Bluegrass, beauty and barbecue can all be enjoyed in McMinnville, Tennessee

Bluegrass, beauty and barbecue can all be enjoyed in McMinnville, Tennessee

How to spend a weekend full of adventure and bluegrass in McMinnville, Tennessee

Add to TripRemove

In my hundreds of concerts I've attended in Tennessee, from my friend's basement, farms, barns, bars, and backyards, the last place I would expect to see a show is in a cave!

But, that’s exactly where music enthusiasts go to experience the Emmy Award-winning, Bluegrass Underground, taking place 333 ft. under the earth to experience some of the best artists in bluegrass music today. The show takes place in Tennessee's very own Cumberland Caverns’ Volcano Room.

Bluegrass Underground, McMinnville, TN
Bluegrass Underground, McMinnville

Being an outdoor enthusiast, I knew that McMinnville was a great central location to go hiking to some of Tennessee's best waterfalls as well. So, we left Nashville a little early to head to a lesser-known secret place: Suter Falls. Suter Falls is on the West Collins Gap Trail in the stunningly gorgeous Savage Gulf. A more difficult mile round trip hike had us there rather quickly to see a large trail along an alcove with Suter Falls pouring over the end.

Trail to Suter Falls
Trail to Suter Falls 
Suter Falls
Suter Falls

After the hike, we went to Cumberland Caverns to catch the first night of the recorded-for-PBS series, Bluegrass Underground. The audience was a lively bunch, with smiles of appreciation, as each note was plucked or strummed to the perfect acoustics the cave offered. After hours of music ranging from Conor Oberst to The Mavericks, we headed up to Smithsville for a good night’s rest at Evins Mill.

Evins Mill
Book a relaxing stay in the secluded Evins Mill

Evins Mill is the picturesque boutique resort you’ve dreamed of but haven’t experienced just yet. Book a stay to experience all the luxurious amenities of a resort in an intimate setting. With breathtaking views, rooms where you can fall asleep listening to the bubbling creek, and delicious meals, you’ll fall in love with this tucked away property.

We woke up the next morning to Chef Evans’ wonderfully prepared biscuits and gravy, fruit, and of course, bacon before heading to the private trail to Carmac Falls. I was amazed the private waterfall was so perfect. It's as if we were the only ones to show up at the popular other Tennessee swimming hole Cummins Falls on a weekend and had it all to ourselves.

Carmac Falls
Carmac Falls

Hiking makes you quite hungry, so we headed to downtown McMinnville to grab some barbecue (because this is Tennessee, after all) and a brew at Collins River BBQ & Cafe. We took a quick stroll around town and stopped in a few photography museums where we learned about the city's history with photography, and about locals who helped pioneer the film world.

We rushed back to Cumberland Caverns to catch Drew Holcomb play a truly jamming set at Bluegrass Underground; we wandered through the caverns before heading back to Evins Mill and calling it a night.

Drew Holcomb at Bluegrass Underground
Drew Holcomb performing 333 ft. underground at Bluegrass Underground inside Cumberland Caverns

The morning came quickly, though, as we packed up our stuff, grabbed another breakfast, and headed to Fall Creek Falls State Park for ArborTrek Fall Creek Falls. After swinging from ropes and jumping off trees, we were well exhausted, so we called it a trip and headed back to town for some Sunday rest.

ArborTrek Fall Creek Falls
Have a great adventure at ArborTrek Fall Creek Falls
ArborTrek Fall Creek Falls
ArborTrek Fall Creek Falls swinging bridge

If you want to see more of our adventures follow along at @theexplorerdad and @nashvilleexplorersclub!