Lexington & Bluegrass Region
Founded in the late 1700s, the Bluegrass Region has an illustrious history and a bevy of distinguished citizens. Many of their homes can still be visited today.
In 1806 a modest two-story brick building on West Main Street in Lexington became home to the Todd family, whose daughter Mary would go on to marry Abraham Lincoln. Today, the Mary Todd Lincoln House has the distinction of being the first house museum in America to honour a First Lady.
Camp Nelson Heritage Park, 400 acres of sprawling countryside above the palisades of the Kentucky River 20 miles south of Lexington, was the location of an important Union quartermaster depot during the Civil War, as well as the site for Kentucky’s largest recruitment and training camp for African-American troops. Nearby the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site preserves the story of the largest Civil War battle fought on Kentucky soil.
Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, a half-hour from Lexington in the town of Harrodsburg, is the largest restored Shaker community in the United States and the first site in the country to be designated in its entirety as a National Historic Landmark. Harrodsburg is also home to Old Fort Harrod State Park, the first permanent settlement in Kentucky. It was founded by pioneer James Harrod in 1774, a year before Daniel Boone founded his namesake settlement Fort Boonesborough, between Winchester and Richmond.
Hopemont was completed in 1814 for John Wesley Hunt, a wealthy businessman and civic leader. Hopemont's collection of early Kentucky furniture, antique porcelain and 19th century paintings conveys the status and tastes of an influential Lexington family. Rooms are furnished with articles of the period as well as those owned by the families. A civil war museum is located on the second floor.
James E. Pepper Distillery is located in the Distillery District in downtown. This historic distillery offers tours that tell the lost story of an iconic American brand and include a tasting of their award-winning whiskeys. The Pepper family brand is an iconic Kentucky bourbon produced from the American Revolution through 1958. Out of production for decades, it re-launched in 2017 at the site of the original Lexington distillery of 1879.
The Castle & Key Distillery stands on the grounds of the Old Taylor Distillery built in 1887 and features a limestone castle, elaborate gazebos and sunken gardens. Castle & Key’s on-site limestone-rich water bubbles up from the ground and fills a key hole-shaped pool under a restored 19th-century springhouse. Several outbuildings and garden spaces have been transformed into event spaces for cocktail parties, weddings and private events.