On living history farms and in museums, you’ll learn about innovations accomplished by Tennessee farmers. Mayfield Dairy Farms Visitor Center in Athens gives you a close-up look at making milk and ice cream. Clinton’s Museum of Appalachia welcomes visitors to hear and see an interpretation of pioneer and early 20th-century Southern Appalachia. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum preserves a large number of authentic relics, displays one of the nation’s largest folk art collections and hosts traditional Appalachian music performances and demonstrations of regional craftsmen. Exchange Place Living History Farm in Kingsport is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, once a community that served as a self-supporting plantation.
In Eva, visit the Tennessee River Folklife Museum, part of Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park. Bells is a rural, antique village with dining, shops, a country church, arboretum, log buildings and a one-room schoolhouse. You can see a 1915 cotton gin in Bells’ Cotton Museum of the South.
Buy Tennessee artisan authentic: beeswax candles, farm seasonal decor, soaps and oils, wood products, wools and fibers. Amish crafts and Mennonite quilts make marvelous gifts, available in Muddy Pond General Store. An explosion of artistic expression, Tennessee’s craft galleries acquaint you with tradition and creativity in concept, design and technique. You’ll see beautiful blown glass, a well-turned bowl, unique jewelry. Explore the Appalachian Quilt Trail to mine interesting places to visit. Browse Arrowcraft in Gatlinburg, a Southern Highland Craft Guild shop. Stop in Smithville for one-of-a-kind treasures at Appalachian Center for Craft. Stop in Somerville at Tennessee Pewter to admire the exquisite work of some of the finest pewtersmiths. And, the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis is the only institution in the U.S. devoted exclusively to the art and craft of fine metalwork.
Take an Tennessee agritourism vacation and get a generous dose of authentic rural culture. Stay in local lodging, such as farm B&Bs and guest ranches.