A Fun Bourbon-Themed Day Trip in Kentucky

I love to plan and share adventures with family and friends. In fact, I’m probably a bit of an adventure planning control freak. I’m a hard person to plan for, which is why my belated surprise birthday adventure was even more special.

My friend Stephanie filled our day with first-time adventures…which is a challenge in itself because I take pride in trying new things all the time.

She planned a fun bourbon-themed Kentucky day trip. Of course, I had to share more about it so that you can be inspired to recreate a day trip of your own.

angel wings mural Frankfort KY

Yes, she was basically a saint for attempting to turn the tables and surprise “Adventure Mom” with a trifecta of first-time adventures.

Adventure Mom Nedra McDaniel at Angel Wing Mural on Rebecca Ruth Chocolates Building

We Brake for Street Art

I LOVE street art and we discovered that Frankfort, Kentucky has added quite a few murals since my last visit.

Batman Mural Frankfort KY
Batman at 133 Holmes St, Frankfort, KY.

The first murals that we noticed were at Blackgate Studios while we were on our way to our first official stop.

Dr Freeze mural Frankfort
Dr. Freeze at 133 Holmes St, Frankfort, KY.
Joker Mural Frankfort KY
The Joker 133 Holmes St, Frankfort, KY.
Beautiful and Brave Mural Frankfort KY
103 West Main Street

We had a few minutes before the tour started at our first stop so we walked over to the Beautiful and Brave mural by Anna and Paula Murphy.

If we had more time we would have checked out more murals in downtown Frankfort.

mural at Post 4075 Frankfort KY
VFW Post 4075 – 104 E 2nd St, Frankfort, KY
Angel Wings Frankfort KY
116 E 2nd St, Frankfort, KY

If you don’t want to drive far, the mural with angel wings is on the side of the building of our first official stop.

Batman Mural Frankfort KY

Visit the Home of the Original “Bourbon Ball” at Rebecca Ruth Chocolates

116 E 2nd St, Frankfort, KY

If you’ve ever tried a bourbon ball, you have Ruth Booe to thank.

Rebecca Ruth chocolates Frankfort

This fourth-generation, family-owned Kentucky business dates back to 1919 specializing in gourmet chocolates.

candy tours Rebecca Ruth chocolates

Tour the Chocolate Factory & Museum at Rebecca Ruth Chocolates

You can schedule a tour in advance or as a walk-in on a first-come, first-serve basis. The tour group is limited to 15 people.

During the factory tour, you’ll learn more about their 100-year-old history and candy-making process. No cameras are allowed in the factory area but you will definitely take the memory of the wonderful chocolate smells with you.

I loved that we got to see the marble table that survived two fires that are still used for candy making today. I also found the video-sharing more about Ruth’s history to be very interesting.

It made me admire Ruth’s resilience, perseverance, business savvy, and grit as an entrepreneur even more.

museum at Rebecca Ruth chocolates Frankfort

At the end of the tour, you can view a collection of candy-making memorabilia in the museum area.

Group Tour Times:

Monday – Saturday:
10:30am, 11:00am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2:00pm, & 2:30pm

Rebecca Ruth Chcolates Tour Pricing:

  • Adults (18 & up): $6.00 each
  • Children (0 to 17): $4.00 each

Professional Group Tours (All Ages): $4.00 each
School Groups (All Ages): $4.00 each

*Candy Production runs Monday – Thursday. There is no candy production scheduled for Friday or Saturday.*

Bourbon balls at Rebecca Ruth chocolates

The best part of the tour was the complimentary bourbon ball at the end. The alcohol doesn’t cook out of the bourbon balls so there is another option for kids.

sign at Rebecca Ruth chocolates Frankfort

If you are on a tight budget, skip the tour and use the money toward purchasing more chocolate. You’ve got to have priorities, right?!

chocolate at Rebecca Ruth Chocolates Frankfort KY

Retail Shop at Rebecca Ruth Chocolates

Of course, the best part of visiting Rebecca Ruth Chocolates is actually tasting the gourmet chocolates.

Mint KY Colonels at Rebecca Ruth chocolates

Our Chocolate Souvenirs

The chocolates are sold by weight, not individually priced. Our strategy was to try a little bit of everything.

chocolates from Rebecca Ruth chocolates Frankfort

We sampled the following chocolates.

