Tonia and I get away every year for two days or so. (Our parents-- usually hers-- watch the kids for us while we're gone.) We have a great time-- talking and enjoying each other, strategizing over the year to come, and seeing the sights. We've always stayed close and covered cities big and small.
You expect the big ones to have plenty to do, but the small ones have always been pleasant surprises. Columbus (Indiana) is probably our favorite, since it has so many different options-- itself along with Brown County, Nashville, and Edinburgh. (Madison and Lexington were also excellent and I've blogged about them here.)
This year, we chose Bardstown.
Started at nearby Bernheim Forest-- beautiful and a warm, bug-heavy two-mile hike.
Stayed at the Best Western, which was fine, except for a shower that was only 6' 6" tall and a shower head measuring in at 5' tall! Dinner at the Old Stable Inn-- very good.
The Civil War Museum emphasizes the western theater of the war-- and was far better than I expected.
The "Stephen Foster Story" musical was very good-- weaving a stronger-than-expected story line with his beautiful melodies, dancing and so on. The Stephen Foster State Park (My Old Kentucky Home) was interesting. We wish we had seen that before the musical.
The Oscar Getz Bourbon/History museum was the most surprising. It was free and we didn't expect much, but it had a ton of fascinating detail on making bourbon, the history of the U.S. govt's approach to it, and so on. We'd recommend that before a plant tour-- to have a far better idea what they're describing.For our plant tour, we went to Makers' Mark. They seemed quirky in their brochure and the tour was entertaining and informative. The production and especially its marketing were impressive. It was interesting to hear about their efforts to keep the bitter out of their bourbon, keeping the taste on the front of the tongue and the burn down the back of the throat.
The Kentucky Rail Museum in New Haven was good. Without the interesting discussion of postal delivery by train, it would have been a disappointment.For lunch, we had a Short Line burger at the Short Line Diner in New Haven. Wow! It's the only restaurant in town, but that was memorable.
We finished up with the Abbey at Gethsemani. I expected the references to work, spiritual disciplines, ascetism, but was impressed by the emphasis on faith, prayer and Jesus.
And we didn't even get to the Bardstown Opry on Friday night, the Wizard of Oz (at Stephen Foster's), or Hodgenville for Lincoln's birthplace. There's a lot to do there. Check it out!