EDITOR’S NOTE: While today’s article has timely information on restrictions and hours due to COVID-19, protocols can change quickly. Before you start planning, please keep in mind that the hours and operations of these destinations may be abbreviated or amended, so confirm the information presented here and that they are open before you go.

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Summer is a great time to hop in your car and take a scenic drive. Spend your Saturday driving along two of Kentucky’s most scenic byways — Old Frankfort Pike and Pisgah Pike — and enjoy the picturesque scenery of horse country. Filled with historic homes, expansive farmland and entertaining stops, this drive is a must.

Old Frankfort Pike

This scenic Kentucky byway connects Frankfort and Lexington and makes for a stunning drive. Often referred to as “Thoroughbred Alley,” Old Frankfort Pike’s 16.9 miles allows you to view the area’s historic cluster of Thoroughbred horse farms — a multibillion-dollar business in Kentucky.

Old Frankfort Pike — a scenic Kentucky byway

The scenery alone makes the drive through Kentucky’s byways worth it. Image: Backroad Bluegrass 

Tour Three Chimney’s Horse Farm

1981 Old Frankfort Pike, Versailles, KY 40383 (859) 873-7053

During your drive, be sure to stop at Three Chimneys — one of the most famous horse farms on Old Frankfort Pike. The farm originally started as a small boarding operation and quickly turned into today’s model for 21st-century Thoroughbred breeding operations. Today, Three Chimneys has managed the careers of some of the top stallions in American history. The farm is most famously known as the home of Seattle Slew, the only undefeated Triple Crown winner in history. Book a private tour to learn about the farm’s extensive history and its significant impact on the Kentucky Thoroughbred industry.

Kentucky horse country

Kentucky’s horse country is absolutely dreamy. Image: Ken Silvestri

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Have Lunch at Wallace Station

3854 Old Frankfort Pike, Versailles, KY 40383 • (859) 846-5161
Hours: Wednesday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

After visiting with the horses, grab lunch at Wallace Station, an upscale bakery and sandwich shop that is known for its gourmet sandwiches and homemade desserts. Wallace Station embraces a horse racing theme with racing silks and farm logos adorning the restaurant, as well as food named after famous horses and racetracks. Highlights include the “Big Brown,” the restaurant’s famous griddled burger topped with ham, bacon, and white cheddar mornay. Food celebrity Guy Fieri deemed it one of the best burgers he has ever had. Wallace Station’s desserts come from the nearby Midway Bakery & Cafe, a local confectionery specializing in cookies, pies and scones.

Originally a grocery store and gas station, the charming restaurant was built at the turn of the 20th century and boasts a rich history. Wallace Station’s dining room is currently closed, but they offer a takeout option and safely distanced picnic tables in their outdoor space.

Wallace Station, located along one of Kentucky's scenic byways

This nostalgic roadside restaurant is a must-visit destination during your drive through Kentucky’s scenic byways. Image: Backroad Bluegrass

Pisgah Pike

From Old Frankfort Pike, turn onto Highway 1967, which is also known as Pisgah Pike. The shorter of the two pikes, the gorgeous 4.5-mile stretch runs between Old Frankfort Pike and US 60. Pisgah Pike offers idyllic views and iconic imagery of Kentucky’s countryside. This area between Versailles and Lexington makes up the largest rural historic district in the state.

Pisgah Pike

Enjoy the rolling hills of picturesque horse country during your drive. Image: Backroad Bluegrass

Stop at The Kentucky Castle

230 Pisgah Pike, Versailles, KY 40383 (859) 256-0322

Stop at one of Lexington’s most eccentric landmarks: The Kentucky Castle. Originally constructed by real estate developer Rex Martin in 1969, the castle was a gift to Rex’s wife Caroline, who wanted a home to replicate the castles she had seen on the couple’s recent trip to Germany.

While Rex never finished the Castle, it has remained a roadside attraction and popular landmark. The castle has been upgraded into an exclusive boutique hotel and event space that was recently named “The Most Beautiful Hotel in Kentucky” by Architectural Digest. Tours of the castle are currently offered to groups of 10 or less.

Kentucky scenic byways — Kentucky Castle

This famous landmark is an architectural wonder. Image: Impact Photography

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Grab a Drink at Castle & Key

4445 McCracken Pike, Frankfort, KY 40601 (502) 395-9070
Hours: Friday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Next, make sure to grab a drink at Castle & Key, a re-imagined historic distillery that dates back to the 1800s. Formerly known as the Old Taylor Distillery, the property features a limestone castle with a European springhouse and beautifully manicured gardens. Rather than serve outside spirits, the distillery makes its own, sourcing locally grown and carefully selected ingredients.

Grab a cocktail featuring Castle & Key spirits at Counter 17, the distillery’s outdoor walk-up bar, and explore the sprawling botanical garden and surrounding spaces. All guests are required to wear masks throughout their visit, and reservations can be made on the distillery’s website.

Kentucky's Castle and Key

Castle & Key, a former bourbon distillery dating back to 1887, makes for a great stop on Pisgah Pike. Image: Seriously Sabrina Photography

Visit Kentucky Horse Park

4089 Iron Works Pkwy., Lexington, KY 40511 (859) 233-4303
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

End your trip driving through horse country at the Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington’s world-renowned horse farm that also acts as an education center and competitive facility. The park’s International Museum of the Horse is a Smithsonian Affiliate and the world’s largest equestrian museum. It takes a closer look at the roles horses have played throughout human history, starting in ancient times and ending at modern-day sporting events. Admission fees are $12 for adults and $6 for kids. Horse-drawn trolley tours, access to the barns, and the playground remain closed.

Kentucky Horse Park is located along a Kentucky scenic byway

To fully appreciate the equine culture that Kentucky celebrates, a visit to the Kentucky Horse Park is a must!

Enjoy your scenic drive!

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Looking for more ideas for a  summer escape? Find them in our “Travel” section. Click HERE