Courtesy of BPT, additional content added
Known as the cultural cross point between the South and Midwest, the Bluegrass State attracts novel tourists worldwide. With its rich history, breathtaking scenery, and delectable bourbon, Kentucky is one of the most underrated travel destinations in the United States. If you’re a bourbon lover, you can’t miss all that the Bourbon Trail has to offer. Have a family or travel partner that’s not as into bourbon as you? Kentucky lets you have the best of both worlds.
Whether you’re sipping the good stuff or taking in all of the sights, sounds, and smells Kentucky has to offer, here are a few fun adventures you can’t miss:
Whiskey, Wildlife, and Wonders
Starting out from Knoxville on your way to the Bourbon Trail, there are many quaint towns with historical significance and scenic beauty to spare!
If you haven’t done so already, make a pit stop at the impressive Norris Dam. A sight to see either from the parking lot overlook or hike one of the many trails in the area. From there, travel on to Cumberland Falls State Park located within the Daniel Boone National Forest near Corbin, KY. Experience the “Niagara of the South” waterfall, tour Pinnacle Knob 1937 Fire Tower, or hike Eagle Falls Trail. Corbin is also the birthplace of Colonel Harland Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, with a restored original Sanders Cafe & Museum. As you continue on your journey, you’ll drive alongside and through the beautiful National Forest for the first leg of the journey.
If you enjoy birdwatching or fishing, Cedar Creek Lake in Crab Orchard, KY, will pique your interest. This 780 acre lake was ranked #30 by Field and Stream magazine for bass fishing. Cedar Creek has also been stocked with crappie, redder sunfish, and bluegill, in addition to large mouth bass. Continue traveling up to the town of Sanford that touts “the oldest Main Street in Kentucky,” you’ll find flea markets, antique shops, and a large Amish community with handcrafted wares.
Countless people tune in from home and gather in the stands of Churchill Downs to watch the action unfold. However, you don’t need to attend the Kentucky Derby to witness the state’s equestrian elegance and beauty. You can find plenty at the Meadow Lake Equestrian Center in Bryantsville, the Whispering Woods Trails in Georgetown, or the Deer Run stable in Richmond. So whether you relish simply watching horses or actually riding them yourself, you are set! More of a history buff? Nearby Springfield, KY, has the Lincoln Homestead State Park, Lincoln Legacy Museum, and St. Rose Priory Church – established in 1806 and built in the Tudor-Gothic style, it is the oldest Dominican church in the country.
Indulge in fine American drinks and cuisine at Bardstown Bourbon Company
The Bourbon Trail spans multiple parts of Kentucky and is perfect for foodies and craft liquor lovers with a sense of adventure. Each destination in Kentucky tells its own unique story, and none have more twists and turns like the constant evolution of the Bourbon Trail. Visit KYBourbonTrail.com for more information.
If you’re over the age of 21, visiting the distilleries on the Bourbon Trail is a must. Distilleries and locals will tell you the trail is going through a “Napafication,” which is all about elevating the bourbon drinking and dining experience.
And some, like Bardstown Bourbon Company, are building a new foundation in the second oldest city in the commonwealth of Kentucky. One of the most technically advanced distilleries, it collaborates with some of the world’s top alcohol and spirit makers. It also is the first distillery on the Bourbon Trail to deliver a full-service kitchen and bar experience. Informed by Kentucky culinary classics and the world’s finest flavors, Bardstown Bourbon includes a little something for everyone. With their vintage whiskey library and unique educational experience, Bardstown Bourbon Company is a full-service experience!
Did you know that Bardstown Bourbon Company:
• Is the nation’s 7th largest distillery
• Celebrates the art of making high-quality and authentic whiskey
• Produces custom rye, whiskey, and bourbon for prominent brands like Bird Dog, High West, Belle Meade, Kentucky Owl, and many others through its one-of-a-kind collaborative distilling program
“There’s no greater example of a distillery that brings the very best to the bourbon loving world,” said Dan Callaway, Director of Hospitality at Bardstown Bourbon Company. “When you come to our distillery, we’re transparent about everything that goes into our bourbon by putting the ingredients and the creation process for tourists and the community at large to see.”
All the beauty above and below ground
After (or while!) you are experiencing some of the stops along the Bourbon Trail, take a short trip to the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. With more than 40 miles of trails available, Bernheim allows you to enjoy scenery as you loop through knobs, ridges, and valleys – including “Forest Giants” sculptures straight out of Middle Earth!
As you head back home towards Knoxville, visit Cave City, which sports nine caves including Mammoth Cave National Park. As the second oldest tourist attraction in the United States, Mammoth Cave is the longest cave system in the world with more than 4,000 miles of passages.
And don’t forget to include a stop at The National Corvette Museum just outside of Bowling Green, KY, that opened in 1994 as an educational tribute to America’s sports car. Did you know that since 1981, every Corvette in the world has been assembled at the Bowling Green plant? A must-see for any sports car enthusiast!
Head to Bardstown, KY, and see the sights along the way
As you plan your next getaway, consider moving Kentucky to the top of the list. The open road is calling your name, so why not take the one less traveled? Head on up to the Bourbon Trail (with a few stops along the way) and make sure you check out Bardstown Bourbon Company for a unique, modern, and transparent bourbon experience like no other.
Be sure to check business websites for specific locations, hours of operation, and possible restrictions.