We left Bardstown and drove a few hours over to the Kentucky Horse Park just north of Lexington, Kentucky. We set up camp in this really large park that more resembles a fairground with trees. There are over 250 sites here and it is mostly full. We have seen lots of horse trailer campers as there is an International horse jumping and riding event for young riders taking place at this time. Because of the large crowds here we chose to take a drive over to Frankfort, KY.
We decided it was time for us to visit another state capitol. Our sights were set upon visiting the small town and capitol of Kentucky, the city of Frankfort. Frankfort is the fifth smallest town home to a capitol in the USA and has a population of less than 27,000. The Kentucky River bisects through this scenic town and it is located just ENE of Lexington.
Our first stop was a visit to the state’s capitol building. Kentucky was the 15th state of the union and the current state capitol is its fourth building representing the capitol. The current one was constructed in 1910 and this Beaux Arts Style Capitol is adorned with historic murals and houses a collection of dolls (replicas of every Kentucky First Lady) each dressed in the inaugural gowns. This is really an amazing building and one of the finest state capitols we have visited.
Not far from the capitol is the Old Governor's Mansion which was modeled after Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette's summer villa. It is said to be the oldest official executive residence still in use in the United States and is home to the current Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky. It is quite a stately building all by itself.
From the Old Governor's Mansion we walked around the quaint little downtown area noting some of the architecture. Also located downtown is the third building used as the state capitol. Not a lot was happening in the small town but we found it interesting enough for a visit anyhow. Next we hopped back into the car and headed for Fort Hill. Fort Hill is where a large cemetery is located and is where we found the gravesites of Kentucky pioneers Daniel and Rebecca Boone. It was neat to bring a sense of reality to an otherwise seemingly fictitious, larger than life character. The grave site is in a very scenic locale as it is overlooking the Kentucky River with a great view of the state capitol.
Our last stop of our tour of Frankfort was the Buffalo Trace Distillery or most notably known as the former George T. Stagg Distillery and the O.F.C. Distillery. They are the makers of Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey and this distillery claims it is the oldest continuously operating distillery in the United States. Originating in 1795 it was one of only 4 distilleries allowed by permit to distill during Prohibition. Bourbon at that time was available by prescription from a medical doctor who could prescribe a bottle a week for "medicinal purpose". Our tour guide joked that often several family members would all visit the doctor at one time for these prescriptions so during Prohibition the family doctor was their very best friend.
Buffalo Trace Distillery tours are free and we very much enjoyed the old historic buildings onsite. This is a very popular tour as the group in front of ours and our group had 42 visitors! At the end of the tour we were allowed three tastings and samples of their really decadent and delicious chocolate pecan bourbon balls. So impressed were we by their chocolate cream desert liqueur, Sharon had to bring a bottle home to savor in honor of our both turning 60 this year!