Vote for Louisville as National Geographic Traveler’s Best Trips of 2014

National Geographic Traveler MagazineThis week above any, our region and the great city of Louisville sure do shine, but let’s make that spotlight even brighter.

We’re happy to share that Louisville is in the running to make the list of Best Trips of 2014 by National Geographic Traveler Magazine. Now we need everyone to get out and vote! You have until Friday, May 3 to nominate Louisville as your favorite travel destination.

Simply click here and tell the editors of National Geographic Traveler Magazine why Louisville deserves a spot on the list. All eyes are on Louisville this week as our city gears up for Derby, and what better time than now to draw even more attention to the city’s culture, arts scene, cuisine, great outdoor attractions, and of course sports!

The deadline to submit a nomination is Friday, May 3. Help us in spreading the word about our great city!

 

image credit: National Geographic 

Building Cultural Awareness

GLI Cultural ToursDid you know that there are more than 75 nationalities represented in our region?  And it’s that diverse culture that helps make our region prosper and grow. With the globalization of our economy, building a greater understanding of the world’s many great cultures can benefit us not only personally but help businesses succeed. One of Kix’s managing partners, Greater Louisville Inc (GLI), certainly understands that.

After last year’s successful trip to Cuba, GLI is providing another great opportunity for people in our region to get a first hand look at two thriving economies. On tap this year are trips to ancient Turkey and Brazil. GLI wants to to “create a unique global cultural awareness experience with a one of a kind networking opportunity.” Both trips will offer insight into the region, the culture, history, and the international business climate. Many tourist attractions will also be a part of each trip.

Both trips will offer networking opportunities with local government or businesses in the growing business community. So whether you desire to build a global strategy plan for your business or are just looking to expand your personal knowledge of different thriving cultures, either trip will appeal to you.

To register for these trips or for more information, contact Michael Iacovazzi Pau 502-625-0070 ormiacovazzi-pau@greaterlouisville.com. To get a more detailed itinerary or for more information click here.

Turkey

May 23 – June 3

$2590 per person

As one of the top 10 travel destinations, Turkey welcomes more than 23 million visitors every year. This trip will include visits to the cities of Istanbul, Ankara, Cappadochia, Pamukkale, Ephesus, Troy, Canakkale and more. Experience the rich heritage of Turkey’s mosques and ancient palaces. This friendly, beautiful and modern city is full of excitement to fill your 12-day trip. If you are interested in this trip, attend an informational meeting February 21 @5:45 at the GLI office, 614 West Main Street Suite 6000.

Brazil

September 25-October 3

$3650 per person

If you are looking for adventure, Brazil is the place to be. Named the “Best Destination in the World” for adventure by National Geographic, Brazil promises a dynamic experience. Brazil currently tops the charts as one of the most desired places to do business. Cities planned for visiting on this tour include: Sao Paulo, Rio’s Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf mountain and more. If you are interested in this trip an informational meeting is planned for March 14.

 

image credit: GLI

Jim Beam American Still House Grand Opening

Jim Beam American StillhouseJim Beam American Stillhouse, located in Clermont, Ky., just south of Louisville, invites you to be a part of its grand opening celebration on Oct. 3 at 2:30 p.m. Governor Steven L. Beshear will be there along with Beam President and CEO Matt Shattock, Chairman of the Board David Mackay, and seventh generation Jim Beam master distiller Fredrick Booker Noe III.

The event seeks to recognize the $30 million investment by Beam in the new visitors’ center, Jim Beam American Stillhouse. This celebration will officially open the doors to the new visitors’ center and commemorates Beam’s unwavering commitment to the bourbon industry—the industry it helped create when Jacob Beam made his first bourbon whiskey in 1795.

The opening coincides with Beam’s one-year anniversary as a stand-alone, publicly traded company, and signifies more tourism and ultimately more jobs for Kentucky families.

Jim Beam is the first stop along the distinguished Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The new Jim Beam American Stillhouse offers visitors a look back at the company’s 218-year history, and gives the public first-time-ever tours of the world’s largest bourbon distillery. The opening of the Jim Beam American Stillhouse, as well as a new state-of-the-art Global Innovation Center, reflects a multi-year investment by Beam.

