Equestrian heritage meets modern takes on Kentucky spirits and cuisine in Shelbyville.
It’s well-known that Kentucky is horse country, but not as common knowledge that there’s a town home to a special breed known as the American Saddlebred. Take a laid-back trail ride on a genuine horse farm, sip on locally-made spirits and experience quality shopping all in a scenic small town setting – where else but Shelbyville?
Saddlebred Horse Country
Just a half-hour drive outside Louisville will deliver you to one of the coolest horse country towns you’ve never heard of – Shelbyville, which is widely regarded as the saddlebred horse capital of the world. The American Saddlebred is a horse breed famed for its grace, style and gentle temperament. Schedule a tour of a horse farm to learn more about the region’s storied history while seeing the horses amid rolling bluegrass hills. Sign up for a picturesque trail ride at Shelby Trails Park with Red Fern Riding Center, or register for a lesson at Walnut Way Farm. For a behind-the-scenes experience, you can also get your traveling companions together for a retreat at a working horse farm at Evermore Farm.
An unforgettable photo opportunity during a saddlebred horse farm tour
Southern Eats and Drinks
Beyond horse farms, the best way to dive into local culture is via food and drink. Put The Red Lion on your must-dine list when you arrive. This English-style pub is housed in a Tudor building in downtown Shelbyville’s Science Hill. It serves up pub classics like shepherd’s pie and Bavarian pretzels, as well as fun takes on bar food like the pimento cheese burger and salmon croquettes. Another can't-miss restaurant is the Claudia Sanders Dinner House named after Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harland David Sanders’ wife. This Southern-style restaurant, founded by the Sanders and located on the property where they once lived, features their famous delectable fried chicken as well as popular sides and homemade pies.
Ready for a drink? Head to Bulleit Distilling Co. to discover interactive tasting and tour experiences. Try the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey for a true taste of Kentucky. Continue your beverage tour at Jeptha Creed Distillery, a family distillery owned by a mother-daughter duo. Discover specialty infused vodkas with ingredients like honey or coffee. Not a spirits drinker? Talon Winery is a serene locale for both wine tasting and merriment. The vineyards surrounded by gorgeous farmland make an ideal backdrop for wine tasting and soaking in the scenery. The tasting room is open daily, but visit on the weekends for live music on the porch.
A behind-the-scenes look at Jeptha Creed Distillery
Shop in Shelbyville
Round out your stay with a bit of eclectic shopping. Charming downtown Shelbyville offers up an assortment of independent shops, restaurants and galleries to discover on Main Street. As you stroll, keep an eye out for the colorful and whimsical pieces that make up downtown's ever-growing Sculpture Walk.
If you’re in search of premium and designer brands, look no further than the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in neighboring Simpsonville with more than 100 shops, including Tori Burch, Nike, Levi’s and more. Designed as an outdoor space, this outlet is a light and airy way to pick up incredible deals for you and your family while still enjoying a bit of sunshine.
An evening on downtown Shelbyville’s historic Main Street
Fly into Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) and rent a car, then travel 53 kilometers to Shelby County, Kentucky.
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