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Sip ’n’ stay at these bourbon-themed lodgings

Bourbon-themed art, an on-site day-spa and historic charm are just a few attractions at Bourbon Manor. Photo: Bourbon Manor
Guests at Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn enjoy an award-winning gourmet country breakfast with a menu that changes daily. Photo: Bourbon Manor
The Stone House by Castle & Key is the oldest stone dwelling in Franklin County. Photo: Kyle Terry
After two-and-a-half years of loving restoration, the 1881-era Woodford Hotel boasts rooms named and decorated for area distilleries. Photo: Diane Deaton Street
The Four Roses Suite advances a distillery theme in style at The Woodford Hotel. Photo: Diane Deaton Street
Castle & Key Distillery offers three lodging options in restored historic properties: The Stone House, The Shanklin House and The Field House. Photo: Kyle Terry
Accommodating 24 comfortably, The Woodford Hotel in Versailles is popular with wedding parties and other large groups. Photos: Diane Deaton Street
Bourbon Barrel Cottages have an on-site tour company that transports guests on themed distillery tours via Mercedes Sprinter limousines. Photo: Shae x Jess

VISITORS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE and staycationing Kentuckians looking for the ultimate bourbon lovers’ experience don’t have to limit themselves to bourbon-centric tours, tastings and souvenirs. 

They can book a stay at a bourbon-themed bed and breakfast, hotel or cottage offered by their fellow bourbon enthusiasts as short-term rentals with all the perks and insider knowledge a bourbon aficionado could want. 

This example may be the ultimate in bourbon lodging: cottages with exteriors that resemble miniature rickhouses. Inside, each of Jay and Angie Ballard’s Bourbon Barrel Cottages at Finnell Farm just outside of Lawrenceburg is themed for an area bourbon producer. Ballard opened his lodging, consisting of five two-bedroom, one-bath cottages in October 2022. The development is served by Blue Grass Energy. 

The Ballards have a tour company on site offering Mercedes Sprinter limos with staff to transport guests in style on two themed distillery tours—Bourbon & Vines or Bourbon & Brews—and shuttle them back to their cottages afterward. 

Guests have access to their own hot tubs, fire pit and a nearby volleyball court; and some evenings feature bourbon seminars, tastings or classes. Eventually, the property will have a venue with a bar for corporate meetings and other events, as well as a walking trail, ponds and water features, Ballard says. 

“We have four of the main distilleries within 30 minutes of us,” he says. “We really wanted to have something that was out in the country where people from the city can witness wildlife and relax and have a quiet and peaceful vacation.” 

Blooming barrels and art 

Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn is ideally situated in Bardstown, billed as the Bourbon Capital of the World. For the past decade, owner/innkeepers Tyler Horton and Todd Allen have welcomed guests to their 10 guest rooms—named for bourbon cocktails—in two pre-Civil War plantation homes. The two also own a 40-acre farm, served by Salt River Electric, within 5 miles of their inn. 

A bar offers signature cocktails and nightly happy hour, and there’s also an on-site day spa. The award-winning full country gourmet breakfast menu changes daily, but always includes a bourbon-infused dessert, Allen says. 

“Throughout the entire inn we’ve really played up the bourbon theme,” he says. 

Bourbon barrel planters situated on the property are bursting with colorful blooms, and local artisans have provided bourbon-themed art. The inn also offers three bourbon distillery tours; a shuttle van service and a limo or SUV service, which innkeepers can arrange with providers in advance for guests; and a self-guided option. 

Bourbon boutique 

The circa 1881 Woodford Hotel on North Main Street in Versailles underwent 2 1/2 years of renovations, emerging as a boutique destination hotel in the heart of bourbon country, where 10 distilleries produce bottles of the good stuff, each within a 15-minute drive, according to owners Eric and Kristen Carrico. 

Each room is named and decorated for an area distillery, with historical, vintage and artistic pieces complementing the themes. 

Eventually, the hotel will offer tastings. 

“We love to have large groups,” Kristen Carrico says. “A lot of people think it’s great to take the whole hotel” for weddings and other events, since it can accommodate 24 comfortably. 

“Backward in time” 

Castle & Key Distillery in Woodford County has begun offering lodging in three locations for visitors—including its three-bedroom The Stone House by Castle & Key in downtown Frankfort, which opened in May 2022. 

Julie Williams, owner of JPW Creative, designed its interior, transforming one room into a curated library of Kentucky-oriented books and books by Kentucky authors, with photos displayed from the collection of the E.H. Taylor Hay family, well-known as bourbon history royalty. 

“When you walk into that room it feels like you’re walking backward in time,” Williams says. 

The Stone House, like its sister properties under the Castle & Key label, The Shanklin House near Nicholasville and The Field House in Woodford County, display the distillery’s artistic labels in frames. 

The bar in The Stone House features Castle & Key branded glassware and decanters, and a screened-in porch overlooks the Kentucky River, a perfect spot to enjoy those beverages. 

“(The property) just reeks of history,” Williams says. “Back when that house was built, and through the next 100 years, so many people who made Kentucky a state would’ve gone through those doors.”

SHANNON CLINTON, an Elizabethtown native, has been a freelance writer in Kentucky and beyond for 24 years. 

Featured lodging 

Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn 

714 N. 3rd St., Bardstown 

(502) 268-7266 

The Stone House by Castle & Key 

101 W. Main St., Frankfort 

The Shanklin House by Castle & Key 

1620 Keene Road, Nicholasville 

The Field House by Castle & Key 

3025 Versailles Road, Frankfort 

(502) 395-9070 

Bourbon Barrel Cottages at Finnell Farm 

1776 Clifton Road, Lawrenceburg 

(502) 622-7735 

The Woodford Hotel 

112 N Main St., Versailles 

(502) 415-8529 

Other bourbon-themed lodging 

The Samuels House 

160 S. Saint Gregory Church Road, Samuels 

(502) 999-0203 

The Manchester 

941 Manchester St., Lexington 

(859) 785-3900 

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