Unique Places in Tennessee

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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Tennessee

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    Jack Daniel's Distillery Tours

    by traveldave Updated Jan 11, 2012

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    Free, self-guided Jack Daniel's Distillery tours are offered, allowing visitors to see the entire distilling process. About 250,000 visitors from all over the world come to Lynchburg every year to visit the distillery.

    The one-hour tours start about once every 15 minutes and leave from the visitors' center (pictured here). Tour participants are first shown a short film which explains the history of the distillery. They are then taken by a shuttle to the brickyard where sugar maple is reduced to charcoal to be used in the filtering process (charcoal filtration is what separates true whiskey from Bourbon whiskey). Visitors are also taken to the spring from which the distillery gets its water, the stillhouse where the sour mash bubbles and ferments, the bottling room, and finally to the barrelhouse where over 20,000 barrels of whiskey are properly aged.

    Unfortunately, Moore County is a "dry" county, so no samples are given on the tour.

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    Red Fork Falls, Unicoi County

    by cruisingbug Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Red Fork Falls are one of Unicoi's hidden treasures. It's a bit of a hike to get there - not far, just a lot of climbing over things and puddle-jumping. The view from the top is good, but you have to scramble down the rocks alongside to see this spectacular 80-foot cataract in all its glory from the bottom. Too bad I didn't bring a camera! :(

    Directions from Unicoi Co. Chamber of Commerce:
    "Turn east onto highway 107 toward Limestone Cove. Continue 7.3 miles, watching for a wildlife viewing area sign. Turn right on to the paved road, keeping to the right at the fork. Proceed 1.2 miles to a gravel turnout on the right. A painted red spot on a large tree marks the trailhead. Walk down the old roadbed to a fork of the creek, approximately 100 yards. Cross the creek and continue to a second fork. Cross again and turn downstream to the right. You will soon see the top of the falls, but continue down the trail which begins a nearly vertical descent. There are natural handholds and steps in the rock. These are slippery and can be dangerous."

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    • Backpacking
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Amazing Art District and Downtown Square

    by ErinMarieW Updated Apr 1, 2008

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    Market Square in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee is a funky, artsy, shopping area. This open square is surrounding with stores such as Abode, Bliss, and Bliss Home which offer unique home and clothing items. Bliss Home also offers local artwork which changes monthly. Market Square also offers two amazing consignment shops that boast a combination of top high end designers with little known brands at unbeatable prices. There is also a store that sells only Ten Thousand Villages products. This little known brand sells items made overseas and locally and sends back 100% of the profits to the maker. Most of the people who work in the store are volunteers and you can find anything from handmade jewerly, to authentic African instruments, to purses and childrens toys. Also new to the square is Coffee & Chocolate, an artsy coffee shop that offers fantastic chocolate treats. Another plus to the square is that from April to June they offer Sundown in the City. Sundown is a free concert every Thursday night of not only local bands but also more famous bands. Bands such as Imogen Heap, Josh Ritter, Citizen Cope, and North Mississippi Allstars have been on the list for this concert.

    shops of Market Square Artwork lines the streets near Market Square center of Market Square spring in Market Square Sundown in the City
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    Museum of Appalachia (continued from previous tip)

    by Ky_Happy_Dad Updated Aug 13, 2005

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    This is a hands on musuem where you are likely to encounter old time music, farm animals, crafts and good food. It is usually not crowded, with the exception of special events such as the Fall Homecoming, when the museum grounds are crowded with hundreds of bluegrass and old time musicians, antique tractor demonstrations, crafts and other special events. During the homecoming, the museum can hardly be called off the beaten path due to the crowds but it looks like a lot of fun for fans bluegrass music. See, http://www.museumofappalachia.com/Homecoming.htm for the dates, prices, and scheduled entertainers.

