Bardstown is a city in the Kentucky Derby Region, located 40 miles southeast of Louisville. It is the county seat of Nelson County. It calls itself "The Most Beautiful Small Town in America" and it's certainly at least a contender.
The main east-west route is the Bluegrass Parkway, bringing in traffic from Elizabethtown and I-65 South, 20 miles west. It also brings in Lexington traffic from the east. The two Bardstown exits are Exit 21 (US 31E) and Exit 25 (US 150). Nelson County also has exits off the parkway at Exit 10 (KY 52) to Boston and western Nelson County and Exit 34 (KY 55) to Bloomfield and eastern Nelson County.
Two roads arrive from Louisville. KY 245 (New Shepherdsville Road until it enters the city and becomes John Rowan Boulevard) funnels traffic from Exit 112 off of I-65 in Bullitt County. Although Route 245 goes through a fairly hilly area, the road is well-engineered with modest grades and no sharp curves. The other route is US 31E-150 which comes directly from Louisville. The road is narrow and winding at spots, but does offer nice views of the Nelson and Spencer County countryside.
- 1 Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF IATA), Louisville (40 miles northwest of Bardstown, about a 35-45 minute drive). The closest airport with commercial passenger jet service. Service from Allegiant, American, Breeze, Delta, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit, and United.
- 2 Blue Grass Airport (LEX IATA), Lexington (50 miles east of Bardstown, about a 1 hour drive), ☏ . A medium-sized regional airport which has service from Allegiant, American, Delta, and United, with daily non-stop service to more than a dozen cities.
Other than the tour buses listed below under "Do," there is no public transportation of any use to visitors in Bardstown. The historic district is very walkable, otherwise you will need to drive or take a taxi.
Distilleries & Wineries
- 1 Barton 1792 Distillery, 501 Cathedral Manor, ☏ , toll-free: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Producers of 1792 Ridgemont Reserve. The distillery offers tours and a gift shop. Free.
- 2 Heaven Hill Distilleries Bourbon Heritage Center, 1311 Gilkey Run Rd., ☏ . State-of-the-art visitor center is designed to provide the ultimate educational and entertainment experience. Tour a working rickhouse, see a movie and receive a tutored tasting in the "Taste of Heaven" barrel-shaped tasting room.
- 3 Maker's Mark Distillery, 3350 Burk's Springs Rd, Loretto, ☏ . Enjoy the sounds and smells of this uniquely crafted small batch bourbon. Purchase a souvenir bottle and hand-dip it in Maker's signature red wax (must be 21 to purchase and dip).
- 4 Springhill Winery, 3205 Springfield Rd., Bloomfield (12 miles east of Bardstown), ☏ , email@example.com. Tour the winery cellar and experience winemaking, enjoy the historic display of Kentucky's wine heritage and browse the gift shop and tasting room. Stay overnight in the Victorian Plantation Manor.
- 5 Willett Distillery, 1869 Loretto Rd., ☏ . Either the largest craft distillery or the smallest major distillery, depending on who you talk to. The tour still lets you see the whole whiskey making process, from the mash tubs to the pot still to the aging process. Beautiful setting.
Mansions and houses
- 6 Colonel's Cottage, Kentucky's Home for Bourbon, 107 E. Stephen Foster Ave, ☏ , toll-free: . A historic Kentucky mansion located on the Courthouse circle. Hosts Kentucky bourbon and American whiskey tastings and the Kentucky Bourbon Cooking School. The proprietors are Kentucky Colonel Michael Masters, The Host of Kentucky and Margaret Sue Masters, The Kentucky Hostess. This famous couple has been featured on Food Network TV, The Travel Channel and The Fine Living Channel.
- 7 My Old Kentucky Home State Park, 501 E. Stephen Foster Ave, ☏ , toll-free: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Federal Hill was the inspiration for Stephen Foster's ballad "My Old Kentucky Home" (also the state song of Kentucky). Built in 1812, it is featured on the Kentucky state quarter. The park offers tours of the historic home, a campground, and a golf course.
