Top-Rated Things to Do in Bardstown, KY

Kentucky

By Daniela Howard

Bardstown, Kentucky is a charming small town with a rich history and plenty of things to see and do. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a food enthusiast, Bardstown has something for everyone. From historic sites to scenic trails, here are some of the top-rated things to do in Bardstown.

One of the must-see attractions in Bardstown is the My Old Kentucky Home State Park. This historic site was the inspiration for Stephen Foster’s famous song, “My Old Kentucky Home.” Take a tour of the beautiful Federal Hill mansion, and explore the lush gardens and grounds. The park also hosts outdoor concerts and events throughout the year.

If you’re interested in the history of bourbon, you won’t want to miss a visit to the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center. This distillery and educational museum offers guided tours where you can learn about the bourbon-making process and sample some of their award-winning spirits. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop to pick up a bottle to take home.

For those who enjoy outdoor activities, the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest is a must-visit destination. With over 16,000 acres of beautiful forests, meadows, and streams, this nature preserve offers endless opportunities for hiking, bird-watching, and wildlife spotting. Be sure to check out the stunning Canopy Tree Walk, a 75-foot-tall walkway through the treetops.

No visit to Bardstown would be complete without indulging in some of the local cuisine. The town is known for its delicious southern comfort food and traditional Kentucky dishes. From mouth-watering fried chicken to savory country ham, there’s something to satisfy every craving. Don’t forget to try a slice of the famous bourbon-infused pecan pie!

Whether you’re interested in history, bourbon, nature, or food, Bardstown, KY has it all. Plan your trip today to experience the top-rated things to do in this charming small town.

Explore the Historic Downtown

Take a stroll through the charming streets of Bardstown’s historic downtown area and discover its rich history. This area is known for its well-preserved 19th-century architecture and quaint atmosphere.

Start your exploration by visiting the Bardstown Historical Museum, where you can learn about the town’s past through exhibits and artifacts. The museum showcases the history of Bardstown, including its role as the site of the first diocese of the Catholic Church in the United States.

Afterward, make your way to the Old Talbott Tavern, one of the oldest continuously operating taverns in the country. This historic landmark has hosted many famous figures throughout history, including Daniel Boone and Abraham Lincoln. Enjoy a delicious meal or grab a drink at the tavern, and soak in the ambiance of this historic establishment.

Continue your journey by exploring the unique shops and boutiques that line the streets of downtown Bardstown. From antique stores to specialty shops, you’ll find a variety of treasures to take home as souvenirs.

Make sure to also drop by the Old Bardstown Village, a recreated early 19th-century village featuring log cabins, a schoolhouse, and a working blacksmith shop. Explore the buildings and experience what life was like for early settlers in the area.

While strolling through downtown, don’t miss visiting the beautiful St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral. This stunning church is the oldest Catholic Church in Kentucky and is an architectural masterpiece. Take a moment to admire its intricate stained glass windows and grand interior.

End your day of exploration with a leisurely walk along the scenic My Old Kentucky Home State Park. This park is home to Federal Hill, the mansion that inspired Stephen Foster’s famous song, “My Old Kentucky Home.” Explore the grounds and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

Exploring the historic downtown of Bardstown is a must-do for any visitor to the area. Immerse yourself in the town’s rich history, enjoy its unique charm, and experience the nostalgia of a bygone era.

Visit the My Old Kentucky Home State Park

If you’re looking for a glimpse into the history and culture of Kentucky, a visit to My Old Kentucky Home State Park is a must. Situated in Bardstown, KY, this park offers a range of activities and attractions that are bound to captivate visitors of all ages.

The highlight of My Old Kentucky Home State Park is the Federal Hill mansion, also known as My Old Kentucky Home. This historic landmark was the inspiration for Stephen Foster’s famous song, “My Old Kentucky Home”. Visitors can take a guided tour of the mansion, where they will learn about the fascinating history of the house and its former occupants.

In addition to the mansion, the park also features beautifully landscaped grounds that are perfect for a leisurely stroll. Take in the stunning views of the surrounding countryside and imagine what life was like in 19th-century Kentucky.

