We love the ‘Burg, but sometimes it’s nice to travel. Two former St. Pete residents, Jeremy Couture and Mark Lansing, decided to pursue a dream beyond the Sunshine City. This dream lead them to Louisville, Kentucky, where they run a bed and breakfast inside a historic home (seriously, the location is on the National Register of Historic Places). The chic canary yellow exterior, spacious patio, and emerging garden offer an enchanting entrance inside a Kentucky time capsule.
Prepare for the intoxicating perfume of bourbon and fresh baked cookies as soon as you open the door. The interior feels as gregarious as the owners, who offer an all-inclusive experience.
Bringing history to life at Inn at Woodhaven
For this blogger, the day starts with a hearty breakfast. Mark’s Caramel French Toast, for instance, is a decadent bake of home-made caramel, cinnamon bread, and Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream and whipped cream.
An array of fresh baked breakfast pastries are set out in the dining area, in addition to an excellent menu of savory starters and hot coffee.
It’s contemporary comfort married with lush history.
The Inn at Woodhaven began as the Woodview. It was built by Theodore Brown (1821 – 1899) on a 250-acre tract that he inherited from his father James Brown (1780 – 1853). The area was known as Low Dutch Station from an earlier fort on the property around Beargrass Creek.
The Gothic Revival Mansion incorporates distinctive features from a design by A.J. Downing, as shown in the 1850 publication, “The Architecture of Country Houses”. It may also have been designed by Architect Jacob Beaverson who is credited with designing Lyndon Hall, a nearby house that is now the clubhouse for Hurstbourne Country Club.
Originally built in the 1800s
The Main House and the Carriage House were built in 1853. All the bricks were made on the property. The house is listed on the National Register because of its architectural significance.
It is an excellent example especially because all the original features are still intact, including the ceiling plaster work, diamond windowpanes with trefoil decorations and interior shutters, and 14-foot arched gothic doors.
So you’ve enjoyed breakfast, you’ve indulged in history, what next?
Unload in one of the myriad rooms available to guests. Many of the spaces are equipped with a spa quality jacuzzi tub, the carriage house features large suite with a remote start fireplace. The attic is completely outfitted to feel like your own lofted cottage. A checkerboard patterned tile leads straight to a mammoth bathroom complete with a multi-jet tub.
Enjoy a bourbon tasting course at the bed and breakfast
And if you have a small pet you’d like to bring to the Inn at Wood Haven, the two floor cozy cottage space is dog-friendly.
When you have time, make sure to kick back in living room. An assemblage of cozy couches are ornamented with decanters of fine Kentucky bourbon. For those who lack the palate or understanding of bourbon, feel free to reserve a bourbon tasting with Jeremy.
A personal library of history books and engrossing fiction line the shelves.
Fortunately, when you’re at the Inn at Woodhaven you’re never far from places to see, things to eat, and distilleries to explore.
On our visit we were lucky enough to catch Louisville’s Pride parade from the comfort of Mayan Cafe. The blood orange margarita is a must sip, and the black bean cakes with avocado salad are the perfect way to begin your culinary journey. The vegetarian burrito is a spicy harvest, the cauliflower steak is a vegan dream come true.
Have the need for Damn Good BBQ? Head to Feast BBQ. This hip new restaurant serves up an amazing frozen cider drink. The fried tofu is a revelation for vegan diners. The pulled pork, brisket and sausage offer a rhapsodic BBQ delicacy. Just be prepared for a line. Don’t worry, the scent of what’s cooking in the back will hold you over.
Coffee, whiskey, and thrifting in Louisville
Need some coffee? Check out Heine Brother’s Coffee. The coconut latte is a tropical jolt on a crisp morning.
For those feeling thrifty, might we recommend Fat Rabbit Thrift. This space features vintage Levi’s jackets, band tees, and film shirts. The back is loaded up with used books, VHS tapes, vinyl records, cool mugs, and other rare finds. It is the space for treasure hunters in Louisville.
OK. Let’s talk distilleries.
If you get the chance, you can make a reservation at Old Forester, Jim Beam, or Angel’s Envy. Make sure to reserve your spot in advance. But the best new distillery in town is Kentucky Peerless Distillery. The first Peerless whiskey went into barrels in 1889, according to a tour guide. Whiskey lovers would do well to try the haymakers that is Peerless’s straight Rye Whiskey.
Exploring Old Louisville and Central Park
Historic Old Louisville will introduce you to some of the most awe-inspiring architecture you’ve ever encountered. The Historic District is just steps away from Central Park in Louisville, a green space designed by the sons of the man behind Central Park in New York City.
For the bookish, pay a visit to Carmichaels. They own and operate a children’s book and toy store, in addition to a separate new and used bookstore in Louisville. Carmichael’s has been in business in Louisville for 40 years. It was started in spring of 1978 by Carol Besse and Michael Boggs (the store name is a combination of their first names), and in 2019 was taken over by their daughter, Miranda, and niece, Kelly.
Don’t forget to get your steps in on the bridge between Kentucky and Indiana. The Big Four Bridge is a six-span former railroad truss bridge that crosses the Ohio River, connecting Louisville, Kentucky, and Jeffersonville, Indiana. It was completed in 1895, updated in 1929, taken out of rail service in 1968, and converted to bicycle and pedestrian use in 2014.
After a day of exploration, there is something altogether resplendent about heading back to the Inn at Woodhaven. Enjoy the fresh scent of whatever Mark may be whipping up in the evening. Enjoy a cookie (or several) while you lounge in the living room. A chess set is available upstairs.
Click here to reserve your stay at the Inn at Woodhaven.