Willett Distillery: An Intimate Stop on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail

Wednesday June 18, 2014 at 8:08 AM | 0 Comments

Willett Distillery

Willett Distillery: where smooth, rich tasting goodness is made.

About this time last year, I was learning about bourbon in Louisville, Kentucky as I traversed the Urban Bourbon Trail. This month I added to my bourbon know-how at Willett Distillery in Bardstown.

Founded in 1936, Willett Distillery is still owned and operated by a Willett. For anyone who likes intimate tours where the tour guide offers to take pictures of visitors, and you can taste several types of bourbon as a finale, come here.

Just a few minutes drive from the heart of Bardstown, southeast of Louisville, Willett Distillery fits the craft bourbon category. Operating as a micro-distillery, Willett is a smaller scale operation than the mega distilleries like Heaven Hill, a major player in the Bardstown landscape. Willett bourbon tastes anything but small.

I savored each of the offerings and settled on a bottle of private stock Johnny Drum as a gift for my husband who was not with me on this venture.

The 45-minute tour includes a close look at each of the steps required to produce bourbon whiskey thanks to a guide who points out each step of the bourbon making process and explains what makes Willett’s whiskey a bourbon stand out. What part of the process you’ll see depends upon what day you visit. Because our tour was on a Saturday, the distillery was quiet. We did get a whiff and a taste of fermentation as the yeast did it’s work in a few of the tanks.

In the aging warehouse.

In Willett Distillery aging warehouse.

I particularly enjoyed the aesthetics of the distillery’s architecture.  The mix of wood, brick and large glass windows is lovely. My other favorite stop on the tour was the aging warehouse where rows of stacked oak barrels filled with bourbon give off a mild whiff of dusky sweetness.

Tours are seven days a week except for Easter, Memorial Day, Labor Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving, December 24, 25, 31 and January 1. Mon.-Sat. tours run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the hour. Sun. tours from March-December are 12:30; 1:30; 2;30 and 3:30. 

We paid $10 which included the tour and a souvenir glass. Otherwise tours are $7. Each tour includes tasting.

Military members with ID are free, but if you want the glass, it’s $3. We did not have reservations but according to the website, if you’re visiting Friday-Sunday, reservations are recommended. Call 502-348-0899 or e-mail visitorcenter@willettdistillery.com.

A few of Willett's bourbon offerings.

A few of Willett’s bourbon offerings.

If you go, pick up a Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour passport. As you visit each of the 9 craft bourbon distilleries featured on the do-it-yourself-tour, get the passport stamped. After you’ve visited each place, you’ll get a free T-shirt. The craft bourbon distilleries are in different parts of Kentucky which makes for a festive way to take in the Bluegrass State.

Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein of Midwest Travel Writers Association

Travel Shoe Review: Arcopedico

Friday June 13, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 2 Comments

"Arcopedico Shoes"

Arcopedico travel shoe review

If you are a frequent flyer, you know the rules of packing light and probably travel with carry-on luggage so as not to be a victim of lost luggage. Not to get personal, but maybe your feet swell a little during flight? I’ve found a pair of travel shoes that are lightweight, comfortable, fashionable and flexible. The folks who design Arcopédico Shoes asked me to review their LS Shocks travel shoe.

Comfortable travel shoe

We’ve all seen what happens to a half full bottle of liquid shampoo after our luggage has spent time in a non-pressurized airplane compartment. The air expands in the bottle, forcing the liquid out, resulting in a mess of goop in your luggage.

While airplanes transport us in pressurized cabins, our bodies still feel the pressure. As pressure increases with altitude in a plane, our feet tend to swell. The LS Shock Arcopédico Shoe protects feet with flexible, circulation-supporting shoes. With its sock-like fit on the top of the foot, blood-flow is increased, which makes for happy feet.

Made in Portugal

Handmade in Portugal, Arcopédico Shoes feel like you are wearing a bedroom slipper. The knit upper with twin arch-supporting construction helps prevent foot fatigue while traveling. The knit shoes are washing machine friendly – although I have not washed my shoes yet! Arcopédico Shoes have slip-resistant polyurethane soles lined with anti-microbial SanSmell deodorizing technology that won’t leave you with stinky, sweaty feet.

"Arcopédico Shoes"

Arcopédico Shoes review

Family owned Arcopédico Shoes

Arcopédico Shoes is a family owned business that was formed in 1983 by Manuel and Virginia Simas. During a trip to Portugal, the Simas realized that they needed to create a successful travel shoe, one that was flexible, reliable, supportive and ultra-comfortable. After over 30 years in the business of crafting shoes for world traveling women, Arcopédico has created the perfect line of footwear.
Where to Buy

Arcopédico Shoes (LS Shocks)

Suggested Retail Price: $99


Arcopédico shoe photos and review written by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Arcopédico Shoes supplied me with this travel gear for review.

Related Post:

Ara Travel Shoes

Atlanta, Georgia Walking Tour

Wednesday June 11, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

"CNN" "Atlanta" "Georgia"

Discovering Atlanta, Georgia

Being a competitive ballroom dancer I am able to explore new cities all the time. I recently competed at the Atlanta Open in none other than downtown Atlanta, Georgia. I had never competed in the Atlanta Open before or even been to the South, so my mother and I decided to take a few extra days after the competition to explore the 1996 Summer Olympics host city with our own Atlanta, Georgia walking tour.

