October is a lovely time of year to visit Kentucky. If you're interested in horse racing, Saturday, Oct. 27, is the last day of the fall meet at Keeneland, Lexington's beautiful track. Sunday, Oct. 28 is the first day of the fall meet at Churchill Downs in Louisville, which is better known nationally but less charming.
Lexington is surrounded by beautiful horse farms. Plus the Kentucky Horse Park, a state park that is a working horse farm with museum and seasonal activities, is a good place to learn more about thoroughbreds and other breeds of horse. Nice side trips from Lexington are the Woodford Reserve bourbon distillery near Versailles, Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill near Harrodsburg and Raven Run nature sanctuary in southern Fayette County in the Kentucky River palisades area. Raven Run is a nice place for fall hiking. Another terrific place for hiking, about an hour east of the city, is Natural Bridge State Park and the surrounding Red River Gorge. Best place to stay in Lexington is Gratz Park Inn, a historic boutique-type hotel near downtown's restaurant district and a few blocks from the Mary Todd Lincoln home.
Louisville has a more urban feel than Lexington. The Old Louisville neighborhood south of downtown is a good place for walking along tree-shaded streets with beautiful Victorian-era homes. There are several bed and breakfast places in this part of the city, which includes lovely Central Park. Downtown Louisville is home to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Muhammed Ali Museum, both of which are worth a visit. Check out the historic Seelbach Hotel, supposedly an inspiration for a setting in the Great Gatsby. And Actors Theatre of Louisville, also downtown, is renowned as one of the country's best theater groups.
As a resident of Lexington, I can say that I prefer living in Lexington and visiting Louisville!Edited: 01 October 2012, 20:22
Thanks for the information!
I would want to go to a race on the weekend, how much time should someone who isn't that interested in racing schedule? ;)
The Makers Mark distillery and Louisville Slugger are on the definite list. I am also hoping to get into the cooperage on Friday, if I can make it.
Probably would go horseback riding over a hike. Any ideas for that?
Anything else not to miss?
Still not really sure where to stay... Would love to find a working horse farm...
All the best,
Actually, here is what I am thinking for an itenerary perspective.
1) Makers Mark Tour
2) Cooperage Tour (if I can get in!)
3) Louisville Slugger Museum and Tour
4) International Museum of the Hours (http://imh.org/) - Any thoughts on this?
5) Tour a working horse farm (which one?)
6) See a horse race, either at Keeneland or Churchill Downs. Probably CD due to its famousness.
7) Go for a horseback ride.
Any thoughts on my questions or where to stay with that in mind? My flight comes in and out of Louisville, but I might be able to switch things around.
All the best,
If you want to stay on a horse farm, you have to come to Lexington. The two bed and breakfasts in Lexington on horse farms are Essence of the Bluegrass and Swann's Nest at Cygnet Farm.Edited: 01 October 2012, 21:21
I think there is so much to do in Lexington, esp. if you are going to do the horse tour and hit up some distilleries. Book your room now, when the races are going on in Keenland, hotels are booked fast. We have gone to that area the last 2 years for the bourbon chase and stayed in lexington. It's only an hour or so drive from louisville to lexington, so both cities are doable. if you are flying into Louisville, stay the night there do some of the louisville stuff for the day and then head down to lexington?
Makers Mark has a great tour, but is a bit farther away from either city. If time is limited, Jim Beam at Clermont is closer to Louisville and Woodford Reserve to Lexington. Both have visitors' centers. Most of the others are in or near Frankfort, Lawrenceburg, Bardstown. There is a new Lexington distillery on the Bourbon Trail. Convenient but lacking in the history of the others. It is Town Branch Distillery.
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