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 form. 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. On October 18th (our actual wedding anniversary) we got up at 5:30 am, 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.
The drive to our Kentucky Bed and Breakfast was full of hearty conversation, stunning autumn views, and loads of sunshine. The secluded roads leading to Blue Heron Retreat was slightly nerve wrecking to say the least. We arrived a bit late, a little passed dinner time, and were welcomed by one of the Innkeepers, Liz. She gave us a quick tour of the Inn and brought us some vegan homemade chocolate pumpkin muffins. We later realized we had zero phone + internet reception while at the Inn, which added an even more relaxing level to the beginning of our trip.
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
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, which were quite lovely. We then swung by Four Roses for a tour with a kick butt tour guide and got to keep the whiskey glass from out tasting.