We checked into the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta late on a Thursday evening. Because of the time I expected the hotel to be quiet and the check-in process to be quick and easy. The check-in went smoothly but the hotel lobby looked as if it was hosting its own party. The entire lobby was packed with guests, the hotel’s restaurant Sway was closed but the bar Twenty-Two Stories was full of chatty businessmen, dancers and Atlanta natives.

The hotel had a large open concept with four elevators that looked as if they came right out of the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The all glass elevator allowed us to watch the people in the lobby get smaller as we ventured up to the 19th floor.

Of course room service was available for us in the morning, as we tend to cozy up in our beds in the morning rather than get dressed up to dine in the restaurant downstairs. The menu from Sway was filled with Southern comfort food. Grits, a Georgia delicacy I had never tried, along with Georgia Peach yogurt parfaits, cornbread, warm biscuits and gravy were all potential options for our morning feast. Of course we did not try everything in one meal but eventually we got around to tasting every bit of the South that we could.

"Margaret Mitchell House"

Margaret Mitchell House, Atlanta, Georgia

Discovering Atlanta, Georgia
We had hoped to visit the historic Sweet Auburn Village but our cab driver accidentally dropped us off at the opposite side of town. Being the spontaneous women that we are, we decided to walk around the area for a bit, that small walk turned into a 3-mile trek back to our hotel. If the hot sun and humidity is something you can handle throughout the day it is completely worth venturing through downtown and midtown Atlanta. We saw almost ever nook and cranny of the Atlanta streets that one would completely miss by catching a cab. Historic treasures such as the Georgian Hotel, Fox Theatre and the Margaret Mitchell House (the place Gone with the Wind was written) were just some of the old Victorian buildings that were hidden by modern-day skyscrapers.

"Coca Cola" Atlanta, Georgia

Coca Cola Factory in Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta Southern comfort

After our hike through downtown, the only energy we had left was used to walk across the street to a five-star restaurant where we could rest our feet. White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails, located on Peachtree St., is a gourmet Southern Comfort restaurant. The atmosphere is that of a rustic yet classy Southern home. We dined on braised beef, homemade tomato soup and warm whole-grain bread for our appetizer. Since we were celebrating Mother’s Day, my wonderful mother decided to treat herself to a Filet Mignon steak, which was perfectly cooked and full of savory flavors. A side of mashed sweet potatoes was served in a small cast-iron skillet along with her meal. I ordered the baked chicken, which was yet again perfectly cooked and full of sweet Southern flavor.

CNN Newsroom

CNN Newsroom, Atlanta, Georgia

CNN studio tour in Atlanta

Our next day of adventure included the renowned Coca-Cola Factory, a tour of CNN and a walk through the Olympic National Park. We arrived at the Coca-Cola factory at about the same time as 100 elementary school children. We felt as though we had just become chaperones on an end of the year field trip. We quickly escaped the crowd of little humans and ventured through the factory on our own. Filled with copious amounts of historic Coca-Cola memorabilia, an inside look at the bottling process, a small museum on the history and even a tasting room, this Atlanta staple is a not to miss attraction. The tasting room was where we found all of the children so we ventured back down to the museum where we both got to hold the 2014 London Olympic Torch, as Coca-Cola is the Olympics’ largest sponsor.

For a more serious tour, thinking it wouldn’t be filled with more children, was the Inside the Studio CNN Tour. Being a journalism major myself, you could imagine my excitement as I walked into the international epicenter of news. I assume I felt the same way those kids did in the Coca-Cola tasting room. Walking into CNN you can feel the buzz of a newsroom, but the tour is where we really got a feel for the news station. We toured three of the recording studios, took a turn reading off the teleprompter, viewed the news rooms of CNN and HLN and even saw Monte Ball recording his “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta” top picks for the season. Because of our love for 24/7 news, my mother and I decided to have lunch at CNN, underneath the giant TV screen and pretended we were journalist, just for the afternoon.

"Atlanta" Georgia

Downtown Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta’s Olympic National Park

We ventured out once again into the sticky Georgia air to end our day with a stroll through the Olympic National Park. On our way there we couldn’t miss the Atlanta Skyline Wheel of Excellence, 3-story Ferris Wheel. Our quick decision to ride the Ferris Wheel came as we noticed storm clouds rolling in and realized we had a short time frame before we were stuck in a glass bubble 40ft off the ground during a thunderstorm. Once my mother got over her brief fear of heights, we saw Atlanta in a way I would have never imagined. Just the other day we were walking down every street in downtown and now we were seeing the whole city from the sky. Located next to the National Olympic Park, the Wheel of Excellence gave us a more than perfect view of the architecture of the park that held hundreds of Olympians only 18 years earlier.

With its rich history, unique culinary taste and importance to the entire nation, Atlanta was truly a city to experience. Even after four days of an Atlanta, Georgia walking tour, there was still so much more to discover in this sweet southern city.

This is a guest post by Natalie Crandall. Natalie last wrote about Oahu, Hawaii.