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Take a road trip to Shelby County, KY

It’s only 30 minutes from LOU.

A horse stature in front of silos.

Shelby County is known as the Saddlebred Capital of the World.

Photo by LOUtoday

Table of Contents

Itching to get out of town, Louisvillians? Skip those pesky airport security lines and jump in your car for a road trip to Shelby County home to Shelbyville + Simpsonville — instead. From horseback riding experiences at Red Fern Riding to cocktails at the historic Red Lion at Science Hill — we’re spilling all the details on how to have an unforgettable time in the Saddlebred Capital of the World.

📍 Essential info

Drive time: ~30 minutes
Year the county was established: 1792
Est. population: 48,065

🎟️ Experience

Red Fern Riding, 5063 Aiken Rd., Simpsonville
If you’re in the heart of Kentucky horse country, you might as well saddle up and take a ride. This equestrian center, located within the 462 acres of Shelby Trails Park, offers scenic + adventure guided horseback riding for riders of all experience levels.

Yellow sunflowers are are pinned around a wooden sign with horseshoes.

Red Fern Riding offers guided horseback riding through the scenic Shelby Trails Park.

Photo by LOUtoday

Jeptha Creed Distillery, 500 Gordon Ln., Shelbyville
This family owned + operated spirits company specializes in bourbon made with Bloody Butcher Corn, but they dabble in moonshine, brandy, and vodka, too. Take the barrel tasting tour where you’ll hear the story of Jeptha Creed, taste its products, and finish with a taste directly from a barrel, all in the setting of one of its barrel barns. Did we mention you sit in leather recliners?

Two people stand with a bourbon barrel.

Sarah got to help pull a taste of Jeptha Creed bourbon from the barrel.

Photo by LOUtoday

Wakefield-Scearce Galleries + The Red Lion at Science Hill, 525 Washington St.
Browse and shop one of the largest collections of British antiques in the US, then have a cocktail + dinner in the Grand Hall of this former 19th century all-girls preparatory school — which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Bonus:: Don’t miss the annual Christmas Open House which starts Wed., Nov. 9 and showcases holiday decorations throughout the building.

🍔 Eat

Little Mount Lavender Co., 6906 Shelbyville Rd., Simpsonville
This lavender farm store is your destination for lunch and a shopping spree — with a menu featuring ratatouille, charcuterie for two, and a fully-stocked pastry counter + multiple rooms of lavender-based products and gifts.

A hand holding a purple drink with a black straw.

Don’t skip getting a lavender lemonade from Little Mount Lavender Co.

Photo by LOUtoday

The Bell House, 721 Main St., Shelbyville
Situated in a circa-1902 Victorian home in downtown Shelbyville, you’ll be tempted to stay all day with a menu spanning from breakfast to dinner. Pro tip: Get the Hot Brown.

A bubbling hot brown sits in a ceramic, oval-shaped dish. The surface of the molten, open-faced sandwich features a tomato, strips of bacon, parsley flakes, and a crispy, golden brown bake.

The Bell House’s hot brown is a must-try.

Photo by LOUtoday

Cafe 7021 Vietnamese Bar and Grill, 7021 Shelbyville Rd., Simpsonville
Try the basil stir fry, pad Thai, or Bún thịt nướng at this relaxed Vietnamese eatery.

🏨 Stay

Saddlebred Suites, 700 Main St., Shelbyville
Stay in one of four suitesor rent the whole space for $1,000 — in this circa-1890 building that’s been renovated into a loft boutique hotel experience. In the morning, get a java from the attached coffee shop, The Paddock Coffee, Eats & Gatherings.

A renovated suite with exposed brick walls and bright, open windows is accented by a large beige couch and accompanying chair. There's a flat-screen TV mounted on the wall and an artistically-rendered horse portrait hanging on the wall above a small fireplace.

This modern Vrbo can sleep up to five adults.

Photo by Vrbo

Le Coop Ultra, Shelbyville
Overlooking Main Street, this urban loft features an open concept floorplan, a modern kitchen, and a screened-in rooftop deck + has the ability to sleep five adults.

Heritage House 1900’s home, Shelbyville
Filled with antique flair and character, this residential home can sleep up to 10 guests + is located conveniently between Louisville and Lexington — and right in proximity of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Wait a minute, Louisvillians. Before you head out the door, find the cheapest places to fill up your gas tank and stock up on road trip snacks from Full Stop Station. Also, bookmark this map so you have no trouble finding all of our recommendations while visiting Shelby County.

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