The grand opening event takes place tomorrow at Jim Beam American Stillhouse, 526 Happy Hollow Road, Clermont, KY 40110 at 2:30 p.m.

To RSVP to the event, please contact Jaclyn Cole at 630.932.5545 or 630.414.4637 or by email: jaclyn@jsha.com.

image courtesy of Jim Beam

Bardstown, KY Named Most Beautiful Small Town in America

Bardstown, Kentucky named most beautiful small townWe’ve been watching the competition unfold over the last few months, voting and pulling for Bardstown to win the Rand McNally/USA TODAY Best of the Road contest. Our votes and yours have made that dream a reality for our region when the winners were announced yesterday in Seattle, Washington.

This nationwide contest originated with 650 towns nominated in the categories of: Most Beautiful, Friendliest, Most Fun, Most Patriotic, and the town that has the Best Food. (On a side note, Murray, Kentucky was voted Most Friendliest Small Town, so kudos to Murray on their victory! Danville, Kentucky was a finalist in the Most Beautiful category as well.)

Dawn Ballard Przystal, vice president, tourism expansion and marketing of the Bardstown-Nelson County Tourist & Convention Commission, stated in a press release: “Being selected as Most Beautiful Small Town in America is a tremendous honor and the exposure we receive will be a wonderful boost to our marketing efforts. We really appreciate Nikki and Dusty, who did such a wonderful job portraying to the judges the beauty of Bardstown.”

In late June, Nikki and Dusty visited Bardstown and were welcomed with a parade and special gathering on Courthouse Square. They toured a number of Bardstown attractions, saw its beautiful architecture and downtown buildings, and visited two select distilleries. See the videos from their trip on our blog.

The Travel Channel will air a special program on Wednesday, July 25 at 8PM featuring the Best of the Road teams and the videos filmed during visits to each of the finalist towns.

Congratulations to Bardstown, Murray, and Danville for their recognition in this national competition!

Image courtesy of the City of Bardstown

Nik and Dusty Explore Bardstown, KY

Rand McNally and USA Today’s Best of the Road teams are still searching for the best small town in America. Nikki and Dusty, a duo from the Best of the Road team, recently visited Bardstown and blogged about their journey.

During their three-day stay, Nikki and Dusty visited many of the town’s unique shops, family-owned restaurants, and of course, toured a couple distilleries. They were impressed by the friendly welcome they received and by the people in general, but the competition is still in full force!

Part of the judging process is based on how many people respond to the videos and the blogs, so this is where we need your help. Visit Nikki and Dusty’s blog here, read all about their adventures in Bardstown, and leave a comment if you’d like. Then, check out the two videos posted on YouTube and be sure to “like” them.

You still have plenty of time to vote for Bardstown. The contest ends on December 31, 2012.

Rand McNally’s video can be found here.
Nikki and Dusty’s video can be found here.

We’re pulling for Bardstown and can’t wait to see where they end up in the competition! Thanks for your support in crowning Bardstown the best small town in America!

Take a Staycation Instead—Regional Tourism Ideas

A growing trend among many families and young couples looking to save money on vacation expenses, is to look locally for travel destinations. Staycations are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. With gas prices on the rise, you can save some significant cash by becoming a tourist in your own hometown. And there’s no short list of things to do in our region.

Memorial Day events LouisvilleWith Memorial Day on Monday, you can bet there are plenty of things going on this weekend. Here are a few events worth checking out:

First, the F.A.T Friday Trolley Hop is going on this Friday, May 25 starting at 6PM. Board the Frankfort Avenue Trolley for a tour of some of the most unique specialty shops and restaurants near downtown Louisville. The tour runs down Frankfort, Mellwood, and Story Avenues and lasts until 10PM.

Second, Southern Indiana Uncorked at the Harrison County fairgrounds. This event runs from 1-7PM on Saturday, May 26. Events include a wine festival, concert series, and a wine and beer competition.

Third, Abbey Road on the River, the largest Beatles-inspired music festival, began yesterday and runs through Memorial Day. Here’s a lineup of bands performing and more information about activities going on.

And lastly, The United States Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox will be putting on a Memorial Day Ceremony at 11:30AM on Monday, May 28 in Cadet Park. This event will pay tribute to Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen—past and present.

