Bourbon County is nestled in the heart of Kentucky's famous Bluegrass region. Its very name evokes visions of Thoroughbred horses grazing in lush green pastures bordered by age-old stone fences; lovely historic homes and buildings and beautiful rolling countryside. The area also offers an unusual group of sites and attractions for visitors to enjoy.
Long-known for agricultural products and livestock grown and raised on the county's 292 square miles, Bourbon County is one of the leading producers of Thoroughbred horses in the world. More than 50 horse farms are located in the county, including world-famous Claiborne Farm, where Secretariat stood at stud for many years.
Secretariat, who was recently selected by a public poll to be memorialized on a postage stamp, is one of the last century's best-known athletes. He won horse racing's Triple Crown in 1973 and racked up more than $1,316,000 in earnings. When Secretariat died of laminitis in 1989, he was buried in the Claiborne Farm cemetery next to Riva Ridge, his stablemate and the 1972 Kentucky Derby winner.
Another famous product of the county is no longer produced in the area. It was a smooth reddish whiskey aged in charred oak barrels, a product of the bountiful corn crops, which insured worldwide recognition for the county's name. Although disputed by a few, Bourbon Countians feel confident that bourbon whiskey was first distilled in their county by one of several early settlers, most likely Jacob Spears. Bourbon County continued to be home to many distilleries right up to Prohibition in 1919.
Enjoy a driving tour of the county that will take you past historic homes and farms and through a variety of scenic views to two structures that link Bourbon County to the past. This includes a drive through the Colville Covered Bridge, the last remaining reminder of the many covered bridges that once spanned the creeks and streams in Bourbon County. It is one of only 13 covered bridges left in the state and has been recently been renovated and re-opened to traffic.
Also, don't miss the Cane Ridge Meeting House, a log structure built in 1791 now enclosed in a stone superstructure. The building is said to be the largest one-room log structure still in existence in the country and was the site of the establishment of the Christian Church, which, in turn, gave birth to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Non-Instrumental Christian Church and the Church of Christ.
In addition, many visitors enjoy a round of golf at Houston Oaks Golf Course or Shady Brook Golf Course; taking a walk on the paved track at the Bourbon County Park which also has a playground area for children; and taking in a movie at the drive-in during the summer (Bourbon County has one of the few drive-ins left in the state).