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Winter Wonderland: Bardstown, Kentucky

Located in the heart of the Bluegrass State, Bardstown, KY offers the ultimate bourbon getaway any time of year, but the holidays are particularly special. In this small town, there is a little something to make everyone’s season bright, whether it's sipping cocoa with Santa aboard the North Pole Express or caroling with Victorian flair. Here are a few highlights:

· Light Up Bardstown - If Whoville-style holiday light displays are what gets you in the holiday spirit, this annual event in Bardstown is for you. Just about every home, along with the local business community, in the tiny town of Bardstown come out of their homes to decorate the town during the annual Hanging of the Greens, culminating in the whole town flipping the switch and making Bardstown a dazzling display of festive lights. The light-viewing route has more than 20 stops spanning whole blocks and many businesses!

· All Aboard The North Pole Express Every year, My Old Kentucky Dinner Train turns into the Polar Express for kids and adults to enjoy a holiday meal with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Riders experience the elegance of railcar dining during a gourmet, three-course meal along with toasty hot cocoa and a big touch of Southern hospitality as the train meanders through the beautiful Kentucky countryside. Little ones will get excited for Christmas night as they take part in games and carols, and they can even wear their holiday PJs!

· It’s cold outside. Warm up with classic southern Bourbon: With 11 distilleries in a 16-mile radius, there is lots of bourbon to be had in Bardstown, The Bourbon Capital of the World. What better way to warm up when it gets chilly?

· Holiday Traditions at My Old Kentucky Home – Did you ever wonder where traditions like kissing under the mistletoe, Christmas trees and yule logs come from? At My Old Kentucky Home, visitors take a step back in time to the Victorian era when the 200-year-old mansion was alive with these time-honored holiday experiences, and some weirder ones as well (Christmas cards with sword-fighting frogs and frozen birds for presents, anyone?). Tour the mansion when its halls are decked for the season with garlands, stockings and six 12-foot Christmas trees for either the Merry & Bright experience. Visitors can also enjoy An Old Kentucky Christmas Carol complete with a visit from Charles Dickens and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

· Bonus points, check off your holiday shopping list: Visitors can snag treats for everyone on their list while in Bardstown. The Monks of the nearby Abbey of Gethsemani also operate Farms, which affords a variety of preserves, cookies, honey varieties, coffees, fudges, and even Kentucky Bourbon Fruitcakes.

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