- 8 Wickland, Home of Three Governors, 550 Bloomfield Rd, ☏ , toll-free: , email@example.com. Self-guided architectural tour. Considered one of the best Federal-style houses in Kentucky, it was built about 1825-1828. Also, exhibits focusing on the three governors, the Civil War and black history.
Museums and memorials
- 9 Civil War Museum of the Western Theatre, 310 E. Broadway, ☏ . Located in Old Bardstown Village, it is one of the best Civil War museums in the US. It has many artifacts from Civil War battles throughout the region, focusing mainly on the war's imprint on western states. The museum houses a collection of photographs, uniforms, cannons, flags, battle wagons, medical equipment, weapons and personal items. The museum plays host to Civil War Living History Weekends throughout the year when encampment demonstrations recreate old times. Soldiers in period costumes will demonstrate skills such as cooking, musket, artillery and cavalry firing.
- 10 Kentucky Railway Museum, 136 S. Main St., New Haven (13 miles south of Bardstown), ☏ , toll-free: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Bells, lights, and steam whistles abound at Kentucky's official railway museum. The 5,000-square-foot museum contains a collection of artifacts, tools and photos, which interpret the story of America's rail system. There is also a railroad gift shop filled with train memorabilia, or watch several train layouts in the model train facility. Take a ride through the scenic Rolling Fork River Valley, with a 1940s vintage dining car. The Railway Museum hosts a number of events, including murder mysteries, Halloween and Christmas events.AAA discount.
- Old Bardstown Village, Museum Row, 310 E. Broadway, ☏ . The village is a recreation of a 1790 frontier community, home to settlers exploring the west. Eight original and authentic log cabins, each 150-200 years old, highlight a creek that runs through the grounds and supplies power to Brown's Grist Mill. Each cabin houses a different display, such as the history of Native Americans from the southwest and southeast, a recreated blacksmith shop, a wheelwrights shop, a still house and Captain Bean's Tavern. Demonstrations of flint knapping, arrowhead making, ancient spear throwing, ax making and ancient fire making.
- Old County Jail, 111 W. Stephen Foster Ave, ☏ , toll-free: . Includes a tour of the original 1819 jail. All furnished with antiques and heirlooms. A chilling look at conditions in this jail that was in operation until 1987.
- 11 Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History and the Bardstown Historical Museum, 114 N. 5th St, ☏ , email@example.com. An extensive collection of the liquor memorabilia of Oscar Getz and other distillers from the 1700s to today. On display are George Washington's mill stone, Prohibition prescriptions, a replica of Lincoln's Tavern in Illinois and Carrie Nation's hatchet.
- War Memorial of Mid-America, Museum Row, 202 E. Broadway, ☏ . This memorial pays tribute to all those who served in order to uphold freedom during America's wars, and dedicated and devoted themselves to the cause. The exhibit concentrates on the role mid-Americans played in conflicts from the Revolutionary War to Desert Storm, depicted through artifacts and graphics.
- Wildlife & Natural History Museum, Museum Row, 310 E. Broadway, ☏ . This museum boasts an exhibit of more than 100 life-sized animals, including an extensive display of these creatures in their natural habitat, and many varieties of fossils and minerals
- Women in The Civil War Museum, Museum Row, 310 E. Broadway, ☏ . In the historic Wright-Talbott House, this museum displays artifacts from Civil War-era women who served as homemakers, nurses and factory workers. It tells the stories of the women who even served on the battle lines as soldiers and spies. Elaborite, authentic dresses from the era are also on display.
- [formerly dead link] Bluegrass Speedway, ☏ . US 31E South at Bluegrass Parkway. A high banked, half-mile clay oval track featuring four divisions of racing weekly: Late Models, Open-wheeled Modifieds, Bluegrass Sportsman and Street Stock Sportsman.
Festivals & events
- Antique Show & Sale Late March-Early April
- Kentucky Bourbon Festival Sampler Late April
- Bourbon Open Golf Tournament Mid May
- Summer Band Concert Series Fridays June-Labor Day
- Wine & Cheese Tasting Early June
- Stephen Foster-The Musical June-August
- Moonlight Big Band Concert Late June
- Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Mid September
- Bardstown Arts, Crafts and Antiques Fair Mid October
- Flint Knapping Old Barstown Village Mid October
- Christmas 'Round Bardstown Thanksgiving-Christmas
- My Old Kentucky Home Candlelight Tour Late November-Early December
- Candlelight Tour of Homes Early December
Bardstown is a golf lover's dream with numerous championship courses in the area, each offering 18 holes of play:
- Cedar-Fil Golf Course, 2330 New Shepherdsville Rd (KY 245 West), ☏ .
- Maywood Golf Club, 130 Maywood Ave (US 150 South of Blue Grass Pkwy), ☏ .
- Kenny Rapier Golf Course at My Old Kentucky Home State Park, 668 Loretto Rd, ☏ . (KY 49).
- Woodlawn Springs Golf Club, 103 Woodhill Rd, ☏ . (Off US 62).
- Around The Town Carriage, 223 N. 3rd St, ☏ . Carriage ride provides a slow-paced way to see the sites of Bardstown. Offers carriages, buggies and a stagecoach to tour just about any size group.
- Heaven Hill Trolley, 1 Court Sq., ☏ . Tour history in style with an introductory tour of Bardstown's many attractions including the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center.
- [dead link] Horizon Hoppers Adventure Services, ☏ . Bardstown/Nelson County Airport-US 62 West. Find out why the sky is not the limit. It is only the beginning. Full service adventure outfitter, including chartered flights, hiking, camping and sightseeing tours.
- Walking tour ☏ or ☏ . Based at the Welcome Center, 1 Court Sq. Self-guided tours of downtown Bardstown with maps available.
- My Old Kentucky Dinner Train
- 1 Barbara's Etc., 109 W. Flaget Ave, ☏ . 10 am–4 pm M–F, 10 am–3 pm Sa. Furniture, gifts, Vera Bradley.
- 2 KYGUNCO (Kentucky Gun Company), 401 Glenwood Dr, ☏ . 9 am–6 pm; closed Sunday. Guns, archery supplies, and other outdoor needs. Also operates an indoor shooting range.
- 3 Marshall's Jewelers, 106 N. 3rd St, ☏ . 10 am–5 pm M–F, 10 am–4 pm Sa. Quality jewelry made to last.
- Nettie Jarvis Antiques, 111 Taylorsville Rd, ☏ . Bloomfield. Fine Kentucky & American Antiques.
- Toddy's Liquors, 110 S. 4th St, ☏ . Single barrel bourbons, miniature gift baskets,Maker's Mark Candy, Gethsemani Farms products.
There is the usual selection of fast food national chains.
- 2 Bardstown Burger, 126 N. 3rd St, ☏ .
- 3 Cafe Primo, 120 N. 3rd St, ☏ . Italian-American food, with a good reputation for its pizza.
- 4 El Jimador Real, 1009 Granite Dr, ☏ .
- Hunan Chinese Restaurant, 708 Bloomfield Rd, ☏ .
- Kreso's Family Restaurant & Mozart Cafe, 219 N. 3rd St, ☏ .
- Kurtz Restaurant, 418 E. Stephen Foster Ave, ☏ .
- 5 La Herradura, 959 Morton Ave, ☏ .
- 6 Mammy's Kitchen & Bar, 116 W. Stephen Foster Ave, ☏ . 6:30 am–3 pm Tu; 6:30 am–9 pm W–Sa; 8 am–3 pm Su. American comfort food.
- 7 Old Talbott Tavern, 107 W. Stephen Foster Ave, ☏ , toll-free: .
- 8 Umami Sushi, 942 Chambers Blvd, ☏ . 11 am–10 pm M–F, 1–10 pm Sa–Su. Mostly Japanese, with a few Korean dishes as well.
