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Louisville and Bourbon Country, Kentucky

Kentucky prides itself on its history and legacy. Here, the relationship of land, water and know-how created something so wonderful, it’s bottled and sold around the globe. It’s where the spirit craftsmanship and collaboration creates beautiful and practical goods. You’ll find rolling hills populated with esteemed athletes, beautiful forests that marry nature and art, and an entire center dedicated to honoring the legend who called Louisville home. It’s a destination so determined and strong, you might call it barrel-proof. Here’s why Louisville and Bourbon Country, Kentucky is a Place to Love.

PLACES AND STORIES TO LOVE

Buffalo Trace Distillery - Louisville, Kentucky - Places to Love

Buffalo Trace Distillery

You can make Bourbon anywhere (in the USA at least). But why is Kentucky Bourbon the best? Just ask Freddie, a third generation employee at Buffalo Trace Distillery. Born in Paris, KY (Bourbon County), Freddie promised his father that he would work at the Distillery during his lifetime so they could say they had three generations of the Johnson family that worked at Buffalo Trace.  He retired early from a successful career as a network/operations engineer and took a job as a tour guide at the Distillery in 2002. Freddie explains the origins of bourbon–Scottish and Irish immigrants blending rye and barley whiskey with corn whiskey—which created a distinctive, sweet spirit. One the most notable ingredients is the limestone-filtered water from the Kentucky River.

Did you know?

Buffalo Trace is the oldest continuously operating distillery in America. During Prohibition the distillery was even permitted to remain operational, to make whiskey for “medicinal purposes.”

CONTACT

Buffalo Trace Distillery
113 Great Buffalo Trace
Frankfort, KY 40601

Bernheim Forest - Places to Love _ Louisville, Kentucky

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

Are you looking to connect with nature? Bernheim is the place to do it. The 16,140 acres purchased by German immigrant Isaac W. Bernheim in 1929 were dedicated as a gift to the people of Kentucky. Today, more than 500,000 visitors visit Bernheim annually. You’ll find trails, a visitor center, classes, a sculpture garden, and so much more. In 2019, Bernheim welcomed Danish artist, Thomas Dambo, to construct three giant sculptures throughout the arboretum using recycled wood from the region (including bourbon barrels). A two-mile walking trail allows visitors to see all three sculptures: Mama Loumari (and her baby giant, who resides in her belly), and her children, Little Nis and Little Elina. I also visited nationally-renowned artist Jayson Fann’s Spirit Nest—a giant bird’s nest that you can actually climb in. How fun is that?

If you go:

Want to really immerse yourself in art and nature? Sign up for a guided hike, or sign up for one of their Arts in Nature programs.

Contact

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
2075 Clermont Rd
Clermont, KY 40110
(502) 955-8512

Stoneware & Co - Louisville, Kentucky - Places to Love

Stoneware & Co

Louisville is known for its stoneware. Immigrants coming west would stock up on necessities here– heavy and tough crocks, plates, bowls, and more—sturdy enough items to survive a long trip on barges and wagons. Stoneware & Co. was the first factory in Louisville. Founded by Jacob Lewis in 1815, the company still operates today using the same methods of craftsmanship passed down for generations. Its craftsmanship is unparalleled, with some items featured in the Smithsonian Institution and White House. On my visit, I followed the steps of more than 20 skilled artisans crafting from raw clay to a completed piece. One of the most notable artists is Ngoc Phan, a Vietnamese immigrant who began working for the company 40 years ago. Today, he’s a master mold-maker, etching stunning and intricate scenes by hand that end up stamping the pottery.

IF YOU GO:

The art factory offers tours twice every weekday. However, if you want a more immersive experience, sign up to paint your own pottery. Select a plate, mug, or bowl and use the same tools and glazes as Stoneware’s artisans. After its time in the kiln, it’ll be ready for shipping or pick-up in about 7 to 10 business days.

ADDRESS

Stoneware & Co
731 Brent Street
Louisville, KY 40204

Old friends thoroughbred - places to love - lousiville, kentucky

Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm

Want to meet a living legend? How about dozens of them? Pay a visit to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Facility in Georgetown, KY. Founded in 2003 by former Boston Globe film critic Michael Blowen, the organization has grown from a leased paddock and one horse to a 236-acre farm, a herd of over 200 rescued and retired horses. Blowen believes that horses past their prime are still valuable – money-earning, even—with the right venue. He was right. Old Friends opened doors to the public, inviting fans to revisit their turf heroes. Now a “living-history museum of horse racing”, the farm attracts nearly 20,000 visitors annually who come to swoon over such American Grade 1 winners as Breeders’ Cup Champions Amazombie, Little Mike and Alphabet Soup, Belmont Stakes winners Sarava and Touch Gold, and three-time Santa Anita Handicap winner, Game On Dude.

