Bardstown, Kentucky, is a small town in the South that should not be missed. It is home to several bourbon distilleries and is known as being the "Bourbon Capital of the World." In fact, it is Kentucky's second oldest city, having been first settled by European Americans in 1780.
The downtown square of Bardstown, which is in the city center, offers horse-drawn carriage rides and a large park with a variety of hiking trails and cycle paths. There are strategically placed parking lots and hiking trails with toilets and water fountains, which are well maintained. On quieter days, you can see a greater variety of wildlife along the trails, but there are also many wild flowers, birds, squirrels, and other wildlife along the way.
Another hidden bourbon gem is the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History, showcasing bourbon artifacts, photos, archives, and bottles. Other things to check out in Bardstown are the My Old Kentucky Home State Park, the Old Talbott Tavern, which was built in 1779, and the Basilica of Saint Joseph Proto-Cathedral in downtown.
The Bluegrass Parkway can be picked up in Bardstown and runs from Elizabethtown to Woodford County near Lexington.
A popular destination for tourists and families is My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, where you can eat and drink while hearing about the history of Kentucky. Sit at one of the tables while you wait for the conductor to call your train number or have a drink at the bar. On this train, you can even partake in a bourbon experience, which includes a tasting by trained bourbon experts and everything you can expect from an original dinner and train experience, including a four-course menu.
Many people pass through Bardstown while on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Bardstown is home to distilleries like Heaven Hill, Barton 1792, Willett, Bardstown Bourbon Co., Lux Row, and many more. These distilleries offer tours to people of all ages, although you have to be 21 to partake in a tasting afterward.
The site that is now My Old Kentucky Home State Park is where Stephen Foster famously wrote the song "My Old Kentucky Home." The museum and park attract thousands of visitors a year.
Daniel Boone once rented a room at the Old Talbott Tavern, and George Rogers Clark used the inn as a base during the Revolutionary War. Even Louis-Philippe of France, who lived in exile, stayed in this inn during his stay in the United States during World War II.