Bardstown: Bourbon, History and More

Railroads were an important piece of early bourbon distribution Credit: Kentucky Railway Museum

Celebrate National Bourbon Day in the Bourbon Capital of the World

For a small town, Bardstown knows how to celebrate big. The Kentucky town, easily accessible from both Louisville and Lexington, is nicknamed the “Bourbon Capital of the World.” This makes it the ideal place to celebrate National Bourbon Day, June 14.

Five distilleries call Bardstown home: Barton 1792, Willett, Heaven Hill, Maker’s Mark and Jim Beam. The town is part of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Since you can’t drink and drive, you can spend the night in a B & B, or visit Bardstown any time of year to check out its other attractions, in lauding: the Civil War Museum of the Western Theater, Women of the Civil War Museum, and Historic Bardstown Village.


Bardstown bourbon bottles

My Old Kentucky Home State Park has an outdoor theater, tours of a historic house, and a museum.

Historic trains run from Bardstown, with a year-round dinner train and a bourbon dinner train so you don’t drink and drive. If you are visiting with a train fanatic, stop at the Kentucky Railway Museum.

Bardstown also has a strong religious heritage (one that is not at odds with the bourbon distilling – go figure!) – it is home of the first diocese of the West – so this little town should figure into a road trip in the south.


Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell