August 2, 2007 was a historic day in America. On that day, the bitter partisanship that pretty much defines American politics was cast aside to pass a bill that declared bourbon to be our “National Spirit” and established September as National Bourbon Heritage Month. And here’s the best part: They passed the bill unanimously. Yes, unanimously.
As further evidence of bourbon’s importance to American heritage as well as the nation’s economy, this isn’t the first time Congress passed a law involving the industry. In 1967, it passed a bill to define bourbon as a whiskey that must be distilled from at least 51% corn and aged in a new charred American white oak barrel and just as Champagne can only be made in the region of the same name in France and Iberico ham can only come from Spain and Portugal, bourbon must be made in the USA.
Which brings us to today. The bourbon industry is exploding—there were over 11.4 million barrels aging in Kentucky in 2021, which works out to 2.4 barrels for every citizen of the state. So-called “whiskey pilgrims,” from millennial enthusiasts to seasoned aficionados, have been flocking to Kentucky to visit bourbon distilleries and see how the spirit is made. But even before bourbon growth took off, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association established in 1880, a trade organization, founded the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in 1999. (Bourbon production increased 571% since then, from 455,078 barrels in 1999 to 2.6 million in 2021). The KBT is an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to head to the source and see craftsmanship in action. And the best part: the guidance the KBT provides is completely free. Each distillery offers tours that show the many steps of whiskey-making, from fermenting to distilling to barreling to bottling and, of course, what would a tour be without a lesson in tasting. The distilleries charge a minimal admission fee. It’s worth it.
Just go to the site and download the map. It shows the number of miles between distilleries, which ranges between eight and 70, and lot of other helpful logistical details. There are 46 distilleries on the trail. The KDAhas created The Bourbon Trail™ Passport & Field Guide for you to take from stop to stop. Get it stamped at each distillery and you can earn rewards.
Among the stops is the iconic Maker’s Mark Distillery, a National Historic Landmark. It’s set up with the house of its founders replicated to period detail. You can watch workers dip the bottles in the red wax Maker’s is known for and even try it for yourself in the gift shop.
The massive Jim Beam Distillery is a mighty sight to behold, what with 10.7 million (9 liter) cases sold in 2020 . This is indeed the slickest stop on the tour. The company is in its seventh generation of Beams and old-school heritage looms large in its mythology, yet it’s all presented with all kinds of digital bells and whistles. The visitor center is a veritable multi-story museum, with interactive educational elements. They also offer an interactive multi-sensory tour and a decanter museum that would make an antiques collector swoon. Prepare to spend a lot of time here.
Heaven Hill, the oldest family-run distillery, offers the Bourbon Heritage Center, a museum of bourbon, past to present. You are welcomed onto the Heaven Hill campus by several rickhouses, filled with up to 52,000 barrels each. The newest rickhouse on site features a bird’s eye view into the resting barrels with a glass window corner spanning the seven floors. The exterior of the updated visitor center showcases a replica of how the distillery looked in 1935, an authentic, vintage barrel truck representative of what the Shapira brothers may have driven in the 1940s and an updated sign celebrating the new name.
With all the tourist pouring into (sorry, no pun intended) the state, they need someplace to eat and drink after a day of touring. Louisville has become quite an urban destination. Inventive restaurants are opening at a rapid clip, and meantime, some of the longstanding institutions banded together to form the Urban Bourbon Trail, a guide to some of the most incredible bourbon bars in Louisville, which basically means the most incredible bourbon bars in the world.
