I'm a Tennessee-based freelance writer with a passion for true crime, a thirst for knowledge, and an obsession with lists.
Most everyone is familiar with Franklin's major downtown revitalization program that has turned their crumbling business district into a tourist attraction dubbed "America's favorite main street" but what about those real small towns where a growth population isn't occurring just one block over? It is there you will find small town life at its most authentic.
1. Bell Buckle in Bedford County, Tennessee
Where Tennessee State Routes 82 and 269 cross sits Bell Buckle. Population 500, give or take.
Bell Buckle is a center for antiques, quilts, and various handmade crafts. The town hosts two yearly festivals: the RC Cola & Moon Pie festival and the Webb School Arts & Crafts Fair.
For more information and a schedule of events, visit www.townofbellbuckle.com
2. Normandy in Bedford County
Normandy was established in 1852 as a railroad town on the old Nashville & Chattanooga Railroad Line later the Nashville, Chattanooga, & St. Louis Railroad.
Today the population of this little town is 141. The Normandy business district is on the list of National Historical Places.
3. Leipers Fork in Williamson County
Leipers Fork, sitting along the Natchez Trace, was originally Hillsboro but when a post office was established in the community in 1818, they discovered the name had already been taken by a Coffee County community.. So Leiper's Fork it was; named for either Hugh Leiper, a land surveyor in earlier times or Captain James Leiper who died in the Battle against f the Bluffs at Fort Nashborough in 1781.
As of this writing, approximately 650 people live in this quaint village filled with antique shops, handcrafted boutiques, historical homes, and dining.
Visit www.visitleipersfork.com for more information.
4. Winchester in Franklin County
Founded in 1809 and, during portions of the Civil War, was once an Alabama city. Today it's best know by bass fishmen worldwide as a fishing hot spot thanks to the TVA reservoir and lake and state park known as Tims Ford.
Although hundreds of thousands visit each year, Winchester maintains its small town atmosphere. Recent revitalization efforts have resulted in a cozy, family-friendly downtown. Visitors will find dining, entertainment, festivals, walking tours and more. Visit www.winchester-tn.com for more information.
5. Jonesborough in Washington County
Of course Tennessee's oldest town is going to be on this list!
Jonesborough was founded 17 years before Tennessee became a state, placing it in the jurisdiction of North Carolina. The town is named for Willie Jones, a late US Senate who had supported North Carolina's westward expansion.
There are plenty of historical homes, unique handcrafted boutiques, and antique shops in Jonesborough littered among offices filled with attorneys, bankers, and the sorts. To see all this charming old town offers, visit www.historicjonesborough.com.
6. Rugby in Morgan County
Rugby was a late 1700s utopian community expermint. The expirment was abandoned but the colony of Rugby was not.
Today, the entire village of Rugby serves as a tourist attraction complete with llocal lodging, dining, Victorian galas, car shows, and festivals as part of a state park.
Visit www.historicrugby.com for more information.
7. Greenville in Greene County
Although there are many Greenville's in America, there is only one Greeneville and it can be found in the hills of Tennessee.
Part of Tennessee's "tri-cities" region, Greeneville was the homeplace of the late President Andrew Johnson who spent his years before the White House as a well-respected tailor of the area.
Today, it remains a sleepy little town. Visitors looking to visit will find shopping, dining, museums, and more in the beautifully revitalized downtown business district.
Visit Main Street Greeneville for more information.
8. Lynchburg in Moore County
A lot of folks are familiar with Jack Daniel's but few are acquainted with his hometown and where his distillery remains in operation to this day.
Visitors to adorable downtown Lynchburg will enjoy fine southern cooking at places like Miss Mary BoBo's Boarding House. rustic lodging such as GreenRose of Raus Bed and Breakfast, antiquing, Jack Daniel's tours, shopping in such shops as the Moon Pie General Store, and more.
9. Sweetwater in Monroe County
Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains is Sweetwater, Tennessee, home of The Lost Sea cave.
As the area is filled with rich American primitive history, it's no surprise Sweetwater focuses on those same attributes in revitalizing their downtown.
Visitors to Sweetwater's downtown district will enjoy dining near the railroad tracks, beautiful parks, art galleries, unique boutiques, and more.
For a list of scheduled events and more information, visit www.visitsweetwater.com.
10. McMinnville in Warren County
At first glance, you wouldn't think there is much to do in outside of strolling the streets of this recently revived historical downtown district but McMinnville has a lot to offer it's guests. Visit www.mainstreetmcminnville.org for more information.
© 2016 Kim Bryan
LaZeric Freeman from Hammond on October 05, 2020:
Sherry Winnett on August 27, 2019:
I enjoyed reading the informative articles about our cities of Tennessee.
GalaxyRat on July 09, 2017: