Sumner County, first settled by longhunter frontiersmen in the late 1700s, stretches across the green rolling hills and the fertile farmland of Middle Tennessee, between Old Hickory Lake and the Kentucky border. Rich in Tennessee history and located just outside of Nashville, it’s easy to see why some of the most iconic country music legends have called Sumner County home. Explore historic sites; enjoy boating, fishing and outdoor activities; and find a warm welcome in the area’s small towns and communities.
The legendary Johnny Cash made his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with his wife, June Carter Cash, for 35 years. Roy Orbison and Marty Stuart were close neighbors to the Cash home, which Stuart once called the “Graceland of Country Music.” Celebrities and entertainers were regular guests at their lakefront home, which burned in 2007. Visitors come from all over the world to pay their respects to one of music’s greatest love stories at Hendersonville Memory Gardens.
Follow the Tennessee Music Pathways that connect the people, places and events that shaped music history. Johnny Cash’s marker can be found in Sumner County at the original site of the House of Cash Museum. Stop for lunch at Hendersonville’s Center Point Barbecue, a favorite of Johnny’s!
“Huckabee” Broadcasts from Hendersonville Every Week
Former Arkansas governor and conservative commentator, Mike Huckabee, tapes his popular variety show, “Huckabee” weekly with a live studio audience at Huckabee Theater inside Trinity Music City. Formerly known as Twitty City, the entertainment complex was once the home of country music star, Conway Twitty.
Huckabee keeps the program lively and inspirational with live entertainment, discussions on current issues and celebrities and notable guests. Tapings occur almost weekly, and tickets are free to attend.
Enjoy the Views on Old Hickory Lake
Old Hickory Lake is a popular destination for fishing and boating, and there are plenty of local outfitters to rent kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and pontoon boats. Rivership Cruises specializes in bachelorette cruises, family groups and small weddings on their large luxury yacht. Cruisin’ Tikis Nashville offers the unique experience of cruising Old Hickory Lake on your own private floating tiki bar, where you can enjoy mimosas with a view or relax on a sunset cruise.
Tour the Oldest Home in Middle Tennessee: Rock Castle
Historic Rock Castle, the oldest home in Middle Tennessee, was built in 1784 by General Daniel Smith and is a testament to life on the Tennessee frontier. The limestone house took nearly a decade to complete. The house is open for tours where you may hear tales of Polly, Daniel Smith’s daughter, eloping from her second-story window in the middle of the night to marry President Andrew Jackson’s young brother-in-law, Samuel Donelson.
Nestled on the shores of Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville, Rock Castle hosts a series of events throughout the year such as its popular Summer Songwriter Nights. Fall events include the Fall Folk ‘n’ Bluegrass Fest and Castle of Villains. Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit early in December, when Rock Castle is decked out for Christmas for its free Holiday Open House and festive activities.
Historical Attractions in Castalian Springs
Discover the early history of Tennessee through the lens of three historic house museums and two parks in Historic Castalian Springs.
Cragfont is an impressive example of a grand mansion on the western frontier, built in 1798 by Gen. James Winchester, veteran of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Many visitors report disturbing ghostly encounters at this home, reputed to be one of the most haunted homes in Tennessee.
Built in 1805, Hawthorn Hill is a rare, Federal-style structure exhibiting a more modest lifestyle than Cragfont. Wynnewood State Historic Site, once known as the Castalian Springs Inn, is Tennessee’s largest surviving 19th-century log structure, standing two stories tall and 142 feet long.
Explore the remains of the early settlement founded by Col. Isaac Bledsoe at Bledsoe Fort Historical Park. Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day at the annual County Sumner Irish Festival held every March near the Rogan Cottage, built by Irish immigrants in 1790.
Nearby Bledsoe Creek State Park features the Tennessee history trail along with over 6 miles of hiking trails, and 57 campsites are scattered throughout the park. Boat ramps and fishing docks offer easy access to Old Hickory Lake.
Attend the Annual Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival
During the month of May, join thousands of visitors who flock to the “Strawberry Capital of Middle Tennessee” for fresh strawberries. Farmers have been growing strawberries there since the late 1800s and, for many years, strawberries were the mainstay of the local economy. You can find several pick-your-own strawberry farms in the area. The annual Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival is the longest-running festival in Sumner County, with its early beginnings in 1940. Family-friendly, strawberry-themed activities run throughout the weekend, where you can purchase locally grown strawberries and other goodies found in Portland, Tennessee.
No matter what you’re looking for – history, outdoor recreation and even strawberries – you’ll find it here in Sumner County.