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For most people, traveling by horse is not the typical day-to-day mode of transportation, making activities like trail rides and carriage rides a fun way to experience a new destination. The four destinations below offer a variety of activities for every kind of traveler, from beach lovers to those nostalgic for a simpler time. These equine activities are the perfect way to slow-down and enjoy the sights. Take a beachside horseback ride in Florida Horseback riding in Amelia Island, Florida - courtesy of J/PR The Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Florida offers visitors some fantastic ways to explore the area. For an experience like none other, ride along the beach on horseback and take in the pristine ocean views. (It's also a great way to avoid getting sand in toes, if that isn't your thing!) While there, check out some of the other activities offered; explore the outdoors with small-group "Ecology Field Trips" led by the on-property naturalist to connect and educate curious guests on the local area and wildlife in neighboring state parks and nature preserves. Visitors can also adventure through the winding channels on an exciting kayak tour and investigate the island by bike with more than 40 paths to choose from. Experience cowboy culture at the Fort Worth Stockyards Horseback riding with the Fort Worth skyline - courtesy of Visit Fort Worth A true Western experience unlike any other, the Fort Worth Stockyards in Texas is also home to world's only year-round rodeo and offers twice-daily longhorn cattle drives, historic tours, live music and the world’s largest honky tonk. Better yet, you can explore the Fort Worth Stockyards via horseback riding along the original Chisholm Trail. Tour a Hawaiian town via carriage ride Horseback riding in Lanai - courtesy of J/PR The Four Seasons Resort in Lanai, Hawaii offers a unique carriage ride experience to explore the area and learn about local history of this former plantation tour. Guests can tour the town in a beautiful carriage drawn by shire horses, recognized as a family-friendly and laidback breed. The private ride for parties up to four begins in Lanai City, where you’ll circle Dole Park, and ends at Lanai Ranch at Koele, home to the resort’s horses, minis and Spur, the Ranch dog. The one-hour excursion includes snacks, water, sunscreen and roundtrip transportation. Explore a vehicle-free Mackinac Island An aerial view of Mackinac Island, Michigan - courtesy of J/PR A visit to Mackinac Island, Michigan offers a trip unlike any other, to a place that feels as if it has been suspended in a forgotten, more innocent time. Situated on just 3.8 square miles of land between the Upper and Lower Peninsula of Michigan, Mackinac takes pride in their culture celebrating and embracing their 125th anniversary of the motor vehicle ban, where modes of transportation are limited to horse-and-buggy, walking, and biking on its traffic-free roads. Guests can explore all Mackinac on carriage tours, the most enjoyable and authentic way to view the island - and you can even bring your furry friends! After a day of adventuring and exploring, guests can book a stay at Mission Point Resort, to experience a sweeping Great Lawn dotted with Adirondack chairs ideal for lounging, picnicking and lawn games, garden tours led by the resident horticulturist and through local partnerships. Mission Point guests will also enjoy horseback riding, kayaking, and more.
Owning a private jet or mountaintop villa may be out of the budget for most—but there are other ways to experience the epic views of some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. Beyond the typical hiking trails and skyline drives, those looking for the ultimate birds-eye views will want to check out the experiences below that feature rides in vintage planes and hot air balloons, train tours, rock climbing experiences, and more. Tour Southern California in an open-cockpit biplane Alila Marea Beach Resort in Encinitas, California has partnered with San Diego Sky Tours to offer aerial tours and—most unique of all—air combat experiences. Guests will be able to glide over the Pacific Ocean to see all of San Diego in one hour or less or enjoy a romantic sunset ride. For those looking for a truly once-in-a-lifetime trip, visitors can also book a thrill-seeking adventure in a vintage open-cockpit biplane with a military-trained pilot. While these kind of aviation experiences understandably come with a price tag (rates for experiences start at $400), budgeting around this unique activity can easily be done thanks to relatively cheap domestic airfare into California and plenty of other affordable accommodations and dining options to round out the rest of a trip in the area. Enjoy New England's fall colors from a hot air balloon Hot air balloons over Massachusetts - courtesy of J/PR For experiential ways to take in the New England foliage hop aboard a Hoosac Valley Train Ride and embark on a scenic train route through the Berkshires, take in the autumn allure from above with a Worthington Ballooning Hot Air Balloon ride or drive out to Western Massachusetts and wind along the famed foliage streets of the Massachusetts stretch of U.S. Route 7, Jacob’s Ladder Scenic Byway and Mount Greylock Scenic Byway. Scale Boynton Canyon's red rocks in Arizona The Trail House at Enchantment Resort - courtesy of J/PR With access to more than 400 miles of scenic and iconic hiking and biking trails, Enchantment Resort serves as the ideal base camp for exploration and uncovering trails throughout the destination’s soaring sandstone cliffs, striking canyons and pinyon-juniper forests. Guests are encouraged to connect to Sedona’s surrounding landscape through the property’s new Trail House, an adventure hub where expert guides help guests uncover which nearby trails, whether on foot or through world-class mountain biking equipment, are ideal for them based on skill level, terrain, scenery and elevation gains. The property recently partnered up with Arizona Climbing Guides to take guests to an epic rock climbing location at The Granite Dells, just ten minutes outside the city of Prescott, and offer outstanding rock climbing opportunities for all abilities (details here). View Virginia's wine country by helicopter Vineyard at The Nicewonder Farm - courtesy of J/PR The Inn at Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards in Bristol, Virginia invites guests to take in the views with the new The Wine Flight Package, where majestic mountain terrain and lush forest greenery are paired beautifully with the property’s award-winning, homegrown wines. The package offers guests a private helicopter tour of Bristol’s Blue Ridge Mountains, and a private wine tasting and picnic on property, in addition to luxury accommodations, amenities, and daily breakfast. Cross the Continental Divide by train An unforgettable journey, travelers can take in the breathtaking sights from a luxury train with Rocky Mountaineer as they ride from Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah on the “Rockies To The Red Rocks” route, filled with highlights best seen by train, including Ruby Canyon, Mount Garfield and crossing the Continental Divide. Once in Utah, complete your adventure with full day or multi-day rafting trips through some of the most legendary whitewater rivers, camping overnight under bright stars, next to stunning red rock formations and remote sandy beaches. Guide services such as Adrift Adventures, Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Tours or Sheri Griffith Expeditions can lead even new rafters through an incredible adventure, organizing everything from meals to bathroom stops. In addition to rafting, visitors can also take in much of Utah's scenery not accessible to cars and RVs. There are thousands of miles of trails open to off-highway vehicles, making off-roading one of Utah's most popular pastimes. Trails include Arapeen OHV Trail, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Paiute ATV Trail and many more. See San Francisco's landmarks by seaplane Views of San Francisco bay area and the Golden Gate Bridge - courtesy of J/PRCavallo Point in Sausalito, California sits on more than 350 acres complete with trails for running, hiking, and biking, but also offers unique and once in a lifetime tours of San Francisco. See the Bay Area from every angle from sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge to getting a bird’s-eye view of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks in a seaplane or private helicopter.
Best Under-the-Radar Art Destinations in the US
Cities like Miami, New York and Los Angeles are go-to destinations for art enthusiasts, however, there are tons of other hidden gem cities around the U.S. that people don’t commonly associate with world-class art. Grand Rapids, MI The Jim Henson Exhibition - Courtesy of the GRAM While Detroit typically gets all the street cred for art in Michigan, Grand Rapids boasts some of the coolest museums for art lovers, including the Grand Rapids Art Museum, with 6,000 permanent objects including work from Andy Warhol and Picasso, and the picturesque Frederik Meier Gardens & Sculpture Park. Plus, the hotels in the city’s Hotel District boast over-the-top collections as well, like the historic Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton, which was named in Historic Hotels of America’s top 25 most magnificent art collections list for 2022 for its “America at Work” collection by artist Paul Collins. The city also hosts the annual ArtPrize, an independent international art competition that celebrates artists working in all mediums from across the world, every fall (the next one is Sept.14-Oct. 1). Fort Worth, TX Cufflink Art Gallery While Fort Worth’s Cultural District is home to world-renowned art museums like The Modern, The Kimbell and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, this Texas city also has a burgeoning underground art scene, with cool new galleries showcasing local artists and powerful street art, like that in the Foundry District's Inspiration Alley. In Polytechnic, a predominately Black and Latinx neighborhood, Sedrick and Letitia Huckaby recently opened Kinfolk House, a collaborative art space that serves to uplift the diverse community’s beauty, talent and culture through collaborative exhibitions, events and educational opportunities. Hotels like Hotel Dryce put guests within walking distance of the Cultural District and boast some local art of their own—Hotel Dryce has a partnership with local art gallery Art Tooth for its art in the rooms and public spaces. St. Petersburg, FL The dalí museum While Miami is known as Florida’s art-centric city for hosting Art Basel Miami every December, St. Pete has an under-the-radar yet thriving art scene with a vibe much different than Florida’s more frenetic east coast art city, from renowned museums like The Dali and the Chihuly Collection to the walkable galleries and vibrant murals splashed around downtown. For those looking to stay in the heart of it all, The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club is within walking distance to the city’s top art spots, and its Navigator can coordinate the perfect creative itinerary. Plus, the hotel is an artistic masterpiece in itself, with a photogenic pink exterior and Mediterranean Revival design from the 1920s.
