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Lebanon Kentucky - five don't miss sites

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Lebanon Kentucky can boast being both at the crossroads of the Bourbon Trail and the Bourbon Craft Experience. For such a small place, they pack a bunch of places you won’t want to miss.
Probably known to many as the home of cable TV’s Turtleman, Lebanon is home to distillers of bourbon, wine, moonshine – some of the best in the country in my opinion. We tried to hit them all and I highly suggest the following to you. They are amazing.

Makers Mark Distillery
Makers Mark Distillery by Doug Bardwell | DougBardwell.com

Makers Mark Distillery

Of all the bourbon tours we took, (and that was a LOT), Makers Mark was probably my favorite.  Gorgeous grounds, intentionally black buildings, a great story, a great guide (Courtney took our group), and take as many photos as you like. This was it.

Makers Mark Distillery
Makers Mark Distillery by Doug Bardwell | DougBardwell.com

Makers Mark Distillery

You’ve probably noticed the iconic red wax seal on the bottle which sets Maker’s Mark apart on your store’s shelf. That was Marge Samuel’s idea to set it apart from all the other bourbon’s of the day back in 1957. The idea worked and is still done today. You can even dip your own bottle if you like – provided you are 21 or over.

Makers Mark Distillery
Makers Mark Distillery by Doug Bardwell | DougBardwell.com

Makers Mark Distillery

Just before you enter the gift shop, after completing the tour, you’ll walk through a passage topped with an incredible art installation called “The Spirit of the Maker” done by famed glass artist Dale Chihuly for their 60th anniversary.  That’s 1,700 pounds of priceless blown glass in the ceiling. 
The gift shop is very well done and not at all touristy.  I picked up some of their Maker’s Mark Bourbon Flavored coffee.  Excellent!

White Moon Winery
White Moon Winery by Doug Bardwell | DougBardwell.com

White Moon Winery

Absolutely loved this place.  Don't let the small size fool you, White Moon Winery has a nice list of varieties to sample and each was better than the one before. Ended up taking home a case of everything and gift shop items as well.

White Moon Winery
White Moon Winery by White Moon Winery

White Moon Winery

While a relative newcomer to the wine industry, Alex Payne’s White Moon Winery has already pulled down an award for its 100% pure Plum Wine, beating out 3,000 other entrants at the Indy International Wine Competition.

White Moon Winery
White Moon Winery by Doug Bardwell | DougBardwell.com

White Moon Winery

While a relative newcomer to the wine industry, Alex Payne’s White Moon Winery has already pulled down an award for its 100% pure Plum Wine, beating out 3,000 other entrants at the Indy International Wine Competition.

Limestone Branch Distillery
Limestone Branch Distillery by Doug Bardwell | DougBardwell.com

Limestone Branch Distillery

I had read about the fact that this Limestone Branch Distillery was partnering with the makers of Moon Pie to do a Moon Pie branded moonshine.  Before you laugh, you must try it. Fabulous isn't a good enough description. And it comes in Vanilla, Chocolate and Banana. Suffice it to say we brought back a bottle of the vanilla and everyone that's tried it loves it.

Limestone Branch Distillery
Limestone Branch Distillery by Doug Bardwell | DougBardwell.com

Limestone Branch Distillery

But there's more.  In your standard moonshines, they are available in all sorts of flavors as well: Sugar, Apple Cinnamon, Jalapeno, Blackberry, Strawberry, Pumpkin Pie and Cherry.  Tried the Pumpkin Pie and the Jalapeno – both excellent. True to their "Bourbon Trail" billing, they have an oak barrel moonshine that looks the color, but its name gives it away - "Revenge."

Stop in, meet the distillers, brothers Steve and Paul Beam (yep, that Beam) and be ready for a fun experience. We had the pleasure of meeting Steve and Lisa Wicker on our trip.  Great people – a great stop. Don’t miss it.

Independent Stave's KY Cooperage
Independent Stave's KY Cooperage by Doug Bardwell | DougBardwell.com

Independent Stave's KY Cooperage

A tour of the Kentucky Cooperage is another thing you’ll want to catch while in Bourbon country. Just as fascinating as the distilling process, is the method of hand making all those barrels you see pilled in the warehouses.  Here’s where they start.  Hand-made for over a 100 years. If you take the tour, be sure to wear closed-toe shoes and the tour starts promptly at 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Snooze, you lose. (We speak from experience.)
Oh yeah, leave your camera in the car. As fascinating as it is, they want to keep it that way.  NO PHOTOS allowed inside.

Hampton Inn Lebanon
Hampton Inn Lebanon by Hampton Inn

Hampton Inn Lebanon

You gotta sleep, right? Just three miles outside Lebanon, KY, this Hampton Inn is a breath of fresh air in the countryside.  Plenty of parking and yet close to the main attractions. Makers Mark, White Moon Winery, Limestone Branch Distillery and Kentucky Cooperage are all close by.

Our room was spacious, well-appointed and extremely comfortable.  Room to work, room to relax and room to move around. It’s one of the reasons we keep coming back to Hampton Inn’s.
The breakfast was out early and everything was fresh and hot. Love that we can fill up with a great breakfast before setting out for the day.
Internet was speedy and dependable, which is more than I can say for a number of hotels these days.
Wasn’t there long enough to enjoy the workout room or pool, but hopefully next trip we can stay longer and I will use them then.

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