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New Year’s Bucket List Resolutions for the Young at Heart – Kentucky Derby

New Year’s Bucket List Resolutions for the Young at Heart – Kentucky Derby

Instead of resolving to deprive yourself in order to meet your goals this year, why not focus on improving your life through achievements? A New Year’s Bucket List takes the idea of resolutions and turns them into more concrete goals to focus on and check off, for example resolution: “travel more” vs. bucket list: “see the annual Run for the Roses.”  Throughout the month of January, we’ll be offering a destination a week on our blog with New Year’s Bucket List Resolution destinations that can help you check off items on your Bucket List in 2018!

This May, we’re “off to the races” at our annual bus trip to Kentucky Derby in Louisville, KY! Not only will we be super close to “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” but our Kentucky vacation is packed with a plethora of activities and attractions to get us into the racing spirit.

Once we arrive in Kentucky the fun starts with a fanciful Kentucky evening with a bountiful Bar-B-Que Dinner featuring live music at Jeptha Creed Distillery, a new distillery doing things the old fashioned way. In addition to dinner, our evening will include dancing, a tour of the family-owned distillery, and a bourbon tasting!

Hermitage Farm

Day three brings a fascinating visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum, another item on some Bucket Lists. Even if you’re not a huge baseball fan, the museum’s exhibits, fun stories, and fascinating machinery tell the story of a big piece of American history and culture that connects generations so you’re sure to find something here that resonates with you. Next, we’re off to Hermitage Farm, a world-class equine operation where champion thoroughbreds are born and nursed. The foals we observe here could be the winners of future derbies! After we’ve worked up an appetite strolling around the farm, we’ll head over to Claudia Sanders Dinner House for a delicious lunch at the first restaurant owned by Mrs. Sanders and the famous Colonel. In addition to lunch, enjoy a derby hat boutique with a wide selection of hats and accessories to help you get ready for race day! After lunch, we’ll visit Undulata Farm, a private residence and horse training facility. We saw the foals playing in the fields this morning, this afternoon we’ll observe and learn about their training. This evening we’ll enjoy a special “Off to the Races” dinner event featuring a “Taste of Kentucky” with a meal of Kentucky favorites including Derby Pie along with entertainment and Derby racing fun to get you warmed up for the big event!

Photo by 2017 Starr passenger, K. Miller

Derby Day has arrived on day four! After donning our Derby hats and sporty outfits we’ll head over to the Ohio River for an informative and exhilarating riverboat ride on the Mary M. Miller or the Belle of Louisville. As we make our way down the river, we will be treated to insider tips from the experts on the Derby Race as well as a seminar on how to place a bet at Churchill Downs. At the end of the seminar, the two boats will turn downstream for an exciting race back to Louisville. After we disembark our riverboat it is finally time for the main event! We’ll stroll through the twin spires of Churchill Downs and take our 1st Floor Grandstand Seats on the home stretch so we can spend the rest of Derby Day crowd-watching, sipping mint juleps, and placing bets. Take in all of the excitement and wonder as we experience the world’s greatest and most celebrated sporting event!

This bus tour is guaranteed to give memories to last a lifetime and is a fantastic addition to anyone’s Bucket List. Join us this year and make 2018 a year to remember!

Off to the Races with Starr’s First Trip to the Kentucky Derby

Off to the Races with Starr’s First Trip to the Kentucky Derby

I was very happy to be the tour coordinator assigned to Starr’s first bus trip to the Kentucky Derby departing on May 3, 2017. Working on a new tour is very interesting, challenging and inspiring – and this tour was no exception.

This new tour had been “in the works” for more than 2 years and actually became “ready for sale” in January 2016 – 16 months before the tour’s departure date! We knew this bus trip was a “bucket list” item for many people because at the end of every Starr trip, we ask for future tour suggestions to be noted on their survey. Many of our customers had requested this trip and our office responded; and thus began the planning process. Not surprisingly, so many of our customers booked the trip within the first two months that a second bus was needed! Both buses filled up quickly and eventually became sold out! So our guests packed their special hats to wear on Derby Day and our Tour Directors prepared their notes and made games for the bus trip.

The Pegasus Parade

Of course the Kentucky Derby itself is the highlight of the tour, but Starr has included many other attractions so our passengers will really be immersed in the other events surrounding the Derby including being able to experience the highlights of the Louisville, Kentucky area as well. Starr guests will attend the Pegasus Parade, a true tradition of the Derby, and visit a horse training farm. They’ll see a farm that raises Longwool sheep, visit a local theatre with antique exhibits, and of course no visit to Kentucky is complete without a stop at a bourbon distillery! There will be food throughout the tour, too! At the Pegasus Parade they will enjoy a picnic dinner, on another day they’ll have lunch at Claudia Sanders Dinner House (you may know her husband, Colonel Sanders!), and they’ll have a great “Off to the Races” dinner party with a taste of Kentucky menu. Just before the Derby itself, our passengers will go on a Riverboat Cruise where they will meet with experts to help them place their bets when the go the Kentucky Derby later that day. Did I mention I am jealous of our Starr guests who get to experience this trip??!!

I really love getting the trips ready for the road! Some of my responsibilities include: planning the timing, making reservations, and providing directions along with additional information to give to our tour directors so that everything goes smoothly. We have someone in charge of booking the hotels and another person in charge of sending the rooming lists. Our Travel Advisors sell the trips and our marketing team develops the catalogs to entice you. As you can see, it really is a team effort in making each trip a wonderful experience for our passengers. This is why it makes us so happy when our travelers and our Tour Directors send in pictures of the trips which we then post on the Starr Tours Facebook page. I love seeing our Starr guests having a great time! Don’t you?

When I plan a tour, I usually include some fun information for our Tour Directors to share with our passengers. For example, did you know there are 554 roses in the garland of roses presented to the winner of the Kentucky Derby? “Each garland is also adorned with a ‘crown’ of roses, green fern and ribbon. The ‘crown,’ a single rose pointing upward in the center of the garland, symbolizes the struggle and heart necessary to reach the Derby Winner’s Circle.”¹ Also, 100,000 Mint Juleps are poured during the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks!

Traveling is something that I enjoy very much and I truly hope that our passengers enjoy this trip to the fullest extent. I look forward to seeing lots of pictures on Facebook and if you “like” Starr’s Facebook page you can see them, too!

Don’t worry! If you missed this trip, we already have next year’s planned for May 2, 2018 and it is filling up! You could be part of the “Run for the Roses,” too!


Dawn Nachbaur,
Starr Bus Charter & Tours, Tour Services Department


¹Garland of Roses

Photos courtesy of the Louisville Area CVB