CommunitySpotlight Series


'Merry and Bright' at My Old Kentucky Home State Park

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Posted at 10:45 PM, Dec 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-16 22:45:56-05

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — There aren't many more picturesque scenes than Christmas in Bardstown.

"It is! It's just like a Hallmark Christmas Movie. If it could just snow!" said Jeremy Riggs, manager of My Old Kentucky Home State Park.

For Christmas the last few years, the park has added "Merry and Bright" tours.

"It's really added such new life to the story of history that we have to tell here at My Old Kentucky Home," Riggs said.

The idea is to celebrate the holidays, while also celebrating the Bluegrass State. The tour takes visitors through the rooms of the house, highlighting Christmas traditions that would have existed when the Rowan family lived in the 7,500-square-foot home back in the 1800s. The family sold it to the Commonwealth 100 years ago, in 1922.

"We do keep the tour accurate to what it would have been for the time period. The Rowans, who had a Scottish heritage, did not have a Christmas tree until the second generation," said tour guide Kit Mills.

Several of the 12-foot-tall trees here have tie-ins to Stephen Foster's famous song, "My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night,". One of the trees features more than 250 birds, echoing the lyric "the birds make music all the day…"

More than 200 years after it was built, My Old Kentucky Home is still helping families celebrate the holidays.

"Experiencing all the colors and the Christmas trees, I think it puts you in the Christmas spirit," Riggs said. "If you're struggling to get in that kind of spirit, you want to come here and I think it really does help,"

For tour information, go to