    Just Fiddlin' around
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    Museum of Appalachia

    by Ky_Happy_Dad Updated Aug 13, 2005

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    If you are driving south down I- 75 through Knoxville on the way to the Smokey Mountains or to Florida, a nice break from the trip is a visit to the Museum of Appalachia located at the Norris exit 16 miles north of Knoxville. This is a quality museum depicting the history and culture of the early settlers in Eastern Tennessee and Kentucky. The museum is a frontier type village, a collection of 30 log cabins, barns, a general store, etc. It has antiques and artifacts that gives one the feel of going back in time to visit a grandparent at a farm village at the turn of the last century. The founder of the museum loves his appalacian culture and has set out to preserve it and share it with the public. The museum is open every day but Christmas. See the webpage four hours and admission prices.

    Museum of Appalachia
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    Tennessee, a Land of Caves

    by deecat Updated May 29, 2005

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    Tennessee has more than 5,000 caves.

    Caves are under much of the land. These caves have been discovered in numerous ways. One example concerns the discovery of Lost Sea Cave. More than 50 years ago, two small boys discovered a cave near Knoxville with a lake at the end of the cavern. These boys were not the first to explore that cave; bones and footprints of pre-historic animals were found in a large pit.

    Also, a discovery from Lost Sea Cave can be found in New York's American Museum of Natural History, a giant jaguar. Also, since the lake is the largest underground lake, it's become a registered national landmark. You can take a guided walk through rooms of the cave as well as take a ride on large glass-bottom boats.

    Forbidden Caverns near Sevierville were inhabited by Native Americans hundreds of years before white men explored them. In the caverns are waterfalls, natural chimneys, and underground streams.

    Cumberland Caverns near McMinnville has about thirty-two miles of explored caves. It's the largest cave open to the public in the state. Tours last about an hour and a half. Beware, this tour is quite a workout with lots of stairs to climb.

    Of interest are the large room called the Hall of the Mountain King, a sound-and-light show that, of all things, interprets the Biblical account of Creation, and an underground dining room with a half ton chandelier.

    Racoon Mt. Caverns, in the Cumberland Plateau offers many tours.
    Crystal Palace Tour lasts 45 minutes with a half mile walk.

    Wild Caves Tours last 2,4,6 hours and are available by reservation. On these tours, you'll see waterfalls, passageways, and unusual formations. Many remote areas that require scrambling over bolders, wading through water, encounters with mud, and lots of stooping and crawling!

    Cumberland Caverns
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    • Eco-Tourism

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    Natchez Trace State Resort Park

    by deecat Updated May 29, 2005

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    Please click on photo to try to see the deer

    Natchez Trace State Resort Park is a wonderful park, & it's easy to get to because I-40 runs right through it. If you love wildlife, history, & forests, you'll love it.

    There's a modern visitor's center south of I-40 in a grove of very tall pine trees, & inside they have very impressive displays about forests.

    I found it very odd that the park is many miles west of the Natchez Trace Parkway so I asked at the center why they have the same name.. Here's what I was told:
    "The famous Nashville-to-Natchez trading route of the late eighteenth & early nineteenth centuries began as a series of paths & trails used by Native Americans. These many paths merged into a main route. 'Highwaymen' (robbers) made this route dangerous so people started to use some of the earlier routes as alternatives. One of these alternatives (called the Western Natchez Trace) came through this area!"

    We actually came to the park to view the Big Pecan Tree which has been designated as the "state's largest". You can locate it 4 miles north of I-40 on a paved loop drive.

    We enjoyed seeing some of the old cemeteries on the park property ( 25).

    This area is not all rustic; there's a luxury lodge & restaurant on the shores of Pin Oak Lake. It has swimming pools, playgrounds, & tennis courts.

    Cub Lake has air-conditioned rental cabins.
    Besides these two lakes where fishing is good, there are also Maple Creek & Brown's Creek. These lakes have hybrid, largemouth, & rock bass as well as catfish, bluegill, & crappie.

    The information center had a display about the Kuzu problem in parts of the park. They are trying to contain it, but it's an expensive & time-consuming procedure.

    Kudzu is a very invasive vine that has taken over much of the US South, & it is killing (over time) many of the natural trees.

    (If you look closely at the photo, you will see in the middle a deer eating near the water.).

