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The town’s annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival in September is a nice time to soak it all in; events range from coopers’ barrel-making demonstrations to historical tours and cocktail challenges.

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Just northwest of Bardstown in Clermont, the Jim Beam American Stillhouse, home of the world’s top-selling bourbon, offers the chance to interact with Fred Noe, master distiller and seventh-generation member of the Beam family, and enjoy a bourbon-themed meal.

About 90 minutes into the drive from Bardstown to Owensboro is Bowling Green, a can’t-miss stop on the spirits trail.

Select from 200-plus bourbons in the basement bar of the The Miller House, a 1905 restaurant.

In October, the town’s Bourbon and Blues Festival serves more of the spirit, accompanied by barbecue sandwiches and live music.

Now, the city’s known for a thriving farm-to-table dining scene and numerous bourbon-focused bars.

Start at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Kentucky’s first commercial distillery, at the row’s historic end around West Main and South Sixth streets.

In Versailles, admire the architecture of beautiful Woodford Reserve Distillery and enjoy lunch on the porch.

In Lawrenceburg, chat with Jimmy Russell, a third-generation distiller, on a tour of Wild Turkey.

Any time of year, Owensboro’s preserved mansions present a sense of the town’s history.

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