Kentucky: Quilting to Bourbon

Paducah, Kentucky is home to the National Quilt Museum. We’ve been trying to get there for awhile. This trip we made it happen.

Fern Lake Campground

We arrived during Quilt Week, a massive gathering of quilters and vendors of all things quilting. Our focus was on the museum and their current exhibitions. We were not disappointed. To call what these quilters do quilts fails to convey the level of artistry involved in producing this work.

Summer Fun, 2022 by Marina Landi and Fabia Diniz

Yes! That was done with dyed fabric and thread.

Black Star Family, First Class Tickets to Liberia, 2018 by Bisa Butler

One of the major shows at the museum was called “Showstopper “ highlighting the work of Marilyn Badger, a competitive quilter. And showstoppers they were.

Exuberance, 2014
Midnight in Morocco, 2020
Filigree, 2009

The other major museum show was “Larger Then Life” by Velda Newman. She dyes all of her fabrics and hand quilts everything.

“Zinnia” took two years to complete and is 17 1/2 feet long and over 7 feet tall

There are more mind blowing “Quilts” than would be practical to include here. If you enjoy this kind of textile art you owe yourself a visit to Paducah or at least a visit to the museum’s website:

After spending a day looking at quilts and rubbing shoulders with the hordes we drove to the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area for some bike riding.

On the Central Hardwoods Scenic Trail

We left Paducah and continued our journey north for a stop along the bourbon trail in Bardstown, Kentucky.

White Acres Campground

Bardstown refers to itself as “the bourbon capital of the world “. This is no idle boast given the number of distilleries in the area. In fact, as you wander the town you can smell corn mash being fermented.

Bardstown Visitor Center
One of the lovely federalist style brick homes found in Bardstown
We enjoyed wandering the “historic “ downtown

We weren’t there to wander Main Street but visit distilleries. We had one tour booked but decided to do some visits without tours.

One of the numerous rickhouses ( where the barrels of bourbon are aged) found on the grounds of Bardstown Bourbon Company

The Bardstown Bourbon Company is a new distillery in the area. They’ve been around less than seven years and have an outstanding bar in their new modern facility.

We also stopped by the Heaven Hill Distillery. The original distillery burned down in 1996 but they bought a facility in Louisville to continue to make whiskey. In 2022 they rebuilt their rickhouses on the sight of their original distillery.

We did book a tour and tasting at Willet, a smaller, family owned and operated distillery. The family were pig farmers until the abolition of prohibition in 1933 when they decided to ride the whiskey wave sweeping the country. The grounds are beautiful and they have great food @ the bar.

Fermentation Tanks
Copper Pot Still
Willet’s original rickhouse

We made time to spend an afternoon at the 600 acre Bernhiem Arboretum. While wandering about we ran into few amenable trolls.

Little Nis
Little Elina
Mama Loumari

Thomas Dambo one of the many artists in residence that work with the arboretum created the troll series.

Oxygen by Akunzo
Sounds of the Whippoorwill by Justin Roberts

It’s been a great trip and after stopping at the Airstream factory in Jackson Center, Ohio for our annual repair and maintenance date, we head back to Buffalo. We plan on being back on the road in September.

7 thoughts on “Kentucky: Quilting to Bourbon”

  1. Wow!! Awesome quilts. That and bourbon are the only two reasons to visit KY!! Otherwise nope! Lol.

    Just talked to Mark today, had no idea Elaine passed in Oct. how sad but what a good life she had!! Feisty and independent to the end!! May we all be so lucky.

    Chat soon B

    Sent from my iPhone Barbara J Dray, Ph.D Transforming Practices in Education, LLC for the advancement of multilingual learners Arvada, CO 716-465-1467 (mobile)



  2. Fascinating!!!  Quilts are absolutely beautiful😊. 

    Sent from my iPhone


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  3. Quilts and bourbon!!! Very nice! Stay safe and healthy as you head home. When you are in Jackson Center, OH, you are only about an hour away from where we live. When you pass Van Buren, OH, we live about 15 miles west of I-75.


  4. Loved the quilts. Talk about art! And the bourbon tour, we wanted to do it and the quilts museum also. Great pics!


  5. So spectacular!! Thank you for writing and photographing your travels. I am so inspired to take our Sprinter van through Kentucky now too🌹


  6. Wow! Those quilts are just amazing! Did you happen to meet or see Cathy Miller and John Bunga, musicians and she is a quilter? she has collected folk songs and written many about the various quilts she has found over the years and is well known in quilt circles. John is also a musician and a cousin to David’s father. Love the trolls too! See you when you get home, porch fest is Saturday May 20th!


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