Bardstown Things to Do

  • Heaven Hill Distillery - barrels of aging bourbon.
    Heaven Hill Distillery - barrels of...
    by charlenemixa
  • Be sure to visit Willet's - Small & Friendly!
    Be sure to visit Willet's - Small &...
    by charlenemixa
  • The 1792 Rickhouse
    The 1792 Rickhouse
    by charlenemixa

Best Rated Things to Do in Bardstown

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    The Oscar Getz Museum of...

    by gkitzmil Written Oct 4, 2002

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    The Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History
    A 50-year collection of rare whiskey artifacts dating from pre-colonial days to post-Prohibition days. The museum features rare antique bottles, a moonshine still, advertising art, novelty whiskey containers, and Abraham Lincoln's liquor license. A definite stop for bourbon enthusiasts.
    Spalding Hall
    114 North Fifth Street
    Bardstown, Kentucky 40004
    (502) 348-2999
    Museum Hours:
    May 1 - Oct. 31
    Monday - Saturday
    9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Sunday
    1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Nov. 1 - Apr. 30
    Tuesday - Saturday
    10:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Sunday
    1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    Admission Free

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    My Old Kentucky Dinner Train ...

    by gkitzmil Written Oct 4, 2002

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    My Old Kentucky Dinner Train

    Exquisite 1940's dining cars carry passengers through 35 miles of Kentucky countryside. Fine dining in exquisite surroundings. Open year-round. Lunch on Saturdays only. Dinner Tuesday-Saturday on a demanded basis. Reservations required. Handicapped individuals: 5 steps.

    602 N. 3rd St., Bardstown, KY 40004, (502) 348-7300

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    My Old Kentucky Home State...

    by gkitzmil Written Oct 4, 2002

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    My Old Kentucky Home State Park

    Federal Hill was the inspiration for Stephen Foster's ballad 'My Old Kentucky Home.' Today this Bardstown mansion is as endearing to visitors as it was in 1852 when Foster was inspired to write the song. Step into the days of the antebellum South as costumed guides escort you through the stately Mansion. My Old Kentucky Home honors the symbol of the state song. Open daily Sept - May, 9am - 4:45pm; June - Aug, 8:30am - 6:15pm; Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Year's Eve & Day. Handicapped accessible-first floor only. Contact: Alice Heaton.

    501 E. Stephen Foster Ave., P.O. Box 323, Bardstown, KY 40004, (502) 348-3502 or 1-800-323-7803

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    St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral ...

    by gkitzmil Written Oct 4, 2002

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    St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral

    First catholic cathedral west of the Allegheny Mountains. A National landmark listed by the U.S. Library of Congress. This historic edifice contains fine paintings, gifts of Francis 1, King of the Two Sicilies, and Pope Leo XII. Erected 1816-1819. Open year round. Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm; Sat, 9am - 3pm; Sun, 1pm - 5pm. Donations requested. No restrooms. HA.

    310 W Stephen Foster Ave., Bardstown, KY 40004, 502-348-3126

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    tour Maker's Mark Distillery

    by CJD68 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Kentucky is famous for bourbon whisky and Maker's Mark has a great tour of thier facility that explains the process from begining to end. Maybe you'll want to hand dip and seal your personal bottle of Maker's Mark whiskey in their signature red wax. The tours are free, but the whiskey is not.

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    Enjoy the outdoor theater performance

    by CJD68 Updated Aug 21, 2003

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    Return to My Old Kentucky Home Sate Park in the evening and go to the outdoor theater. Great, familiar music to people from the USA. Foster is the focus of the outdoor summer show Stephen Foster -- The Musical, which is staged June-August at the park. Hear Foster's immortal favorites like "Camptown Races," "Oh, Susanna," "Jeannie With The Light Brown Hair" and many others.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Theater Travel

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    Heaven Hill: Beautiful Center! Great Bourbon, etc.

    by charlenemixa Written Jul 27, 2014

    The Center is a beautiful building with a great gift shop, a very good film on distilling and Heaven Hill heritage, along with a tour of a working rickhouse and tasting. Initially we were going to skip the film but glad we took time to see it as it gave a lot of history and information on the distillery. The tour was very good giving us a good education on distilling. The tasting room is actually a huge barrel-shaped room called the “Parker Beam Taste of Heaven”. The tastings are actually done inside- unique and fun idea! We received lessons on how to properly taste bourbon – looking for color, aroma, and taste. Tastings were great including their chocolate bourbon balls. We especially liked their Evan Williams Egg Nog and the Evan Williams Apple Orchard (apple cider with bourbon). Of course we left with a bottle of each of these. Delicious bourbons, too.

    Note: This is a great place to start your Kentucky Bourbon Experience. The Visitor Center provides a fantastic introduction into the history of bourbon making from early years to today. Plus it has a fantastic tour, tasting room and shop.

    Heaven Hill Distillery - barrels of aging bourbon.
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Family Owned Willet Distillery -Premium Bourbon

    by charlenemixa Written Jul 27, 2014

    Having visited other large Bourbon distilleries, we were so glad we stopped in at Willet's. This family owned distillery has a great tour. In fact we had the privilege of taking our tour with Drew, the Master Distiller and family member, who now oversees the distillery. Growing up in the distillery business, Drew has a passion for his craft. Being a small company, they do a some things much different than the larger distillers. Walking through the distillery Drew shared his family history and their beginnings in 1936 with opening Willet Distilling Company. We even got a sip before it is diluted and aged. Strong stuff! In the tasting room we especially liked the Willet Pot Still Reserve (which also comes in a "Still" shaped bottle). Glad we visited this unique family distillery.

