Bardstown, Kentucky is a charming town with plenty to do. Whether you’re into hiking, bourbon tasting or museum hopping – this small city has it all.
Take a leisurely walk around Bardstown’s historic district, Old Court Square. You’ll come across plenty of well-preserved buildings to discover, cute boutiques, and delicious places to eat or drink.
1. Visit Heaven Hill Distillery
Heaven Hill Distillery is a family-run distillery located in Bardstown, Kentucky. It produces an extensive range of bourbons and other spirits.
The distillery boasts a large visitor center that offers tours of their facility as well as tastings. Recently, they’ve made several improvements to the experience such as opening a gift shop and renovating their tasting room, now known as Fitzgerald Tasting Room.
On your tour of the Kentucky Bourbon Company, you will have the unique opportunity to view the stills that craft their world-renowned bourbon and learn about its fascinating history.
At the conclusion of your tour, you will have a chance to sample some bourbons from Heaven Hill. Choose from Elijah Craig Bourbon and Larceny Bourbon as well as Rittenhouse Straight Rye Whiskey for an unforgettable tasting experience.
Established in 1935 by the Shapira brothers, this family-run distillery has enjoyed a long and successful legacy. Their whiskey has become one of the most beloved brands both within and outside the US.
Heaven Hill Bourbon is their flagship brand, but they also produce other brands such as Elijah Craig and Evan Williams. Additionally, they make Deep Eddy Vodka and Burnett’s Gin and Vodka.
They have a large production plant in Louisville, where they utilize two 70-foot column stills. However, they also have an artisanal distillery at their Bardstown facility which is open to visitors.
Since 1935, Bardstown Distillery has been the headquarters of this global whiskey giant with over 1.9 million barrels aging in warehouses throughout Nelson and Jefferson Counties. With an enviable reputation for producing premium American whiskies, Bardstown distillery boasts some of the world’s best-known spirits brands such as Elijah Craig and Evan Williams.
The distillery is the largest independent family-owned distill spirits supplier in the world, headquartered in Bardstown, Kentucky. They produce over 95 brands and labels of North American whiskeys – including bourbon – from their headquarters there.
2. Take a Tour of the Kentucky Railway Museum
The Kentucky Railway Museum is an ideal destination for families to come and experience the history of trains. It offers a 90 minute train ride that travels 22 miles along scenic Rolling Fork River Valley, providing fascinating insights into this region of Kentucky’s development. Plus, visitors can learn about its vibrant railroad past!
The museum showcases many vintage locomotives and rolling stock still in operation, as well as a replica L&N depot you can tour.
Established in 1954 by railroad enthusiasts, this museum is dedicated to preserving Kentucky’s railway heritage. It houses an impressive collection of steam and diesel locomotives as well as railroad artifacts.
It is a non-profit organization and holds a 501(c)3 tax exempt status. Furthermore, they offer numerous educational programs and activities for families to enjoy.
In addition to locomotives and cars, the museum features an array of interesting exhibits to help you gain a deeper insight into railroading’s history. Plus, their gift shop will make sure your trip to Bardstown is one to remember!
The museum also hosts various events throughout the year, such as murder mysteries, train robberies and visits from Thomas the Tank Engine. Plus they have excursions that you can go on during holidays!
One unique aspect of the museum is that they make money by storing freight cars on unused sections of track they own. This has allowed them to expand and prosper since 1954.
The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 am – 4 pm, and Saturday from 11 am to 4:30 pm. Hours may change according to the season.
3. Go on a Cobblestone Path Walking Tour
The Cobblestone Path Walking Tour is one of the best ways to discover Bardstown’s history. With its charming atmosphere and must-visit attractions, this charming town should not be missed! On this tour you’ll get to discover many different historical landmarks as well as some of Bardstown’s top restaurants and sights.
On this guided tour of Bardstown’s history, you’ll hear stories of historic events and landmarks and gain an understanding of Bardstown’s rich heritage. Beautiful photos and detailed descriptions accompany each story. You can access the tour on mobile website and walk along the paths as indicated, or book a guided tour with a local historian for an even more personal touch.
Another way to explore the history of Bardstown is by visiting Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History. This place provides invaluable insight into American bourbon’s evolution, from colonial times up until today.
If you appreciate art, Bardstown Art Gallery is worth visiting. It boasts high-quality artifacts and crafts as well as stunning paintings. Plus, there’s a library where visitors can learn about American history and bourbon.
Visit the Old Talbott Tavern, a beloved Kentucky tavern that’s been serving travelers since the late 1700s. Enjoy delicious drinks and dishes while taking in stunning views of Bardstown’s landmarks.
Bardstown Community Park is an ideal spot to have some fun with your family. This acre-wide park has everything you need for a perfect picnic with loved ones, such as a playground, basketball court, horseshoe pits and more.
4. Visit My Old Kentucky Home State Park
My Old Kentucky Home State Park, one of Bardstown’s top attractions, offers visitors an authentic glimpse into Kentucky’s past. Its crowning glory is Federal Hill mansion – a historic plantation house that inspired Stephen Foster’s iconic ballad.
In addition to its 18-hole golf course and outdoor theater, the park also offers tennis courts and more. During the summer months, visitors can enjoy performances of “The Stephen Foster Story” in the amphitheater. In wintertime, a Christmas candlelight tour is conducted to showcase all of the holiday decorations.
For those interested in the history of the park, costumed guides offer tours that allow visitors to step back in time and get a glimpse of life for early settlers. Birdwatchers can go on an exploration for Red-tailed hawks and goldfinches or any number of other feathered residents that call this park home.
Another must-do while visiting this historic park is taking a tour of the mansion. This one of America’s most complete and intact plantation homes, filled with antiques and fine art, should not be missed during your stay.
Take a tour of the mansion’s formal gardens to take in all its stunning beauty. History buffs will love this opportunity to delve into local culture and learn about the Rowan family that once resided here.
If you’re planning a stay at My Old Kentucky Home State Park, make sure to book in advance. Hotwire offers discounts and deals on hotels, car rentals and flights so that you can save money while having an unforgettable vacation at this historic destination.
5. Visit the Bardstown Museum Row
Bardstown Museum Row is a hub of historic attractions and cultural activities situated in the center of Bardstown, Kentucky. This area has something for everyone; perfect for visiting with family or friends!
Once in Bardstown, be sure to explore its historic sites by taking a walking tour around the city.
Use the detailed maps provided on the tour to follow a route that takes you to all the major historical attractions in town. This will give you an excellent overview of what to see and help decide where to next!
Bardstown Museum Row is not the only cultural landmark in town; other notable sights include Basilica of Saint Joseph Proto-Cathedral – which is the oldest church west of the Allegheny Mountains; Bishop Flaget Log House and St. Thomas Church; as well as Spalding Hall, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Another must-visit when in Bardstown is the Hal Moore Military Museum. Here you can honor Kentuckians who have served in wars and conflicts throughout history, from the Revolutionary War to today’s Mideast battles.
One of the unique aspects of this museum is its extensive collection of donated items from Kentucky families, which bring to life the experiences of those who fought in these conflicts.
Bardstown Museum Row is packed with history, making it no wonder why so many people flock here each year. Whether you’re searching for an exhilarating adventure or a tranquil escape, Bardstown offers the ideal experience.