You know you’re in Tennessee when…

Someone calls you “honey” “darling” or “sweetheart”!   You see beautiful landscapes, rolling hills and the Great Smoky Mountains surrounding you.  The red carpet of Southern hospitality rolls out and everyone feels right at home.  When you go to a restaurant, there’s a selection of hot sauces like “Gunshot Sauce” to pour over some of the best BBQ and tasty Southern foods.  There’s a lot of history here, and it’s a great place to learn about the Great Stage Road, the Tennessee Heritage Trail, and Western legends like Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone! IMG_9471 (640x640)

We explored the heart of Tennessee from Johnson City to Jonesborough, to Knoxville to Nashville and found some amazing places to eat, stay and visit.  Here are our top picks.

NOTE:  Check back since we will continue to add more recommendations to this article.

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Blackberry Farm

In need of some “deep woods healing”?  We found the place!  Located at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains, you can enjoy a luxury stay in your own private cottage on 4,200 acres at the Inn at Blackberry Farm.

Mallorie Mendence, Marketing Coordinator at The Inn at Blackberry Farm shares, “From here you can hike and cycle to your heart’s content in just about every direction.  Or you can go fox hunting, or fly fishing, play tennis, take a cooking class, or surrender yourself to the Spa.” We only were able to visit for a few hours, and already look forward to return for an overnight, weekend or weeklong stay.

For a delicious lunch, property guests can make a reservation at The Main House – the food is fresh and flavorful, and you can dine indoors or outdoors and look out at the vista.  After lunch you can sit in the Inn’s iconic white rocking chair and enjoy a lemonade while listening to the birds sing.

For extraordinary dinners, we’ve heard the meals at The Barn are incredible and hope to be back to enjoy the 7-courses. The seasonal meals are inspired by Executive Chef of the Barn Cassidee Dabney, whose team farms off the property’s 2 acre gardens.  Blackberry Farm has a healthy truffle orchard, but no truffles yet.  But there are good indications that the local resident “truffle dogs” might soon be hunting truffles.  Good to note, outside guests can make reservations to eat dinner at The Barn at Blackberry Farm.


Our favorites on this trip: Main House at Blackberry Farm & Tupelo Honey Cafe!


Here’s a list of fun activities and places to visit along the way…

1.  Jonesborough: Stop by the oldest town in Tennessee!  IMG_8601 (640x480)

Since 1779, this town is full of history and home to our 7th U.S. President Andrew Jackson, and also The Emancipator, America’s first newspaper that promoted the emancipation of slaves in 1820.


Considered to be one of the most charming towns in the USA with gas-like streetlights, American flags, and colonial architecture. Today Jonesborough is a National Historic Trust, and also the birthplace of America’s Storytelling Festival where 10,000+ international visitors flock annually to share their stories. IMG_8609 (640x480)


2.  Davy Crockett’s Birthplace: we visited Davy Crockett’s cabin, a humble 1-room abode where a Western Legend was born. Davy was a soldier and a statesman who led the Western Frontier movement.

He inspired many and is considered the “King of the Wild Frontier”. There’s a state park and campground located around Crockett’s cabin, and a river runs through the site. For more info, click here.

3.  Follow the Civil War Trail and learn about our Nation’s History. There are 270 Civil War sites throughout Tennessee where America’s future was forged. The Tennessee Civil War Trails program is part of a five-state joint effort to educate America on 1,000 places that remind us of soldiers and civilians stories – click here for more details.

4.  Knoxville: a vibrant city where you can jump on the town trolley and get oriented. We walked down Gay Street and stepped into some galleries, also dined along the pedestrian walkway of Market Square. The famous Tennessee Theatre features well known plays, musicals, and performances.

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5.  Nashville: we spent a couple days in Nashville and wrote an article on this music-filled town – click here to read our recommendations on where to stay, dine and what to do.

Trip Map (zoom in/out with controls on left)


Inn at Blackberry Farm

For reservations, click here and visit the website for more details:


Tupelo Honey Café:  We recommend the fried green tomatoe with grits, buttermilk fried chicken, and fried okra. We visited the café at Johnson City, 300 Buffalo St., but you can find Tupelo Honey Café’s throughout Tennessee, visit:

Main House for Lunch at Blackberry Farm: We recommend the pizza, buttermilk fried chicken or the pan roasted trout. Visit: to make your reservation.

Note:  Dining at Blackberry Farm’s Main House is for property guests only.  However, outside guests can make dinner reservations at The Barn on the property.  We heard dinner at The Barn is extraordinary!


Tourism Offices:  click on these links to the Tourism Offices below

DK Travel Eyewitness Guides:  We planned this trip with the help of our USA DK Travel Eyewitness Guide.  Click here to get your book – helpful maps, illustrations and lots of information.

Acknowledgements:  We would like to thank Blackberry Farm for hosting our visit, as well as Tupelo Honey Café for our meal.  Also, an ongoing thanks to DK Travel for providing our USA DK Travel Eyewitness Guide to help plan this trip.

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Nashville, a city that hits the high note