Thursday, June 2, 2016

Frankfort, Capitol and Bourbon

One of our goals as we moved north was to add four more capitol buildings to our list.  That plan changed when Opus needed a new alternator and I was attacked by some unknown bug.  We bypassed the capitols in Arkansas and Tennessee, but that just gives us something to look forward to in the future.  After leaving Lewisburg we headed to Frankfort, (no the capital of Kentucky is not Louisville), and in addition to the capitol we toured another distillery and found a very neat restaurant.
This is the fourth capitol in Kentucky.  It was built from 1904 to 1910 in the Beaux-Arts style that was so popular at that time.  Many of the interior rooms are classic French in style.  All three branches: governor, legislative and Supreme court, are in the building.
Some of the statues of famous Kentuckians.  The first three, Abe Lincoln, Henry Clay and Jefferson Davis, are in the rotunda.  The fourth is Colonel Harland Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
This was a unique feature that we have not seen in any other dome.  There are lights that change color, very cool. 
The Supreme Court has seven judges.  The walls of this elegant chamber are Honduras mahogany.
The library was very different with the top floor having glass floors to allow light into the lower level.  
The State Reception Room was designed as a place for ceremonial events.  The walls are painted to look like tapestry, the mirrors on each end give the illusion that the room is much larger.  The furnishings were crafted to resemble French Baroque pieces of the 17th century.  
Looking down the main axis of the capitol from the Senate wing to the House of Representatives.  This 300 foot long space lined with 36 one piece columns and passing through the rotunda is very impressive.
The Senate has 38 members. The chamber has the classic look with the columns.  There are public galleries on both sides of the chamber.
The House has 99 members.  Each member here has a roll top desk.  Both chambers have scagliola, faux marble, decor. 
If you visit Frankfort make sure you stop at the overlook for a neat view of the capitol.  There are both guided and self guided tours available.  We opted for the self guided as there was a large school group on the guided tour.
Near the capitol is the governor's mansion that is built in the classic French style like Marie Antoinette's Villa.  The mansion is normally open for tours, but there was a special reception the day of our visit and we were not invited.  
The floral clock is on the grounds of the capitol complex.
As an added bonus for us we learned that the Frank Lloyd Wright - Ziegler House is near the capitol.  The prairie house style home is the only Wright structure built in Kentucky during his lifetime.  It is a private residence and not open to the public.
We never miss a chance to tour a distillery and Buffalo Trace in Frankfort gave us the opportunity to try a bourbon we have not tried before.  This is the oldest continually operating distillery in America as they distilled "medical" spirits during the Depression.
The tour featured the small building where they bottle their top shelf, single barrel bourbons, Eagle Rare and Blanton's.  The bottles on the left were being hand filled and double filtered to remove some residue that came out of the barrel.
These are bottles of Blanton's bourbon that get a cork with a racehorse attached and a collar as they go through this process.  The collar is removed after black wax, used for the final sealing, is put around the cork. 
The bottles are then put in cartons and boxed for shipping, all done by hand.  This whole operation involved at least a dozen people working in one small room.
The unique feature of Blanton's is the racehorse on the cork.  There are eight different horses that depict a horse's gait at various stages of the Kentucky Derby.  If you collect all eight they spell out Blanton's.
Right now the demand for bourbon is very high so they are distilling more and needing more barrel houses.  This is a new one being built.  The ricks are constructed first and then the outside walls will be built around them.  The picture is a bit blurry as we were in Opus and just happened to see it.
This is a typical barrel house.  We have seen them built with bricks, stone, metal and wooden walls.  The bourbon is aged for at least five years though some are left to age for many more.  They recently found a barrel at Buffalo Trace that was 17 years old.  That bourbon will bring top dollar.
This may be the smallest barrel house in Kentucky.  They only put every 1,000,000th barrel here.  This is the six millionth to come out of this distillery.  The bourbon will be bottled and sold as a fundraiser for scholarships.  We have been to several distilleries and each one offers something different.  Of course the tour always ends with a tasting, but not of the single barrel.
We wanted to try the Blanton's so we went to Bourbon on Main, a very neat local eatery.  Nanc had the Blanton's and I had the 1792 from Barton Distillery in Bardstown.  We shared and agreed they were both wonderful.  Bourbon on Main has over 100 bourbons available and the owner is very knowledgeable about them all.
The food was also great.  The menu is small because everything is homemade.  I had the Quit Yer Bitchin' Burger that had a four pepper topping that was fantastic.  We were only there for a couple days but we had a great visit and would recommend adding Frankfort to your travel list.


Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

Nice post. How many capitols have you visited so far?

Daniel Quinn said...

Very interesting bourbon tour! Loved it:)