There are so many beautiful places off the beaten path, that sometimes you have to add in a detour between point A and point B in hopes of stumbling upon one of those places that puts a glimmer in your eye and a catch in your breath.
One such place that did that very thing for me is just a few miles South of I-40 off exit 417. A little town, the second oldest town in Tennessee, made a home for itself there back around 1783. What drew me to exit 417, to this small town, were the beautifully scenic mountains lining that portion of I-40 and my desire to find a vantage point to take in the view.
What I stumbled upon was Dandridge; a quaint and charming little town; a town that when you read novels by the likes of Mark Twain, you can't help but picture a place just like this.
Dandridge sits on the edge of the blue-green waters of Douglas Lake, and Douglas Lake keeps the foothills of those majestic Smoky Mountains from drying out season after beautiful season.
I have been able to return to Dandridge a few times now; each time finding new facets of appreciation for the town and the scenic views that encompass it. On my most recent visit, I partnered with the Tourism Department of Jefferson County, of which Dandridge is the county seat, to capture via lens the essence of what makes this place one of the most beautiful hidden gems in Tennessee.
Dandridge has some of the most enchanting, historical, and serene views I have come across in all my travels. It offers a wide array of interests that will surely pique the curiosity of travelers. Catch a glimpse of what it is that makes Dandridge a place you won't want to drive by the next time you see exit 417 on I-40:
Taken in the height of fall, a photo capturing the old truss bridge that crosses from the Smokies over Douglas Lake into downtown Dandridge. If you want to see this bridge before it is replaced, you better hurry as construction has already started!
In the heart of downtown there is a plot of land dedicated to graves for both those who died in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. A lot of history has found a home in this little lakeside town, which was named after George Washington's wife.
Need a place to stay? There are plenty of options, but in the downtown district there is a beautiful bed and breakfast called Shepard Inn that's worth touring even if you aren't planning to spend the night. Built in the 1820's and host to presidents, royalty and movie stars, this charming establishment will surely impress!
If you'd like way more lake, a lot less town, and a view you'll never tire of with a sunset cruise to boot, then Mountain Harbor Inn might be exactly what you are looking for. It has been named one of the Top 10 resorts in the world.
If I had an RV, I'd definitely put down my anchor here for a while. I never knew that RV resorts existed before I showed up here with camera in hand. The Anchor Down experience comes complete with fireplaces, a pool with an awesome waterslide, and a stunning view of the lake!