Franklin is considered to be one of the most photogenic towns in Tennessee, like a smaller version of Nashville. And don’t get us wrong, we love the town! But the Volunteer State has plenty of other places to explore.
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Columbia is one of the towns south of Nashville that has become a hub of creativity for musicians. The President James K. Polk Home and Museum is open to visitors daily for guided tours, where the former president lived.
The historic downtown has a number of shops, like Duck River Books, and restaurants like Puckett’s Grocery, originally from Franklin. Enjoy a meal at the River Terrace or Southern Tre and start your day at Buckhead Coffeehouse.
Asgard serves local craft beer and is a great spot to hit up before catching a show at The Mulehouse, a converted church. Stay at Two Lanes Guesthouse, a rental owned by Mike Wolfe of American Pickers. Hampton Inn Columbia is another option.
The town of Copperhill is named for the Copper Basin found in north Georgia and southern Tennessee. In fact, it straddles the state line, sharing the border with McCaysville, Georgia along the Toccoa River. A scenic train operates in this area, showcasing the mountain scenery.
The Rum Cake Lady serves authentic Cuban pastries and sandwiches. Set in a former bank, Yellowbird Coffee Shop here is the perfect spot for a quick snack. Habanero’s Fresh Tex Mex has the best Mexican dishes.
Copperhill also has two craft breweries: Copperhill Brewery and Buck Bald Brewing. There aren’t many accommodation options here, apart from rentals like Sans Souci, a charming rental cabin with mountain views. You can also stay in Blue Ridge.
Historic Kingston was settled in the 1700s around Fort Southwest Point, then the southwesternmost point in the country. It was a trading post for the wagon trails and has reconstructed buildings and living history displays.
The Historic Roane County Courthouse is a history museum with artifacts ranging from Native American arrowheads to historical photographs and documents. The nearby Oak Ridge site sprawls as far as the county including the nearby K-25 Museum, which has exhibits on the gaseous diffusion plant.
Maple Creek Bistro offers a little bit of everything including local pimento cheese, burgers, pizza, and shrimp and grits. The New Brewery offers breakfast, burgers, and daily specials.
While visiting these frontier landmarks, base yourself in one of Kingston’s accommodations. The Gideon Morgan is an 1800s home turned vacation rental with four-poster beds and clawfoot tubs. The AAA Four-Diamond award-winning Whitestone Inn has cozy rooms and a lakefront location.
The towns along Tellico Lake are full of charm, hosting a big Fourth of July celebration every year. Most come here for boating and hiking. Borrow what gear you need for kayaking from companies like River Sports Outfitters.
Spend time shopping at downtown boutiques like The Sparkly Pig, The Lacy General Store, and Markets on Broadway. Tour the Sweetwater Valley Farm cheesemaking facility and pick up some goodies to take home. The Tennessee Valley Winery is a great spot to grab a glass of locally-made wine.
Get a much-needed caffeine boost at Ugly Mug, a local coffee shop. Calhoun’s has a number of locations in the area, but this riverfront locale has a popular outdoor bar.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Lenoir City has amenities like free breakfast, but if you’re looking to spend more time on the water, rent one of the many rental homes.
The town of Lynchburg is best associated with being the home of Jack Daniels Distillery, the main employer in town. But the town itself is charming and worth exploring, with shops selling Jack memorabilia and souvenirs.
Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House Restaurant is a former boarding house-turned-restaurant dating back over 100 years. Make a reservation to enjoy the Southern-style dishes. Southern Perks Cafe & Bistro has breakfast sandwiches, pizzas, paninis, and salads. Barrelhouse BBQ has been referenced as having one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the state, including its pulled pork and habanero sauce.
Lynchburg Country Inn is the closest you can get to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery but it’s a basic roadside motel. Rooms have coffee makers, microwaves, and fridges, along with cable televisions. Tolley House Bed and Breakfast is another option in town. Wiseman Park in downtown Lynchburg also offers basic and affordable parking for RVs.
Most of the year Manchester is a sleepy community, but its population swells every summer for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The rest of the year, there’s still plenty to see. Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park was constructed by Native Americans over 1,000 years ago before it was abandoned.
Open since 2004, Beans Creek Winery has tastings and tours that include samples of their white, red, and sweet wines made from a local varietal. Common John Brewery is a favorite local hangout with craft beers for every palate.
While you’re in the area, stop by George A. Dickel & Co. in Tullahoma, one of the oldest locations on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail. There are a number of old-school eateries like Emma’s Family Restaurant, a classic breakfast spot, and Jiffy Burger, a 50s-inspired diner that serves, of course, hamburgers.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Manchester is the best place to stay in town and is where many of the artists stay during the music festival.
South Pittsburg is right outside of Chattanooga and is known as the home of the most famous cookware company in America. It’s also near Nickajack Cave, where bats fly out during the summer months.
Stop by the Lodge Factory Store in town to pick up a skillet of your own and the Lodge Museum of Cast Iron, which covers the company’s history. There’s also The Princess Theatre, a restored movie theater still in operation.
Don’t miss a stop at Dixie Freeze, an old-school restaurant known for its burgers and ice cream. Stevarino’s Italian Eatery is great for a sandwich or pizza. South Cedar Artisanal has deli-style sandwiches along with craft beer.
If you want to stay in South Pittsburg proper, you’ll need to stay at a place like this historic home rental. Full-service hotels are in nearby Kimball, including the Hampton Inn Kimball.
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