    Natchez Trace State Resort Park
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    • Fishing
    • Historical Travel

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    For Storytelling At Its Best: Jonesborough

    by deecat Updated May 29, 2005

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    As a high school English teacher for over thirty years, I was very interested in Jonesborough, Tennessee, because of its International Storytelling Center & its"You Don't Say" Festival held each October. At this festival, thousands of people attend (to listen or to perform).

    Jonesborough, Tennessee's oldest town, is located on the edge of the Cherokee National Forest in the northeastern part of the state. Many of the homes and churches in Jonesborough date back to the mid 1800s. A really neat place in town is the Chester Inn (built before 1800), the oldest frame building in the state.

    Many famous people stayed here over the years. Three presidents (who were born in Tennessee), Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson, stayed here. This place has fancy Victorian detailing, and there's a large porch that was added in the 1880s.

    The Jonesborough History Museum exhibits items from pioneer days such as cornhusk brooms, patchwork quilts, and a wooden washing machine!

    I really enjoyed the red-brick 19th-century storefronts which offer some of the finest art and arts/crafts in all of Tennessee. I learned while in town that Jonesborough played a prominent role in the early anti-slavery movement.

    Two great places to stay in Jonesborough are:

    Hawley House is an antique-filled Bed and Breakfast at 114 E. Woodrow Ave. It's the oldest log and frame dwelling in town.

    Eureka Hotel is located in the heart of the historic district. It's a restored 1797 building with elegant accommodations & furnishings, including period reproductions and antiques. Located at 127 W. Main Street
    (877-734-6100).

    Jonesborough, Tennessee
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    • Architecture

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    A Bloody Reminder of the Civil War

    by deecat Updated May 29, 2005

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    Please CLICK to see the entire photo

    The Shiloh National Military Park is located on the Tennessee River near the Mississippi border. When visiting the park, you should first stop off at the Visitor Center. This is essential because you will be directed about the iron markers (coded by shape and color).

    You are able to drive, bike, or walk the roads within the park, but if you follow the markers, you will discover that the majority of this battle took place in the woods. There are 475 markers and 152 monuments; leave plenty of time to peruse this extraordinary place.

    It's certainly an "eye-opener" when you visit Shiloh National Military Park and realize the magnitude of death in this bitter, bloody battle. Two thirds of the soldiers buried here were never identified!
    In addition to the battlefield, you will find a Civil War Library. There are also exhibits of relics and maps at the visitor center.

    Confederate Monument at Shiloh Park
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    Railroads, Heroes, Gardens: Jackson

    by deecat Updated May 29, 2005

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    In the Western part of Tennessee, just northeast of Memphis, you will find another big city in Tennessee called Jackson. It's a manufacturing city, making plastics, wood products, and concrete. But, what it's really known for is railroads.

    It's a railroad center with many trains going in and out of the city daily. It's also the home of the famous railroad man, John Luther Jones (known as Casey Jones).

    The story goes that in 1900, Casey was taking his train from Memphis, Tennessee, to New Orleans, Louisiana. This particular train was called "Ole 382", and during the trip, his train approached a stalled trail. The fireman on his train yelled, "Jump, Casey!", but Casey did not jump. Instead, he tried desperately to stop the "Old 382". It was too late, and the "Old 382" crashed into the stalled train, killing Casey Jones. However, his brave actions had slowed the train enough to save all his passengers. He became a hero!

    If you want to know more about Casey Jones, see a replica of "Old 382", or just learn more about trains, be sure to visit the Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum in Jackson.

    And, if you want to see beautiful flowers, trees, and bushes, check out the Gardens in Jackson. (see photo)

    Gardens in Jackson, Tennessee
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    Nancy Ward Gravesite

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Oct 27, 2004

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    Nancy Ward (Nanye' hi), 1738-1822, Cherokee princess and prophetess, was the most powerful and influencial Cherokee Indian woman in recorded history. She was head of the Council of Women and had a voting seat in the Council of Chiefs. During her lifetime she saw the Cherokee nation move from a matriarchal clan-type government to one much like that of the United States.

