Step back in time to a relaxing atmosphere aboard the My Old Kentucky Diner Train, inside a dining car complete with red velvet appointments. I’ve always wanted to travel by train, and not subway – I’ve had my share of subways in Chicago, New York and Tokyo. I wanted to be aboard a real train!
Hannah and I had an amazing mother daughter day out aboard the RJ Corman train in Bardstown. We booked our tickets online and made our menu choices. Preselecting your meals allows the train and the service to run like clockwork. Menus vary by season. For the fall/winter menu, we selected the Prime Time Chili with jalapeno cornbread, beef pot roast and then cookie butter cheesecake and triple chocolate mousse for dessert.
When you pull in to the parking lot for the dinner train, you see the 4-car train with engine standing majestically outside the depot. This is a great spot for photos to commemorate your excursion. As well, there is a caboose outside the depot that is perfect for pictures.
Check in at the Depot
We checked in at the desk inside the depot and were handed our Round-Trip Ticket for the nostalgic trip from Bardstown to Limestone Springs and back. The tickets themselves serve as fun souvenirs. Once checked in you wait in the depot, which is cute with ample space for waiting. The lounge is complete with tables and chairs within the historic station. Cocktails are available with complimentary soft drinks and coffee. You may also want to check out the adorable gift shop in the corner of the depot.
When boarding begins, the staff makes a brief announcement and then boarding starts with an announcement of your train car. The conductor meets you at the entrance to your train car to you’re your ticket (bottom only). Once on board, you are escorted to your table where your salad or appetizers are already waiting. It’s a picture-perfect setting where you feel like you’ve taken a step back in time.
Points of Interest
While we went in January, the scenery was bare, but still beautiful and there are points of interest along the 17-mile trek to Limestone Springs. Of note, when you check in, ask for a Points of Interest card which tells you a bit about the 10 sights you will see along your journey. As well, a narrator will point out the different aspects of interest along the route. By far our favorite was the trestle bridge, which was the only one not destroyed in Kentucky by the Civil War. (P.S. ask your server why….it has to do with bourbon!)
Along the way, you will also see bourbon warehouses, the Jesse James safe house, Samuels Bourbon Rickouse, Deatsville Depot, Four Roses, Bernheim Forest, Jim Beam and the Limestone Springs Junction.
While taking in the scenery and points of interest, the very friendly and attentive staff are serving you a meal that is as good as a 4-star restaurant. In fact, the portions were so big, we took half our meal home so that we had room for the amazing dessert. Our pot roast was so tender, you could cut it with a fork, the seasonal vegetables were cooked perfectly, and the dessert was to die for!! My daughter loves chocolate and I think her mouth started watering as soon as she saw our server heading down the aisle with her Triple Chocolate Mousse.
The train travels 17 miles to Limestone Springs, where they detach the engine, hook it up to the other end of the train and then you head back to Bardstown. Although it was about 17 degrees the day we went on the train, we still went to the observation deck and took some amazing pictures as we crossed the trestle bridge. I can only image the views and the scenery in the fall!
Booking your reservation
Our train was full, and from talking to the wait staff and the ladies at our table, the train books rather quickly. Make your reservations well in advance. You can book online at kydinnertrain.com or by calling 502-348-7300. Prices are on the website. For the train ride we booked, lunch was $69.95 for adults and $44.95 for children ages 5 – 12. Please remember to tip your wait staff – they are amazing and will take care of your every need.
There is a dress code for the train, which makes the experience all the better. It’s nothing too fancy, but business casual is appreciated. We were more than comfortable and dressed appropriately in dress slacks, boots and a nice button-down shirt. The cars are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer, so you will be more than comfortable.
We had so much fun and enjoyed every aspect of our trip that we can’t wait to take the family when they come and visit this spring. This is something you must do at least once when you visit Kentucky and more if you live here. They do have special events on the train like Bourbon Tastings, Murder Mystery Dinners, North Pole Express with Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Check out their website for more details and join the fun and amazing staff for a grand experience aboard the My Old Kentucky Dinner Train.
To view more photos from our adventure, check out our Photo Gallery.
For more Unique Experiences, visit our Best of the Bluegrass | Unique Experiences page.