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Whether you are a whiskey connoisseur or not, if you want to try a bit of one of Kentucky's main exports, then the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience is a must visit. This establishment is named after Kentucky's pioneering distiller and offers an insight into Williams' life and work. A guided tour of the distillery features an audio-visual interactive exhibition on the history of bourbon and its how distillers turn corn into this smooth swill loved all around the world. At the end of the tour, sample some different varieties as well as some small-batch versions, then take home unique souvenirs like bourbon mustard, maple syrup and toffee.
Although the 19-year-old Thomas Edison only resided at 729-31 East Washington Street for a year, it was during his time here working as a telegraph key operator that he explored improvements to the telegraph. Today, the Thomas Edison House continues to support the inquisitive spirit by organizing the annual 'Invention Convention', where school children compete with their own wunderkind ideas. The 'Edison Extravaganza Evening' is another annual event that presents silent and live auctions. Have a party or group function that requires a historical inventor's living quarters (and tranquil backyard garden)? The house is available to rent for up to 50 people.
During the mid 19th-century there was still not a proper burial site for the Louisville's deceased, so a portion of Cave Hill farm was turned into a cemetery in 1848. The garden cemetery is known throughout Kentucky for its beautiful headstones, burial vaults and monuments. Moreover, the sloping hills with traditional earthen plots placed alongside imposing mausoleums and creepy statues evoke an eerie charm from the cemetery. The staff provides group tours for a nominal fee and individual tours are complimentary if made in advance.
The Kentucky Derby, held annually at the fabulous Churchill Downs, is often said to be 'The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.' The museum, which is located just outside the racecourse, elaborately presents the history of this racing tradition through more than 20,000 items that have been collected since its inception in 1875. Exhibits include trophies, sculptures, photographs and paintings along with Derby souvenirs and the private collections of former horse trainers and jockeys. Tours can be made with the museum to visit the hallowed grounds of Churchill Downs as well.
This aristocratic antebellum estate located in lower Crescent Hill faithfully displays the splendor in which many of its owners lived since its creation in 1855. The mansion was originally built in an Italianate manner, however when the property was transferred in 1909, the new owners reformed the house into a Greek Revival style. It continued to receive renovations over the years until it's final private owner bequeathed it to the Historic Homes Foundation in 1994. The tour includes a walk through the rooms as well as to the magnificently manicured gardens. These include the Arboretum, the Woodland Fern Garden, the Formal Florentine Garden and the Specimen Garden, respectively.
Thomas Jefferson designed this archetypal Federal-style mansion on the sprawling estate of slaveholders John and Lucy Speed. It was built using slave labor sometime between 1815-16 on the site of a former hemp plantation. Abraham Lincoln spent three weeks on the plantation in 1841, while courting Mary Todd. The home still contains period furniture from the early 19th Century, a stone barn, a blacksmith's shop and a museum store. Seven days a week, the staff arranges tours for tourists visiting the grounds and the visitors' center also provides a comprehensive map that is a great guide to the 18-acre estate.
This eerie, old sanatorium was originally constructed in 1910 to hold tuberculosis patients and their contagion before the advent of modern antibiotics. It ceased to function as a health center in 1962 and since then many consider this former sanatorium to be haunted. It has constantly been portrayed in popular culture as such and today the new owners conduct ghost tours of the property. The tours vary from an ephemeral two-hour excursion through the rooms to a more comprehensive 8 hour 'paranormal investigation' on the whole property.