- Hadorn's Bakery, 118 W. Flaget Ave, ☏ . 118.
- Hurst Drug Store Soda Fountain, 102 N. 3rd St, ☏ .
- My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, 602 N. 3rd St, ☏ .
- Rosebud Lunch Cafe, 714 N. 3rd St, ☏ .
- Stephen Foster Restaurant, 503 W. Stephen Foster Ave, ☏ .
The Bourbon Capital of the World, Bardstown and Nelson County are wet.
- Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn, 714 N.3rd Street, ☏ . Wine served by flight, glass & bottle. Beer from Kentucky and around the world.
- Bourbon Bar at Old Talbott Tavern, 107 W. Stephen Foster Ave, ☏ , toll-free: . Very good selection of Bourbons, served by the flight or glass.
Bed & Breakfasts
- Colonel's Cottage Inn-Pioneer Park, 114 S. 4th St, ☏ , toll-free: .
- Colonel's Cottage Inn-Millstone, 107 E. Broadway, ☏ , toll-free: .
- Jailer's Inn, 111 W. Stephen Foster Ave, ☏ , toll-free: .
- Old Kentucky Home Stables and Bed & Breakfast, 115 Samuels Rd, ☏ . Coxs Creek,
- Old Talbott Tavern, 107 W. Stephen Foster Ave, ☏ , toll-free: .
- 1 Springhill Winery And Bed & Breakfast, 3205 Springfield Rd. Bloomfield KY, 40008 (12 miles east of Bardstown), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Located at the Springhill Winery
- Red Rose Inn, 209 E. Stephen Foster Ave, ☏ , toll-free: .
- My Old Kentucky Home State Park Campground, 668 Loretto Rd, ☏ , toll-free: . (KY 49).
- White Acres Campground, 3022 Boston Rd (US 62 East), ☏ .
Hotels and motels
- Bardstown Parkview Motel, 418 E. Stephen Foster Av, ☏ , toll-free: .
- Americas Inn Bardstown, 1714 New Haven Rd (Exit 21 off Bluegrass Pkwy), ☏ , toll-free: .
- Best Western General Nelson Inn, 411 W. Stephen Foster Ave, ☏ , toll-free: .
- Quality Inn & Suites, 984 Frost Ave, ☏ , toll-free: .
- Hampton Inn, 985 Chambers Blvd (off KY 245 West), ☏ , toll-free: .
- Old Bardstown Inn, 510 E. Stephen Foster Ave, ☏ , toll-free: .
- Old Kentucky Home Motel, 414 W. Stephen Foster Ave, ☏ , toll-free: .
- Wilson Motel, 530 N. 3rd St, ☏ .
- Louisville, 40 miles northwest of Bardstown , is Kentucky's largest city and home to Churchill Downs, site of the Kentucky Derby and Derby Museum. The city also offers museums to Louisville Slugger baseball bats and boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
- Hardin County, 20 miles west, contains Fort Knox, an army base containing the US Gold Bullion and Patton Museum. The county seat of Elizabethtown, just to the south, houses the Schmitts Coca Cola Museum. It is also the setting of the Orlando Bloom/Kirsten Dunst movie "Elizabethtown"
- Hodgenville, 20 miles to the southwest, was the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. The Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site houses a replica of the log cabin Lincoln was born in.
- Lexington, 50 miles to the east, is the horse capital of the world. Yearling sales, where horses are sold for millions of dollars, takes place at Keeneland Race Course, where racing is held in April and October.
- Boating interests are available at Taylorsville Lake State Park, 20 miles northeast of Bardstown. The lake also offers plenty of fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing. Tanglewood Golf Course offers 18 holes of championship golf.
|Routes through Bardstown|
|Louisville ← Mount Washington ←||N S||→ Hodgenville → Glasgow|
|Paducah ← Elizabethtown ←||W E||→ Bloomfield → Georgetown|
|Louisville ← Mount Washington ←||W E||→ Springfield → Danville|