Loretta Lynn: Catch the Coal Miner’s Daughter and More at Hurricane Mills
Talk to anyone who has been to a Loretta Lynn concert, and you’ll wish you had been there too. The legendary Queen of Country Music makes every fan feel like a personal friend, as she chats from the stage and tells stories in between songs. Coal Miner’s Daughter, the all-time favorite that captures the story of her life, she saves till last, to a standing ovation from her fans. At 81 she still amazes!
Even more so when you realize this American icon still performs on 60 plus tours across the country every year, singing songs of life as it was lived. One of the Top 10 Most Influential Country Female Artists ever, Lynn has written over 160 songs, released 60 albums, and earned hundreds of awards throughout her career. Twins Peggy and Patsy, the youngest of her six children, are regular supporting acts and share Loretta’s candor and zest for life. In fact, get the entire Lynn family together, and music breaks out all over!
But don’t worry, you don’t have to travel to South Dakota or Seattle to hear Loretta Lynn sing. You can catch one of her three annual performances at her own Loretta Lynn Dude Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee on Memorial weekend, 4th of July weekend, or Labor Day.
Hurricane Mills is a unique pocket of history tucked in the rolling hills of Tennessee, about 75 miles west of Nashville. Back in 1966, several years after Lynn had scored a number one hit album and was consistently releasing one Top Ten hit after another, Loretta and her husband Doo (Dolittle, aka “Mooney” for moonshine) stumbled across this small town. The big plantation house on the hill caught Loretta’s eye. “It’s like Gone with the Wind,” she told her husband. “I love it!”
The 3500-acre property was soon theirs, complete with the entire town of Hurricane Mills – plantation home, grist mill, church, schoolhouse, post office and general store. It was an unexpected package, but an ideal place to raise their family – even while Lynn was on the road 300 days a year.
Once the family had grown, the Lynns opened up their plantation home for tours, and built a complex of cabins, campgrounds, museums, gift stores and outdoor entertainment. The property is now 6500 acres and the site of concerts, rodeos, camping, canoeing, kayaking, trailrides, museums, historical tours and the annual Grand National Motorcross. Loretta Lynn still lives in a house right behind the plantation home, and you may catch a glimpse of her if you’re fortunate.
“Hurricane Mills is a real Mayberry,” enthused daughter Peggy Lynn. “Picture this historic little town with a grist mill built in the 1800’s, the site of Civil War battles and Indians and a beautiful antebellum home. You can bring your family and camp in cabins, RV’s, or tents beside a freezing cold spring-fed creek, where you can swim or catch rainbow trout. You can follow miles of trails on mountain bikes, motorcycles or horseback, or go canoeing and kayaking in the river. During the day you can get homemade biscuits and sausage. In the evenings on weekends it’s a concert venue with the likes of Merle Haggard, Charlie Daniels and Johnny Lee. At night you can see stars like you would out on the ocean.”
Artisan wines will be coming soon. They have planted blackberries, strawberries and elderberries for making wine, using Grinder’s Switch Winery for the custom crush. Next year you’ll be able to buy Hurricane Mills Strawberry Wine, and Blackberry Wine the year after.
Raised in poverty in a coal mining town in Eastern Kentucky, Loretta’s rags-to-riches story is recorded in living history in Hurricane Mills. A simulated coal mine and the humble cabin of her childhood have been recreated on the property, the small rooms wallpapered with pages from the Sears and Roebucks catalog.
It’s a dramatic contrast to the plush furnishings of the beautiful antebellum plantation home on the hill.
The mansion was voted 2nd most haunted place in America by the Travel Channel, and haunted tours start this month, including visits to the graveyard, church and grist mill. The church is the oldest building in Humphreys County and was once used as a Civil War hospital.
A must-see on the ranch is the Loretta Lynn Coal Miner’s Daughter museum. You could spend a week in the museum and still not see everything. It’s a treasure trove of memorabilia of Lynn’s life, music, awards and friends.
Hurricane Mills and the Loretta Lynn Ranch is the perfect getaway for the whole family, whether you’re a fan or not. Keep up with coming events on their website so you don’t miss out. Independence Day weekend is the next big one. A concert with Loretta Lynn really is the icing on the cake!