Bardstown was named after its pioneering founders- Davis Bard and William Bard. David Bard sanctioned and obtained this area while William Bard surveyed and planned the city to the T. The town is famed for its brilliantly brewed bourbon and hence has earned the nickname Bourbon Capital of the World. It has various historical monuments and museums for you to visit.
Also called as Beardstown sometimes, this town also has beautiful parks to spend some quality time at. It is located right in the heart of Kentucky and is a very important place for the Nelson County.
Visit one of the most important state symbols: My Old Kentucky Home State Park
Visit the place which is the inspiration behind the state song of Kentucky. Stephen Foster wrote the ballad “My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night” against slavery after seeking inspiration from the things he saw when he used to visit Federal hill.
Federal Hill used to belong to his cousin, the United States Senator John Rowan. Foster’s song gained a lot of popularity then and so Federal hill was bought by the commonwealth of Kentucky to be preserved as a historical site.
It was around this time, the state song was declared as well. Thus, the Federal Hills have become a very important landmark historically. It is also a very beautiful place to visit owing to the beautiful trees and lush green grass that grows here.
The mansion itself is very majestic with many intricate details. Picnicking and bird watching can also be done on the palace grounds.
Taste authentic Bourbon at Heaven Hill Distilleries
The second largest bourbon whiskey holder of the world is sure to give you the best whiskey out there for tasting. The family owned business produces many kinds of distilled spirits but the heaven hills whiskey remains at the top. Visit them for a great tour through the actual distillation process and learn some lesser known facts about this intricate process. Buy a bottle or two to carry back home for yourself and friends.
Gaze an insight into the civil war at the Civil War Museum of the Western Theatre
One of the four most important Civil War museums of the USA, this monument is a must visit. It showcases in details the struggles between the Union and Confederacy and is one of the largest museums all over the United States of America. The exhibits are covered over a vast expanse of 8000 Square feet and include many types of artifacts. Flags, swords, canons and various artillery used in the wars is showcased. There are different rooms dedicated to special themes including slavery, artillery, cavalry and more.
Learn the history of whiskeys at Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History
You visit the bourbon capital in the world and there are bound to be many places of interest that focuses on whiskey. This is one of them and a very famous one at that. Located in the magnificent Spalding hall, the museum is an ode to the beautiful art of whiskey main giver the ages. Whiskey related artifacts are on display which gives it a rustic charm. The Oscar Getz Museum has a great collection of whiskey artifacts and pieces on display. Some exhibits include moonshine stills, posters, prescriptions of medicinal use of alcohol and even the great Abraham Lincoln’s liquor license. The museum also traverses you through the evolution of the American whiskey from the 1960s.
Experience village life at the Old Bardstown Village at the Civil War Museum
A recreation of the entire village from the Western American Civil War period, it can’t get more authentic than this. Take a look with your own eyes at how horrific but also brave people can be during wars at this area inside the timeless museum.
It has authentic scenes depicting life during the difficult period. The Mill showcased looks very real and helps us understand how difficult it was to get access to even basic needs like drinking water and food to eat.
Pray at the beautiful Basilica of Saint Joseph Proto-Cathedral
This Catholic Church used to be the mother church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bardstown. It is so opulent and magnificent to look at that you will automatically fall in love with its sacred beauty. Feel a strange sense of calm and happiness envelop you as you kneel in front of the Lord at this basilica. You should also visit the church for the many complex details in the structure. The stained glass windows are definitely a visual treat. It also features many beautiful paintings from various eras. These include paintings from King Louis made by artists like Van Dyck and Murillo. The King Francis I of the Two Sicilies has also bestowed this church with a very famous painting by Mattia Preti.
Spooky times at the Bardstown Ghost Trek
We have all gone treks on mountains or hills and hunted down rare plants or spotted animals? But how about a ghost trek and hunting down spirits? Sounds so cool, right? Conducted every Saturday, this trek is sure to make you feel chills going down your spine. The areas you will travel are the Jailer’s Inn, Pioneer Cemetery and Talbott Taverns. It’s a historical tour and perfectly guided.
So get along those cameras and audio recorders and let’s go ghost hunting. The fees is just $15 so the tickets are nominal but the thrills are definitely infinite!
Look at beautiful art at the Fine Arts Bardstown Society
Art is a beautiful expression of the soul and the fine arts society gives a great showcase to such talent. Visit this beautiful art gallery established in 2005 that showcases really beautiful pieces of artworks and paintings. High quality artifacts and crafts are on display too. There are various themes which are explored like woodworks, paints and more. It is a great place to discover some hidden local artists and artworks. The sale is great with many quirky pieces.