For nature lovers, My Old Kentucky Home State Park offers a variety of outdoor activities. Take a hike along one of the park’s scenic trails, or pack a picnic and enjoy lunch in one of its many picnic areas. During the summer months, the park also hosts outdoor concerts and events, providing entertainment for the whole family.

Before you leave, be sure to stop by the gift shop, where you can find unique souvenirs and crafts made by local artisans. Whether you’re looking for a keepsake to remember your visit or a gift for someone back home, you’re sure to find something special.

Overall, a trip to My Old Kentucky Home State Park is a wonderful way to experience the rich history and natural beauty of Bardstown, KY. Don’t miss out on this top-rated attraction!

Discover the Bardstown Bourbon Trail

For bourbon enthusiasts, a visit to Bardstown, KY is not complete without exploring the famous Bardstown Bourbon Trail. This trail showcases the rich history and tradition of bourbon making in the area, offering visitors a chance to learn about the bourbon-making process and sample some of the finest bourbons in the region.

The Bardstown Bourbon Trail consists of several renowned distilleries, each with its own unique offerings and stories to tell. Visitors can embark on a self-guided tour, visiting distilleries at their own pace and immersing themselves in the world of bourbon.

Some of the distilleries on the Bardstown Bourbon Trail include:

Heaven Hill Distillery One of the largest independent family-owned distilleries in the United States, Heaven Hill Distillery offers daily tours and tastings. Visitors can witness the bourbon-making process and explore the on-site bourbon heritage center.
Willett Distillery Known for its small-batch bourbons and rich family history, Willett Distillery is a must-visit for bourbon connoisseurs. The distillery offers guided tours where visitors can learn about their unique distilling practices.
Barton 1792 Distillery With over 200 years of bourbon-making tradition, Barton 1792 Distillery is a historic gem on the Bourbon Trail. Visitors can take guided tours to see the distillery in action and sample a variety of their award-winning bourbons.
Bulleit Distilling Co. Famous for its high-rye bourbon, Bulleit Distilling Co. offers an immersive tour experience. Visitors can explore the distillery’s state-of-the-art facilities and enjoy tastings of their signature bourbons.

Whether you are a bourbon enthusiast or simply curious about this iconic American spirit, the Bardstown Bourbon Trail offers an unforgettable experience. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the captivating history and flavors of bourbon in Bardstown, KY.

Tour the Bardstown Bourbon Company

One of the top-rated things to do in Bardstown, KY is to take a tour of the Bardstown Bourbon Company. This company is known for its high-quality bourbon and its commitment to craftsmanship.

During the tour, visitors will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes and explore the entire bourbon-making process. They will learn about the history of bourbon in Bardstown and gain a deeper understanding of the art and science behind distilling.

The tour will take guests through the distillery’s state-of-the-art facilities, where they will see the mash bill selection process, fermentation tanks, and copper pot stills. They will also have the chance to witness the aging process in the bourbon maturation warehouses.

At the end of the tour, visitors will have the opportunity to sample some of Bardstown Bourbon Company’s award-winning products. They will be able to taste a variety of bourbons and learn about the different flavor profiles and characteristics that make each one unique.

Whether you are a bourbon enthusiast or simply curious about the bourbon-making process, the tour at Bardstown Bourbon Company is a must-visit attraction in Bardstown, KY. Make sure to book your tour in advance to secure your spot and ensure a memorable experience.

Explore the Heaven Hill Distillery

One of the top-rated things to do in Bardstown, KY is to explore the Heaven Hill Distillery. This distillery, founded in 1935, is known for producing some of the finest Kentucky bourbon in the world.

During your visit to Heaven Hill Distillery, you can take a tour of the facility and learn about the bourbon-making process from start to finish. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the distilling room, where the magic happens, and see the massive copper stills that are used to create their signature spirits.

As part of the tour, you’ll also have the opportunity to sample a variety of their award-winning bourbons. From small batch to single barrel, you can taste the different flavor profiles and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle.

In addition to the tour and tasting experience, Heaven Hill Distillery also has a gift shop where you can purchase your favorite bottles of bourbon and other merchandise. Whether you’re a bourbon enthusiast or just looking for a unique souvenir, this is the perfect place to find something special.

So, if you’re visiting Bardstown, KY, don’t miss the chance to explore the Heaven Hill Distillery. It’s an immersive experience that offers a taste of Kentucky’s rich bourbon heritage.

