What is the recipe for a perfect Kentucky Bourbon whiskey? Family tradition, limestone and a little bit of magic! Even though Bourbon has been produced anywhere in the United States, it is strongly associated with the American South, and especially Kentucky where 97 percent of the world’s Bourbon is created, following a 200-year tradition. Inhale the mellow caramel and oaky aroma, and observe how countless barrels age to liquid perfection. “So many Bourbons, so little time!” is a sigh often heard around here, so come along and help untangle the recipe, sip by sip. But no tour of Kentucky can be complete without horses and horse racing! Tour amazing, multi-million dollar horse farms, and meet retired champions and the best of the breed.
Degree of Difficulty –
Upon your arrival at Louisville International Airport, proceed to your hotel at your leisure. (Transfer is not included) Louisville is home to famous distilleries, Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby, all of which you will experience during your stay. To begin your trip, visit Louisville’s famous Bourbon Row and the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience. Featuring an artisanal distillery and tastings, the experience celebrates the original Kentucky Bourbon distiller, and the tradition that remains today. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel. Since its grand opening in 1835, the Galt has hosted a long list of dignitaries, including Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt and is the official hotel of the Kentucky Derby. GALT HOUSE HOTEL.
A full day of Kentucky culture and history await you! After breakfast, your first stop is the Kentucky Derby Museum. Dedicated to American thoroughbred horse racing and the preservation of the history of the Kentucky Derby, the museum highlights the stories of owners, trainers and jockeys. Watch every Kentucky Derby from 1918 on and learn about the painstaking procedure o f breeding and training young foals, including the arduous path to the Kentucky Derby’s Winner’s Circle. Your next stop is Churchill Downs, the thoroughbred race track and host of the annual Kentucky Derby. Designated a National Landmark in 1986, Churchill Downs has hosted the Kentucky Derby since it began in 1875. In 1895, the infamous twin spires were placed on the grandstand and the traditional presentation of the garland of roses to the winner at the end of the race were added. Enjoy lunch at the Derby Café, known for its Kentucky themed food including the classics: Kentucky Burgoo, a slow cooked stew that dates back to Daniel Boone, containing “a large variety of meats, vegetables and spices” and Derby Pie, a walnut, chocolate chunk and bourbon pie creation, both of which will successfully help ruin your diet. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a classic Mint Julep (at extra cost). Travel onward to the first distillery tour of your trip – Jim Beam in Clermont, globally one of the bestselling brands. Since 1795, only interrupted by Prohibition, seven generations of the same dynasty have been involved in whiskey production. This evening, return to Louisville and enjoy dinner at your leisure. GALT HOUSE HOTEL.
After breakfast, travel into the Kentucky heartland for more history and bourbon. Your first stop is My Old Kentucky Home State Park and Museum. It was on these grounds that Stephen Foster wrote, “My Old Kentucky Home,” the now famous state song played prior to every Kentucky Derby and most formal and sporting events in Kentucky. At the center of the Park in Federal Hill sits the federal style home that served as inspiration for the song. En route to Bardstown, enjoy a visit to the Heaven Hill Distillery and Bourbon Heritage Center, for a hosted tour through the history, heritage and lore of Bourbon making and tasting at the multi-generational family owned and operated distillery. Take a walking tour of Bardstown, one of the first cities in Kentucky. Established in 1788, the downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The regional production of Bourbon is celebrated by the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival, whose promoters have trademarked the phrase, “Bourbon Capital of the World,” to apply exclusively to Bardstown. See the rustic Old Talbott Tavern, built in 1779, which served Bourbon to several notable Americans, including Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Boone. Bullet holes in an upstairs wall are reputed to have been shot by the outlaw Jesse James. Visit the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey, showcasing the history of the production of the spirit, and the Civil War Museum, one of the most important of its kind in the country. Continuing on the Bourbon Trail you reach the pristine, old-fashioned Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, where Bourbon is still made by hand. Dinner will be at your leisure back in Louisville. GALT HOUSE HOTEL.
Your drive takes you to the Kentucky Horse Park, with the 2-3 hour Horse Farm Tour, a rare opportunity to see some of the most important horses to ever set foot on a racetrack and visit with the Thoroughbred celebrities at some of the most beautiful horse farms in the world. Tour the grounds of historic estates of the Bluegrass Region as well as impeccably-maintained, multi-million dollar farms of international movers and shakers. Hear behindthe-scenes stories about the individuals and horses that make Lexington ‘the Horse Capital of the World.’ Visit the International Museum of the Horse and the grounds to see the parade of breeds where 40 different breeds of horses are raised, and retired horse champions are given their well-deserved final home. View the farrier’s and harness maker’s shop, the Breeds Barn, the draft horse and carriage horse barns and the American Saddle Horse Museum, which exhibits the history of horse racing and breeding. Enjoy lunch at the Horse Park. In the late afternoon head back to Louisville to enjoy a farewell dinner. GALT HOUSE HOTEL.
(B, L, Farewell D)
Your exciting tour of Kentucky has come to an end as you return home today.
PRICING: Per person, based on double occupancy
Maximum group size: Although there’s no limit we suggest a maximum of 35 travelers.
YOUR JOURNEY INCLUDES:
- Superior accommodations at the historic Galt House Hotel.
- Deluxe motor coach throughout with experienced driver/guide.
- All meals as specified in the itinerary.
- All entry fees and tastings as specified per the itinerary.
- Included activities:
- Evan Williams Bourbon Experience
- Kentucky Derby Museum/Walking Tour
- My Old Kentucky Home State Park
- Jim Beam Distillery/Heaven Hill/Maker’s Mark
- Kentucky Horse Park/Farm Tour
- Complimentary baggage tags.
Kentucky experiences all four distinct seasons. The daytime temperature during the summer averages 87 degrees; the winter lows average 23 degrees. Consequently, Spring and Fall are Kentucky’s most popular seasons. In the Spring, Kentucky comes to life with a blaze of color. The bluegrass fields glow brightly and spring foals can be seen making their first runs in Kentucky’s Horse Country. During the Fall, the weather in Kentucky brings even more color. Shades of yellow, red, and orange foliage can be spotted as early as mid-September, with a statewide peak somewhere around mid-October.
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