There are also a ton of other options you can do anytime this summer including:

  • Bernheim Forest is a great place to be if you’re a kid. There are numerous hiking trials, a huge playground, gift shop, and more.
  • Blue River Valley Farm offers unique activities for kids including how to milk goats, pick home grown vegetables in season, and make fresh goat milk ice cream and cheese. You can also camp on the property, hike through the woods, go fishing, and more.
  • Jim Beam’s brand new visitors center is now open. And if it’s bourbon you like, there are plenty of distilleries to tour in Bardstown.
  • The Carneigie Center is exhibiting Our House: Recent Works in Glass by Joel starting on June 1. Exhibits change throughout the summer, so take a look and see what’s coming up.

There are so many opportunities to support local businesses and local attractions this summer. Have fun with your staycations this year, and be sure to let KIX know where you went and what you discovered.

Cast Your Vote for Bardstown—The Best Small Town

As the horses emerged onto the track for the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby this past Saturday, the crowd took part in the singing of My Old Kentucky Home.

The inspiration for that Stephen Foster song is just down the road in Bardstown, Kentucky. With its rich history, beautiful town square, and quaint neighborhood shops and restaurants, it’s no surprise that Bardstown is nominated in the USA Today/Rand McNally Best Small Towns online contest. If you’ve ever been to Bardstown, you know what we’re talking about. And if you haven’t, well, maybe it’s time to plan a visit!

Currently in the “most beautiful” category—and the only small town in our region in the contest—we encourage you to vote for Bardstown today and everyday until the contest ends on May 14. You can cast your vote here and even upload your own picture to the Bardstown gallery.

Downtown BardstownThe beauty of Bardstown
As Kentucky’s second oldest city, the streets of downtown Bardstown are filled with beautiful stone sidewalks, historic colonial homes, eclectic retail shops, and yes, even horse and carriage rides through the town. A tour through the city will take you to places such as historical Old Talbott Tavern, various art galleries, women and childrens’ boutique clothing, home interior shops, and more.

And did you know Bardstown is also the heart of bourbon country? Visit the Willett Distillery, The Bourbon Heritage Center at Heaven Hill Distilleries, The Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History, Barton 1792 Distillery & Visitor Center  among others.

You have to see this
Bardstown plays host to more than 30 annual events and festivals designed for people of all ages. From the Opry to wine excursions to Bourbon Festival to arts and crafts fairs, the spirit of Bardstown and pride of the people who live there is seen year round.

Cast your vote
Please vote every day for this gem of a small town, right here in our region! Its beauty, history, and culture deserve to be known all around America.

If you would like more information about the contest, check out this short video.

Image courtesy of www.visitbardstown.com

Agritourism: What it means for our region

Agritourism in Kentucky and IndianaWhile tomorrow may be Derby Day, another annual tradition will be underway in LaRue County – the 4th annual Strawberry Festival at Hinton’s Orchard & Farm Market. Jeremy and Joanna Hinton purchased the farm in 2006 and since then have invited thousands of their closest friends to join in the fun, offering not just fresh fruits and vegetables, but a whole host of activities for the family to enjoy on this working farm.

The Hinton’s are just one example of farmers who are reaping the benefits of agritourism in our region. Agritourism has been touted as one of the fastest growing segments of the agriculture industry. If you’re not familiar with the term, it simply means, “The act of visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural, or agribusiness operation for the purpose of enjoyment, education or active involvement in the activities of the farm or operation.”

Our region is home to dozens of active agritourism destinations – a celebration of the family farm and the entrepreneurial spirit of our region. A few more that caught our attention:

Maple Hill Manor
Springfield, KY

This working farm is located in the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky and the home situated on the farm is considered one of the best preserved Antebellum Homes in the Commonwealth. The attraction of staying in a beautiful bed-and-breakfast is the primary draw for this agritourism business. It has won number awards including being voted “Top 10 Innkeepers” in the U.S. by BedandBreakfast.com 2010-2011.

Hubor’s Winery
Starlight, IN

This family-run farm was started with 80 acres of farmland by Simon Huber. The farm has now been expanded to over 600 acres. Originally from Germany, Simon brought along his years of experience in fruit growing and wine making. With expertise and hard work, this agritourism business has acquired over 900 gold, silver & bronze awards from wine competitions from all regions of the United States.

