Last fall, after spending the majority of the summer at our house in Georgia, we headed out in the RV for a couple of months before the holidays rolled around. After a quick swing through Florida, we decided to take the RV to Red Bay, AL – home of Tiffin Motorhomes to get a few recall items taken care of. Visiting Red Bay is always an experience, although maybe not in a good way. If you’re not familiar with it, the camping area for service is just a huge parking lot with room for 100 RVs. There’s not a whole lot to do in Red Bay, but if you own a Tiffin, this is definitely the place to go if you ever need service work done.
The camping area is first-come-first-served, so in order to make sure we got a spot we arrived on a Saturday. On Sunday we decided to take a road trip to the rather unique tourist stop The Coondog Cemetery. Yes, this is actually a cemetery ONLY for coondogs. In was established in 1937 and today there about 185 coondogs buried there.
Luckily we were able to get our service work done pretty quickly and we were able to leave Red Bay after a few days. We headed next to Florence, AL, which is about a 2 hour drive away, and has a very nice city-run RV park right on the water. It’s called McFarland Park and it’s $25 for full-hookups, and it’s first-come-first served.
After Alabama we headed to Nashville and stayed at Two Rivers Campground. We had a super social time visiting both RVing and non-RVing friends. We had beers with our friend Jeremy of Vandy Vagabonds (whose wife Alexandra was sadly out of town at the time), dinner with my college friend Anne and her new husband Charlie, celebrated our friend Shelly’s birthday with her and her wife Linda, and attended a tailgate for the Tennessee Titans with Deas’s high school friend Andy and his wife Laura. So much fun to catch up with so many great friends!
Next we headed to Kentucky – first stop was Mammoth Cave National Park. One of the nice things about this park is that one of the few National Parks that allow dogs on any of the trails, so we were able to take the dogs with us for a couple of hikes. Deas did one of the cave tours also – I am pretty claustrophobic so there was no way I was doing that with him. He did one of the tours where the only light is from a lantern that you carry (seriously, I can hardly breathe just writing about this!) so he didn’t get any pictures. But he said it was a pretty cool experience.
Next stop was the Bourbon Trail! We started in Bardstown, KY and our first distillery visit was the much-recommended Willett Distillery. We did the tour and learned all about how bourbon was made and got to do a tasting at the end.
All of the distilleries had such beautiful grounds and we were lucky enough to have great weather too while we were there. Jim Beam has a huge operation and several different tour options, so you don’t have to do the full hour-long tour about how bourbon is made if you don’t want to. We choose to just buy a couple of drinks in their bar and do the self-guided tour around the grounds.
A highlight of this stop for Deas was the Maker’s Mark Distillery, because he’s been drinking that brand of bourbon for years.
We did do the full tour here, which included seeing where they label the bottles and dip them into the iconic red wax to seal the bottle.
The tour concluded which a very informative tasting of different types of bourbon. Of all the places we visited I thought Maker’s Mark had the best tasting.
You know Maker’s Mark is big-time distillery when you enter one of the rickhouses (where they store the bourbon) and there is a Dale Chihuly installation in the ceiling!
Our next destination is Kentucky was Lexington, and we stayed at the Kentucky Horse Park. Our visit coincided with the trees putting on a beautiful show of fall colors.
We took advantage of the pretty backdrop to get a family photo of the pups.
The park is surrounded by gorgeous property and horse farms, and we took several bike rides and walks through them.
The Horse Park has a museum where you can learn a lot about the history and Kentucky and horse racing. There are also a few retired race horses living there, including Funny Cide, who won both the Derby and The Preakness, and just missed being a Triple Crown winner but coming in 3rd at the Belmont Stakes. His handlers described him as a very feisty and moody horse, and he put on quite show strutting around for all of us.
We also spent an afternoon at Keeneland watching some horse races, and even got to say hello to one of the lead horses up close and personal.
While in Lexington we actually didn’t do any other distillery tours – we were bourbon’ed out by then. But we did check out several local restaurants and breweries, including Ethereal Brewing which was definitely our favorite. We loved our time in Kentucky and hope to make it back there some day!