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Monday, October 20, 2014

Leaving Bowling Green for Bourbon Country


Monday October 20,2014 Comfort Inn Bellville, Ohio Room 167

Started out yesterday morning from Bowling Green and decided to take off on back roads from the Interstate and head up to Bardstown, Ky which is the center of bourbon country. Initially the road was wide and pretty busy but as me moved closer to Bardstown it became narrow and very twisty turny. Since we missed foliage in Northern New York and Vermont we were quite taken with the colorful trees of Kentucky and the flowers still in bloom. We were particularly appreciative since Bill has kept us informed about the cold days and frosty mornings that have already descended upon home. Neither of us are looking forward to that dark, gray and dismal time so we continue to revel in cloudless blue skies and the contrails that show the euphoric flight of jets in the clear blue air.

When we reached Bardstown our first stop was Heaven Hill distillery. Elijah Craig, Legacy, Fighting Cock, Evan Williams are just a few of the brands they produce. I love the rick houses ( rack houses ) that are scattered over the hillsides of this part of Kentucky. They remind me of the refectory buildings and dormitories of monasteries. Perhaps, they were copied from those by the monks who distilled heady brews for centuries. The style of building doesn’t vary much from one distillery to another but the materials used to build them do. Some are brick, some beautiful gray stone and others are made with metal siding. But ALL of them are filled from floor to ceiling with kegs of bourbon aging to perfection –evaporating into the air and making it sweet with the odor of the angels’ share. We did not sample for several reasons, not necessarily in order of importance: one cannot sample without taking the tour and paying for it ( we’ve done that twice before ) and we were going to be driving to several distilleries—the operational word here being drive. Still, there are products at each that we have come to enjoy and which are not available at home. At Heaven Hill that includes a bourbon honey and apple bourbon basting sauce for meats. They also had a variety pack of bourbon bon bons that I’ve not seen before. I also picked up a four pack of bonbons for us to savor while driving.

Off we continued, again through small towns and neighborhoods, past pumpkin patches and horse pastures.I happened to look down at my light blue blouse and discovered that I’d dropped a huge blob of chocolate right on the front of it. We pulled over in front of a small Church with a for sale sign in front of it. Out came the Dawn detergent and an old bottle of water and I went to work to get out the stain. One can do laundry anytime, anyplace when one is prepared. Then we resumed the amusement park ride travel—laughing crazily at silly things—like Barb saying THAT road has been repaved ( I must mention the roughness of this narrow country road, too ) as we passed a branch off to the left with smooth, newly laid blacktop. I laughed and said, yes, but 15 minutes ago that was a DIRT road. Little things get very funny when you are getting dizzy from the curves and dips and hills.  LOL

Soon we entered Lawrenceburg, which we were to see a few times coming and going. Our next stop was Wild Turkey. A new visitors’ center and tasting room, since we were here last, but we both loved the old cabin in the woods that was the original. The ladies said, oh, but it was too small for the crowds we get, like the 1000 people we had yesterday. Hm, I guess, but the ambiance is gone. Here I picked up a small bottle of Rare Breed and a shot glass to go with it. In my young single days, remember Jane?, my drink of choice was Wild Turkey on the rocks. Oh, the number I was able to drink of an evening. Now, after one, I’m ready for bed. In those days, we’d drink and dance and close the place down—Friends was a favorite watering hole, though there were others—lol

From there we headed to Four Roses. It is built in a California Mission style. As we walked in, Barb headed to the tasting room to ask about tastings. I proceeded to the welcome desk where I asked if one could taste without touring—the girl was answering me as she and the fellow next to her were eyeing Barb. She said no and that the last tour had started at 3 and we’d missed it. I said well, she’ll find that out and will be over in a minute. But the guy went hurrying off into the tasting room where Barb was speaking to the lady serving and he interrupted them to tell Barb she couldn’t be there—which is what she asked the lady who was just about to answer her. He was so brusque—don’t know what he thought Barb was going to do—overpower the lady and run off with the tasting bottle??? No class!  I did buy a small two shot bottle of the Reserve to share with Barb as a nightcap. ( It was as harsh and distasteful as he! )

Passed back through Lawrenceburg and headed to Woodford Distillery. The way went through some of the most beautiful scenery of the day—horse country with manicured pastures, thoroughbreds grazing in the waning light and elegant fences and gates  to tasteful homes. Even a private track for testing the prowess of those wonderful horses and to show them off to potential buyers. And the distillery is so classy. If it were not so late in the day, I would have toured here. The staff was wonderful The shop was closing in ten minutes but there was absolutely no evidence of impatience on the part of any of them. The young girl who waited on us chatted with me about turquoise and her desire to study silversmithing. I gave her Perry Null’s website to dream on. Here I purchased a mint julep syrup to add to my bourbon and picked up a two pack of mint julep bourbon bon-bons---wish I’d bought a box of those—delicious.

And the day rapidly drawing to a close we covered the remaining eleven miles to Frankfort ready to call it a day. Unfortunately, I could not seem to find my way to the motel and we drove in places of that Capitol town that I’ve never seen before. All lovely but none with the motel. Finally, I said let’s get on I 64 and head toward Louisville and see what we can find. Or else, let’s stop at a gas station and let me get directions. We stopped at a Shell station and I was told to get on I 64 toward Lehville and get off at the next Frankfurt exit and there it was—sort of—we couldn’t find it, but after turning around we discovered the Holiday Inn Express and after turning around ( I’ve never been in a car that makes as many U-turns on highways as this one!) once more we got in to confirm our reservation.

Went immediately to Longhorn and had a terrific steak dinner with malbec for $15!!! We had a $25 gift card and the manager gave us a 10% senior discount!! Returned to our fabulous suite, cracked open the Four Roses, the mint julep bon bons and watched PBS until 12:30.  A terrific day and great night’s sleep. To be continued---Kathy and Barb


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