We did a 5 day visit touching on the Bourbon Trail and Lexington area. This was part of a larger trip to other midwest states.
Day One: We drove from Branson, Missouri and stayed the first night at Best Western Parkside Inn - arriving around 8:30 p.m. We had dinner at the close by Cracker Barrel Restaurant.
Day Two: We went to Kentucky Horse Park during the day. There is a lot of horses and exhibits to see. The museum is stuffed full of amazing horse history that can take lots of time to see if you want to take in it all. We had lunch at Kentucky Horse Park.
After Kentucky Horse Park, we drove to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill and checked in for the night. This is an amazing place to stay. Our room was large; nicely appointed. There was a common area in the small building where there are comfortable chairs and we ended up playing scrabble there in the evening. We had dinner at the Trustee Officer Dining Room; nice dinner. We arrived early enough to roam much of the grounds between the time we checked in and dinner. It was a great way to enjoy Shaker Village and I highly recommend it for a nice place to stay. (Note: The rooms even have TV but we opted to do without.).
Day Three: We had breakfast at Shaker Village Trustee Officer Dining Room and then explored a bit further. There is lots of places for hiking, biking, and horse back riding. Late morning we drove to Keeneland Race Track as we were there for fall racing season. We did not want to get dressed up so opted to get reservations at the comfortable Equestrian Room. You can roam in and out all day to see the races; do the betting. At your table you can see the races on several televisions and also have enjoyable meal and drinks.
The beds there are comfortable; the outside areas are nice; and morning breakfast is good. Bathrooms are on the smaller size. We checked in and went to sit outside. We then heard horse hoofs and looked up to see a horse carriage. The driver asked if we wanted to go to a twilight ride around Bardstown (of course for a fee). We took him up on it and had an enjoyable visit of the area.
He returned us directly to our motel - how nice.
After the horse carriage ride, we went for dinner (which was good) at the historic Old Talbott Tavern.
We had an enjoyable morning and then drove to Makers Mark and had an enjoyable tour there. This is a fun place to see bourbon tasting and enjoy some tasting.
We then went to Heavens Hill Distillery and took their shorter tour - it was good and the tour guide was amazing - great stories and a good tour.
We then had a late lunch at the lovely late lunch at the Kurtz Restaurant.
We returned to the Best Western having do some laundry. We also watched our UC Berkeley Cal Bear football game against USC (USC won). We went next door to the Stephen Foster buffet restaurant for a very reasonably priced late dinner that night.
We needed to be in Cincinnati late afternoon for a wedding for the weekend. We had an enjoyable breakfast at the Best Western sitting outside in the sun. We then drove and went on the Woodford Reserve Distillery Tour
It was a nice tour - and the bourbon balls are especially good.
On the drive there you drive through some very nice horse country.
After our tour we drove and saw the capitol at Frankfort and then drove to downtown Lexington and had dinner at a small restaurant close to Transylvania University. Overall, we were glad we did not stay in Lexington itself. We found it an ok city - but nothing charming. Perhaps we missed the best, but we were in the Gratz Park area. We had a nice lunch and then was on our way to Cincinatti.
Overall we had a great time in the Lexington area. (Note:We had visited Kentucky before and had seen most of the other major areas but had not been to Lexington area - thus we focused more on this particular area.).
Being there in October 2011, we also got to enjoy all the wonderful Halloween decorations people had out and the fall colors! Kentucky is one of our favorite places to visit.
We want to thank everyone who helped us plan a great trip to this area. Best to you and everyone in Kentucky!