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Name Your Pleasure: Bourbon, Horses and History



By Kathy Witt

Stretching from the Ohio River to the heart of the Bluegrass with its rolling pasturelands – from cosmopolitan to country, savvy to sleepy – the 15-county Bourbon, Horses and History Region is one of superlatives.

Here lies Kentucky’s largest city, Louisville, and one of its smallest, Hodgenville – the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln and one of nearly 20 sites you can explore on the Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail that figure significantly into the life and legacy of the 16th president.

It is home to Oldham County, the Farm Tour Capital of Kentucky. See where the buffalo roam – horses and alpaca, too – on one of 14 different farm tours. It’s also home to Bardstown, the Bourbon Capital of the World with legendary distilleries Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Heaven Hill and others on (and off) the famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail®. And it is home to Shelbyville, the American Saddlebred Capital of the World. Its 80-plus Saddlebred farms includes the famous Undulata Farm, where Civil War veteran Harry Weissinger and his sons once bred the great stallion, American Born.

Fun Indoors & Out

Outdoor enthusiast? You’ll hear more than 8,500 acres of lakes calling your name for boating, kayaking, pontoon riding, waterskiing and fishing in such places as Brandenburg’s 2,600-acre riverfront park Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area, the fabulous falls at Rough River and the calming vastness of 3,040-acre Taylorsville Lake. Bird watchers, nature lovers, hikers, bikers and photographers will also find their bliss in these serene places.

Indoors, you’ll have your pick of museums for hands-on exploration, from the newly-renovated interactive General George Patton Museum in Fort Knox to iconic Louisville landmarks like the Muhammad Ali Center and Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. And speaking of icons, catch your breath for the excitement of Churchill Downs and the greatest two minutes in sports – the Kentucky Derby, the first jewel of the Thoroughbred Horse Racing Triple Crown.

These bigger-than-life attractions are joined by irresistible hidden gems, too. Tucked quietly into Louisville’s landscape are Kentucky’s only urban winery, the funky Old 502, and the American Printing House for the Blind. Love Victoriana? You’ll want to stroll America’s largest Victorian neighborhood in architecturally beautiful Historic Old Louisville.

And if shopping or shoes are your thing, don’t miss the Zappo’s Outlet in Shepherdsville, offering deep discounts of up to 75% off daily!

History & Entertainment

Sitting in small-town splendor and ready to be enjoyed are the preeminent Civil War Museum of the Western Theater in Bardstown; Sisters Tea Parlor & Boutique, a pink retreat in Buckner; Yew Dell Botanical Gardens in Crestwood; and the Hermitage Horse Farm in Goshen.

In such a diverse region, you would expect equally varied dining experiences – and you won’t be disappointed. You’ll find everything from five-star restaurants to singularly unique eateries here, including Louisville’s mainstays Jack Fry’s, Lilly’s Bistro and Pat’s Steak House, among others.

Then there’s Shelbyville’s homey charmer, the Claudia Sanders Dinner House (yes, she’s Mrs. Colonel Sanders); the atmospheric Old Talbott Tavern in Bardstown – the oldest western stagecoach stop in America; and Glendale’s Whistle Stop with its made-from-scratch goodness.

Kentucky Wine & More

Wine with your dinner? Take your pick of sips from the proliferation of wineries that have taken root in the region. With Kentucky holding the distinction of having the country’s first commercial vineyard, it’s not surprising there are 14 wineries in this region alone, including the award-winning Smith Berry Vineyard & Winery, where you can enjoy a picnic under the pergola, catch a concert and shop for books and made-in-Kentucky souvenirs.

Name your pleasure: Bourbon. Horses. History. You’ll find it all here in the Bourbon, Horses and History Region – everything from Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace to the signature evergreen Serpentine Garden at Yew Dell, wineries and distilleries, farms and horse tours, bourbon and more.

For more information on places to go and things to do, visit


If You Go

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site and Boyhood Home, 270-358-3137, website

Abraham Lincoln Museum, 270-358-3163, website

American Printing House for the Blind, 800-223-1839, website

American Saddlebred Horse Farm Tours, 502-633-6388, website 

Belle of Louisville, 502-574-2992, website

Churchill Downs, 502-636-4400, website

Civil War Museum of the Western Theater, 502-349-0291, website

Claudia Sanders Dinner House, 502-633-5600, website

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, 502-584-2114, website

Frazier History Museum, 502-753-5663, website

General George Patton Museum, 502-624-3812, website

Heaven Hill Distilleries, 502-348-3921, website

Hermitage Horse Farm, 502-228-1426, website

Historic Old Louisville, 502-637-2922, website

Jack Fry’s Restaurant, 502-452-9244, website

Jim Beam American Stillhouse, 502-543-9877, website

Kentucky Artisan Distillery, 502-241-3070, website

Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, 502-875-9351, website

Kentucky Derby, 502-636-4400, website

Kentucky Derby Museum, 502-637-7097, website

Kentucky Kingdom, 502-813-8200, website

Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail, website

Kentucky Science Center, 502-561-6100, website

KentuckyShow! 502-562-7800, website

Lilly’s Bistro, 502-451-0447, website

Lincoln Legacy Museum, 859-335-5410, website

Louisville Mega Cavern, 502-855-6342, website

Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, 877-775-8443, website

Maker’s Mark Distillery, 270-865-2881, website

Muhammad Ali Center, 502-584-9254, website

Pat’s Steak House, 502-893-2062, website

Phil Simms Museum, 859-335-5412, website

Old 502 Winery, 502-540-5650, website

Old Talbott Tavern, 502-348-3494, website

Oldham Farm Tours, 800-813-9953, website

Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area, 502-942-5052 (trails), website

Rough River State Resort Park, 270-257-2311, website

Sisters Tea Parlor & Boutique, 502-222-6420, website

Smith Berry Vineyard & Winery, 888-845-7091, website

Taylorsville Lake, 502-477-8713, website

Taylorsville Lake State Park, 502-477-8713, website

Whistle Stop, 270-369-8586, website

Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, 502-241-4788, website

Zappo’s Outlet, 502-921-3939, website