Tennessee is known for its natural beauty and kind people, but we also have a few tricks up our sleeves. We’ve found fifteen places that are great to eat, maybe historic or downright strange, that you should visit if you’re ever out and about on the road. Keep them in your back pocket, revisit when necessary – we’re about to give all of our road trips new life. Happy adventuring, friends!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
15. Thomas' Drugs and Soda Fountain - Cross Plains
Known as one of the oldest and last remaining *true* soda fountains in Tennessee, Thomas' Drugs is a great stop for the family. Grab a malted and enjoy their sweet southern hospitality in a town just thirty miles outside of Nashville.
14. Hermitage Hotel's Men's Restroom - Nashville
The men's restroom at the Hermitage Hotel in downtown Nashville is known for its art-deco interior and stunning design. It has been listed as one of the most beautiful bathrooms in the US for years, and the hotel welcomes visitors that want to take a peek. Make sure it's empty first though, ladies!
13. Alcatraz East Crime Museum - Pigeon Forge
The Alcatraz East Crime Museum is a neat, interactive museum located in Pigeon Forge, providing a solidly macabre aside to any road trip. Learn about the history of the justice and penal system in the United States with the help of their quirky, walk-through exhibits. Be careful with the littles though - this is probably best for teens!
12. Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum - Gatlinburg
The name says it all, don't you think? The Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum boasts shakers from numerous decades made with a wide variety of materials. It's so interesting!
11. The Minister's Treehouse - Crossville
You can't actually walk inside the Minister's Treehouse anymore, since it has been deemed unsafe, but you can stop along the road and wonder at the largest treehouse in the world. Yep - it's true. Tennessee has it!
10. Bloodstained Crypt of Nina Cragmiles - Cleveland
There's an eerie story behind the crypt at Cleveland...the Cragmiles crypt, that is. Nina Cragmiles died at the tiny age of seven in a buggy accident, and there are some that say the crypt is stained with blood that no amount of scrubbing will wash away. You can see it for yourself, and shiver the whole way home...
9. Muletown Roasted Coffee - Columbia
This sweet little coffee shop is located about an hour outside of Nashville and is great for a quick pick-me-up along the way. Absolutely adorable and great for photographs (we see you, millennials), it's a stop that will put a bit of bounce in your step.
8. The Bell Witch Cave - Adams
The Bell Witch Cave has long been considered one of the most haunted places in Tennessee, and on some lists in America as well. You can learn about its eerie history and the murderous poltergeist that haunted the Bell family on their tour.
7. Puckett's Grocery - Leiper's Fork
The original Puckett's Grocery is located in Leipers Fork, Tennessee, down a long winding road that cuts through the stunning Tennessee countryside. We'd recommend coming with an empty belly, to enjoy their homemade meat 'n three's, or come at night for the live music. It's true Tennessee out here!
6. Marcy Jo's Mealhouse and Bakery - Columbia
Marcy Jo's is a sweet eatery located in Columbia, and they are fabulous for a solid breakfast of biscuits and gravy or the best kind of cinnamon roll you've ever had - really. Their hours are fairly limited, but their above and beyond hospitality and sweet space will make you feel like you've stepped back in time.
5. Elmwood Cemetery - Memphis
The historic Elmwood Cemetery is as eerie as it is beautiful, and makes for a quiet space in the otherwise boisterous metropolis of Memphis. You can choose to take their historic tour, or you can wander the grounds for yourself.
4. SS Sultana Memorial - Knoxville
The SS Sultana sinking was the worst maritime disaster in American history, and although the ship actually sank on the west side of the state there is still a monument to its deadly end in Knoxville. 2,300 people climbed aboard the ship, where 1,700 lost their lives due to the explosion of a boiler.
3. Family BBQ - Dickson
Family BBQ is only open on the weekends, but it has some of the best bbq this side of the Mississippi.
We'd highly recommend it if you're on the road and looking for a solid lunch that will stick to your ribs.(2199 Yellow Creek Road)
2. Pinson Mounds State Archaelogical Park - Pinson
This is a state park that really takes the cake of historic and eccentric - there are over a dozen earth mounts created by Native Americans, some that date back over 2,000 years.
1. The Templeton Library - Sewanee
This beautiful library has a strange past, built by the grandiose and strange Sir John Templeton. His back story is odd, but his library is beautiful and well worth a visit. Infuse your road trips with a sense of beauty - Sewanee has it in spades.