I was eight years old when my father retired from the Air Force, and my family moved to Louisville from Virginia Beach. I had fallen in love with horses at an early age and had ridden them for several years. We were moving to the horse capital of the world. Home of the Kentucky Derby, bluegrass filled farms, and of course fried chicken. I was thrilled, but I was also 8 years old and didn’t understand all the other amazing things that Louisville had to offer.

My name is Liza Smith and I’m the Neighborhood Voices contributor for the Gardiner Lane/Upper Highlands area. My family isn’t originally from Louisville, or even Kentucky, but it’s become our home. When we first moved here, we lived in St. Matthews. I went to high school in the Lyndon area. I’ve worked downtown, in the West End, the South End, and East End. My parents now live in Jeffersontown, my partner lives in Middletown, and I used to live in Old Louisville. I’ve been all over this city, and after I have moved away and returned multiple times I’ve learned quite literally nowhere compares to here.

Louisville has an amazing mix of contradictions that just seem to work together here. Southern hospitality and midwestern values seem to blend rather than clash. Big city entertainment and small-town charm can share a street corner and create an entirely new experience. And history can literally be next door to modern style. In other cities these things wouldn’t work together, but the people in Louisville not only make it work, but we make we seem it something special for the people who visit us.

I’m excited to share some the people and places that I have come to love as I have lived this city, and my neighborhood. This past year I purchased my first home and planted my own roots in Louisville. No more apartment hopping all over town, this truly is my neighborhood now, and I couldn’t be happier here. I feel like I’m central to everything. Close to my job, entertainment, food, shopping, and my friends and family. Although I’m still learning some of the more obscure places around here, I’m eager to share with you the experiences I have while finding them. So that you can come and visit my neighborhood and enjoy it as much as I do.

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