Story by G. Clay Whittaker
Day Two (The Marathon)
By this point in the trip, you’ll likely have two distinct groups established—one that seems unaffected by a long night, and another that’s a little more sensitive to late hours. In cases like these, we’d offer two ways to tackle the morning ahead.
For the early risers, start with a trip to Hadorn’s Bakery. We can’t say with absolute certainty that they make the best donuts we’ve ever tasted, but you’d do well to order twice as many as you expect you’ll want to eat, and thank us later.
Then head on over to Bardstown Country Club to get 18 holes in. This club has a lovely, winding course with a lot of diverse holes and, unfortunately, plenty of places for your friends to lose their balls. Just remember it’s supposed to be a party and try not to worry too much about the score.
For the not-so-morning-people, take the edge off with breakfast at Bullitt’s Winery and Bistro This place has a concord grape sangria that’s surprisingly easy to sip, especially alongside one of their famous pizzas. And by the time you finish, the golfers should be past the turn. Once everyone has reconvened, take a stroll across town to the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History. This whiskey museum offers a quiet, self-guided stroll through the history of bottles, bootleggers, and booze. It opens around 10 a.m. each day, and you can do the whole thing in as little as 20 minutes.
Next up, it’s distillery time. Jump in the car and head to Maker’s Mark Distillery, where everyone can get their Instragram time in for the day. Dip your own bottle in the famous red wax at the gift shop, and pick up a bottle of Bill Samuels’ Private Select. Take the distillery tour and enjoy a spectacular seasonal meal at Star Hill Provisions, their on-site restaurant (HINT: If you’re there during warm weather, be sure to ask for the Bourbon slushie of the day).
As an alternate option, or if you’ve already been to Maker’s Mark Distillery, consider using your Saturday afternoon to grill out at My Old Kentucky Home’s campgrounds. You’ll need to grab some charcoal and other supplies, but it’s well worth the effort—especially if you pick something up from Boone’s Butcher Shop. Grab some ribeyes, or your own blend of ground meats for burgers, and setup for a couple hours of meat, smoke, and nature.
As the afternoon sets in, you’ll have to decide what to do with the rest of your day. And if you only have time for one more activity, our pick is undoubtedly a distillery tour at Barton 1792. Barton gets our vote alongside Maker’s Mark for a couple of reasons. First, it’s not open on Sundays, so if you’re fitting this in during a regular weekend, Saturday will be your best time to see it. Second, Barton 1792 is the only free bourbon tour in Bardstown (or most anywhere else in the world for that matter). And third, it’s a distillery full of history—from distilling for the government during World War II, to making bourbon for bootleg—err—Chicago businessmen. This stunning distillery has a little something for everyone.
If your crew is super efficient and you have time to check out another distillery, we suggest Heaven Hill Distillery & Bourbon Heritage Center. Heaven Hill distills the likes of Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, the Parker’s Heritage Collection, and offers a wide variety of tour experiences to choose from.
After tastings, tours, 18 holes of golf, and eating heartily, we sincerely recommend that you make your way back to your accommodations for some down time. Do whatever you need to do to re-energize because if you go with our next dinner recommendation, you’ll want to have your wits about you.
If your best bud is a foodie, do everything you can to book a meal at Harrison-Smith House. Be warned though, Harrison-Smith House is not typically open to the public. Contact them early to schedule a private dinner for your group, and let Chef Newman Miller blow your mind with world class food (HINT: You’ll be handsomly rewarded for letting him make bold ingedient choices).
Assuming you have any room left over (which might be a challenge), you’re going to want to have a nightcap at the Kentucky Bourbon Marketplace, right down the street. The bourbon list is substantial, the cocktails are inventive, and they frequently have a few rare bottles for sipping on something that’s hard to find.