If you want bourbon, Kentucky is the place to go. And if you want to try it all, Bardstown, from Sept. 11-17, is the place to get it.
If you want bourbon, Kentucky is the place to go. And if you want to try it all, Bardstown, from Sept. 11-17, is the place to get it during the 2017 Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Dubbed the Bourbon Capital of the World—69 percent of the world’s bourbon is made in the nearby area—Bardstown got its start in bourbon in 1776, and since 1992 the festival has been making the barrel-aged distilled spirit a front-runner in the festival circuit.
The Kentucky Bourbon Festival pulls in more than 50,000 people during the six-day event and offers a slew of events to bring anyone up to the level of bourbon expert. There’s tastings, a spirit garden, bourbon talks, tasting gala, barrel-making demonstrations and mixology, and that’s just for the imbibing. There’s also live music, golfing, arts and crafts, a barrel relay, decor displays, a car show, bonfires, hot air balloons and kid-friendly entertainment.
For bourbon-lovers, a stay at Bourbon Manor is essential when in Bardstown. The award-winning historic B&B holds 10 guest rooms, a day spa and the Bunghole Bourbon Bar & Lounge. The property consists of two prewar plantation homes—one a Federalist style, the other a Greek revival antebellum mansion—and is bourbon-themed in its breakfast and spa offerings.
The Civil War Museum and the Women’s Museum of the Civil War are over 8,000 square feet of space dedicated to the western theater of the Civil War and are considered “the largest and most complete museums” of their kind. The museum curators dedicate equal space to both sides of the war and showcase displays of flags and weapons used in battle. The women’s museum focuses on the writers, spies, nurses and combat soldiers of the war.
“My Old Kentucky Home” of the famed Stephen Collins Foster song “My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night!” that was inspired by Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin is actually Kentucky’s most famous historic site and is found in Bardstown. Originally named Federal Hill, the home was built by the Rowan family, which had traces to founders of Cincinnati and a legacy in Kentucky law and politics. The site is now a state park with an amphitheater.