They call themselves "The Most Beautiful Small Town in America" and they want to prove it to you by inviting visitors to come to Bardstown, Kentucky for the holidays during "Christmas Round Bardstown."  Bardstown, Kentucky which happens to produce bourbon is just a straight shot from St. Louis over to Louisville and then south to Bardstown. It takes about 4 and a half hours  (301.5 mi) via I-64 W, and if you like small town charm, the trip will be worth it. Bonus: you will pass Santa Claus, Indiana so you can check that out on your way back to really have a holiday trip.

Bardstown has many unique holiday events and activities including Christmas teas, candlelight tours and a musical cast performing “An Old Kentucky Christmas Carol.” 

Some may know Bardstown for their bourbon-- it's the Bourbon Capital of the World. It is home to six distilleries, including Barton 1792 and Willett Distillery, and these four Kentucky Bourbon Trail® distilleries: Heaven Hill, Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam and Four Roses’ second campus.

Major attractions in Bardstown include the outdoor musical, “The Stephen Foster Story,” My Old Kentucky Home State Park, the Civil War Museum of the Western Theatre, My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, The Kentucky Railway Museum and the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History. Bardstown has four 18-hole golf courses, three wineries, a haunted tour and numerous religious attractions. 

There is a lot to do in Bardstown, but for the holidays they are rolling out the red carpet.

Kentucky’s home for Christmas
Kentucky’s most famous landmark, My Old Kentucky Home, will be decorated to the brim-- trimmed with garland, mistletoe and stockings full of toys. Visitors can see the gingerbread model of the historic mansion made by the pastry chef and nutcrackers standing guard over the mansion’s many rooms.

The house is adorned and decorated with beautiful 12′ tall Christmas trees, each with a unique Kentucky theme, including the Commonwealth Tree, Meadows in the Bloom, Birds Make Music All the Day, & more! Garlands, mistletoe, stockings full of toys, the annual gingerbread model of the historic mansion made by our pastry chef, and nutcrackers stand guard over the mansion’s many rooms! 

Visitors will experience the traditional, and sometimes odd, Christmas customs of the Victorian era at My Old Kentucky Home! Learn the origins of the Christmas tree, how mistletoe became famous for exchanging kisses, the tradition of the yule log, the history of the Christmas pickle, the legends of Father Christmas and Santa Claus, and the bizarre Victorian traditions including Krampus who punished bad children, the legend of a spirit horse named Mary Lwyd that challenges people to a game of rhymes, and learn why Victorians sent Christmas cards featuring sword fighting frogs & frozen birds to each another during the holidays. As you move forward to each room, experience a different era of Christmas, starting from colonial times, the early and late Victorian periods, all the way to the roaring 20’s when the mansion was last owned by the Rowan family. This highly interesting tour isn’t one you want to miss and it’s great for the whole family! 

DATE: From now to December 31st (Closed Dec.24 - Dec.29) 
TIME: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm (Tours start hourly) 
Regular Admission: $12 
Various discounts for children, military, Triple A, seniors, groups, and more! 
Address: 
501 E. Stephen Foster Avenue, 
Bardstown, KY 40004

On Dec. 15 and 16, My Old Kentucky Home’s talented musical cast will perform Charles Dickens’ novel, A Christmas Carol, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey to discover the true meaning of Christmas. Be transported into the story during this new event as the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future lead you from scene to scene while singing songs of Christmas. www.visitmyoldkyhome.com

The town square (Center Plaza on Court Square) has a Christmas tree and lamp posts have wreaths on them. 

Away to the North Pole
Get a ticket for the North Pole Express with Kentucky Railway Museum (KRM), Friday-Sunday, Dec. 15, 16, and 17, and on Dec. 21, 22 and 23, featuring cookies and hot chocolate. KRM will also have a Santa Express every Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-17.

My Old Kentucky Dinner Train hosts its popular North Pole Express, Saturdays in December through the 23rd, and Sundays, through Dec. 17. Children can make crafts and watch a movie in the depot before boarding the train, where Santa Claus will join everyone. Ring in the new year aboard a two-hour New Year’s Eve excursion with 4-course meal and bottle of champagne on Dec. 31. Reservations required.


See all the holiday events planned during Christmas Round Bardstown here. Book your overnight stay as soon as possible as Bardstown bed and breakfast inns and hotels fill up quickly for this two-month-long celebration. For more information, contact the Bardstown-Nelson County Tourist & Convention Commission at 800-638-4877, www.VisitBardstown.com.

With all they have to offer, it might just be worth hopping in the car and heading for Bardstown.

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Photos courtesy  Bardstown-Nelson County Tourist & Convention Commission