Courier July Courier - Page 36

COMPASS South Central U.S. COMPILED BY BOB ROUSE Small towns loom large in Tennessee A small-town girl herself, Amanda Stravinsky has always loved the warmth of smaller communities. And as a PR and media specialist for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, she’s especially familiar with—and partial to—Tennessee’s small towns. “With the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways program, the state makes it easy to explore towns after you’ve had big-city fun,” Stravinsky says. “If you’re looking for laid back, authentic hospitality, our small towns fit the bill.” Let’s look at that bill from east to west. • In Jonesborough, “Tennessee’s Oldest Town,” Appalachian culture is preserved at the Chester Inn Museum and the Washington County/ Jonesborough History Museum. It’s also displayed on walking tours con- ducted by locals who have a passion for yesteryear. And Jonesborough hosts the acclaimed National Storytelling Festival, set this year for Oct. 6–8. • Townsend, nestled near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, invites visitors to relax at a beautifully appointed log cabin, take a leisurely ride through historical Cades Cove and dine at Dancing Bear Lodge. “And be sure to check out the Bush Brothers Visitors Center,” Stravinsky says. “It’s across the road from the Bush Beans manufacturing facility.” Downtown Jonesborough • Cookeville is home to hundreds of options: restaurants, golf courses, train excursions, antique stores and brand-name shops. Located near Cummins Falls State Park, Fall Creek Falls State Park and Golden Mountain State Park, it offers a number of nature walks. • NTA-member Rutherford County is home to Murfreesboro, which, although not a small town, has an area that harkens back to a small- town past. Cannonsburgh Village, located near the county courthouse, showcases 125 years of history with a gristmill, one-room schoolhouse, museum and an operating blacksmith’s shop. Your Rutherford County contact is Donna Klempnow, dklempnow@rutherfordchamber.com. • “Leiper’s Fork is as laid back as it gets,” Stravinsky says. “The come- as-you-are town serves up local art, antique shopping and home- cooked meals with a side of sincere Tennessee hospitality.” Visitors can browse galleries like The Copper Fox and David Arms, peruse boutique shops filled with unique items and take a long sip of whis- key at the new Leiper’s Fork Distillery. Open mic night in Leiper’s Fork Discovery Park of America, Union City 34 July 2017 • Milky Way Farm, near the town of Pulaski, has more than 1,000 acres featuring deer, wild turkeys, barns, trails and vistas. Visitors can view one of the largest magnolia plantations in the South, tour the manor house and dine at a giant table that can seat 40 for a catered dinner. • Discovery Park of America rises in the small town of Union City. An eye-opening attraction, the park features Starship Theater, an interactive motion simulator; a 48-foot human-formed slide; solar- powered airplanes; and a 20,000-gallon aquarium. • Visitors might go to Paris, Tennessee, to sample some of the 26 wines made at Paris Winery or view a sunset at Paris Landing State Park. But they’re sure to stay for a photo at the town’s 70-foot Eiffel Tower replica in Memorial Park. For more information about Tennessee towns—small and large— contact Brian Wagner with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development at brian.wagner@tn.gov or