Kentucky's second oldest city, Bardstown, is a spirited town: both religious and the distilled variety. Located at the center of the state's "bourbon trail", Bardstown is also home to an abbey and a basilica. The home that was the inspiration for Kentucky's state song is located in this north central town of just over 10,000.
The historic downtown district of Bardstown may be toured by foot or horse-drawn carriage. Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, first Catholic diocese west of the Allegheny Mountains, is on the tour. Also open for tours is Abbey of Gethsemani, founded in 1848 by America's oldest order of Trappist Monks.
Try a trolley tour of the "Bourbon Capital of the World" and visit Heaven Hill, one of two distilleries here. History flows at Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center with its high tech exhibits while Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History features stills and advertising art.
My Old Kentucky Home State Park contains the mansion that was Stephen Foster's inspiration for the song of the same name. Ride through the countryside and enjoy lunch or dinner in a vintage dining car on the "My Old Kentucky Dinner Train". Another historic site, Old Bardstown Village, features a recreated 1790s frontier town.
Area recreation includes five golf courses, a parachute center and kayaking on Beech Fork. Dining options range from fast food to full menu at the historic Old Talbot Tavern.
Bardstown is located 42 miles southeast of Louisville, KY, I-65 to KY 245.