GOOD TO KNOW

The farm is open to the public daily for guided walking tours. Reservations are required. If you want to see the place like a Derby winner, opt for the Founders tour, led by Michael Blowen himself.

Learn more:

Old Friends Equine
1841 Paynes Depot Rd.
Georgetown, KY 40324
502-863-1775

mohammed ali center - places to love - louisville, kentucky

Muhammad Ali Center

As a boxer, Muhammad Ali brought unprecedented speed and grace to his sport, while his charm and wit changed forever what the public expected a champion to be. But there was always far more to Muhammad than what took place in a boxing ring. Muhammad’s dream to share his inspiration with the world is being realized through the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky—his hometown. The Ali Center appeals to his heart, spirit, and imagination. Through dramatic multimedia presentations, interactive exhibits, historical videos, countless images, and artifacts, visitors learn about Muhammad Ali and his significant impact on the world. The visitor experience incorporates the six core principles of Muhammad Ali’s life: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect and Spirituality.

Interesting Fact

In 2005, Muhammad was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

ADDRESS

Muhammad Ali Center
44 N. Sixth Street
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 584-9254

Bardstown – The Bourbon Capital of the World

When you walk the streets of Bardstown, you can’t help but notice its unique scent: bourbon. Located in the heart of the Bluegrass State, Bardstown offers the ultimate bourbon getaway. With 11 unique distilleries within 16 miles of its center, all your bourbon dreams can come true here in Bardstown, the Bourbon Capital of the World. Here, I met up with Jamar Mack, the founder of Kentucky’s Original Black Bourbon Enthusiasts (KOBBE), a non-profit aimed at making bourbon more accessible for everyone, and as a way to give back to the community. KOBBE recognizes that no one starts off as a bourbon expert. That’s why they’ve always had the mindset of, ‘come learn with us.’

Did you know?

Settled in 1780, Bardstown is Kentucky’s second-oldest city. With hundreds of historic buildings, it’s easy to see why Bardstown was declared “The Most Beautiful Small Town in America” by Rand McNally and USA Today.

Contact

Learn more about KOBBE here.

Bardstown - Louisville, Kentucky - Places to Love

Bardstown Bourbon Company

On our tour of Bardstown, Jamar brought me to a place he believes is creating the future of bourbon: Bardstown Bourbon Company. This distillery is a blend of bourbon makers pushing the boundaries through innovation, while honoring the traditional art of making whiskey. Set on 100 acres of active farmland in the heart of the Bourbon Capital of the World, they produce the highest-quality Kentucky bourbon, whiskey, and rye brands. I met with Dan Callaway, the VP of Product Development, who essentially held my hand as we sampled cask-strength bourbon (read: realllly strong stuff… like 120 proof!). A classically-trained musician and teacher-turned-beverage expert, Dan is a sommelier, executive bourbon steward, and the creator behind BBC’s tour, bar and beverage programs.

Did you know?

Bardstown Bourbon Company is the first Napa Valley-style destination on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to combine distilling, culinary, and beverage expertise to create a modern, authentic bourbon experience.

Contact

Bardstown Bourbon Company
1500 Parkway Drive
Bardstown, KY 40004
(502) 233-4769

Louisville, Kentucky - Bourbon Bar - Places to Love

Bourbons Bistro

With a selection of more than 130 bourbons, including a barrel selection program, Bourbons Bistro is Louisville’s foremost bourbon bar. Housed in a historic building dating back to the 1870’s, this Clifton neighborhood establishment specializes in a seasonal menu inspired by bourbon. There’s a great selection of appetizers, spicy fried oysters; Prince Edward Island mussels; bruschetta; and a loaded charcuterie board. You can also opt for something a little more filling, like a steak, Chilean seabass or shrimp and grits. If you aren’t a big bourbon connoisseur, they offer great cocktails, beer and wine as well.

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Here’s why Louisville and Bourbon Country, Kentucky is a Place to Love.

Fun Fact

The fireplace here is fed by discarded Louisville Sluggers. Nothing more Louisville than that!

ADDRESS

Bourbons Bistro
2255 Frankfort Ave.
Louisville, KY 40206
502-894-8838

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