trees with the sun in the background

Beyond the Barrels: Lynchburg, Tennessee

Lynchburg, Tennessee is home to the world-famous Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey and so much more.

Standing on the sidewalk staring north up Highway 55, downtown behind one's right shoulder, the structure on the hill peers over the thick forest of hardwood like a steel and aluminum Kilroy.

Several hundred feet down, tucked behind more trees in a peaceful park-like setting is a visitor center to the world's best-known distillery.

It bears the name of its founder, a diminutive man — he stood just 5'4″ with size four shoes – whose stature in size is not reflective of his stature in his industry.

The man and the product each are known by a standard name, but nothing about either is common. They are known, simply, as Jack.

Jack Daniel Distillery - Lynchburg, TN

Nothing here matches: a world renowned distillery in a dry county, hundreds of thousands of visitors arriving in a town with a population of less than 6,000. Yet everything seems so right.

One can tour the distillery, learn the history and see the spring where the pure water comes from earth or go to the town square. Of course, there is a town square; places like this have to have them with a mandatory court house right in the middle. Tour the town by foot or in a horse-drawn buggy.

Barrels at Jack Daniel's Distillery

Barrels at Jack Daniel's Distillery

People wave. Everyone waves, mainly because most everyone knows each other; but they wave when they don't know a person either. Kind of comes natural in a town with a square.

Before long, visitors realize they are hungry. It goes with the territory. It is kind of a universal unspoken innate knowledge that some of the best food in the world can be found in places like this.


There's the Barrel House and the BBQ Caboose Cafe for the smoked-meat, sauce-dripping crowd. The Iron Kettle and Whiskey Runners Southern country fare and Southern Perks for the lighter side, coffee and dessert like cinnamon rolls the size of Princess Leia's hair buns, just sayin'.

The linchpin is down the street just past the square: Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House. One cannot stay there any longer but many did for many years — more than 107 years to be exact.

But, boy, a visitor still can get a boarding house meal. Family style, just start with what is in front and spoon out what looks good (hint: all of it), bowl by bowl as the table wheel turns with sweet tea, soda, coffee and water to wash it all down because, remember, this is a dry county.

Miss Mary BoBos

Courtesy of Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House

Taste the sweet fried apples. If Jack cannot be consumed that does not mean it can't be used as a condiment at Miss Mary's or the ice cream shop on the square or the candy shop down from it.

In Lynchburg, Jack is a flavoring just like chocolate, strawberry or vanilla. It's Neapolitan with a twist.

Tip to the traveler: call ahead for reservations. They don't rent rooms any more but you still need to get in line for the meal.

There is more, which might be hard to believe. ‘How can there be more in such a small place?' one might ask.

Ah, that is why one must see for him/herself.

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