Visit the Civil War Museum of the Western Theater

If you are a history enthusiast, a visit to the Civil War Museum of the Western Theater is a must when in Bardstown, KY. This top-rated museum offers a unique opportunity to learn about the history of the Civil War in the Western Theater.

Located in the heart of Bardstown, the Civil War Museum of the Western Theater showcases a vast collection of artifacts, documents, and exhibits that provide valuable insight into the significant events and people of the Civil War era. From uniforms and weapons used during the war to personal letters and diaries of soldiers, the museum offers a comprehensive view of this tumultuous period in American history.

During your visit, you can explore various exhibits that detail specific battles, strategies, and campaigns of the Western Theater. The museum also highlights the role of Kentucky in the Civil War, as it served as a border state that was divided in its support for the Union and the Confederacy.

In addition to the exhibits, the Civil War Museum of the Western Theater offers educational programs and guided tours for a more immersive experience. Knowledgeable staff members are available to answer any questions and provide in-depth information about the exhibits.

Whether you are a history buff or simply curious about the Civil War, a visit to the Civil War Museum of the Western Theater in Bardstown, KY, is a fantastic way to gain a deeper understanding of this pivotal period in American history. Plan a visit to this top-rated museum and transport yourself back in time to the era of the Civil War in the Western Theater.

Experience the Stephen Foster Story

One of the top-rated things to do in Bardstown, KY is to experience the Stephen Foster Story. This immersive and engaging musical tells the life story of Stephen Foster, one of America’s most beloved composers.

Performed at the beautiful My Old Kentucky Home State Park, this production brings Foster’s music and the history of the time to life through captivating performances, stunning sets, and choreographed dance numbers.

The story follows Foster’s journey from humble beginnings to becoming the “Father of American Music.” His timeless melodies such as “Oh! Susanna,” “My Old Kentucky Home,” and “Beautiful Dreamer” are brought to life on stage, transporting audiences back to the 19th century.

During the summer season, visitors can enjoy the outdoor amphitheater, which offers both covered and lawn seating. It’s the perfect setting to immerse yourself in the music and history of Stephen Foster.

Whether you’re a fan of musical theater, history, or simply enjoy the beauty and magic of live performances, experiencing the Stephen Foster Story is an absolute must when visiting Bardstown, KY.

So, mark your calendar and make sure to catch this unforgettable show during your trip. You’ll leave with a deeper appreciation for Foster’s talent and the rich cultural heritage of Bardstown.

Enjoy Wine Tasting at the Talbott Tavern

When visiting Bardstown, Kentucky, be sure to stop by the historic Talbott Tavern for a delightful wine tasting experience. The Talbott Tavern is one of the oldest taverns in Kentucky, with a history dating back to 1779. This charming establishment offers a cozy and inviting atmosphere, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy some fine wine.

The Talbott Tavern offers an extensive selection of wines from around the world, including both red and white varieties. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply someone who enjoys a good glass of wine, you’ll find something to suit your taste at the Talbott Tavern.

During your wine tasting, you’ll have the opportunity to sample a variety of wines and learn about their unique flavors and characteristics. Knowledgeable staff members will be on hand to guide you through the tasting experience, providing interesting and informative insights about the different wines. You’ll also have the chance to ask questions and deepen your understanding of the world of wine.

In addition to the wine tasting, the Talbott Tavern also offers a menu of delectable food items that pair perfectly with their wine selection. From delicious cheese platters to savory appetizers, you’ll find a range of options to satisfy your palate.

After enjoying your wine tasting, take some time to explore the rest of the Talbott Tavern. This historic building has a rich history and is rumored to be haunted, adding an extra element of intrigue to your visit. You can browse through the tavern’s collection of antiques and artifacts, or simply soak in the ambiance of the elegant surroundings.

Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or just looking for a unique and enjoyable experience, the wine tasting at the Talbott Tavern is not to be missed. Indulge in the flavors of fine wines, learn about their origins, and immerse yourself in the rich history and charm of this iconic Bardstown establishment.

Take a Tour of the Potting Shed Antiques

One of the top-rated things to do in Bardstown, KY, is to take a tour of the Potting Shed Antiques. This charming antique store is located in the heart of downtown Bardstown and is a must-visit for anyone interested in unique and vintage finds.

