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Art, Antiques & Moonshine: A Spotlight on Cannon County

Your next Tennessee getaway can be found among the antique stores and B&Bs in rural Cannon County.

As the temperatures slowly begin to drop, take advantage of the cooler afternoons—plus, the lingering months of long daylight before they're gone—with a day trip to a new-to-you destination. Seeking inspiration? If you're a fan of whiskey and antiques—with a dash of nostalgia on the side—you needn't look any further than Cannon County.

Eat + Drink

Cannon County comprises Readyville, Auburntown, Bradyville, and Gassaway, as well, but it's Woodbury that's the county seat and where much of the action is. The county has been a hot bed of moonshining for decades, but it's recently seen a comeback: The biggest reason bringing tourists to town these days is the 2012 debut of Short Mountain Distillery, the sixth such distillery in the state of Tennessee to focus on small-batch moonshine, its four products of which are made from corn grown and stone-milled on the 300-acre working farm. The distillery, cafe and tasting room are open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays, during which guided tours are also available. For those looking to get into the art of mixology, there are now Saturday classes that will help hone your cocktail-making skills.

(Credit: Stillhouse Restaurant)

But you have to have some nibbles with which to pair your moonshine cocktails, and next door to the distillery, the year-old Stillhouse Restaurant offers sweeping views of the bucolic surrounds and also makes use of the fertile land that encompasses it: Everything is made from scratch, and all ingredients—whether the fried green tomatoes, filet mignon, catfish, or chicken and waffles—are sourced locally from certified organic farms.

(Credit: Camels & Chocolate)

Out in a particularly rural stretch of the western part of the county, Readyville Mill is a sight to behold. From 1812 on, it was used as a water-powered grist mill on the Stones River, eventually landing a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. It shut down in the late 70's until 2009 when it was reopened as a working grist mill, restaurant and special events venue, filling five restored buildings. The best excuse to head out that way is not only for the photo opp but for brunch at the Goodness Gracious Café, which will have you saying just that with its Tomato Pie, Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes, Salmon Eggs Benedict and Pineapple Cheese Casserole. Note: The wait can top two hours on weekends, so call ahead and make a reservation.


(Credit: Arts of Cannon County)

The Arts Center of Cannon County hosts monthly renditions of big-stage Broadway productions like Rock of Ages (Aug. 12-27) and The Odd Couple (Sept. 30-Oct. 15), as well as specialty shows like an Elvis Tribute (Oct. 22-23). It's also outfitted with a small gallery adorned with folk art, plays host to the farmers' market and serves up sustainable food in the Kitchen, its on-site collaborative space.

(Credit: Antiques on the Square)

Cannon County is also rife in antique stores, including Old Feed Store Antique Mall (which has its own café, the Gathering Place), Antiques and More, "I'll Be Back" Antiques & Gifts and Antiques on the Square. If, at the end of the day, you're looking for a way to unwind, grab a six-pack and catch a flick from the comfort of your own car at the two-screen Moonlite Drive In.


(Credit: Bird Song Studios)

This historic 1859 home was built as a dormitory for a Baptist women's college; today, the Adams House (615-243-5731), has been turned into a two-bedroom B&B in Woodbury. Down the way, Bird Song Studios occupies an old church that's been converted into a musician's studio and vacation rental, and Cannon Inn offers a choice of nine modest suites in the heart of town.

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