Fair Oaks Farms
Fair Oaks, IN

By using sustainable farming practices and high-quality ingredients, Fair Oaks Farms is a working farm that has award-winning dairy products – artisan cheese, fresh milk, homemade ice cream, and specialty butter. With an up-close look at sustainable dairy farming at its finest, this agritourism business offers wholesome fun for the entire family.

And there are so many more.

Support our local farmers and the businesses they’ve created by visiting a local farm in your area. Check out a list of agritourism destinations in Kentucky and Indiana.

Take Advantage of a Rare Chance to Explore Cuba!

Greater Louisville Inc Trip to CubaThe 9-day, 8-night DISCOVER CUBA adventure trip, sponsored by the Greater Louisville Inc. and travel partner Chamber Explorations, is one of the hottest tickets in town. And with limited seating, it’s likely selling out fast. It’s a chance to do something few of us have had the opportunity to do—thanks to a recently-resurrected program known as people-to-people experience. First offered in 1999, people-to-people licenses have not been issued since 2003. A recent executive order this past year re-opened the door.

While tourism is not new to Cuba, travel to Cuba is new to most Americans. It’s your chance to experience a country that has long been off limits. This all-inclusive, well-planned cultural exploration will be true to the local culture with outings that will expose travelers to artists and craft workers and to sites that will share Cuba’s history from Cuba’s point of view. See Old Havana, Sugar Mill Valley, Partagas Cigar Factory, Finca La Vigia (Hemingway’s home), Pinar del Mar, Bay of Pigs, Cuban Literacy Museum, Cuban School/Day Care, and visit the world heritage cities of Cienfuegos and Trinidad. And these are just a few of the scheduled stops on the trip itinerary.

To access the full trip itinerary, click here.

By traveling with Chamber Explorations, you are licensed and authorized to travel to Cuba. Chamber Explorations programs operate under a specific license granted to us by the United States Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Prior to your departure to Cuba, you will receive a copy of our travel license and a letter of authorization granting you permission to travel under that license.

“We will be flying non-stop from Miami International Airport on August 30 on a chartered jet.” Said Michael Iacovazzi-Pau, GLI’s Manager of Global Engagement. “One plane has already been filled, but we’ve still got seats left on a second.”

So move quickly if you’re interested in this terrific, limited-time opportunity to visit Cuba.

Questions? Visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on GLI’s website or call Michael Iacovazzi-Pau at 502-625-0070.

Interstate 65 plans for expansion, improved mobility

Interstate 65 expansionMotorists, tourists, and daily commuters all have one thing on their minds: safe travels. And while driving through our region may provide beautiful scenery and an abundance of local attractions to stop and visit along the way, parts of our road system, particularly some sections of Interstate 65—leave much to be desired.

The area of Kentucky just south of Elizabethtown, where I-65 merges into a four-lane expressway, can cause traffic nightmares – and more importantly, major safety concerns.

Hopefully, that’s about to change if Kentucky’s state highway plan is approved. This section of the highway’s only remaining four-lane stretch in Kentucky could receive a $136.6 million boost in funding, one that will pay to build 12 miles of new northbound and southbound lanes over the next two years.

According to an article in the Courier Journal, from 2003 to 2009, about 41 percent of all traffic deaths on I-65 in Kentucky occurred between Elizabethtown and the Cumberland Parkway. We’re definitely taking steps in the right direction by making one of our region’s major arteries safer and less congested.

In related news, if you’re not current with what’s happening with The Ohio River Bridges Project, The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is seeking teams of contractors to design and build a new downtown Louisville bridge, a modernized downtown interchange, and improved I-65 connections to Southern Indiana. A pre-bid meeting is set for Thursday, March 1, with plans to award a contractor by October 2012. More to come on this topic later.

The leaders of our region are realizing that change is needed in order to increase mobility and enhance travel safety in our area.

If that’s not enough good news, repairs on the Sherman Minton Bridge, closed since early September, are nearly complete. In fact, the reopening of this extremely busy span could occur as much as one week earlier than scheduled.

For a place that takes pride in its transportation and logistics infrastructure, all of these positive stories mean that getting around our region will be easier, safer and more efficient than ever!

Stay tuned as KIX continues to follow and update you on these important events.