The Potting Shed Antiques is housed in a historic building that dates back to the 1800s. As you step inside, you’ll be transported back in time with its charming decor and cozy atmosphere. The store is filled to the brim with a wide variety of antiques, including furniture, home decor, collectibles, and more.

During your tour, you can explore the different rooms and discover hidden treasures around every corner. From vintage clothing to antique jewelry, there’s something for everyone at the Potting Shed Antiques. The knowledgeable and friendly staff are always on hand to provide information about the items and their history.

One of the highlights of the Potting Shed Antiques is its extensive collection of vintage and rare books. Book lovers will be in heaven as they browse through the shelves filled with classics, first editions, and out-of-print titles. Whether you’re a literary enthusiast or just looking for a unique gift, you’re sure to find something special here.

If you’re a fan of architectural salvage, the Potting Shed Antiques has you covered. They have a wide selection of salvaged doors, windows, and other architectural elements that can add character and charm to any home. You’ll also find unique garden decor and outdoor furniture that will transform your outdoor space.

Location: 123 Main Street, Bardstown, KY
Hours: Monday – Friday: 10am – 5pm

Saturday: 9am – 6pm

Sunday: 12pm – 4pm

Contact: (555) 123-4567
[email protected]

Whether you’re a seasoned antique collector or just looking for a unique shopping experience, a tour of the Potting Shed Antiques is a must when visiting Bardstown. Don’t miss the opportunity to step back in time and discover the hidden treasures that await.

Explore the Abbey of Gethsemani

The Abbey of Gethsemani, located just outside Bardstown, is a must-visit destination for those seeking peace and tranquility. This Trappist monastery is home to a community of monks who have dedicated their lives to prayer and contemplation.

Visitors are welcome to explore the beautiful grounds of the Abbey, which feature lush gardens, walking paths, and a peaceful pond. Take a leisurely walk through the gardens and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. The Abbey is also known for its stunning architecture, with its Gothic-style church and towering bell tower.

An important feature of the Abbey is the Gethsemani Guest House, where visitors can stay for a retreat or overnight visit. Staying at the guest house offers a unique opportunity to experience the tranquility and spirituality of the Abbey firsthand. The guest house provides comfortable accommodations and delicious meals prepared by the monks.

For those interested in learning more about the monastic lifestyle, the Abbey offers guided tours and spiritual retreats. During these guided tours, visitors can learn about the history and traditions of the monastery, as well as participate in prayer services led by the monks.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or simply want to learn more about the monastic life, a visit to the Abbey of Gethsemani is sure to be a memorable experience.

Visit the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History

Located in Bardstown, Kentucky, the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History is a must-visit attraction for whiskey enthusiasts. As the title suggests, this museum is dedicated to showcasing the rich history of whiskey production in America.

One of the highlights of this museum is its extensive collection of whiskey artifacts, including vintage bottles, distilling equipment, and even advertising memorabilia. Visitors can get a glimpse into the past and see how whiskey has evolved over the years.

During your visit, you can also learn about the techniques and processes involved in whiskey production. From the fermentation process to the aging of whiskey in oak barrels, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of what goes into creating this beloved spirit.

In addition to the exhibits, the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History also offers whiskey tastings. You’ll have the opportunity to sample a variety of whiskeys from different regions, allowing you to develop your palate and discover new flavors.

Whether you’re a whiskey connoisseur or simply curious about the history and craftsmanship behind this iconic spirit, a visit to the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History is a must. Immerse yourself in the world of whiskey and gain a newfound appreciation for this timeless beverage.

Enjoy a Relaxing Day at the Barton 1792 Distillery

If you’re a fan of bourbon and looking for a relaxing day in Bardstown, KY, the Barton 1792 Distillery is a must-visit destination. Located in the heart of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, this historic distillery offers a unique experience for whiskey enthusiasts.

Start your visit with a guided tour of the distillery. You’ll learn about the fascinating history of Barton 1792, which dates back to 1879. The knowledgeable tour guides will take you through the entire bourbon-making process, from the selection of grains to the aging barrels.

As you explore the distillery, you’ll witness the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle of bourbon. The distillery is known for its traditional methods and attention to detail, ensuring that every sip of Barton 1792 bourbon is of the highest quality.

After the tour, head to the tasting room to sample some of their award-winning bourbons. From their flagship Barton 1792 Small Batch bourbon to their limited-edition releases, you’ll have the opportunity to try a variety of flavors and discover your new favorite bourbon.

For a truly unique experience, consider booking a private tasting or a behind-the-scenes tour. These exclusive options allow you to delve deeper into the bourbon-making process and gain a greater appreciation for the art of distilling.

Before you leave, make sure to visit the gift shop, where you can purchase bottles of Barton 1792 bourbon to take home as souvenirs. You’ll also find a selection of bourbon-related merchandise, perfect for yourself or as gifts for friends and family.

Whether you’re a bourbon aficionado or just curious about the distilling process, a visit to the Barton 1792 Distillery is a must. Immerse yourself in the rich history and craftsmanship of Kentucky bourbon and enjoy a relaxing day in Bardstown.

Indulge in a Delicious Meal at Mammy’s Kitchen

When you’re in Bardstown, Kentucky, make sure to stop by Mammy’s Kitchen for a meal that you won’t soon forget. This charming restaurant offers a cozy atmosphere and a menu filled with mouthwatering dishes that will satisfy even the pickiest eater.

Start your meal with one of Mammy’s famous appetizers, such as their crispy fried pickles or cheesy spinach dip. For the main course, you can choose from a variety of options, including Southern classics like fried chicken and country-style steak, as well as seafood dishes like shrimp and grits or blackened catfish.

Make sure to save room for dessert, as Mammy’s Kitchen is known for their delicious homemade pies and cobblers. From classic flavors like apple and cherry to more unique options like chocolate bourbon pecan, there’s a pie to suit every taste.

Not only does Mammy’s Kitchen serve up tasty food, but their friendly and attentive staff will make you feel right at home. Whether you’re visiting Bardstown for the first time or you’re a regular, this restaurant is a must-visit for anyone looking for a memorable dining experience.

So the next time you find yourself in Bardstown, be sure to stop by Mammy’s Kitchen for a meal that will leave you satisfied and planning your next visit.

FAQs

What are the top-rated things to do in Bardstown, KY?

Some of the top-rated things to do in Bardstown, KY include visiting the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, exploring the Bourbon Heritage Center, touring the historic My Old Kentucky Home State Park, sampling bourbon at local distilleries, and browsing art galleries in downtown Bardstown.

Is Bardstown, KY known for its bourbon?

Yes, Bardstown, KY is known as the “Bourbon Capital of the World” and is home to several renowned bourbon distilleries. Visitors can explore the Bourbon Trail, visit distilleries such as Maker’s Mark and Heaven Hill, and learn about the history and production of bourbon.

What attractions are there in Bardstown, KY for history enthusiasts?

History enthusiasts visiting Bardstown, KY can enjoy attractions such as the Civil War Museum, the Bardstown Historical Museum, the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History, and the Museum of American Glass. They can also visit historic sites like the Old Bardstown Village and the Wickland Home.

Are there any outdoor activities to do in Bardstown, KY?

Yes, there are several outdoor activities to do in Bardstown, KY. Visitors can explore the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, go hiking or biking in the nearby parks, enjoy picnics and fishing at My Old Kentucky Home State Park, or take scenic drives through the countryside.

What are some popular events and festivals in Bardstown, KY?

Bardstown, KY hosts several popular events and festivals throughout the year. Some notable ones include the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, the Bardstown Craft Beer Festival, the Bardstown Summer Concert Series, and the Bardstown Arts, Crafts & Antiques Fair. These events offer live music, food, drinks, arts and crafts, and a chance to celebrate the local culture.

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Bardstown, Kentucky | Our Kind of Town | Huckabee

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Daniela Howard

Daniela Howard, a dedicated Harpers Ferry resident, serves as the foremost expert on West Virginia. Over a decade in travel writing, her work for Family Destinations Guide offers in-depth knowledge of the state's hidden treasures, such as fine dining, accommodations, and captivating sights. Her engaging articles vividly depict family-friendly activities, making your West Virginia journey truly memorable.

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