No tour of the region would be complete without a visit to a Kentucky distillery, for this is also Bourbon country. Almost all bourbon, which is America’s only truly native spirit, is produced in Kentucky. For the authentic flavor of the hills visit the Woodford Reserve. The small, yet picturesque distillery sits along Glenn’s creek, where Elijah Pepper, one of the famous early Bluegrass distillers, set up his operation in 1812. Re-opened in 1996 the Woodford Reserve offers visitors a sense of what bourbon making was like in the 1800s.

     U.S. Senator and statesman Henry Clay (1777-1852), known as the “Great Compromiser” helped postpone the American Civil War, but after his death his family was divided just like the Union. His sons and grandsons were on opposing lines, and as a result the Clay estate of Ashland, on Sycamore Road, was auctioned. It was also the site of a skirmish following the Battle of Perryville in October 1862. Today the family home and 20 acres are open for tours as a National Historic Landmark. Call 859-266-8581.

     In nearby Perryville, about 49 miles southwest of Lexington, the area looks much like it did on the bloody October 8 day in 1862. This is where Union and Confederate troops took place in the Battle of Perryville, which cost some 8,000 American lives on both sides. The Perryville Battlefield Sate Historic Site includes the battleground, museum and gift shop.