During our October visit to Lexington, Kentucky, my husband and I did several socially distanced and fun things. Each of the activities involved very little or no contact with others. Masks were worn by everyone at each location and enforced. Lexington was the perfect destination to get away for a week and social distance.
1) Visit a Bourbon Distillery
There are many Bourbon Distilleries located near Lexington. Most of the Vistors Centers are open with limited capacity and mask-wearing requirements. Before we were allowed inside, employees took our temperatures and contact information. We enjoyed looking at the merchandise and picking up a few Christmas gifts. Some of the distilleries had areas with information about how they produce bourbon and the story of the distillery. We were able to explore a little around each distillery and take a couple of scenic photos of the grounds. Wild Turkey Distilling Co. was the most scenic with views of the bridges over the Kentucky River. The drive between each distillery was picturesque. Due to COVID, most of the distillery tours have stopped.
We visited four locations during our trip: Four Roses Distillery, Woodford Reserve Distillery, Buffalo Trace Distillery, and Wild Turkey Distilling Co. Each distillery has unique architecture and a variety of items to purchase in their stores. On select days, Blanton's Bourbon and Eagle Rare Bourbon can be purchased, at Buffalo Trace Distillery.
Even if you are not a Bourbon drinker (I am not a Bourbon drinker), a visit to the distilleries can still be a fun and informative activity.
Please check with each location to verify their current policies.
2) Visit Morning Training at Keeneland Racetrack
Each morning between 5:30 am and 10 am, the track is open for training/workout of the horses that are stabled at Kenneland Racetrack. A great time to see the racetrack and horses without large crowds. No admission fee or parking fee is required. The day we visited, 15 other people were around, making it very easy to social distance. The outdoor area is large and makes it a great option during COVID.
As we entered the parking area, employees took our temperatures and asked for our email address.
After watching the horses, we stopped at the gorgeous gift shop. We were the only people in the store at the time. The shop has a wide range of Keeneland branded items, equine gifts, home goods, and upscale apparel. I highly recommend walking through the shop.
3) Take a scenic drive through horse county
A road trip around the Lexington area horse farms is the ultimate social distancing activity. Old Frankfort Pike is one of America's Top 10 Most Scenic drives and takes you past some of the most prestigious horse farms. You can either follow Old Frankfort Pike or make up a personalized route. I just loved seeing the horses in the meadows and all the fences.
If you plan it right, you can stop for lunch or dinner at a local restaurant (for takeout or curbside pick-up) during your drive. I highly recommend Wallace Station. They have plenty of picnic tables outside. Try the dinner specials after 4 pm. Or you can stop for curbside pick-up from somewhere and take it back to your house/hotel.
4) Visit a Nature Preserve
Another way to explore the Lexington area with social distancing is going to nature preserves. We visited two of the many preserves in the area. Both had miles of trails to explore.
Raven Run Nature Sanctuary is a large area about 30 minutes outside of Lexington. Along the way, we saw many horse farms. We stopped and picked up lunch at a local restaurant and ate outside at a picnic table before we hiked. There are 10 miles of trails with different levels of difficulty. We selected blue, and it was perfect for us. It was a nicely marked trail with colorful trees.
Pets are not allowed at Raven Run. We saw one couple with a small dog that had to leave the preserve.
Red River Gorge Geological Area was a further drive (about 1 hour from Lexington) but worth it. We decided to hike the Grays Arch Trail to view Grays Arch. This trail had areas that were steep and moderately difficult. Free parking was available at the picnic area, which is where this trail begins. Make sure to use the bathroom before starting to hike. We heard the birds chirping and the leaves blowing in the wind during our hike.
5) Walk around the University of Kentucky
We are familiar with the University of Kentucky as our daughter is a proud graduate. Lots of changes have taken place on campus since she graduated several years ago. So I knew I wanted to spend some time on campus. Our first stop was the recently built Gatton Student Center. Inside we shopped at the new Bookstore and checked out restaurants. Of course, I had to purchase a few UK items. The large campus is stunning. There are plenty of areas to explore. Make sure to see the James Patterson statue, William T. Young Library (Willy T. Library), and Gatton Studen Center. Go Big Blue!
6) Rent a House on a horse farm or with land to explore
An easy way to social distance is by renting a house with property. Fox Cottage had an outdoor pool area with a fire table, a deck on the back of the house, a front porch, an outdoor fire pit, and land to explore. The property had six gorgeous horses to watch in the pasture. We had plenty to do right on the property. In the summer, the pool is open and provides an additional activity on the grounds.
If you are interested in learning more about Fox Cottage I wrote a blog post all about it... Birthday Week at Fox Cottage in Lexington, Kentucky - Part One
Lexington, KY is about 6 hours from the Chicago area. It was an ideal destination to get away from home but not have to drive a great distance. We found plenty to do during our week stay and are looking forward to returning soon.
Birthday Week at Fox Cottage - Part 3: My Favorite Restaurants in the Lexington, KY area coming soon! I'm a Travel Agent and Blogger that specializes in Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Universal, SeaWorld, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and properties I showcase on my blog. It is my passion to use my travel knowledge and love of travel in a way that inspires people to travel more. If you are thinking about planning a trip please contact me. I love talking about Disney & Travel!!! My planning services are complimentary when you book with me! Want a quote, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (my travel agent email). Happy Travels! Travel with Debbie D