I always believed that Lexington started on the splashing stairs of Triangle Park.  With the pool at the Hyatt Hotel at a higher elevation, I wondered if it could be the true headwaters of Lexington. I imagined its waters flooding down Broadway and into Triangle Park, the overflow a direct result of hotel guests celebrating a successful day at Keeneland or perhaps overindulgence in Kentucky Bourbon.  Either way, I’m glad I unearthed the mystery of the overhang on Broadway, and although I didn’t uncover some secret Lexington society or even the covert manufacturing location for the shellac local weatherman Bill Meck applies to always appear red, it was a pleasant surprise that satisfied my curiosity several decades in the making.

Satisfied, I headed downstairs of the Civic Center to shoot pool at Yesterdays, another Lexington institution and day-time hiding spot…but I’ll expose that secret some other time.

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