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5 Off-the-Beaten-Track Destinations to Visit in Tennessee

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Jo is a longtime Tennessee resident and loves to travel. She shares her love for both in this article.

Historic Lynchburg

Lynchburg, Tennessee

In our travels abroad, my husband and I sometimes meet people who do not know Tennessee. To help them out, we begin naming things we think Tennessee is noted for and often get no recognition until we say, “Jack Daniels?” Everyone knows Jack.

The Jack Daniels distillery is located in the small town of Lynchburg in the rolling hills of Tennessee about 75 miles southeast of Nashville. Tours of the distillery are free, and they are open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. You’ll be unable to sample Jack, however, during your tour because Moore County where it is located has been a dry county since Prohibition.

The distillery also hosts a popular barbecue competition each October, which draws visitors worldwide.

My favorite place to eat in Lynchburg is Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House just off the town square. That’s where Jack ate. In fact, the proprietress, Lynne Tolley, is a great-grandniece of Jack Daniels. Miss Mary Bobo ran the place as a boarding house and restaurant until her death in 1983, one month before her 102nd birthday.

The noontime dinner is served at 11:00 am and 1:00 pm each day. Each meal accommodates only 65 people, so reservations are required. A 3:00 pm dinner is served on Saturdays during the busy season. The meal is served family-style, which means all the dishes being served that day are placed in the middle of a large table and passed around to diners. Each table also has a hostess who tells of the history of the boarding house and answers questions during the meal.

When we visited recently we were seated at a large round table with a lazy Susan in the middle. The hit of the day was the candied apples seasoned with Jack. The lazy Susan made several turns that day to give guests access to these. I plan to grace our Thanksgiving table with these apples this Thanksgiving. Here’s the recipe:

Lynchburgh Candied Apples

3 tablespoons butter

6 cups peeled and sliced green apples

¼ to ½ cup sugar

1/3 cup Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey

Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Cook apples in butter until just tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in sugar and Jack Daniels. Continue to cook until juice has thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve warm. Yield: 6 servings.

from Cooking with Jack by Lynn Tolley

Christ Church Episcopal at Rugby, Tennessee

HISTORIC RUGBY

In 1880, Thomas Hughes, British author and social reformer, came to the Cumberland Plateau in East Tennessee to establish an agricultural community for younger sons of English gentry. His utopian community eventually failed, but twenty of its original buildings still stand. In 1966 these buildings were restored and opened to the public. Today, tours of the buildings, dining, lodging, and shopping are all available at this historic site.

Surrounding this site is the Rugby State Natural Area and nearby is the Big South Fork National Park and Recreation Area for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Some of the natural beauty of Tennessee can be found here without the crowds of the Smoky Mountains.

PICKETT AND STANDING STONE STATE PARKS

This beautiful, historic area of Tennessee is also home to two of my favorite state parks, both constructed during the Franklin Roosevelt New Deal era by either the Civilian Conservation Corps or the Works Projects Administration.

Pickett State Park, adjacent to Big South Fork National Park in a remote section of the upper Cumberland Plateau, is known for its geological, botanical, and scenic beauty. It offers lodging, boating, hiking, and camping. The Civilian Conservation Corps constructed many of its original buildings of the locally quarried sandstone.

The quaint, rustic Standing Stone State Park, about 50 miles west, was also developed during the New Deal era with the assistance of the Work Project Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps. It takes its name from an eight-foot rock standing upright on a sandstone ledge once used as a boundary line between two Indian nations.

This park has an Olympic-sized pool, a 69-acre lake for boating and fishing, hiking trails, and campgrounds. The lodging consists of four group lodges and 21 cabins, ranging from rustic to modern. My favorite has always been the rustic cabins built during WPA days of chestnut logs. These rustic cabins and some of the lodges can be rented from April through October only because they have air conditioning but no heat except for the large fireplaces. There are no televisions, microwaves, or telephones in any of the lodgings.

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Comments

Jo Miller (author) from Tennessee on April 12, 2020:

Hope you get to visit some day. Now's probably not a good time, though.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 12, 2020:

A wonderful tour and I thank you for it. Wishing you a Blessed and Happy Easter!

Robert Sacchi on March 30, 2018:

You're welcome and thank you for posting.

Jo Miller (author) from Tennessee on March 30, 2018:

Thanks for stopping by, Robert. I went to that World's Fair also. Hope you get to visit Tennessee again some time soon.

Robert Sacchi on March 30, 2018:

Thank you, I enjoyed the Hub.

Robert Sacchi on March 29, 2018:

Thank you for the travel advice. I've only been through Tennessee once. I stopped and visited the World's Fair in Knoxville.

Jo Miller (author) from Tennessee on March 22, 2011:

Thanks, fastfreta, for visiting and for your comment.

That conference is wonderful. It was always one of my favorite things about Chattanooga. I don't live there any more but I go back every two years for the conference. It's coming up in a few weeks, April 14-16, www.SouthernLitConference.com

Alfreta Sailor from Southern California on March 22, 2011:

Jo, that conference sounds fascinating, wish I could be there. Actually I wish I was at Chattanooga for anything. I grew up visiting Lookout Mountain and Ruby Falls, (I'm originally from Atlanta). I do intend to visit Atlanta this year as usual, so after reading this hub, I intend to visit Chattanooga. Thanks Jo. Rated Up/useful/awesome.

Jo Miller (author) from Tennessee on February 23, 2011:

Thanks, Colonel Reeves,for taking the time to read.

I'm a native Kentuckian, but have lived here a long time and love the beauty of Tennessee.

Colonel Reeves on February 22, 2011:

Thanks, Jo. Pickett and South Fork are two of my favorite places

Thanks Jo! Pickett and South Fork are favorite places of mine. I'm an ancestral nephew of Davy Crockett, raised in Northwest TN, later lived in M'fressboro & Nashville. Now, living near Huntsville, AL..so still in easy range. Keep up the great P.R. for TN

Don Reeves

Tony McGregor from South Africa on October 14, 2010:

Beautiful - now I want to visit. Pity it's so far for me!

Thanks for the interesting read.

Love and peace

Tony

Jo Miller (author) from Tennessee on September 21, 2010:

jennyjenny

Thanks for reading my hub and for your kind comments. Definitely come back to Tennessee. There's much to see.

Jo Miller (author) from Tennessee on September 21, 2010:

Thanks, Donna. Yes, you need to visit these places.

jennyjenny from Somewhere in Michigan on September 20, 2010:

Nice Job! I visited your beautiful state about a month ago, this just makes me want to go back! Keep writing!

Donna Bond on September 20, 2010:

This is so cool, Jo! R.T. and I need to get out more and see our wonderful state.

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