Second wedding anniversary trip | Kentucky + Tennessee
When my Husband and I discussed locations to celebrate of our second wedding anniversary, we knew we wanted to focus on a place showcasing Autumn in it's truest state. Between my love of nature, and his love of whiskey and bourbon, we settled on visiting part of the Bourbon Trail and the Jack Daniels Distillery. As I started choosing locations to visit, I became increasingly more restless with excitement, so when October 18th (our actual wedding anniversary) rolled around you better believe getting up at 5:30 am was as easy as being a six year old on Christmas morning. We plugged our bed and breakfast address into the GPS, my Husband packed and heated the car, I made breakfast wraps, and we headed into a dark, yet serene morning at 6:30 am.
The drive down to Kentucky held loads of good conversation, vibrant autumn landscapes, and warm sunshine. We found many new towns to add to our travel list. The road leading to our Bed and Breakfast runs along East Fork Otter Creek and is a great way to mentally and emotionally begin a trip such as this. We arrived at Blue Heron Bed and Breakfast Retreat Center a bit after dinnertime and one of the Innkeepers, Liz, gave us a tour around the gorgeous Victorian home and brought us some of the homemade dessert she made that evening for dinner.
Waking up at Blue Heron was full of serenity, largely in part because we not only had no WiFi service but we also had no cell phone reception while we stayed there. Blue Heron Retreat sits on thirty acres and is a tranquil goat farm. Each morning we were awoken by morning light, birds chirping, and the goats chatting to one another as the herding dogs attempted to play with them. Innkeeper Liz was a wonderful cook, and the hospitality she and her partner provided us was lovely. In fact the morning that we headed out to Tennessee, we noticed two HUGE tofu scramble breakfast burritos waiting for us (and warmed!) by the front door with a note. Talk about 'feeling right at home'.
We ate dinner for out anniversary at AZUR in downtown Lexington, and returned to the bed ad breakfast to see a sky making us say, "Holy %$@*" when we exited the car. Check out the photo in the gallery below to see what I am talking about...
Our first stop along the Bourbon Trail was Buffalo Trace Distillery located in Frankfort, Kentucky. Buffalo Trace is the oldest continuously operating distillery in America and was a direct spot for buffalo migration route across the Kentucky River. As we drove towards the distillery I noticed a huge water tower with their logo on it. I love all things industrial, gritty, textured and full of character - I was in love.
The first thing you notice while parking is Warehouse C, which, for over 130 years has aged whiskey inside it's brick walls.
Nearly 24,000 white oak barrels line the walls and stretch as far as the eye can see. The outside of the building in itself is stunning; with red, yellow, and orange hues cascading along the brick; all that history flowing.
Our tour was educational and joyful and for me, learning the history behind this distillery made me fall even more in love with the whiskey in enjoy on my balcony back home.
As you walk along the grounds you smell a sweet aroma coming from the mash house, making you anxious for the end of tour tasting...
Although we missed the tour time for Wild Turkey we were able to check out behind the distillery, which quite frankly, was worth the drive over.
Across the Kentucky River is the stunning Young's High Bridge which lay nestled among the beautiful autumn foliage.
Side note: We took a drive over the bridge when we left and it was a memory I won't forget.
While we walked around the gift shop, my Husband noticed a gentlemen sitting on a barrel by the front door and when we headed back to our car he said, "Liz I think that was Jimmy Russel". Jimmy Russel is the longest-tenured active Master Distiller in the entire world. I googled him in the car ride to our next distillery and learned that his nickname is "The Buddha of Bourbon" and his presence within the Bourbon world has defined the culture surrounding Wild Turkey for SIXTY years. I learned that Jimmy's first day of work at Wild Turkey was in September 1954 and since that day production has increased from 80 barrels to 550 a day. Perhaps the fact that he lives six miles away from the Distillery accounts for why he was there that day. My Husband and I wish we could have said hello, but when we looked back inside the entrance + gift shop area where he was sitting on that barrel...he was gone.
Woodford Reserve + Four Roses
(All photographs for this section were taken with my cellphone)
We made a quick stop at Woodford Reserve to pick up their limited edition Kentucky Derby Whiskey, and go for a walk along their grounds.