A Kentucky Bourbon Birthday

The summer of endless traveling continues. I promise that I have actually gone to work a few times since my last post, but--you guessed it--I want to share some photos from summer vacation #4! This trip was not to the other side of the world; it was my home state of Kentucky! The stars really aligned for this one. My husband had only been to Kentucky when it was cold and dreary, and I had been trying to find an opportunity to show him how beautiful it is when the weather is nice. He's also become a bit of a bourbon enthusiast over the past couple of years (thanks in part to my dad), so he had been wanting to visit some of the distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail . When I found out a dear friend of our family was getting married in my hometown in the summertime, I knew this was the perfect time to plan a Kentucky trip! And it also happened to coincide with my (30th!) birthday. Perfection!

My parents coordinated a two-day trek through the bluegrass for the four of us, complete with visits to FIVE bourbon distilleries. We started big, with the home of Alex's favorite bourbon, Woodford Reserve. This one turned out to be our favorite distillery, too. It was classy and beautiful.

Don't you agree?

Our tour was incredibly informative. We learned about the entire process of making bourbon and got to see--and smell! Oh, the wonderful smells!--each step for ourselves. 

And of course, like each tour, it ended with a yummy tasting. I am admittedly not that into drinking straight liquor, but I loved the bourbon balls. ;)

After Woodford, we drove through some beautiful horse country on the way to Frankfort.

 After lunch, it was time for distillery #2, Buffalo Trace. This tour was not our favorite, but we made some hilarious memories that are sure to be running jokes for years to come. (You'll always love Becky the middle school teacher, right Mom? ;))

There were some beautiful grounds at Buffalo Trace, though. I had visions of photographing a bride and groom on this bridge amidst all the amazing gardens. Doesn't is almost look like Claude Monet's water lilies should be under it? Beautiful. 

Next, we took a lovely stroll around My Old Kentucky Home. I hadn't been there for several years and enjoyed showing this famous landmark to Alex.

That evening, we celebrated my birthday (did I mention I'm 30?!) with a delicious dinner and a musical. The Steven Foster Story was very well done and so appropriate for our thoroughly Kentuckian trip. The next day, it was time for more bourbon! Our third distillery tour was at Barton, the makers of 1792 bourbon. We had a great tour guide and tasting there, and the massive bottling facility was especially fascinating.

Next up, Maker's Mark! Like Woodford, this distillery is in a rural area and is perfectly manicured and really pretty. I loved all the red shutters.

There is also a replica of the house where the Samuels family lived, complete with adorable 1950's kitchen.

Our tour here was quite educational and included a lot of interesting history about the family. I especially enjoyed learning about the role of Mrs. Margie Samuels, who gave the brand its name and designed the bottle, including the iconic red wax--which we got to see being added to each bottle by hand on the assembly line!

We visited one last distillery on the way home: Wild Turkey. We got there too late for a tour but still had fun wandering around the fabulous building and tasting a variety of bourbons.

By Saturday, I was ready to relax, so I spent some time on my favorite back porch swing. :)

My brother was able to join us that evening for the wedding. It was a great celebration, and the perfect ending to this wonderful trip. 

Stay tuned for my final summer vacation in my next post. :)