Leather Anniversary

For the past two years we have retreated to a little cabin, called Mountain Berry, tucked away in the Smokey Mountains for our wedding anniversaries. This year though, we thought it would be fun to cross something off of our bucket list. So we decided to complete The Kentucky Bourbon Trail for our Leather (3rd) anniversary trip! We both have lived in Kentucky for most of our lives. Matt’s family moved here when he was 5 years old and for Blair, this is the only place she has ever called home. One of the biggest tourist attractions in the state, besides our horses and wildcats, is of course our Kentucky Bourbon. It’s one of the oldest traditions in the state and there is so much rich culture and history in it’s story that we really wanted to learn more about. Plus, we felt like living in Kentucky means we should at least attend one UK Wildcats game (check), blaze the bourbon trail (check), and go to the Derby (still working on that one, but we’ll get there one day)!

The first day we stopped to smell the roses at Four Roses, rode the kickin’ chicken at Wild Turkey and learned how to officially taste test bourbon at Woodford Reserve!

In front of the Four Roses sign. We got a picture in front of each sign at each distillery, as well as bottle of Bourbon, that we plan on putting on a shelf in our Kentucky room and framing each of the pictures that will be placed next to the bottles.

In front of the Four Roses sign. We got a picture in front of each sign at each distillery, as well as bottle of Bourbon, that we plan on putting on a shelf in our Kentucky room and framing each of the pictures that will be placed next to the bottles.

Smelling the roses at four roses

Smelling the roses at four roses

Feeling small in front of the Wild Turkey Sign

Feeling small in front of the Wild Turkey Sign

The Fermentation tanks were 2 stories high and held 10,000 gallons!!

The Fermentation tanks were 2 stories high and held 10,000 gallons!!

There was a whole wall dedicated to the Bourbon Trail!

There was a whole wall dedicated to the Bourbon Trail!

Just hangin out on the porch

Just hangin out on the porch

Riding the Kickin' Chicken!

Acting silly and riding the Kickin’ Chicken!

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The Sign at Woodford Reserve! This distillery had  the most beautiful grounds since it was nestled in horse country!

The Sign at Woodford Reserve! This distillery had the most beautiful grounds since it was nestled in horse country!

It was an on going joke that Woodford was so beautiful that it inspired Blair to get all artistic with her photo taking lol

It was an on going joke that Woodford was so beautiful that it inspired Blair to get all artistic with her photo taking lol

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In the aging room! It smelled like caramel, vanilla and a little oaky in there!

In the aging room! It smelled like caramel, vanilla and a little oaky in there!

The corn fermenting.

The corn fermenting.

We had a yummy lunch at Woodford!

We had a yummy lunch at Woodford! Each dish they made included their bourbon as an ingredient in some way shape or form.

Enjoying the sunshine on the porch!

Enjoying the sunshine on the porch!

Then that night we decided to stay in the first Kentucky city we called home together as newlyweds, Lexington. We had only officially moved up to Northern Kentucky five months prior but so much had changed there since then. It was really interesting to drive around a place that just a few short months ago we called home and now be back as visitors. We drove by our first little newlyweds nest.  A little one bedroom, one bathroom, 600 square feet cozy cottage, just big enough for the two of us, that we rented close to the steps of UK and a couple blocks from downtown when we were freshly married and still a couple of college kids. We thought it would be just a quick drive by, but some of our neighbors were out enjoying the nice late summer weather on their porch and noticed us. So we ended up stopping and talking for a good 45 minutes. We also go to eat at our favorite restaurant in the city, a little whole in the wall family owned Mexican place that we found back in our dating days. We would go there for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, date nights, special first time marriage milestones, random weekday cravings.. we would go there for everything. They still have the best guacamole in our opinion!To end our first night on the trail, we decided it would be fun to walk around UK’s campus after dinner, like we used to when we were youngin’s. Man did it blow our minds. So much change! Places that we cherished, changed. The  old dorm that Blair RA’d in till we got married in 2011, Keeneland Hall, was in the process of being demolished, and a set of brand new dorms had either already been finished and were move in ready or were in the process of being completed. We also go to walk over to Kirwan II, the first dorm that we lived in together, but not on purpose, during Matt’s sophomore year and Blair’s freshman. From the street view there were some new surroundings, but once we walked into the Blanding and Kirwan quad area it all looks relatively the same.

At our favorite restaurant in Lexington, Rancho Tapatio!

At our favorite restaurant in Lexington, Rancho Tapatio!

In front of what was left of Keeneland Hall.

In front of what was left of Keeneland Hall.

Went to visit Kirwan II where we began our journey as college sweethearts.

