My Old Kentucky Home State

Bardstown

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In a Nutshell

Holly and pine surround visitors as they tour the 19th-century mansion that inspired Stephen Foster's ballad "My Old Kentucky Home"

The Fine Print

Promotional value expires Dec 30, 2013. Amount paid never expires. Limit 2 per person, may buy 3 additional as gifts. Valid only for option purchased. Reservation required. Not valid on 12/7/13. Not open on 11/28/13, 12/24-12/26. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Choose Between Two Options

  • $14 for the “My Old Kentucky Home” holiday day tour for four and a souvenir print (up to $32 value)
  • $21 for the “My Old Kentucky Home” holiday day tour for six and a souvenir print (up to $46 value)<p>

Groups of 20-25 take a self-guided tour through Federal Hill—the Georgian-style mansion that inspired Stephen Foster’s song “My Old Kentucky Home,” while guides dressed in period costumes are stationed in each room to offer information.The mansion, which was finished in 1818, surrounds its visitors in holly, pine, and Christmas decorations, as well as furniture and decor that re-create the 1850s. A fireplace warms an outdoor kitchen, where groups pause for 10 minutes to sip cider and eat bourbon-barrel cake. Before leaving, they can browse a gift shop, which sells pottery, quilts, and other items handcrafted in Kentucky. Tours are given seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hours are extended until 8:30 p.m. on November 29 and 30, as well as December 6, 13, and 14.<p> 

My Old Kentucky Home State Park

A red-tailed hawk soars high above My Old Kentucky Home State Park, peering down at its campgrounds, golf course, and outdoor amphitheater. Here, a cast of actors performs Stephen Foster - The Musical, belting the famous tune, "My Old Kentucky Home." Just a piano's throw away stands Federal Hill, the Georgian-style mansion that originally inspired this perennial ballad.

Built between 1795 and 1818, the brick mansion echoes early American history in everything right down to its decor. Supposedly to honor the original colonies, the number 13 appears throughout the house: 13 windows at the front, 13 steps to each floor, and 13-inch thick walls, which once housed famous guests such as Aaron Burr. For 120 years, the Rowan family lived in the mansion. Then, in 1922, Madge Rowan Frost sold the 235-acre estate, as well as many family heirlooms, to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Since then, tour guides have taken visitors throughout the mansion's grounds and into its history-laden rooms. The staff has renovated the mansion in recent years, putting in hours of research to ensure that the carpets, wallpapers, drapes, and hand-whittled internet routers remain authentic to the 1850s. The mansion also celebrates the changing seasons—in winter, the mansion dons Christmas decor and the staffers serve apple cider dressed up in period costumes.


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