My Old Kentucky Home State Park is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the completion of the iconic Federal Hill mansion with new tours and new displays at the popular Bardstown historic site.
The three-story portion of Federal Hill was commissioned by the Rowan family in 1812 and completed in 1818. The mansion became popular because of its connection to Stephen Foster’s famous song “My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night!” Visitors can tour the home and learn about the Rowan family history.
New this year is a “Culinary Biscuit Tour” that explains how to make beaten biscuits as well as southern ham biscuits. This tour is offered to groups of 15-30 people.
Also new is the “Mint Julep Tour,” which explains the history of one of the earliest mixed cocktails and symbolizes southern hospitality. It is the favorite drink for the Kentucky Derby.
Other new culinary tours include the “Lemonade Tour,” and “Apple Cider Tour.”
This year has been declared “The Year of Kentucky Food” and the Kentucky Department of Tourism and Kentucky State Parks are celebrating all the local flavors, spirits and delicious foods of the bluegrass state.
School groups can take tours at My Old Kentucky Home on architecture, furniture made from wood, and farm to table, as well as the mansion tour.
The park also has some new items on display for 2018. They include:
- The Rowan family’s original Victorian style parlor set, crafted from walnut and upholstered in woven horse hair, has been fully restored and returned to My Old Kentucky Home’s parlor. Consisting of two settees, a gentleman’s arm chair, a ladies chair, and multiple side chairs, the set was likely purchased by the mansion’s second generation of owners in the mid to late 19th century.
- An original 19th-century painting of the birthplace of Stephen Foster, known as “The White Cottage,” was purchased by My Old Kentucky Home State Park for inclusion in the park’s permanent collection and will be on display in the mansion’s parlor.
- My Old Kentucky Home State Park acquired an original 19th-century portrait of Stephen Foster that once belonged to Oliver Ditson, a publisher of Foster’s music during the mid to late 1800s. The oil on canvas portrait was painted by Frederick R. Spencer has been placed in the mansion’s central hall.
Visitors to the park gift shop will notice a new collection of Kentucky Proud jellies, jams, sauces, and mixes from My Old Kentucky Home. The new collection of food products include blackberry jam, strawberry jam, pepper jelly, biscuit mix and Henry Bain sauce.
Besides historic Federal Hill and the visitor center, My Old Kentucky Home State Park also has a campground and an 18-hole golf course.