City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Visiting the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Summer Calls For Road Trips

Summer is the perfect time for a road trip. The warm breeze and sunshine practically beg you to hit the open road.  But where to? Luckily, many great destinations are fairly close to Nashville. One of my favorite places for a road trip is Bardstown, Kentucky. Kentucky is more than just bluegrass and horses, although there is no shortage of either. It has beautiful scenery, trails, caves, a national park- and my favorite- bourbon. 

Traveling the bourbon trail in search of the legendary brown water is just two-and-a-half hours from Nashville.  When you pull into Bardstown off the Bluegrass Parkway, the sweet, yeasty smell of the distilleries is in the air, and there is no mistaking what makes this town famous.  Each distillery has a history, a culture, and a story.  But where to start? Here are a few of my favorites, but like a hand-picked single barrel, savor the experience and try not to water it down by doing too much.

Heaven Hill Distillery makes Elijah Craig, Parkers Heritage, Old Fitzgerald, Larceny, and many other big-name bourbons. They have a state-of-the-art visitors center with a variety of tasting experiences.  My favorite is the You Do Bourbon Tour. First up is a bourbon class and tasting to educate your palate.  Then, you can go into the lab to bottle your own from start to finish.  You can even draw cartoons on the labels!  As you exit out the gift shop (of course) pick up some bourbon pear preserves, bourbon cherries, or bourbon ice cream.

While bourbon is the obvious draw at the Willet Distillery, reservations at their restaurant, The Bar at Willet, are a must. The restaurant itself is fantastic, and the egg salad is worth the rave reviews—a true cult classic. Fun fact: There are a few distillery cats that act as the welcoming committee and escorts. Wander the grounds and meet a few (mostly napping) throughout.

Technically in Frankfurt and not Bardstown, Buffalo Trace Distillery is my favorite of all.  Besides being one of the only dog-friendly distilleries, they have beautiful grounds, friendly employees, and free tastings!  Every morning, they announce which of the four possible allocated bottles are available for purchase in the gift shop (Blanton’s, Weller, Eagle Rare, and E.H. Taylor Small Batch).  Tours are best booked in advance, but if you just walk up, make sure to ask, as usually they can fit you in! If you aren’t lucky enough to score a tour, you can still do a free guided tasting upstairs.  I highly recommend this!  Their grounds are gorgeous, and the gift shop is a serious challenge to my budget.  Watch their website for one of their special events.  It’s worth the price tag, trust me.

This cute town has dozens of great distilleries, local restaurants, and antique shops. If you really want to get into the spirit (see what I did there?)  you can even stay in an actual bourbon barrel hotel with Bourbon Barrel Retreats.  

Each distillery has a history, a culture, and a story… Here are a few of my favorites, but like a hand-picked single barrel, savor the experience and try not to water it down..