Fringe Benefits: Louisville is Katie’s first visit to Kentucky! In this episode, she explores a research forest, hikes through beautiful underground caves, learns about the history of Louisville, takes a riding lesson, and enjoys the local spirit – whiskey!
Louisville is the largest city in the state of Kentucky, and is famous for its horse country and horse racing. Home of the Churchill Downs, the city comes alive for Kentucky Derby week. Downtown is home to historic architecture, an increasing culinary scene, and an arts district. Located right on the Ohio River, the state of Indiana is just a bridge-cross away.
Katie begins her tour of the area in horse country, with a stable visit and riding lesson at Bannon Woods Farm. Instructor Jenna Martin leads our beginner lesson, and offers great info on horse culture and history. It’s fall, and the leaves and changing colors offer a great backdrop for an afternoon ride.
To enjoy more of the fall colors and crisp air, Katie heads to Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. Here, director Dr. Mark Wourms shares some forest finds and interesting facts about the preserve. the 14,000 acres is available for hiking and exploring. There’s also some great outdoor artwork and sculpture installations. And, we’re able to get a view of The Knobs – a narrow, arc-shaped region of land with isolated hill formations. From up high, it’s a sight!
Not far from downtown Louisville, we head to Locust Grove, a National Historic Site. The 55-acre estate and circa 1790 home was a gathering place for some of the most influential people of the time. Built by Lucy and George Croghan, the site hosted three US presidents, Lucy’s brother’s William Clark (of the famed Lewis and Clark expedition) and her other brother George Rogers Clark, founder of Louisville. We meet director Carol Ely for more on the Croghans, and the life of the slaves that worked to maintain the property and the family business.
Just over the bridge, across the Ohio River and into Indiana, we spent a great day in Corydon, Indiana and at Squire Boone Caverns. Here, the stalagmites and stalactites continue to grow, just as they have for hundreds – if not thousands – of years, forming this beautiful cavern. Squire Boone, Daniel’s younger brother, explored these caves in the early 1800s. He’s now buried in the caves, as per his request. He claimed to have escaped to the cave following a raid on his land by Native Americans. An underground creek rushes through the cave, and much remains unexplored to this day.
Katie wraps up her visit to the Louisville area with a visit to Bardstown, KY – the “Bourbon Capital of the World.” Here, we meet Hunter Chavanne of Willett Distillery for a tour and tasting. This is family business – with a tradition going back to the Civil War. Here, an average of 3500 barrels of whiskey are produced annually. Hunter offers a great, behind-the-scenes tour of the distillery and it’s history.
The fall proves to be a great time to visit Louisville, and experience its culture and flavors!
For more information on Louisville area lodging, dining and attractions, visit the Destination Guide.