Bardstown, Kentucky: Lodging from a Former Jail to a 1960s Motel

Historic Jail Transformed into a B & B

Historic Jail Transformed into a B & B

Lodging in Bardstown, Kentucky ranges from a former jail to a 1960s era motel that evokes memories of childhood road trips. Since the room that I wanted in the former jail was booked this past weekend, I opted for a one night stay in the 1960s era motel overlooking My Old Kentucky Home State Park. I’m glad I did.

A 1960s era motel with updates

A 1960s era motel with updates

Bardstown Parkview Motel, opened in the early 1960s, is operated by the same family that first opened it to travelers motoring along state roads taking in sites about Abraham Lincoln, Stephen Foster, the Civil War, and bourbon. Those were the days when families piled into station wagons with wood on the side, and when a dip in a hotel pool was a welcome reprieve from summer heat. These days, travelers swap tales in the  Bardstown Parkview Motel’s breakfast room.

Over a donut, orange juice and a cup of coffee, one conversation was with the parents of two members of the Bluegrass group, Kentucky Bluebelles. The Kentucky Bluebelles, all women, were in town to perform at the Bardstown Bluegrass Festival. The mom said what I had been thinking about Bardstown Parkview Motel’s appeal. “It reminds me of when I visited here as a child. The look is the same. Even the sidewalks. I love it,” she said.

 Bardstown Parkview Motel pool

Bardstown Parkview Motel pool

Although Bardstown Parkview Motel evokes feelings of a childhood road trip, there are updates. Paint is fresh. Furniture is new. TVs are flat screen and there is free WiFi. Bathrooms have been updated as well. The swimming pool has crystal clear water and plenty of chairs for lounging.

The hotel’s location is probably the best in Bardstown for quiet that is close to action. Within walking distance to downtown, the motel sits on a rise away from traffic in the midst of broad leafy trees.  The view from the front is of the state park that Stephen Foster made famous with his song “My Old Kentucky Home.”


Reception area of Parkview Bardstown Motel

Another bonus of the Bardstown Parkview Motel is Kurtz Restaurant that shares a parking lot. Owned and operated by the same family that owns the motel, Kurtz Restaurant is a local favorite known for southern specialties like skillet-fried chicken, roast turkey and biscuit pudding with bourbon sauce. The restaurant has been in operation since 1937.

For our needs, the Bardstown Parkview Motel was perfect. I wanted a clean, comfortable place where my daughter could get a good night sleep before I dropped her off at Ft. Knox 45 minutes away for a summer of ROTC training. The price was also right-$79 for two with our AAA discount. Each of us had our own queen-size bed.

An advantage of this hotel is that the swimming pool is close to all rooms so that a dip in the pool is an easy outing with kids.  The pool is also tucked in the back for privacy and R & R.

About the jail. Jailer’s Inn Bed and Breakfast, is housed in a former jail that was built in 1819 and is on the National List of Historic Places. Prior to 1819, the Old Nelson County Jail was located here as far back as 1797. The building operated as a jail until 1987 and was the oldest jail complex in Kentucky. The transformation from jail to B & B is stunning.  Each room is appointed with antique furniture and decorating details of elegance and charm.

Red Rose Inn is a charming option in an historic Victorian era house

Red Rose Inn is a charming option in an historic Victorian era house

The Jail Cell room is the only guest room that still resembles a cell. This is the one I wanted. First of all, it’s only $110 on weekend nights. Secondly, the two bunk beds are original, but if a bunk bed isn’t to your liking, the room also has a waterbed. Room details include a poster of Elvis singing “Jailhouse Rock.”

Other room rates range from $145 to $235. Weekdays cost $10 less. All rooms have a private bath and a TV. A full breakfast is included.

If a charming B&B is more your style, try Red Rose Inn, also on Stephen Foster Avenue near the edge of downtown.

Built in 1820, the lovely four guest room inn is on the National Register of Historic Places. Each room of this Victorian era house has a private bath and cable TV, and three of the four rooms have a fireplace.  The hot tub/spa is open year round. A gourmet breakfast is included. Homemade cookies are served daily. Room rates are $135-$145.

Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein, member of Midwest Travel Writers Association.

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