And we’re back! How was your lake time? Did you get burnt? Me too. Well, it’s time to stop lounging around and talk about something productive, like bourbon. I’m going to warn you now, I love me some bourbon so get used to that theme. Let’s hop on 27 North, then over to 150 West for our next stop on the tour … Nelson County!
The oldest of the counties we’ve visited thus far, Nelson was founded shortly after the Revolutionary War in 1784. The county was named after Thomas Nelson Jr., a Virginia Governor who is considered one of the Founding Fathers as you can find his signature on the Declaration of Independence. So he was pretty important. It’s also said that Federal Hill in Nelson County was the inspiration for My Old Kentucky Home, written by Stephen Foster. He was also important. Are we good on the history? Yes? Nice, let’s talk about Bardstown!
Bardstown is fantastic! Starting from the beginning, Bardstown is the second oldest city in Kentucky, founded in 1780. With this age comes some great historical landmarks, like The Old Talbott Tavern. Built in 1779, this tavern has seen the likes of General George Rogers Clark, Daniel Boone and King Louis Phillipe of France. Oh, and some guy named Abraham Lincoln stayed there as a child. And as you may have guessed, our friend Jesse James turns up here as well. This guy got around. He even left a few bullet holes in the upstairs walls. Holding the distinction of the ‘Worlds Oldest Bourbon Bar’ makes Talbott Tavern your first, and potentially only stop in Bardstown depending on your drinking habits. (PS … it’s also haunted.)
Sticking with our bourbon theme, let’s talk about Bardstown’s distilleries. While being surrounded on either side by Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark, Bardstown is home to three very familiar distilleries. Heaven Hill, the 7th largest alcohol supplier in the country has its headquarters in Bardstown. Some of their more popular bourbons include Elijah Craig and Evan Williams. They do produce other spirits besides bourbon, including whiskey, rum and gin. Barton Brands also runs a distillery in Bardstown. Their more popular brand bourbons include 1792 Ridgemont Reserve, Kentucky Tavern and Kentucky Gentleman. Barton’s also makes a bunch of other products including gin, rum, or if you were Drew between 2004 and 2007, handles of Skol Vodka for 12 bucks. A lesser known but still delicious set of products comes out of the Willett Distillery. You can grab yourself a bottle of Johnny Drum, Old Bardstown, or sample one of their small batch collections. There’s a reason this town is called the Bourbon Capital of The World, and it’s not just because of September’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival.
Now I know what you’re thinking … with all of this alcohol, why would I want to visit if I don’t drink? You want to because Bardstown is perfect. I’m talking major award-wining perfect. Citing the history, tradition, and people, USA Today and Rand McNally named Bardstown the Most Beautiful Small Town in America. There are tons of family oriented places to visit, including the Kentucky Railway Museum, the Stephen Foster Amphitheater and My Old Kentucky Home State Park. There are constant summer concerts and festivals too numerous to name. I’m talking picnics, plays, car shows, everything. Check them all out here. And if you find yourself free on July 12th, you should come out to the Southwest Nelson/New Haven Rams Golf Outing. This is an incredibly fun event that I’ve been looking forward to since last year’s ended and it’s a good chance to support the youth, that we have.
So there we are, another stop in the books. We have to be running short on counties, right? Nope. Well alright, let’s have some more fun, and do another hometown visit! Drew, tell the parents we’re coming home to Hopkins County!
If you have any information you’d like to submit about your county, things I may have missed, or just want to chat how much Kentucky rocks, email me at [email protected]