Archive for November 6th, 2013

One of the coolest buildings I visited on the grounds of the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, KY was the firehouse – complete with a vintage fire engine and these really cool helmets…

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BARDSYesterday I completed the centerpiece of my road trip, with a day spent touring around central Kentucky’s bourbon country – on the storied Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

First, I loved driving the back roads through the rolling countryside which I found to be quite stunning. Second, I have to say that I never saw so much road kill in my life, but that is best left for another time. And lastly, what a thrill it was to visit the area that gave birth to the best spirit known to man… good Kentucky Whiskey… Bourbon.

I started the day in Louisville, but quickly hit the road to Bardstown, a charming little town that is known to be the center of bourbon country. After a quick tour of the town, a visit to the Civil War Museum and My Old Kentucky Home State Park – I couldn’t wait to get to the bourbon.

hhFirst stop, the Bourbon Heritage Center, run by Heaven Hills Distillery, makers of several bourbon brands, including Elijah Craig and Evan Williams.

About Heaven Hill Distilleries: “Heaven Hill Distilleries welcomes you to its international award winning Bourbon Heritage Center, in Bardstown Kentucky, The Bourbon Capital of the World. Open daily with a continuous varied menu of tours. Our experienced Bourbon Hosts will guide you through the history, heritage and lore of Bourbon making and educational Bourbon tasting at our multi-generational family owned and operated distillery.”

The Bourbon Heritage Center provided the perfect primer for an afternoon in bourbon country.

RT.11.13.bNext, I hit the road to the mecca of bourbon distilleries, the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, KY.

I loved touring around the grounds of Maker’s Mark and learning about how it is produced – right down to the dipping of the bottles in the iconic red wax.

The Maker’s Mark grounds are lovely and features several walking paths including one that crosses Whisky Creek with a mini covered bridge (right).

Next it was back on the road for a trip up to Lawrenceburg, KY to the Wild Turkey Distillery, which was just amazing just for its pure scale.

But the highlight of the day for me was the countryside. I traveled on mostly the back roads that wind through the rolling hills and farmland of central Kentucky and I was stunned but the pure beauty of the place. This may have been my first visit to Bourbon Country, but I can assure you it won’t be my last.

NGDLYesterday, my Road Trip hit the peak – a trip along Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail – and it was great. (More about that to come.)

While doing research for this trip, I came across a National Geographic post that discussed a similar trip as one of the world’s greatest driving tours, as featured in their book National Geographic’s Drives of a Lifetime. National Geographic’s Kentucky Bourbon Trail road trip inspired me and has me wanting to take 499 more road trips in the very near future.

About National Geographic’s Drives of a Lifetime: “Both a practical guide and an inspiring travel gift book, Drives of a Lifetime highlights 500 of the world’s best car trips. The eclectic list takes readers across stunning natural landscapes of mountain, coastline, glen, and dale; into charming towns and out-of-the-way hamlets; to palatial estates, lovely gardens, and intriguing historic sites; and through bustling, thriving cities all over the world map. From America’s scenic byways to the side lanes of Tuscany and the rugged dirt roads of Australia’s outback—and hundreds of inviting routes in between—Drives of a Lifetime shows off the highlights of each area and tells readers exactly how to make the drive themselves. Since roads trips are a beloved cultural touchstone for Americans of every generation, Drives of a Lifetime will capture a huge and diverse audience.”

But I have to say the Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail road trip I am currently on has been great, and I couldn’t have summed it up any better than National Geographic does in this book.

About Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail from Drives of a Lifetime: “Central Kentucky is bourbon country. Its rolling meadows, limestone-filtered streams, and cool hardwood forests have long provided ideal conditions for producing the honey-colored drink as crucial to Kentucky legend as Daniel Boone himself. The bluegrass byways winding through bourbon country make for a great road trip. These lanes, including 31E, 52, 127, 60, among others, connect Louisville, Bardstown, and Frankfort in a large triangle, taking in numerous distilleries offering free tours and tastings and revealing pockets of rich southern history. A drive along the Bourbon Trail provides glimpses of white-water rapids and grazing Thoroughbreds—both great for riding—and even whiffs of mint growing wild along the roadsides, lending the landscape the aroma of a perfect julep.”

Watch for my posts from my trip of a lifetime to Kentucky Bourbon Country.

National Geographic’s Drives of a Lifetime is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.