Bardstown has a rich past and a historic tour of the town is a must when visiting. Founded in the late 1700’s, Bardstown is the second-oldest town in Kentucky and full of pioneer, Civil War and of course, bourbon history. Step back in time visiting historic homes, jails, cemeteries and stage coach stops. Continue your exploration of local history and stay at the beautiful Bourbon Manor Bed and Breakfast within two pre-civil war homes. Our antique-appointed guest rooms have all the charm of the past but with every modern comfort. Reserve one of our luxury suites for an unforgettable summer escape.
Historic Tour Sites of Bardstown
A journey through Bardstowns past must begin at Spalding Hall which houses The Bardstown Historical Museum and the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History. Built in the early 1800s, the hall served as a hospital for both North and South during the Civil War. Rare artifacts and historical documents from the war include Lincoln documents. Exhibits exploring the roots of the bourbon industry include antique whiskey bottles and authentic moonshine stills. A newly added show also brings the 1920’s and the age of prohibition to life. The Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center, an official stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail®, also offers an in depth look at the history of bourbon. The one hour “Mashbill Tour” and 45 minute “Stay Bonded” tour dive deep into the story of bourbon and includes tastings. While the Civil War Museum is a must see for any Civil War enthusiast. A visit here includes three museums in one. The main exhibit covers politics, infantry, and artillery. While the history of women that contributed as spies, nurses and combat soldiers is explored in the Women’s Museum of the Civil War. Also on the grounds walk a re-creation of a Colonial period settlement in the Old Bardstown Village.
Sip a pint in the Old Talbott Tavern, where pioneers stopped over 200 years ago. This stagecoach stop dates back to 1779 and is one of the oldest in America. The charming stone saloon is now a restaurant and pub for weary travelers today. Dine on southern comfort food where Daniel Boone, President Andrew Jackson, and even a young Abraham Lincoln took shelter. Hear the stories about outlaw Jesse James and even a few ghostly visits over a drink in the bourbon bar. For more history and even a few spooky tales explore the Old Nelson County Jail and Pioneer Cemetery. The jail housed prisoners from 1797 until 1987 and was the oldest operating jail in the state of Kentucky. While the cemetery is over 300 years old. Many soldiers from the Civil War are buried here along with John Fitch the inventor of the steamboat.
No historic tour of Bardstown is complete without a visit to My Old Kentucky Home. The most famous historical landmark in town offers house, grounds and specialized tours. Walk through the 200-year-old Federal-style mansion with period antiques, art and architecture details. Your tour guides, also dressed in period clothing, illustrates life during the Civil War through stories, music and even cooking. Wickland, Home of Three Governors, a Georgian-style house built circa 1825 also offers a view of Civil War home life. This home has a self-guided architectural tour and holds seasonal events as well.
Bardstown also has a self-guided historic tour that includes 48 buildings right in the center of town. All the sites are an easy walk from the Bourbon Manor Bed and Breakfast. Our private wooded setting is just blocks from all the historic sites, shopping and dining. Book a relaxing summer getaway to historic Bardstown today.