Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway
- DesignationNational Scenic Byway (2009)
- Intrinsic QualitiesHistoric
- Length71.2 miles
The Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway is a 72-mile stretch of US 31E and US 150 that travels through six communities as it winds its way through the knobs of Kentucky. The route passes through both Perryville and Daville. The byway exhibits a set of four strong aspects, which visitors will have the opportunity to learn about as they travel along the byway: Abraham Lincoln, US History and the Civil War, Bourbon Heritage, and Religious Heritage.
Story of the Byway
The Lincoln Heritage Scenic Byway showcases Kentucky’s rich historic and cultural resources and highlights these four aspects of Kentucky’s history: Abraham Lincoln, U.S. history and the Civil War, Bourbon Heritage, and Religious Heritage. Alongside the many significant historic and religious destinations, visitors should keep an eye out for the Bourbon Trail and its eight distilleries, which pass through the Lincoln Heritage Highway. Bourbon is known as America’s official spirit and has a rich history and proud tradition along the byway. The Bourbon Trail is a unique destination on the byway that entices visitors from around the globe.
The byway begins just south of Hodgenville, where visitors can visit the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Park. In Hodgenville, visitors can learn about Abraham Lincoln at the Abraham Lincoln Museum and visit Adolph Weinman’s Abraham Lincoln Statue or Abraham Lincoln’s Boyhood Home at Knob Creek. As the byway continues past New Haven, visitors will have the opportunity to engage with the prominence of religion along the byway by visiting The Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani. The Abbey is America’s oldest Trappist monastery. Further along the byway, visitors wishing to experience more of Kentucky’s religious heritage should visit the Loretto Motherhouse, which has served as the religious home of the Loretto community since 1824.
The byway continues into Bardstown. Visitors should take the opportunity to venture into the Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral to admire the impressive white interior and stained glass windows. History lovers should explore the Old Bardstown Village, complete with an American Civil War Museum, a women’s history museum, and ten colonial-era log cabins, while those seeking to become more acquainted with Kentucky’s bourbon heritage should visit the Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center and Distillery. Here visitors can sample the family run distillery’s own bourbon and learn more about the history of bourbon in the area.
As the route continues to wind through Kentucky’s countryside to Springfield, bourbon-lovers should make a stop at Maker’s Mark Distillery. Within Springfield, visitors should make a stop in the downtown area, which is filled with unique restaurants and shopping inside cozy historic buildings. Before the byway enters downtown Perryville, visitors should be sure to check out the Perryville Battlefield State Park. At this battlefield on October 8, 1862, Perryville became the site of the most destructive Civil War battle in the state which left more than 7,600 killed, wounded or missing. This battle was the South’s last serious attempt to gain possession of Kentucky.
The byway ends in Danville. In Danville, visitors can pay their respects at the Danville National Cemetery, a military cemetery. Visitors should also be sure to explore Constitution Square Historic State Site, the birthplace of Kentucky’s statehood in 1792. Danville was chosen as the site of the state’s first seat of government. At the Visitors Center, visitors can stop by for official byway maps and information. The Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway represents an escape from the ordinary, a true symbolism of the adventure of the open road, and a snapshot of early American life.
The byway begins just south of Hogenville on State Highway 61 before turning northeast on U.S. Highway 31. Visitors will pass through the towns of New Haven and Bardstown before turning onto U.S. Highway 150. Visitors will follow U.S. Highway 150 through Springfield and Perryville before the route terminates in Danville.
Points of Interest
Abraham Lincoln's Boyhood Home at Knob Creek
Abraham Lincoln’s Boyhood Home at Knob Creek is where President Lincoln recounted his first memories. At the site is a museum and a restored log cabin.
Heaven Hill Bourbon Heritage Center and Distillery
The family run distillery’s museum and tasting center tells the story of Bourbon, America’s national spirit, in the area.
Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site
At this battlefield on October 8, 1862, Perryville became the site of the most destructive Civil War battle in the state which left more than 7,600 killed, wounded or missing. This battle was the South’s last serious attempt to gain possession of Kentucky.
Begin your journey just south of Hodegenville at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park. This site was the country’s first memorial to Lincoln, honoring the humble beginnings of our 16th president Abraham Lincoln. Within the neoclassical FIrst Lincoln Memorial, the symbolic birth cabin is enshrined on the traditional site of the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. Take a stroll to the beautiful Sinking Spring at Karst Window, the water source for the Lincoln family.
Continue north along the byway and U.S. Route 31 to reach Abraham Lincoln’s Boyhood Home at Knob Creek, where Lincoln’s earliest memories were formed. Visitors can discover a restored log cabin and tavern amidst the agricultural fields and woodlands.
Follow U.S. Route 31 north for about 18 miles to Bardstown. In Bardstown, visit the Old Bardstown Village and Civil War museum. The site features 10 colonial era log cabins and a women’s museum. While in Bardstown, stop for lunch at one of the quaint local restaurants or sample whiskey at a local distillery.
Continuing along the byway east, travel along U.S. 150 for 35 miles to the Perryville Battlefield State Park. Perryville became the site of the most destructive Civil War battle in the state which left more than 7,600 killed, wounded or missing. The Perryville Battlefield park museum tells of the battle that was the South’s last serious attempt to gain possession of Kentucky. This Kentucky battlefield is one of the most unaltered Civil War sites in the nation; vistas visible today are virtually those soldiers saw on that fateful day in 1862. A self-guided walking tour on the battlefield interprets battle events. From Perryville, continue east to the byway’s terminus in Danville.
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