As the temps cool and the leaves finally start to change, there's no better time to gas up your car and hit that wide, open Tennessee road. Explore a diverse drive along the Promised Land Trail, which spans 63 stops as part of the Tennessee Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways, a way for you to start in a big city - in this case, Nashville - and branch out to the rural wonders around the city. Think small towns and rural communities with outdoor excursions, wineries, hidden gem stops and more in Wilson, Smith, Jackson, Putnam, Cumberland, White and DeKalb counties.
Here are a few can't-miss points along this iconic trail that drew the early settlers to the Volunteer State:
Andrew Jackson's The Hermitage - Nashville
The Hermitage. Pay a visit to President Andrew Jackson's former home—the 1,000-acre 19th century plantation is staged very similar to how it looked back in the day with interpreters donning period garb—before you hit the road and journey onward and out of Nashville.
Cedars of Lebanon State Park - Lebanon
Lebanon. Cool off in the river of the 1,000-acre Cedars of Lebanon State Park, get an up-close look at World War II history by paying a visit to Cumberland University, once home to General Patton. Mosey through the shops lining the lovely town square, which is listed on the National Historic Register.
Cordell Hull Lake - Carthage
Carthage, a former riverboat town was dubbed "River City" due to its significance as an important stop for steamboat traffic. Its close proximity to Cordell Hull Lake makes this small town ideal for a day spent on the water.
DelMonaco Winery & Vineyards - Baxter
After your experience in nature, head to DelMonaco Winery & Vineyards for a little rehydration. Take a 20-minute tour to see how the wine is produced from vine to cellar. You'll hear a bit of history of how the winery came to be and see the operations behind the wine process. Then, head to the tasting room to sample a few. Three wine pours are free; five pours are $5 and all wines are $10. Indulge by getting a full tasting for two, a block of local cheese and crackers for $25.
This small town in Putnam County was once prosperous thanks to its positioning along the railroad line and is now known for its Cookeville Depot Museum with rail memorabilia galore. Boutiques, restaurants that serve locally-sourced meals, and murals for plenty of photo opportunities make Cookeville an easy choice to explore. The town also offers easy access to Tennessee's 150 waterfalls found in the Upper Cumberland region. After waterfall seeing, head back to town for a meal and a performance by the Bryan Symphony Orchestra at the Wattenberg Auditorium on the campus of Tennessee Tech University.
Stonehenge Golf Course - Crossville
With 10 golf courses expertly designed and meticulously maintained, Crossville has become Tennessee's golfing paradise. The "Golf Capital of Tennessee" welcomes golfers of all skill levels to experience the golf opportunities Golf Digest raves about. The No. 1 resort course in Tennessee, Stonehenge Golf Course is a top choice for 18 holes on a course made entirely of bentgrass, a driving range, putting green, pro shop and restaurant.
The Rock House Famous Stage Stop - Sparta
The Rock House was a temporary stop for famed politicians such as James K. Polk, Sam Houston and Frank Clement, governors of Tennessee. Andrew Jackson often stopped here on trips from Nashville to Washington. Today, it's cared for by the Daughters of the American Revolution and houses frontier artifacts and furnishings.
Stardust Drive-In Theater - Watertown
Stardust, one of Tennessee's last remaining drive-in movie theaters, combines the nostalgia of the golden age of outdoor movies with the latest technology of projection and sound. Channel your inner Grease character by tuning in to new releases all in the comfort of your own car. Save room for all the yummy concessions available to enhance your experience.