My Old Kentucky Home: Battles, Baseball, and Bourbon

A 2022 BGES Americana Program

With Neil Mangum

October 21–29, 2022; from Cincinnati International Airport

The World’s Largest Baseball Bat stands outside the entrance to the Louisville Slugger Museum. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

In 1860-1861 two natives of Kentucky were elected President, and one ran but was not elected. Two other dominant politicians, including “The Great Compromiser” and the architect of the Crittenden Compromise, also were representatives of the Bluegrass State. Long reputed for fast horses, sentimental music and rightfully famous for Bourbon whiskey and mint julips, the state has a great natural park and was our first frontier state. In baseball, no place is more famous than the factory making the “Louisville Slugger” baseball bat and the inspirational home of one of America’s greatest military Leaders—George Patton. This tour offers a real taste of American culture that is not to be missed.


Friday, October 21, 2022

7:00 PM. Meet the cohort at the Holiday Inn Hotel Erlanger, Kentucky (near the Cincinnati airport). You will be met by your host and receive your reading book and name tag.

Hotel is included.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

U. S. Grant is the great hero of the Civil War. Our morning examines his humble beginnings along the banks of the Ohio River and gives you a solid grounding in the famous Underground Railroad. You will see where fugitive slaves escaped into Ohio and consider how Cincinnati-based Harriett Beecher Stowe conceptualized Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Our time in Maysville, Kentucky, will permit us to take the BGES’s heralded walking tour from its National Geographic guidebook. The day finishes with a visit to the 1782 Blue Licks Battlefield—site of a Loyalist victory ten months after Cornwallis surrendered and a look at Daniel Boone’s origins. Overnight for two nights in Lexington, Kentucky.

Hotel is included, and meals are on your own.

Sunday October 23, 2022

BGES has a walking tour of historic Lexington, Kentucky, in its guidebook published by National Geographic, and our day starts with a driving tour of Lexington and a visit to the famous and beautiful Lexington Cemetery where Henry Clay, John Hunt Morgan, and John Breckinridge are buried. We then drive past the palatial home of Henry Clay: Ashland. Because he never lived there, we will not visit the home. After lunch, the afternoon takes in the smashing Confederate victory at the August 1862 battle of Richmond (Kentucky) and the new National Park Service site at Camp Nelson, where African-American soldiers trained to fight for the Union.

Hotel, breakfast, and lunch are included. Overnight in Lexington.

Monday October 24, 20220

Kentucky is the quintessential southern state, and horse racing is at the center of that reputation. Kentucky horse farms punctuate the landscape—we will do a drive past of the impressive horse farm and training center of Keeneland. As we make our way to Louisville for our two-night stay, we will visit the grave sites of Daniel Boone and then visit the downtown area to discuss the installation of the Confederate Governor of Kentucky in the fall of 1862. Moving on to Louisville we will stop at the cemetery holding the remains of “Old Rough and Ready,” President Zachary Taylor. Taylor’s children included Sarah (Jefferson Davis’s first wife) and Confederate Gen. Richard Taylor. In Louisville we will visit the Louisville Slugger Museum and will release you for some self-exploration before heading to our hotel. Dinner tonight is a cruise on the Ohio River.

Hotel, breakfast and dinner cruise are included.

Tuesday October 25, 2022

Louisville is one of America’s great cities, and we’ve had to select from some great experiences: We have chosen Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. After a visit to their Museum we are off to visit a museum devoted to one of America’s most iconic warriors: The George S. Patton Museum at Fort Knox. On our way onward we will drive by the American Bullion Storage center at Fort Knox. The atmosphere changes yet again when we arrive in Bardstown where we will visit the Old Barton 1792 Bourbon Distillery. The town is charming and we are lodging on the town square where you will have a wide ranging opportunity to walk and make your own dinner experience.

Hotel, breakfast, and lunch are included.

Wednesday October 26, 2022

If there is a community that epitomizes the Bluegrass Country it is Bardstown. Our day starts with the home of the great 19th-century songwriter, Stephen Foster, and “My Old Kentucky Home.” We will pass into the early land of Lincoln visiting his boyhood home and commemorative birthplace. After lunch we will do a quick visit to the battlefields of Rowlett Station and Mundsfordville. The day finishes with a tour at Monmouth Cave National Park. We gain an hour as Monmouth is in the Central Time Zone. We overnight in Glasgow, Kentucky.

