May 12, 2020

Scenes from the Old Talbott Tavern, Bardstown, Ky.

When it came to planning our trip along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, for me there was only one obvious choice for where to stay the first night.  It’s a registered landmark full of history – not just bourbon-related (although it does boast the world’s oldest bourbon bar) but also significant to the history of Kentucky itself.  It’s the Old Talbott Tavern in the center of Bardstown, Ky. 

May 1, 2020

(Not quite) on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail: Buffalo Trace

After a lengthy but rewarding afternoon spent at the Wild Turkey visitor’s center near Lawrenceburg, Ky., we saved our final stop of two days of touring some of Kentucky’s finest bourbon distilleries for the Buffalo Trace headquarters in the state capital of Frankfort.

In full disclosure, the Buffalo Trace distillery was an original member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, which has only been an “official” self-guided tour sponsored by the Kentucky Distillers Association since 1999.  But when the Sazerac Company purchased Buffalo Trace in 2010, Sazerac discontinued its partnership with other distillers on the trail (one supposed reason:  Buffalo Trace wanted to continue to offer free tours).  Regardless of how “official” its status is today, Buffalo Trace is widely considered part of the greater Kentucky Bourbon Trail experience, and since I happen to consider Buffalo Trace one of my favorite bourbons (much like Punky loves her Wild Turkey), we made it a priority to come here. 

I also feel compelled to describe my first impressions of Frankfort.  It’s one of the most oddly laid out towns I’ve ever seen, and it takes a little getting used to when you’re first exploring it.  It seems to exist along the Kentucky River in spite of the river’s and the surrounding terrain’s best efforts to thwart city planners who were intent on putting the state capital here.  About 25,000 people call it home today, and its historic neighborhoods near the capitol and the governor’s mansion are quite scenic and hilly.  Its small downtown area is very charming and walkable. 

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...