“Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place.” – Daniel Boone
You’re Going To Want To Hear This
Bardstown, KY – Truth be told, there are a lot of things people tend to associate with Kentucky, but it’s probably safe to say that bourbon is the number 1 product to come out of this part of the country. Kentuckians are so hardcore about this liquor that they’ve even given it its own celebration, dubbed the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. However, it should be said that there are countless other cool and interesting things and attractions throughout this beautiful state that manage to catch the attention of travelers, and a particular one happens to be the reason behind today’s article. Bardstown, KY, is what we’ll tell you about on this occasion, so grab a chair and listen up.
Situated in Kentucky’s Nelson County, Bardstown is actually a home rule-class city – this is because Kentucky cities have been divided into two classes based on their form of government since January 1, 2015. Originally chartered as Baird’s Town, it has a population of just over 13,000 and it is the county seat of Nelson County. Bardstown represents the second oldest city in Kentucky and was first settled by European Americans in 1780. It was formally established in 1788 and finally incorporated by the state assembly in 1838.
All About That Bourbon, ‘Bout That Bourbon
Many say that Bardstown is a town strong in Southern spirit that welcomes visitors to the “Most Beautiful Small Town in America,” according to Rand McNally/USA Today. However, a religious spirit also noticeably permeates the town, which is appropriate, considering that it’s the home of the first diocese of the West. Needless to say, the historical and cultural heritage, along with locally-owned restaurants and eclectic shops, blends with that spirit quite nicely.
It’s no secret that Bardstown is commonly referred to as the “Bourbon Capital of the World,” mostly because it sits at the trailhead of the famed Kentucky Bourbon Trail, as well as because it’s located in the heart of Kentucky Bourbon Country. That being said, it comes as no surprise that an area such as Bardstown is home to no less than five distilleries: the Willet Distillery, Barton 1792, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, and Heaven Hill.
No Shortage Of Sights To See
When it comes to some of the major attractions in town, you’re looking at a wide variety of different options, the most prominent one being the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History, which also happens to be Whisky Magazine’s 2014 Visitor Attraction of the Year. However, you’ll also be able to enjoy The Kentucky Railway Museum, My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, the highly-regarded Civil War Museum of the Western Theatre, My Old Kentucky Home State Park, “The Stephen Foster Story” outdoor musical and many more.
Bardstown was even designated a certified Kentucky Cultural District in 2013, which made it one of only six Kentucky cities to achieve such an honor. Numerous religious attractions, which are part of the Kentucky Holy Land Tour, also have a home in Bardstown, in addition to two haunted tours, three wineries and four 18-hole golf courses.
Bardstown, KY – A Small Town With A Great Soul
The Historic District can be found in the downtown area, and is the site of the St. Joseph’s Basilica, which happens to be the first Catholic church west of the Allegany mountains, and at the same time, one of the first four archdiocese in the country. This district is also the site of the Old Kentucky Home, as well as the aforementioned Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History and the Old Talbott Tavern. Frequently visited by Stephen Foster, the celebrated American composer, My Old Kentucky Home is said to have been his inspiration for the Kentucky State Song. On summer nights, visitors are free to enjoy the aforementioned longest-running outdoor drama and official outdoor musical that celebrates the life of Mr. Foster, while the mansion itself and its gardens at Federal Hill can be explored during the day.
There’s no doubt about it – Bardstown has it all: railroad heritage, Civil War history, outdoor theatre and Bourbon distilleries; and the best part about it? It’s all nestled in a picturesque setting that’s vintage to its foundation. Truly a haven for the historian and the traveler, Bardstown is one of those small towns that going to give birth to a whole lot of regrets if you miss out on everything it has to offer.