Breakfast, lunch and hotel are included.

Thursday October 27, 2022

We leave at from the Central time zone heading back into the Eastern Time Zone—we giveth and taketh away…Our forts stop is at Fort William. Glasgow was a frontier fort site that was captured by John Hunt Morgan in 1862 and held for three days, the Federals subsequently built a fort on the site in 1863 but it was overrun on October 6, 1863 during a Confederate attack. There is excellent interpretation at the rebuilt fort. We will pick up more John Hunt Morgan when we visit the battlefield at Tebbs Bend. We will have a long lunch (not really) when we reenter the Eastern Time Zone so our afternoon will be devoted to the new National Park Service site at Mill Springs and the battle that took place there in January 1862. We will overnight in or near the Shaker Village for two nights.

Hotel, breakfast, and dinner are included.

Friday October 28, 2022

The biggest battle of the Civil War in Kentucky was at Perryville in October 1862. We spend the morning touring this largely preserved and pristine battlefield, afterward moving back to the 18th century at Old Fort Harrod, site of Kentucky’s first permanent settlement. The afternoon will take us to a unique religious sect that is now largely extinct—the Shakers. Shaker Village is an authentic living history destination and you will be free to explore the village and take some of their tours in the afternoon. A farewell dinner will be held in the Shaker Village Dining Room.

Hotel, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included.

Saturday October 29, 2022

Today we return to Cincinnati to wrap up, stopping at President Taft’s home and a drive by of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s home. We will finish our tour with a group lunch at the iconic Skyline Chili for a famous Chili and Coney Hot Dog lunch. All American and all encompassing—perhaps our best Americana tour ever. Breakfast and lunch are included. We will drive past the Cincinnati Airport to let off people flying home today and will then return to the Holiday Inn Cincinnati Airport to dismiss. We will be done by 3 PM.

About the Faculty

Neil Mangum, one of the nation’s foremost historians, is an expert on frontier life. However, Neil is a Virginian who grew up in the shadow of the Petersburg National Battlefield, which was one of his very first assignments in the NPS. He still has deep ties. A retired National Park Service official, Neil served as Superintendent at the Little Big Horn National Battlefield as it transitioned from Custer National Battlefield. The popular Mangum only allows himself four or five tours a year, and BGES is fortunate to enjoy his favor. He enjoys the clientele and the small folksy nature of the group that is usually well-prepared. Neil is author of The Battle of the Rosebud: Prelude to the Little Big Horn. He has a following, and most people on this trip will have traveled with him before, which makes this event even nicer.

Hotel Information

The headquarters hotel will be the Holiday Inn Cincinnati Airport. 1717 Airport Exchange Blvd., Erlanger, KY 41018. They have an airport shuttle and plenty of “on site” free parking. Our other selections will be announced to registrants by October 10th. Your registration includes eight nights superior class lodging. If you return on Sunday instead of Saturday night, a smaller block of rooms will allow you to make and pay for your own room that last night or two.


The servicing airport is Cincinnati International (CVG). Alternative airports include Lexington (LEX) and Louisville (SDF). The headquarters hotel is easily accessed from all directions, and long-term parking is convenient.

Recommended Reading

You will be provided with a reading book and maps upon arrival. The following books are suggested to enhance your readiness for the program. has a program to support non-profits IF YOU SIGN UP to support Blue and Gray Education Society (EIN 54-1720582) at AmazonSmile. When you sign up there rather than the normal Amazon site, one-half of one percent of your purchase price will be provided to BGES as a donation from Amazon. This will apply not only to this purchase but others you may make at other times.


Your registration fee includes eight nights’ lodging, a prepared reading book, five lunches, two dinners and a dinner cruise, ground transportation, your tour leader and tour manager, onboard refreshments, and all listed admissions. Please note the inclusion of breakfast will be determined by the hotel selections and will be included as information when the hotels are announced.

Register for this program using a secure PayPal link

Registration Type

To register by mail or fax, download this printable registration form: My Old Kentucky Home: Battles, Baseball, and Bourbon

Questions? Need more information? Please contact us.