3 Weekend Getaways Near Cincinnati
Bardstown, Kentucky: 135 miles southwest of Cincinnati
We mean this in the kindest way, but Bardstown is soaked. Three of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail's six distilleries are here, as well as a whiskey museum. You can take a bourbon-theme trolley tour, see Abraham Lincoln's liquor license or dip a bottle of Maker's Mark in red wax.
The town's cooks seem engaged in an unspoken competition to out-infuse each other, and a bourbon guru who goes by Colonel hosts a lively tasting and demo dinner. On the menu? Eclairs with bourbon-chocolate sauce. But you don't have to imbibe to appreciate the town's rich history. Bardstown's other claim-to-fame is the plantation house that inspired the song "My Old Kentucky Home."
Click ahead for a trip guide to Bardstown plus two more suggestions for weekend getaways near Cincinnati.
Bardstown: Trip guide
WHAT TO DO
Chapeze House Home of the Kentucky Bourbon Cooking School. (800) 704-4917; kentuckyshomeforbourbon.com
Kentucky Bourbon Trail Three of the trail's distilleries are clustered around Bardstown; the others are closer to Lexington. The trail website is outstanding, with maps, directions and links to area restaurants and lodgings. All distillery tours are free except Woodford Reserve. Pictured at left: The wares at Woodford Reserve. (502) 875-9351; kybourbontrail.com
My Old Kentucky Home State Park In addition to the namesake plantation home, an outdoor summer stock theater company performs Stephen Foster: The Musical. (502) 348-3502; parks.ky.gov
Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History This little museum includes a surprisingly pretty collection of antique bottles. (502) 348-2999; whiskeymuseum.com
WHERE TO EAT
Kurtz Restaurant Owner Marilyn "Toogie" Kurtz learned to fry chicken here when her mother opened the restaurant in 1937. (502) 348-8964; bardstownparkview.com
Xavier's Restaurant Entrees at this elegantly casual spot include a fabulous crab-and-brie stuffed salmon. (502) 349-9464
WHERE TO STAY
Rosemark Haven Bed and Breakfast This lovely B&B has an upscale restaurant in a renovated tobacco barn. From $109. (502) 348-8218; rosemarkhaven.com
For information: Bardstown-Nelson County Tourist and Convention Commission (800) 638-4877; visitbardstown.com
More getaways near Cincinnati
Dayton, Ohio: 50 miles northeast of Cincinnati Sights in this National Aviation Heritage Area range from humble (the Wright brothers' bike shop) to humbling (the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force). The popular Dayton Air Show (July 17-18) stars the Blue Angels. Pictured at left: The Wright flyer sculpture at RiverScape Metro Park. (800) 221-8235; daytoncvb.com
Yellow Springs, Ohio: 62 miles northeast of Cincinnati The 1960s might be history now, but funky Yellow Springs never got the memo. Many shops have a hippie vibe--even baby clothes smell like patchouli! Glen Helen Nature Preserve rounds out a day trip, and the Winds Cafe is special-occasion worthy. (937) 767-2686; destinationyellowsprings.com
(A version of this story appeared in Midwest Living® July/August 2010.)