    Be sure to visit Willet's - Small & Friendly!
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

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    Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History

    by charlenemixa Written Jul 27, 2014

    The museum is a delightful and amazing collection of the history of whiskey making. Just strolling through each room with the wealth of memorabilia brings one closer to understanding the distillery process, the fascination with making bourbon and all the history associated with it. While it started from a large collection of Oscar Getz, it continues to grow with new donations. A great place to stop and learn more about whiskey making. Plus it is free!

    Plan to allow time to stroll the numerous rooms of the museum. The docents gladly share stories and history of whiskey making, the museum and Bardstown.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    Barton 1792 Distillery! Tour & Taste!

    by charlenemixa Written Jul 27, 2014

    We enjoyed the tour of this Distillery and its interesting history. Our tour guide shared a lot of good information on Barton 1792 Distillery and the making of bourbon. While this was our third Bourbon Tour in Bardstown, we still picked up more insight into bourbon and distilling. This was the only distillery we toured that took us into the bottling section, which is most interesting. We learned that Barton 1792 Distillery is owned by the Sazerac Company out of Louisiana. It is the largest distilling company in the United States.
    In the tasting room we sampled two bourbons. Having visited Buffalo Trace Distillery (a sister company of Barton 1792 Distillery) in Frankfort last year and loving their delicious Bourbon Cream, we asked to sample Barton 1792 Chocolate Bourbon Ball Cream Liqueur. Superb! In fact, after we asked to sample it the other visitors in the tasting room sampled it too. We all left with at least one bottle of the Chocolate Bourbon Ball Cream Liqueur. (I think you can only buy it in Kentucky).

    The 1792 Rickhouse
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

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    A Beautiful Cathedral with an Amazing Heritage”

    by charlenemixa Written Jul 30, 2014

    Basilica of St Joseph Proto-Cathedral

    Being the first cathedral west of the Allegheny Mountains the story of the cathedral is fascinating. Touring it we learn how the cathedral was constructed with native yellow poplar beam. A beautiful historical building that has gone through changes but still has historical significance. Take time to tour or just walk through the cathedral. We had a docent give us a tour which was most informative and she pointed out things we would have missed on our own. It is a beautiful ol' historical church and an easy walk from downtown Bardstown. Plus Spalding Hall is adjacent to it (behind it with the Oscar Getz Whiskey Museum).

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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    Old Bardstown Village Civil War Museum

    by charlenemixa Written Jul 30, 2014

    Great Historical Civil War Museum:
    The museum does a great job of bringing together in one location the historical times, lives, and conflicts of the Civil War. They have a plenty of documents and artifacts to educate visitors onthe war. We could definitely have had more time to study the depth the museum offers. Interesting to learn that both Presidents in the Civil War were from within 16 miles of Bardstown. All will enjoy the Museum. History buffs and Civil War buffs will delight in the vast array of information, documents nd more at the Museum.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    My Old Kentucky Home State Park

    by charlenemixa Written Jul 30, 2014

    This is a wonderful State Park on the very edge of downtown Bardstown. We golfed in the morning at the Golf Course, which was challenging, all the while smelling Kentucky Bourbon being distilled. Then we did the tour of the house, where it is stated that Stephen Foster visited and wrote the infamous song "My Old Kentucky Home". Yes we all recall this tune which kicks off the Kentucky Derby each year. The docents, in period costumes, gave us an excellent tour of two floors of the house and history of the family, as well as information on Stephen Foster. It has been well preserved and the docents share good information and details of the family, the house, and Bardstown. Beautiful grounds and park. We definitely could have spent more time in the Park as there are gardens to explore as well as paths and recreation areas. So glad we did the tour.

    Statue of Stephen Foster  My Old Kentucky Home SP
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    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel
    • National/State Park

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    Women's Civil War Museum

    by charlenemixa Written Aug 2, 2014

    Thank you women of the Civil War! Whether as nurses, spies, soldiers in disguise, plantation and factory workers, women had a major impact in the war and are recognized for their roles in the Women’s Civil War Museum.

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    My Old Kentucky Home State Park

    by grandmaR Updated May 19, 2013

    We drove out to My Old Kentucky Home State Park. This was Federal Hill, the home of John Rowan who was a cousin of Stephen Fosters and where he was supposed to be staying when he wrote "My Old Kentucky Home". The house was being renovated but the tours were going on anyway. No pictures inside of course, and they wouldn't even let you take a picture of the painting in the visitor's center. So I wandered around outside and took some pictures, and then we went back to the condo.

    Federal Hill is a Georgian style mansion that originally had 13 rooms. The number 13 is repeated throughout the house, supposedly to honor the 13 colonies at the time of America’s independence from Great Britain. The front of the home has 13 windows, and there are 13 steps to each floor of the house. Completed in 1796, the rear wing of the house contains a kitchen, two bedrooms, and a smokehouse. The first floor has a dining room, parlor, and library. The second floor has bedrooms, and the third floor contained the nursery. The house is built of brick and has six large rooms that are 22 feet square. Ceilings are 13-1/2 feet high. The floors are made of yellow poplar and the walls are 13 inches thick.

    Tours are given from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Eastern Time, June through August; and 9:00 AM - 4:45 PM March to May and September to November. Open Wednesday to Sunday during the winter period of January 2 to February 28 and daily from March 1 - December 30.

    Statue of Stephen Foster From the visitor's center Graveyard Visitor's Center entrance House from the road
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel
    • National/State Park

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