Bardstown-Nelson County Community Profile


Take a closer look at Bardstown and Nelson County, Ky., the Bourbon Capital of the World. Named the Most Beautiful Small Town in America, Bardtown has a bustling economy, unique tourist attractions, three bourbon distilleries and much more.

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Spalding Hall, originally part of St. Joseph College and Seminary, served as a hospital for both Union and Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Bardstown and Nelson County commemorate the history of our nation���s gravest period with the Civil War Museum of the Western Theater, one of the four most important Civil War museums in the country, as well as the Women���s Civil War Museum. Civil War living history weekends complete with re-enactors are held throughout the year. The two Civil War museums are part of what is called Museum Row. Other attractions on the Row include Old Bardstown Village, which gives visitors a glimpse of life in the 1790s; the Wildlife and Natural History Museum, with exhibits of more than a hundred life-sized animals; and the War Memorial of Mid America, which pays tribute to America���s veterans from the Revolutionary War through Desert Storm. Religion, railroads and racing Spalding Hall sits next to the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, the see of Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget, who was named head of the Diocese of Bardstown after it was formed in 1808. St. Joe, as locals affectionately call it, is open for tours and displays historic paintings that were the gifts of King Francis I of the Two Sicilies and Pope Leo XII. A few miles south of town is St. Thomas Catholic Church, where the log cabin in which Flaget lived when he first came to Kentucky has been restored. Other notable religious sites in Nelson County are Nazareth and the Abbey of Gethsemani. Nazareth, just north of Bardstown, is the home of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, a religious order founded at St. Thomas in 1812. Meanwhile, the abbey was founded in 1848 by the Order of Trappist Cistercians, who welcome guests at a visitors��� center and offer retreats for both men and women. Gethsemani is about a dozen miles from Bardstown in Trappist. From Trappist it���s not far to New Haven, home of the Kentucky Railway Museum. The museum is more than a museum, Bells, lights and steam whistles abound at Kentucky���s Official Railway Museum. Take a ride through the historic Rolling Fork River Valley. Culinary Art: Bourbon-Style Cooking School during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival draws sell-out crowds. though: it���s an operating train station, complete with old No. 152, the state���s official steam engine. More than 40,000 people each year visit the small town in southern Nelson County to tour the museum and take a 22-mile, 90-minute train ride from New Haven to Boston and back. Special events are scheduled each year, some in conjunction with the Rolling Fork Iron Horse Festival every September. Luxurious railway dining a la the 1940s is available on My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, which travels from Bardstown through part of Bernheim Forest to Clermont, then returns. Lunch excursions are offered on Saturdays, and special events are scheduled throughout the year, including an on-board murder mystery. If four wheels are of more interest, the Bluegrass Motor Speedway features late model, open-wheel modified, Bluegrass sportsman and street stock sportsman races each week on a half-mile clay oval track. The speedway is just south of the Bluegrass Parkway at Exit 21 (U.S. 31E). A local car club, the Whiskey City Cruisers, has a car show the second Saturday of each month from April through October, and horse-drawn carriage rides are available downtown year-round. For more information about these and other attractions, go to ��� The Lane Report���s Bardstown/Nelson County Community Profile 13

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