Take a walk at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
Established in 1929 by the founder of the same name, Isaac Bernheim, this beautiful park was opened to the public in 1950. The successful brewer and his family rest in peace at this forest. The Bernheim Forest has beautiful conifers and pines towering in the skies making for a beautiful sight to look at. There is also a very intricately carved statue made of bronze which stands tall here. The volunteers conduct many workshops and classes too.
The vast research forest hosts many events and festivals as well like the annual ColorFest in October, Bloomfest in May, CONNECT in August. These are all quirky festivals celebrating science and nature. There are very beautiful hiking trails so don’t forget to put on your sports shoes. Take your kids along on a thrilling excursion.
Visit the famous mansion at Wickland
This huge three-storied Georgian mansion has served as the warm abode of not one, not two but three governors through the years! There were two from Kentucky and one from Louisiana. The sprawling estate is an architectural beauty with many rooms built in the classical ways. The kitchen itself is two storied and has all the amenities. There’s also a library and big living room along with an amply spaced attic.
Have some fun time at the Bardstown Community Park
Parks are some of the best places to bond with your family and loved ones. Kids get a big, open space to play while you can just sit in peace with your spouse.
This acre wide park has all the beauties of your basic park and serves as just the perfect spot for that long pending family picnic. Basketball court, horseshoe pits, picnic tables and more is offered here in this community park.
The playground is very good too and houses many slides and swings which your kids will love to play on. There are biking and walking trails engrained too. The family friendly park is open on all days till evenings.
Bowling at Bardstown Bowling Center
Bowling is a great sport for bonding with friends and family. It’s a different kind of thrill to hold that large ball and throw it at the skittles and watch them fall.
It’s even more fun to go to these places if you are with your friends. Get drunk a bit and while away the night bowling on these awesome alleys.
With many lanes to prevent overcrowding at the bowling area. The arcade is very cool and has a very happy vibe to it. Accompany the evening with some great food and drinks and you have a beautiful time ahead of you.
Taste the famous Jim Beam whisky at the Jim Beam American Stillhouse
Jim Beam is a very famous brand of whiskey and loved by many people all over the world. Their secret lies in their perfectly distilled bourbon and has been manufacturing quality liquor since long. If you like knowing more about your drinks, then this place is surely a must visit. With guided tours through the campus, it really deserves a special place on the things to do list. The tours can also be customized as per your needs. The distilling area, bottling area and also the limestone well are all part of the guided tour so make sure you visit the still house with a clear head. Try out some of the famous whiskey and carry some back home too.
Go to the Women’s Civil War Museum
The only museum which stands testimony to the beautiful sacrifices made by women during the civil war area, this historical site is another special museum located in the museum row. This row has 5 museums out of which three are mentioned here. Each of these museums are really beautiful and holds a special place. This particular museum documents how women served the armies during the civil war. With various artifacts and exhibits showcasing their journey as nurses and more, it truly reminds us of how a war is fought by both genders, on and off field.
Visit the original Lincoln Home
The Lincoln Homestead State Park is where Lincoln and his family spent a lot of time. Lincoln’s mother and her family used to live on this vast park.
There are rustic furniture pieces and the rooms are beautifully adorned with classical pieces. It also has a cabin in site. The fences still stand strong and guard the house. The golf course is lavish with 18 holes spread all over the sprawling hills. There’s also a museum located showcasing various artifacts. The playground is well equipped so your kids can also have fun. The gift shop also has a lot of articles on sale, so buy some souvenirs to take back to your relatives and friends.
Shop on a budget at the Awesome Flea Market
Flea markets are great places to get good deals and buy some really awesome stuff. Authentic furniture, showpieces and more can be bought here at affordable prices.
It provides a large shopping arena where as many as 500 shopkeepers and businessmen set up shop to sell you a variety of stuff and antique ware. You can buy food, clothing and many other things as per your wants and needs. Gather some girlfriends and go bargaining in these shops.
The local craftsmen and vendors that set up shop include those selling organic vegetables, Sunglasses, T-shirts, Toys, Fishing Gear, Jewelry, Books and what not! Thrifty prices and great bargains combined give you a very memorable shopping experience.
Bardstown thus has many awesome places to visit and things to do. The state parks are very beautiful filled with lush green landscapes. The historical monuments are a great reminder of the rich past.
Shopping will be so much fun at the flea market that you are going to want to keep going back. Plan a trip with your friends to this awesome town. Whiskey is a great drink to have and the distilling process is great too.