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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Saddlebred Suites, 700 Main St., Shelbyville
Stay in one of four suites — or 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.
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.