I wanted to surprise my husband with a short getaway that I knew he would enjoy, so I began researching the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®
and before you knew it the kids were at their grandparents and we were on our way to Kentucky.
We arrived in Bardstown, the self-proclaimed bourbon capital of the world, late in the afternoon and settled into the Jailer's Inn Bed and Breakfast
near the center of town. This was not your typical lodging establishment but was a luxurious way to “do time” and I thought it would be someplace we would enjoy. After a short rest we claimed our reserved seats on My Old Kentucky Dinner Train and enjoyed a great meal with a view while riding the rails through “Bourbon Country.”
We enjoyed breakfast at the inn and then went to the nearby Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History to begin our exploration of all things bourbon. Before the end of the day we had enjoyed three bourbon distillery tours, first at Barton 1792 and Heaven Hill and then a smaller one, Willett Distillery
. We also ate lunch at a local café and browsed the Main Street shopping district. Upon the recommendation of some locals we dined at the Rickhouse Restaurant.
Early the next morning we headed to nearby Loretto and toured the Maker's Mark Distillery
, where we got our fourth stamp in our free KBT passport. We left with a unique keepsake, a bottle of bourbon hand-dipped in their signature red wax by none other than my husband. We were eagerly anticipating our next stop, a tour of Kentucky Cooperage to witness the making and charring of the new oak barrels that play a very important role in the production of bourbon. In addition to Kentucky’s limestone water, seasonal temperature changes and, of course, the individual recipes closely guarded from the public by the master distillers, the barrels are used to impart color and different flavor notes to the many varieties of bourbon.
We enjoyed a leisurely drive through the beautiful bluegrass countryside to reach Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
where we spent our last night away from home. This completely restored shaker village provided a perfect place for us to unplug and unwind and the Trustees office provided a great meal without leaving the grounds.
We had one more attraction to stop at before heading home, Buffalo Trace Distillery
in Frankfort. This is the oldest continuously operating distillery in America. During Prohibition the distillery was even permitted to remain operational to make whiskey for "medicinal purposes".
This trip was full of great times and wonderful memories for such a limited amount of time. On the drive home my husband was full of plans to return with the “guys” to explore Louisville's Urban Bourbon Trail, Lexington's Brewmaster Trail (craft beer) and embark on more bourbon distillery tours to collect more stamps to add to his passport. Won't he be surprised to learn that the girls will also be going for a little “we” time while shopping , enjoying the night life and exploring the bourbon culture ourselves. If we can coordinate summer dates I would enjoy a return trip to Bardstown to tour My Old Kentucky Home and take in the outdoor drama The Stephen Foster Story. As soon as I get home I'm going to kentuckytourism.com
for more details.