General Store at Fiddlers Grove in Lebanon, TN
Photo Credit: Sara Beth Urban

10 Stops on the Historic Route 1 from Nashville to Sparta

Here's what you'll find along the way.

Along Route 1, you'll experience the music, history, people and food that make Tennessee so special. Here are some special spots you can experience from Nashville to Sparta. It's time to get off the interstate and discover the off-the-beaten-path treasures of Tennessee. 

Fisk University's galleries - Nashville

 Visit Fisk University, an historically black university founded in 1866 and the oldest higher learning institute in Nashville. Spend some time looking at the permanent collection of more than 4,000 objects that span 300 years of art from Diego Rivera, Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. Pieces are regularly shown in permanent and temporary exhibitions in the university's Carl Van Vechten Gallery and Aaron Douglas Gallery.

Cedars of Lebanon State Park is 1,139 acres of hiking trails weaving through cedar forests, disc golf and horseback riding. Explore 12.5 miles of horseback riding trails and see some of Tennessee State Parks' most iconic park architecture. Stretch your legs on the Hidden Springs Trail, a 4.2-mile trail that averages about 2.5 hours to complete. While hiking, you'll see cedar woodlands, oak-hickory forests and glades. Listen for the sounds of water through limestone passages of the deep round sinkhole, for which the trail is named. Set up camp at one of the 87 campsites that include Wifi, picnic tables, three bathhouses, grills and water and electric hookups. Full-furnished cabins with queen-sized and king-sized beds, kitchen, living area and great views of nature are also available.

Fiddlers Grove Historic Village - Lebanon 

Experience village life by walking through 55 buildings of 1700s life at Fiddlers Grove Historic Village. See where people lived in a one-room log cabin. You can see a blacksmith's shop, small church, a doctor's office and the buggy he used to make house calls, a cobbler's shop, a sheriff's office, drug store, 1700s log cabin and so much more. Visit the general store for a drink and a snack. 

Historic Watertown Square - Watertown

Make a stop to the historic Watertown square where you'll find antique shops and adorable boutiques like Dainty Darlin that carries fun graphic tees, adorable printed dresses and more. Grab a slice or big bowl of pasta at Nona Lisa Pizzeria, locals' favorite for pizza and more. Stardust Drive In Theatre queues up movie classics,  today's blockbuster hits and even drive-in concerts. Enjoy the entertainment from the comfort of your car while snacking on treats like popcorn and candy or hamburgers and barbecue sandwiches.

Cannonsburgh Village - Murfreesboro

Historic Cannonsburgh Village transports you to Tennessee from the 1830's to 1930's through a replica community. A gristmill, school house, museum, caboose, wedding chapel, a doctor's office, blacksmith shop and more tell Tennessee's history. Self-guided tours are free. Make your way through the Visitor Center for post cards, t-shirts, snacks and souvenirs for sale.

Oaklands Mansion - Murfreesboro

Learn the history of the early 1800s Oaklands Mansion, owned by the Maney family. The home was a symbol of Southern wealth - a two-story addition was built in the 1820's in the Federal style with new rooms consisting of a parlor, front hall passage and what probably served as the family's first guest bedroom. Their fortune was built upon enslaved people, land, medicine, railroads and retail and were fundamental in the development of Murfreesboro. Hear their story as well as the stories of the enslaved people who labored there.

Cumberland Caverns - McMinnville

Journey under the earth through Tennessee's largest show cave, Cumberland Caverns. You'll see awesome formations, waterfalls and the iconic Volcano Room that features a chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Plan your visit to coincide with a Cumberland Caverns Live event, concerts featuring bands like The Allman Betts Band, Jordan Feliz, Terri Clark and so many more in the Volcano Room.

isha Institute of Inner- sciences- mcminnville

Head to the mountain retreat of the ISHA Institute of Inner-sciences for stress relief, meditation and holistic well-being. Classical yoga and meditation classes are offered as well as outdoor recreation activities. Reflect and reconnect with nature along several hiking trails that lead to vistas and waterfalls.

The Rock House - Sparta

The Rock House was built between 1835 and 1839 by Barlow Fiske to serve as a toll collection facility on a private road. Fiske had a stage coach inn and stables nearby. The house was one of the few structures that contributed to the early development of Tennessee's transportation system. Notable visitors included 7th U.S. president Andrew Jackson, 11th U.S. president James K. Polk, Sam Houston and Frank Clement. 

Virgin Falls state natural Area - Sparta

Experienced hikers will love this strenuous, 9-mile in-and-out hike to see the beautiful Virgin Falls, formed by an underground stream that flows from a cave, drops over a 110-foot high cliff and then disappears into another cave at the bottom of the sink. You'll see geological figures, can hike to the Caney Fork Overlook and more within the 1,157 acres that make up the Virgin Falls State Natural Area.


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