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Bardstown, KY makes Journey & Leisure most wonderful US listing

Bardstown, KY makes Journey & Leisure most wonderful US listing


Aged Talbott Tavern is just one particular preferred quit in Bardstown, Ky., which was not too long ago named a person of the most wonderful little towns by Journey and Leisure.

Talbott Tavern

One of Kentucky’s oldest and most picturesque communities has been named one of the most beautiful small towns in America by Travel and Leisure Magazine, which calls it “the epitome of southeastern Americana.”

Nestled in the rolling hills of Nelson County as an official gateway of Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, Bardstown earned a spot on the publication’s list of the “20 Most Beautiful Small Towns in the U.S.”

Bardstown ranks eighth on the list, right up there with the sleepy harbor town of Camden, Maine, and the historic silver mining community of Wallace, which rests at the foot of the Idaho Rocky Mountains.

Things to do in Bardstown, Ky.

Travel and Leisure credits Bardstown as one of the Bluegrass State’s first settlements and “the epitome of southeastern Americana aesthetic: Federal and Georgian architecture, a grid layout, and cobblestoned paths.”

“It also doesn’t hurt that it’s the official start of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail,” the magazine added.

Travel and Leisure also quoted Bardstown tourism director Samantha Brady, who likens the town of about 12,000 to a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.

“Bardstown is undoubtedly the most authentic bourbon destination in the world, with beautiful rolling hills and rickhouses leading the way to a picturesque downtown that resembles a Norman Rockwell painting,” said Samantha Brady, executive director Bardstown-Nelson County Tourist and Convention Commission.

On your visit, you might take a tasting tour at Maker’s Mark Distillery or have a drink at the Old Talbott Tavern. First built in 1779, the tavern is the western stagecoach stop in America and home to the oldest bourbon barn in the world.

If bourbon’s not your thing, there are also carriage rides, a colonial village, historical museums and the Abbey of Gethsemani, where Trappist monks chant, work the land and make delicious fudge.

20 Most Beautiful Small Towns

Each town included in the ranking has a population of fewer than 20,000 people. Here’s the full list, from Travel and Leisure:

  1. Girdwood, Alaska

  2. Sedona, Ariz.

  3. Avalon, Calif.

  4. Palisade, Colo.

  5. Little St. Simons Island, Ga.

  6. Lanai City, Hawaii

  7. Wallace, Idaho

  8. Bardstown, Ky.

  9. Camden, Maine

  10. Fishtown/Leland, Mich.

  11. Taos, N.M.

  12. Medora, N.D.

  13. Joseph, Ore.

  14. Leavenworth, Wash.

  15. Bayfield, Wisc.

  16. Cody, Wyo.

  17. Edenton, N.C.

  18. Galena, Ill.

  19. Hermann, Mo.

  20. Cape May, N.J.

Do you have a question about tourism in Kentucky for our service journalism team? We’d like to hear from you. Fill out our Know Your Kentucky form or email [email protected].

This story was initially printed February 26, 2023, 8:00 AM.

Associated tales from Myrtle Seaside Solar News

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Aaron Mudd is a services journalism reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader, Centre Daily Moments and Belleville News-Democrat. He is based at the Herald-Leader in Lexington, Kentucky.
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