Add a unique challenge to your typical fall weekend activities at these five farms, where wandering through a corn maze involves a whole new level of skill, strategy, and adventure. From country music stars to dinosaur chases, these mazes have all kinds of highly detailed and creative designs. Don't worry, though—even the most directionally-challenged can get a little help with "emergency exit trails" and tips along the way. Sykes Family Farms (Elkton, Florida) Well-loved by the local community of Elkton, Florida is the annual Sykes Family Farms Crop Maze. This year, from October 7th to 29th, kids and adults are invited to flock to Sykes Farm to participate in their uniquely themed maze. This year's design features Reba McEntire! The maze is nine acres total, which consists of four phases. At the entrance of the maze visitors have the option of fill out a “passport”—a ten questions form that will help guide you through the maze. All four phases take around 45-60 minutes to navigate, with Phase 1 being slightly shorter for the directionally challenged. General admission prices are $16.99, with discounts available. Admission to the farm also includes access to hayrides, playgrounds, a cow milking station, duck races, farm animals, barn yard ball zone, pedal karts, and more. Richardson Adventure Farm (Spring Grove, Illinois) A path cuts through a corn field by Mark Holloway - Unsplash Touted as the "world's largest," most intricate corn maze, the Richardson Adventure Farm corn maze in Illinois features an incredible Jurassic Park themed design for 2023. Explore a labyrinth of corn stalks in shapes of familiar scenes from the movies, including a giant T-Rex chase. The design features more than 9 miles of trail winding through 28 acres of live corn; created out of 4 smaller mazes, each with its own dedicated in and out path. There are multiple checkpoints throughout the maze as well as three bridges that will help visitors find their bearings while looking at the map. While the trail is intricate, there is a perimeter path surrounding the entire maze and there are no dead ends in this maze—making it easy to exit and grab a donut or hot chocolate. This Spring Grove attraction also features a pumpkin patch, sunflower field, corn maze games, wagon rides, and many other family friendly activities to make for a fun-filled fall day. The Great Vermont Corn Maze (Danville, Vermont) The largest corn maze in New England takes approximately 2+ hours to hike and covers 24 acres. Miles of dirt trails at the Great Vermont Corn Maze's "Big Maze" are lined with 10' tall walls of corn and even feature 32 feet of underground tunnel and 100 feet of bridges. A helpful "Emergency Exit trail" also covers most of the maze giving visitors a chance to take a break, grab a snack, or use the restrooms without having to start over from the beginning. In addition to the "Big Maze," this farm also features a "Scenic Maze." The Scenic Maze is approximately a 45 minute walk using directions and special trails found along the way. This option allows visitors to see the unique things that are also in the Big Maze, but without the hours of frustration. Treworgy Family Orchards (Levant, Maine) A sunflower and a corn field by darlene - Unsplash The corn maze at Treworgy Family Orchards is the longest continually-running corn maze in the state of Maine. This year, the design celebrates farming with a tractor design. The maze includes a special map with riddles to figure out as people visit “stations” inside the maze. Complete the puzzle to receive a free kiddie vanilla, chocolate, or twist soft-serve ice cream cone. Visitors that make it to the center of the maze can also sign their name on the Hall of Fame Board. For an extra-fun adventure, try the maze during one of their special "Night Maze" evenings. The Night Maze is family-friendly, so there is nothing scary or “haunted,” just good old-fashioned fun. Visitors should bring their own flashlights. Guests can collect treats as they wander through the maze; or, head to the cafe for hot cider, hot chocolate, and donuts. Additionally, there are lighted hayrides and a campfire for warming. Liberty Mills Farm (Somerset, Virginia) The corn maze at Liberty Mills Farm in Virginia is actually made up of four different trails: a Story Maze, Trivia Maze, Hole Punch Maze, and Mystery Maze. The Story Maze takes only about 30 minutes to complete all the "story stations," while the medium-difficulty Trivia Maze can take 45-60 minutes and features trivia questions along the way. The Hole Punch maze is the longest; it can take anywhere from 2-3 hours to find all 21 stations, but those that find their way out are also rewarded with ice cream. Finally, there's the Mystery Maze. With no maps or guidance, visitors are on their own with your sense of adventure; the farm recommends leaving a minimum of an hour for this final maze.