From craft beer to pretzels in Kentucky's horse country, this fantastic fall getaway will have you packing your bags.
Why we're packing our bags: Bourbon will always be king in Kentucky, but there's a new sipping trend in the Bluegrass State—craft beer. The state has seen half a dozen breweries open in the past few years—so many that there's now a Brewgrass Trail lined with hops-packed stops.
Perfect for: Beer aficionados with a soft spot for pastoral, tree-lined allées.
On the itinerary: Two new breweries have joined the ranks of Lexington's growing craft-beer movement. West Sixth Brewing (westsixth.com), located in the former Rainbo Bread Factory, sells eight beers handcrafted in-house. The taproom at Country Boy Brewing (countryboybrewing.com) is the only place you can buy their 13 beers infused with flavors such as chipotle peppers, spruce tips, and local pumpkins. (About 45 minutes south, the town of Danville is also home to two new breweries, Beer Engine and Lore Brewing Company.) When you're ready for a change of pace, watch the Thoroughbreds run at Keeneland (October 5-27, keeneland.com). Arrive early for breakfast in the track kitchen, then take a self-guided walking tour around the grounds.
Save room for: Soft pretzels and beer bread at the new Midway School Bakery (859/846-4336), the latest offering from owner Ouita Michel. Just down the road, Lexington's first gastropub, The Village Idiot (lexingtonvillageidiot.com), serves craft beer along with small plates such as Cheesy Poofs (pastries filled with Gouda and fontina) and mains such as Duck Brat Sliders.
Rest your head: The 41-room European-style Gratz Park Inn is within walking distance of most of downtown Lexington (rates from $209, gratzparkinn.com).
Bring it back: Kentucky Beer Spread, a state staple made with sharp Cheddar, beer, garlic, and spices. We love the version at Hall's On The River ($6/8 oz., hallsontheriver.com).
Don't miss: Beer School at Lexington's The Beer Trappe (thebeertrappe.com). Each Sunday, you'll learn about the brewing process and taste beers from Kentucky and around the world for just $10.