29-30 April 2016
Maple Hill Manor is an adorable B&B tucked in to the countryside about thirty minutes away from Bardstown, Kentucky. The area is also known as one of the most beautiful small towns in America and was our home base for Curt’s birthday weekend.
We originally intended to be on the motorcycles but the Mother Nature took a swift kick to our plans. So Friday we drove the 2 hours, 45 minutes to the manor and turned around and left again. In the run up before Derby week in Kentucky there is always something going on. For Bardstown that is cocktail week. The owner of the Maple Hill Manor also owned another B&B in town called the Bourbon Manor and there were having a tasting of 1792 bourbon and tapas at their bar called the bunghole.
It was a small group but a nice casual atmosphere with tasty snacks, an amazing goodie bag and a amazing cocktail called the peach mint julep. We also got to meet several locals and another couple that we would see several other times throughout the weekend. We left the bar rather early because the Maple Hill Manor promised desserts were provided from 6-9. It was a berry pie to rival my favorite Village Inn!!!
Saturday of course started with breakfast called “between the sheets”. It was seasoned scrambled eggs in a puff pastry with sausage, potato, fruit and a waffle.
We set off completely full to the Heaven Hill Distillery. The gift shop is really neat because in the center it looks like someone created half a huge barrel you could climb in. We later find out that is the tasting room. Heaven Hill is the longest family run distillery and we were taken over to their rick house (warehouse).
There are millions of gallons of bourbon all perfectly balanced in the warehouse. They mention that the bourbon that is aged for a longer period will be partially empty due to evaporation. They call this portion of the bourbon the angels share.
They now make their bourbon in Louisville and store in Bardstown. This is because years ago there was a fire. They had no place to make their bourbon so the other distilleries like Makers Mark and Jim Beam actually let them use their facilities. After the tasting and a bourbon ball we moved on to eating again.
Lunch was at the Talbot Tavern, a building that has been there since I think 1792. I got the hot brown and Curt the chicken fried steak with dessert of berry cobbler for me and bread pudding for Curt. Our original intention with the trip was to get as many distilleries from the bourbon trail completed however the cocktail week threw us for a loop.
We walked around the down town shops a bit before moving to our next drinks
Last night we had heard there was a cocktail tasting from 2-4 and for $25 you got to sample 15 drinks. In the fall Bardstown has a bourbon festival and this competition was to see which cocktail would be featured as the drink during that festival. Everyone got a “bunghole” (the stopper in the bourbon barrel) which was used to vote for your favorite drink. The drinks were not so small and by the end we were best friends with the couple from Pennsylvania we had seen around town.
Curt’s friend from the Army, Steve and his wife, Saskia live not far away and met us in town for dinner. We hit the Talbot Tavern again, first for another drink and then for dinner. We had a great time catching up and enjoying the live music. By the end of the night we could barely shovel down the pecan pie the Maple Hill Manor had out for us.