Jenn and I were honored that our friend, Katie, invited us to visit her hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. April is an ideal time to visit—if you consider hanging on fences watching foals wobble their way across rolling bluegrass hills to be a good time. (We do!)
Our first stop on a Friday night: Willie’s Locally Known—famous for barbecue and live Bluegrass music. We debated going to Cheapside Bar & Grill, a Lexingtonian favorite with historic charm, but we were eager to sway our shoulders and tap our feet the energetic strums of Holy Ghost Tent Revival. Their show did not disappoint!
[Note: given the small venue size, Willie’s tabletops and stadium seats at fill up quickly. Definitely arrive well before show time if you want seats, attentive service and a full menu.]
The next morning, Katie’s friend, Tess, took us to the adorable Windy Corner Market—an appropriate spot for gals visiting from the Windy City. We enjoyed our morning meal al fresco…in view of a nearby horse farm!
Sometimes referred to as the Horse Capital of the World, the horse farms in Lexington are plentiful and easy to visit. For those desiring a next level experience, take a drive through Kentucky Horse Park. After paying a small admission, you can see draft horses being groomed and harnessed at the historic barn in the mornings; watch The Parade of Breeds Show; take a Horse Drawn Trolley Tour; visit the International Museum of the Horse; or watch the Horses of the World Show as we did. Afterwards, we somehow managed to coax a Clydesdale to come hang out with us!
After our leisurely morning, we braced ourselves to push through the throngs of seersucker suited gents with their dolled up dates at Keeneland Racecourse. Here, the fashion and people watching are as good as it gets. [Note: if you wear a Derby hat to Keeneland, everyone will know you are a tourist!]
Afterward, Katie’s friend Natanya Nieman showed us around Winstar Farm where she is the resident veterinarian. She introduced us to a few foals and mares—and even a past Kentucky Derby winner.
The water used in bourbon making passes through an ancient limestone shelf, a natural filter just below the ground surface. The taste produced by this natural processing is what makes Kentucky bourbons world famous.
After touring the distillery, we had a tasting in the showroom. I liked the bourbon balls even better than the bourbon.
Our second stop was a well-respected craft distillery: Buffalo Trace. Apparently some of their best Bourbon of all time was from barrels that survived a tornado in 2006. Juxtaposed with the grandeur of Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace is the distillery I’d choose to visit again. I’m planning to try out Four Roses and Wild Turkey on my next trip.
We could have filled a week with fun in Lexington, especially given how well the Lexington Visitors Center provides information to tourists. In addition to the world famous bourbon trail, Lexington has a brewery trail. But again—I’ll save that for next time.