Went to visit Kirwan II where we began our journey as college sweethearts.

The second day we started out at Town Branch and then headed over the Makers Mark.

The sign in front of Town Branch in downtown Lexington.

The sign in front of Town Branch in downtown Lexington.

With the sign at Makers Mark!

With the sign at Makers Mark!

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One of their funny advertisements!

One of their funny advertisements!

Beautiful Whiskey Creek!

Beautiful Whiskey Creek!

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Playing boss man and sitting at the original desk of Mr. Samuels! The founder or Makers Mark!

Playing boss man and sitting at the original desk of Mr. Samuels! The founder or Makers Mark!

Cool old gas pump!

Cool old gas pump!

Barrels of Bourbon!

Barrels o’ Bourbon!

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Coolest part for sure was dipping our own bottle of Makers Mark in the red wax together!

Coolest part for sure was dipping our own bottle of Makers Mark in the red wax together!

Then we stayed in Bardstown for the night. Little interesting side note, Bardstown was voted the most beautiful small town in the United States, or so that is what their town sign says. We had dinner at the historic Old Talbott Inn where it’s rumored that Jesse James would stay when we he came to visit his family. There are even bullet holes in one of the walls where he supposedly set off his gun one night!!  We almost stayed there as well but then we learned about all the different ghost stories, and even though we don’t believe in them, it freaked us out a little bit, mainly Blair, as so we decided to just stick with our dinner reservations.

Bardstown! The most beautiful small town in the USA!

Bardstown! The most beautiful small town in the USA!

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The Bourbon Bar lol

The Bourbon Bar lol

We had our very first ever Hot Brown and Burgoo Stew for dinner!

We had our very first ever Hot Brown and Burgoo Stew for dinner!

We had Derby pie for Desert! Doesn't get more Kentucky then that!

We had Derby pie for Desert! Doesn’t get more Kentucky then that!

For our last day on the trail we headed to Heaven Hill, then Jim Beam and finally Evan Williams. Then headed over the the Louisville Visitors Center to turn in our passports and pick up the t-shirts that only those who have officially completed the trail are given as a right of passage, if you will.

In front of the sign at Heaven Hill

In front of the sign at Heaven Hill

It was a little rainy!

It was a little rainy! But check out all of those aging warehouses behind Matt. Little side note, there are more barrels of Bourbon in the state of Kentucky then there are residents!!

They use Cattails to plug any holes that form during the, minimum 2 years and normally 7 year, aging process because it is completely odorless, colorless and flavorless and Bourbon can not be tampered with in any way or else it is classified as Whiskey.

They use Cattails to plug any holes that form during the, minimum 2 years and normally 7 year, aging process because it is completely odorless, colorless and flavorless and Bourbon can not be tampered with in any way or else it is classified as Whiskey.

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Driving through My Old Kentucky Home State Park!

Driving through My Old Kentucky Home State Park!

The sign at Jim Beam!

The sign at Jim Beam!

We rode the Still-a-vator! lol

We rode the Still-a-vator! lol

Every three years Jim Beam makes anther million barrels of Bourbon!

Every three years Jim Beam makes anther million barrels of Bourbon!

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Jim Beam washes all their bottles in the Bourbon they will be filled with before filling them so that the product will not be watered down.

Jim Beam washes all their bottles in the Bourbon they will be filled with before filling them so that the product will not be watered down.

We got to wash out the bottles!

We got to wash out the bottles!

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Eating lunch on the porch at Jim Beam! They had some delicious BBQ!

Eating lunch on the porch at Jim Beam! They had some delicious BBQ!

The Sign at Evan Williams!

The Sign at Evan Williams! Our very last stop!

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In Front of the Louisville Visitor Center after earning our t-shirts!

In Front of the Louisville Visitor Center after earning our t-shirts!

We officially finished The Kentucky Bourbon Trail together!!

We officially finished The Kentucky Bourbon Trail together!!

It was such an amazing adventure and we definitely had a great time doing it together. We would highly recommend all Kentuckians, those who are visiting The Bluegrass State, those who call Kentucky their old Kentucky home or those who just have a special love for Wildcat Countries culture and heritage to check out the Bourbon Trail. There’s definitely more than meets the eye on this specific journey. You don’t have to be a Bourbon connoisseur or a huge history buff to enjoy what each distillery has to offer. They are all uniquely beautiful and fascinating in their own ways.

Tattoo's, Bourbon and Leather = our Leather (3rd) Anniversary!

Tattoo’s, Bourbon and Leather = our Leather (3rd) Anniversary!

Much Love & Prayer,

Matt & Blair

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