    Because she often befriended the early European settlers, often preventing their massacre, Nancy Ward has been called the Pocahontas of Tennessee.

    The Nancy Ward Gravesite is a very small state park In Polk County, along U.S. Hwy 441, just south of Benton. There is a parking area, interpretive markers, and a walkway to the gravesite. Here on a small hill overlooking the Ocoee River the "Beloved Woman of the Cherokees", and her son, Five Killer were buried according to traditional Cherokee custom.

    Karen and Dad at the Nancy Ward Gravesite
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    Baby Falls

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Oct 26, 2004

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    Just about a quarter of a mile further up the road from Bald River Falls (preceeding tip), on the opposite side of the road you will see Baby Falls of the Tellico River. The amount of water coming over Baby Falls is actually greater than that of the Bald River Falls, but in height it's 15-foot drop makes the falls on the Tellico River a relative baby.

    These falls plunge into a deep foaming pool, and when I was younger we used to wade out to the middle of the river above the falls and dive. It was risky, and several people have drowned here over the years. However, in most if not all of the drownings alcohol was involved. I am not a drinker, but I still do not recommend swimming here. A whirlpool on the far side of the falls can be very difficult to swim out of if you are caught in it - as I once was.

    There are a few free camping spots at the parking area just above these falls, provided by the Cherokee National Forest. They are primitive sites, and the only ammenity is a chemical toilet. Still, it's a beautiful spot for the self-contained or self-sufficient camper.

    Kayaker Going over Baby Falls Baby Falls on the Tellico River Kayaker Going over Baby Falls Kayaker below Baby Falls Karen, Nick and Alex at Picnicking at Baby Falls
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    Bald River Falls

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Oct 26, 2004

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    This beautiful 100-feet cascading waterfall in the Cherokee National Forest is well off the beaten path, but still easy to reach. To find it from the small town of Tellico Plains, follow TN-165 east for 5.25 miles, then turn onto River Road and continue for 5.9 miles. There will be a small parking area and the falls are clearly seen from the road. If you continue on the River Road it will dead end at the North Carolina state line a little further on.

    Just below the falls the Bald River flows into the Tellico River. Both streams are favorites of trout fishermen. A very scenic 4.8-mile hiking trail begins at the falls and parallels the Bald River, offering views of many smaller waterfalls and cascades along the way.

    This is a very remote area which is equal to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park just a few miles to the north, but much less crowded with visitors. Black Bear and Wild Boar are among the wild creatures which inhabit these mountains.

    Bald River Falls
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    The beauty of Townsend

    by Sassy417 Written Jun 4, 2004

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    There is certainly so much more to Tennessee than: Bristol,
      • Chattanooga
      • Clarksville
      • Cleveland
      • Franklin
      • Greeneville
      • Hendersonville
      • Jackson
      • Johnson
      • Kingsport
      • Knoxville
      • Memphis
      • Murfreesboro
      • Nashville
      • Oak Ridge
    Townsend is located just outside of Maryville, near the Walland community, best known for its great camping sites near the river.

    Dipping my feet in the river by the banks
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    The Jack Daniel's Distillery

    by traveldave Updated Mar 15, 2004

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    Located in tiny Lynchburg (population 361), the Jack Daniel's Distillery is the nation's oldest registered distillery. It was founded by Jack Daniel in 1866, and has been producing fine Tennessee "sippin' whiskey" ever since. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    A famous long-running advertising campaign showed Lynchburg as a place where time stands still, where the local good old boys put out "sippin' whiskey drop by drop."

    Although output varies year by year, the distillery produces about 21,000,000 gallons (79,490,000 liters) of whiskey per year. Only all-natural corn, barley, rye, and spring water are used in the distilling process. (The spring from which the distillery gets its water comes from a cave that can be seen in the background of the picture, behind the statue of Jack Daniel).

    The Jack Daniel's Distillery is the largest employer in Moore County, employing about 55 percent of the population.

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Tennessee Off The Beaten Path

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