  • Bourbon coffee creams
  • Bourbon cherry
  • Dark chocolate toffee
  • Milk chocolate toffee
  • Mint Julip
  • Bourbon Balls
  • Moonshine apple pie
  • Bourbon truffle

The classic bourbon ball and the dark chocolate toffee were my favorites.

outside Castle and Key Distillery

Shop & Sip Castle & Key Distillery

4445 McCracken Pike, Frankfort, KY

Our next stop on our bourbon-themed adventure was Castle & Key Distillery.

 boiler room at Castle and Key Distillery

We had a reservation for the “Shop & Sip” which allowed us to shop in the historic Boiler Room with merchandise and Castle & Key spirits for purchase. We also explored the grounds of Castle & Key.

friends at Castle and Key Distillery
boiler room at Castle and Key Distillery
bottles at boiler room at Castle and Key Distillery
Counter 17 at Castle and Key Distillery

Drinks at Counter 17

We stopped by Counter 17 to try a cocktail and a small bourbon pour. Counter 17 offers wine, beer, cocktails, and neat flights.

*Open Thursday-Saturday 10:30am-4:30pm and Sunday 12:00pm-4:30pm. 

drinks at Castle and Key Distillery

I got the seasonal drink, Restoration Rye peach tea, and my friend got the Raspberry lemonade with vodka.

Restoration rye at Castle and Key Distillery

We also tried the Restoration Rye 2020 Batch 2.

tacos at at Castle and Key Distillery

There was a great food truck on-site during our visit with amazing street tacos for lunch. It was incredibly affordable at only $2 per taco. I tried one steak and one chorizo taco. Their hot and mild salsas were also delicious!

friends at Castle and Key Distillery

Explore the Grounds at Castle & Key Distillery

The grounds at Castle & Key Distillery are beautiful!

Springhouse at Castle and Key Distillery

We visited on an overcast day and I can only imagine how much prettier they would be on a blue sky day. You can walk the grounds with your drinks in hand.

Springhouse at Castle and Key Distillery

The Springhouse is a beautiful place for pictures. It’s also the water source of the spirits dating back to 1887.

Springhouse Castle and Key Distillery

Take notice of the shape of the natural spring, built to look like a keyhole by Colonel E. H. Taylor.

Springhouse at Castle and Key Distillery

The grounds invite you to slow down and take in all the beauty around you. I like that bourbon is a drink that reminds me to slow down and take in all detail.

Castle and Key Distillery

The same can be said of slowing down to appreciate the architecture and landscaping on the property.

botanical gardens at Castle and Key Distillery
seating by the creek Castle and Key Distillery

There is a quarter-mile botanical trail that you can walk with plenty of seating by Glenn’s Creek along the way.

 Castle and Key Distillery

We both agreed that we want to come back to take one of their guided tours with our husbands. Our first visit will definitely not be our last!

Buffalo Trace Distillery

Quick Stop at Buffalo Trace Distillery

This stop wasn’t originally on the list because we’ve both previously been to Buffalo Trace Distillery for a tour. We made an executive decision to make this spontaneous stop because we were already in the area.

Nedra McDaniel at Buffalo Trace Distillery

We knew that our husbands would appreciate a souvenir from one of their favorite distilleries.

One of our Christmas traditions is a cup of coffee with their bourbon creme. Their bourbon creme is also great for adult root beer floats.

Buffalo Trace Distillery

Their gift shop is a very popular place for obvious reasons. You don’t have to worry about carrying all your goodies thanks to their wheeled carts for guests.

shopping cart Buffalo Trace Distillery

The line moves pretty quickly and you will be asked for an ID when you make a purchase.

FYI – they have to ration supplies based on their production availability. They limit the brands to one per visitor, every three calendar months, in an effort to reach as many visitors as possible, with the exception of Buffalo Trace.

The following spirits are available for purchase at Buffalo Trace on a limited basis:

  • Buffalo Trace Bourbon
  • Eagle Rare Bourbon
  • White Dog Mash Bill #1
  • Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream
  • Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon
  • E.H. Taylor, Jr. Small Batch
  • Wheatley Vodka
  • W.L. Weller Special Reserve

Buffalo Trace Distillery isn’t on the official Bourbon Trail but during your visit you can take a tour with a complimentary tasting for FREE! They do recommend reservations in advance.

YouTube video

While you’re enjoying a glass of bourbon at home make sure that you check out “Heist” on Netflix. There are two episodes about “Pappygate,” detailing the story of stolen bourbon from Buffalo Trace.

friends at the Kentucky Castle

Tour The Kentucky Castle

So ironically, I mentioned that I had never visited The Kentucky Castle during our drive and I mentioned that we should plan a visit there…little did I know it was the last stop of the day!

If you want to know about the story behind The Kentucky Castle, you’ll want to take the guided tour.

You’ll learn about the original owners, why it sat empty for almost 30 years, and how it’s evolved to what it is today.

outside The Kentucky Castle

The tour also gives you access to areas of the property not accessible to guests who aren’t staying overnight. You get to see the ballroom, a hotel room, rooftop, and walk the grounds afterward.

tour The Kentucky Castle

The guide also provides little details about the castle along the way that makes you appreciate its beauty even more.

entrance to the Kentucky Castle
lamp at The Kentucky Castle
outdoor pool at The Kentucky Castle
herb garden at The Kentucky Castle
2nd floor balcony at The Kentucky Castle
rooftop at The Kentucky Castle

The guided tour gives you access to the rooftop which is a popular spot for special events with 360-degree views of the surrounding area. I would love to catch a sunset from that perspective.

garden at The Kentucky Castle

Admire the Gardens at The Kentucky Castle

After our tour, we were told that we could wander the gardens and view the animals from the fence. In true farm-to-table fashion, 90% of all produce served to Castle guests comes from the garden on site.

garden at The Kentucky Castle
winter squash at the garden at The Kentucky Castle
chickens at The Kentucky Castle
tomatoes at The Kentucky Castle
garden at The Kentucky Castle

Other ingredients are locally sourced as close and fresh as possible.

garden at The Kentucky Castle

View the Goats at Castle View Farm

You can walk to the fence to see the goats at Castle View Farm located on the property adjacent to the castle.

They offer an assortment of hands-on farm tours and experiences for guests and partner with the Kentucky Castle for many events. I would love to try their Deluxe Beekeeping 101.

Spa at The Kentucky Castle

Get Pampered at The Kentucky Castle Spa

You don’t have to be an overnight guest to enjoy one of the spa services at The Kentucky Castle including a cryotherapy chamber, sauna, massage and body treatments, facials, waxing, and aesthetics.

cocktail at The Kentucky Castle

Drinks at the Bar

Before you enjoy your meal you might want to stop by the bar with an assortment of bourbons, wines, and cocktails.

You are in Bourbon Country so I say opt for a drink with bourbon in it or just enjoy it neat. The Kentucky Castle even has a private label bourbon only available at the castle.

bourbon in case at The Kentucky Castle

Make sure that you also check out the bourbon bottles displayed in the cases within the bar.

dining room for the restaurant at the Kentucky Castle

Dine at The Kentucky Castle

You don’t have to be an overnight guest to dine at The Kentucky Castle. The restaurant is open for breakfast/brunch from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm daily.

glass of bourbon at The Kentucky Castle

Dinner starts at 5pm daily and I would recommend making a reservation in advance for dinner.

pan-fried brie at the Kentucky Castle

For appetizers, we started with the pan-fried brie made with crispy panko pecan brie with a black raspberry gastrique and brown butter crostini. This was a delicious introduction to dining at The Kentucky Castle.

prime filet at the Kentucky Castle

For our entrees, we decided to split two different menu items. The prime filet was made with caramelized pearl onion bourbon bordelaise, crispy fingerling potatoes, and fried broccoli with asiago cheese.

Waygu short rib at the Kentucky Castle

The Waygu short rib was braised with sweet chili lime, oyster mushroom andouille risotto, and French beans in lemon basil butter. Both entrees were delicious but the short rib was our favorite.

sunflower sundried creamy grits at the Kentucky Castle

As a side, I HIGHLY recommend trying the sunflower sundried creamy grits. They were AMAZING!!! Seriously, the picture is triggering me to want to go back just to eat them again.

Honey Bourbon Creme Brulee at the Kentucky Castle

After our meal, we were really full but that didn’t stop us from doing our research. We split the Honey Bourbon Creme Brulee for dessert and it was the perfect ending to a wonderful meal.

garden at The Kentucky Castle

Stay at The Kentucky Castle

230 Pisgah Pike, Versailles, KY

rug at The Kentucky Castle

There are several different options for an overnight stay at The Kentucky Castle both traditional and non-traditional.

room at The Kentucky Castle

During our tour, we got to see one of the rooms inside the hotel. Each room at the castle has a different style.

Glamping at The Kentucky Castle

Unique Accommodations at The Kentucky Castle

There are several options if you want a unique overnight stay.

You can sleep in a Glamping Tent, Farmview Cabin, or one of the Tower Suites. The Glamping Tent is available year-round. Restrooms are located in the barn a short walk from the tent.

Farmview Cabin at The Kentucky Castle
Farmview Cabin

Farmview Cabin is a nice option for families or couples because it can sleep eight people.

tower suite at The Kentucky Castle
Tower Suite

Another unique overnight option is one of the Tower Suites. They offer more privacy and additional views and vantage points from different corners of the castle.

Gates to The Kentucky Castle

Are You Ready to Plan a Fun Day Trip in Kentucky?

I LOVED my surprise day trip adventure around Kentucky. Are you ready to plan one of your own?

A Fun Bourbon-Themed Day Trip in Kentucky

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