Trip Recap: Tennessee

I thought I would briefly recap our trip to TN and NC, starting with the Tennessee portion.   But before I do, I wanted to mention that we just passed my 2nd bloggiversary on Sunday!  I can’t believe I have had this blog up and running for two years now.

Saturday, May 4

We got a little bit of a late start, and ended up driving through some crazy rain in Atlanta.  The rain continued as we made it through Chattanooga and into the mountains.  We made it to Tadd’s mom’s place in Cookeville, TN around dinnertime.  The first couple of days were quite dreary.  That night we just stayed in, caught up with Tadd’s family, and played Apples to Apples.

Sunday, May 5

More staying in…The rain was still coming down, and unfortunately Cookeville is one of those places where there just isn’t much to do in the rain.  The rain cleared up at one point, but it was still soggy and grey, so we decided to take a walk around Tadd’s mom’s property and took some pretty pictures of her garden and barn.

That night we had dinner at one of our favorite local spots, Char, then rented a movie and had another quiet evening in.

Monday, May 6

This is when the real sightseeing began.  Despite the still-cloudy skies, we made the almost 2 hour trek over to Lynchburg to visit the Jack Daniels Distillery.  If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend this tour!  It’s free, but if you would like to have a little taste of a few of the products after the tour, you can do that for $10.  It’s obvious that the Jack Daniel’s company takes great pride in their product and it was really neat to see firsthand all of the history behind such an iconic American brand.

After the tour, we had lunch and shopped around a bit in Lynchburg Square.  This town is teeny-tiny and very quaint.  And you will see references to Jack Daniel’s everywhere!

Tuesday, May 7

Finally the rain seemed to be behind us.  We woke up to blue skies and temps in the upper 50s F/low 60s F.  Tadd’s mom wanted to take a short hike to Cummins Falls, which had recently been made open to the public (previously it was on private land).  Cummins Falls is less than 5 minutes from her house, so it was a quick drive.

The ground was still muddy and it seems like some of the hiking trails were still being established.  So after a few minutes of (occasionally trecherous) slogging through the mud, and a few wrong turns, we finally made it to the falls!

Later on that day, Tadd’s mom had arranged for us to have a private tour of Calfkiller Brewery in Sparta, TN by the owners & founders Dave and Don Sergio.  I admit it was a little weird pulling up to what looks like someone’s house…

But we had nothing to worry about because Dave & Don were nothing but welcoming and warm.  They told us all about their history and let us try a TON of delicious beer.  Their operation is tiny, but extremely popular in the central Tennessee region.  I’m so glad we got to meet them!

We then had an amazing dinner at nearby Foglight Foodhouse, which was the first local place to offer Calfkiller beer.  We ended up purchasing a growler of Calfkiller’s Grassroots Ale at Foglight to take home with us.  Great end to the day.

Wednesday, May 8

Last full day in Tennessee.  We decided to drive west across the state and visit Hurricane Mills, which is a town owned by Loretta Lynn that has been set up as a dude ranch and tourist attraction.  We took a tour of a replica of her childhood home (log cabin with no running water), a simulated coal mine (where her father worked), then we got to tour the actual house where she lived during her heyday.  This house, a real plantation-era mansion with its own rich history, reminded Loretta of Gone With The Wind and has been featured on several ghost hunting shows.  After the house, we toured Loretta’s museum.  The grounds of the ranch are gorgeous, and we were able to see horses grazing in a field wildflowers behind the museum.

On the way home, we stopped for dinner in downtown Nashville, and ended up at Flying Saucer, which I would totally recommend.  Great food, interesting atmosphere, and extensive beer selection (made me smile to see some Calfkiller on the list).  I understand that they are a chain, so I would love to see one in Orlando at some point.

The next morning, we got up, said goodbye to Tadd’s family, and headed over to Asheville, NC for the second leg of our trip.  Stay tuned for that!

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