January 3, 2023
Whether planning a lazy day on the lake or an action-packed afternoon on dry land, the inviting town of Winchester features fun for everyone.
Nestled along Tims Ford Lake between Nashville and Chattanooga, Winchester is the perfect place to get away from it all while being in the center of everything. The area’s lush, scenic beauty provides the perfect backdrop for relaxation with plenty of sightseeing, dining and shopping options in town.
Home to less than 10,000 full-time residents, this small town makes a big splash on a regional and national stage, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to enjoy their parks, water recreation, history and culture.
The Great Outdoors in Winchester, TN
One of the most picturesque lakes in Tennessee, Tims Ford is a recreational haven. The surrounding Tims Ford State Park spans 3,546 acres and features camping, cabins, hiking and biking trails, boating, birding and Bear Trace at Tims Ford, a challenging 18-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. A fisherman’s paradise, the lake is known as one of the top spots for bass in the Southeast. In the spring and fall, paddlers love Tims Ford Blueway with customizable routes to spend a few hours or few days on the water.
Visit Twin Creeks Marina for watercraft rentals from kayaks and stand-up paddleboards to double-decker pontoons and the Jungle Boat, a floating water park with six attractions. The marina also features an RV resort, waterside cottages and the popular lakefront restaurant Drafts & Watercrafts. With sandwiches, salads, steaks and seafood, the diverse menu appeals to everyone – including four-legged friends who give two paws up to the Bow Wow Bowlz.
Winchester City Park features an indoor/outdoor swimplex, walking trails, tennis courts, disc golf course, boat launch, two handicapped-accessible fishing piers, playground and camping facilities. It’s also the site of big events including annual Fourth of July fireworks and High on the Hog Barbeque Competition. The sanctioned Kansas City Barbeque Society event features a week of professional pitmasters and backyard cookers from across the country vying for the title of grand champion, along with live entertainment, a carnival, horseshoe pitching contest and a mouthwatering selection of smoked meats.
Downtown Discoveries in Winchester
A Main Street Community, the revitalized downtown district is centered around the impressive Franklin County Courthouse. Historic architecture creates a charming square filled with local boutiques, businesses and restaurants. Enjoy the self-guided Downtown Walkabout Historic Tour with markers that tell the background of buildings and share anecdotes that bring the town’s story to life.
Branchwater Distillery is a living monument to Tennessee’s rich tradition of “home brews.” While moonshiners worked outside the law during the Prohibition era, there’s no denying their recipes have stood the test of time. Today, distiller Bud Kelley deliciously – and legally – pays homage to his great-grandfather’s craft. Stop by to sip some shine, catch a live music show or take a whiskey-making class.
Pop in Meshed and The Lake Store for home décor and gifts, The Sole Shop for functional footwear and artisan accessories, Russell’s for outdoor apparel and Winchester Fresh Market for locally sourced products. Refuel with a hot beverage from Walnut Hill Coffee Shop or a sweet treat from Designer Cakes before testing your skills at the family-friendly High Score Arcade and Gaming Lounge or catching new movies at the vintage Oldham Theatre.
The vibrant city center also is site of many community events including the Annual Downtown Chocolate Walk, Summer Music Series at the Winchester Downtown Amphitheater and a Merry Little Downtown Christmas.
History & Culture in Winchester, TN
Founded in 1810 by Revolutionary War veteran Gen. James Winchester, the town that bears his name has a long, colorful history with notable hometown heroes. Learn more about Winchester’s past on the Historic Tour of Homes, a driving tour of 90 homes built prior to 1929. The self-guided tour booklet is available for purchase at City Hall.
Another great way to uncover the town’s history is at the Old Jail Museum, which houses a collection of artifacts from the pioneer era onward. Part of the state’s Civil War Trail, Winchester is home to a Confederate Memorial Cemetery and includes several markers outlining that turbulent time in American history.
For a small town, Winchester has produced some big names in music. The city features a Tennessee Music Pathways marker honoring Grammy-winning musician Mike Farris. It’s also hometown of the late Dinah Shore, a beloved singer and actress who scored more than five dozen Top 20 singles during her storied career. Public art murals share the city’s culture, including displays honoring both famed musicians.
For more visual beauty, visit Harvey’s Garden. Located just four blocks from downtown, this natural sanctuary features more than 34 acres of greenery and seasonal blossoms with meditation benches and walking trails.
Fun Finds & Delightful Dining in Winchester, TN
In addition to shops in the heart of downtown like Meshed, Winchester has more great options for fashion and unique treasures within walking distance of The Square or just a short drive away. About Town Apparel and Treasures keep customers on trend. And Bargain Hunt is a savvy shopper’s dream with national and boutique brands for a fraction of the cost.
If all that sightseeing has worked up an appetite, you’ve come to the right place. From a meat-and-three combo at Skip’s Grill to the savory aroma of cannelloni and lasagna at Raphael’s, Winchester boasts restaurants to please any palate.
For a taste of nostalgia, try Bennett’s Pharmacy Soda Fountain with homemade chicken salad and pimento cheese followed by a big ole banana split. Be sure to try their famous non-alcoholic Bloody Marty. Holt’s Diner is another blast from the past with shakes, burgers and their acclaimed broaster chicken.
Downtown diners have delicious options. Piezan Pizzeria Italiano brings a taste to New York to Winchester. Scallywags Uptown Grill boasts unbeatable burgers and sandwiches. And Filo’s Tavern features steak that melts in the mouth.
Even More to Explore in Winchester, TN
Come discover more by the lakeshore. Go online to winchester-tn.com to learn more about the area’s cultural icons and historic sites, look for the latest events, discover nearby attractions and make plans for a week well spent.