Ring of Fire Trail
Take in beautiful scenery and make a splash at the renowned Dale Hollow Lake. Go off the beaten path to discover some of Middle Tennessee’s most unique experiences and rich history — from settlers and Civil War soldiers to the Bell Witch and underwater ghost towns.
Tennessee State Capitol
Perched on a high hill, this massive 1859 limestone structure is one of the most magnificent public buildings of its time. William Strickland, its architect, considered this to be his master- piece and is entombed above the cornerstone of the building. The governor's office is here, along with the State House and Senate chambers.
Sutton Ole Time Music Hour
Situated just a stone's throw from the Cumberland's banks, this was Granville's general store and grocery from the 1800s until the 1970s. Today, it has been beautifully restored to respect its heritage, with a second-floor balcony and many original features and fixtures. Sutton's functions as a gift shop, family-style dining room, art gallery and bluegrass pickin' parlor; the "Sutton Ole Time Music Hour" is recorded here on Saturday nights and broadcast worldwide. Open Wed.-Sat.
Tennessee State Museum
The new Tennessee State Museum is one of the largest state museums in the nation. The new 137,000-square-foot facility, is designed to bring history to life, and includes a “Tennessee Time Tunnel” chronicling the state’s rich history, a hands-on children’s gallery, six rotating galleries, a state-of-the art digital learning center and a two-story atrium. Located in the heart of Nashville, at the corner of Rosa Parks Boulevard and Jefferson Street, the new Museum sits at the foot of Capitol Hill, overlooks Bicentennial Mall State Park.
Wynnewood State Historic Site
This National Historic Landmark, now a state-owned historic site, is believed to be the largest log structure ever built in Tennessee. Constructed in 1828, it was a stagecoach inn that served as a stop between Nashville and Knoxville on Avery's Trace. For a short time, it functioned as a springwater resort.
Referred to as the "Mount Vernon of Tennessee," this mansion was built in 1802 by General James Winchester, who founded Memphis alongside Judge John Overton and General Andrew Jackson. Winchester brought masons and carpenters 600 miles through the wilderness from his native Maryland to construct the mansion, using limestone quarried from the property. The first home in the state to have a ballroom, it was the center of political and business affairs in the early 1800s. Now a state-owned historic site, the home and property have been used in films and music videos, including "The Highwayman" with Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Kris Kristofferson. Open for tours, April-Oct.
This unique plantation house was built in the 1830s by Josephus Conn Guild, a local politician and statesman who was held prisoner by the Union during the Civil War. The home was built using materials found on the 500-acre property, and features a successful blending of Greek Revival and Palladian design. Open for tours, April-Oct.
This 1813 home served as a Civil War hospital, and in 1899, was deeded to the Daughters of the Confederacy to honor Confederate veterans. Directly behind it, the museum features a large collection of Native American displays, antique cars, toys, period clothing, quilts, military artifacts, guns, music and entertainment memorabilia that help tell the stories of the county. Open April-Oct.
Enjoy a relaxing hike at this popular park in Lafayette with waterfalls and cascades.
655 Nature Trail Way
Lafayette, TN 37083
Ri'chard's Louisiana Cafe
This unassuming joint features "Live Music and Dead Crawfish."" Stop in for authentic Louisiana fare and stay for live music; you never know who will take the stage. It's a favorite of some of Nashville's best-known residents. Reservations recommended.
Port Royal State Historic Park
This historic area was once an important trading post in the early 1800s, and is an official site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The former 1850s general store building is the only structure that remains of this once-thriving river town, which vanished as railroad and automobile travel eclipsed steamboat activity. Stop here to take in the state's quiet natural beauty as you drive up to Adams, or take a canoe trip starting at point 18;— you'll pass this spot as you paddle.
Standing Stone State Park
This 10,000-acre park is one of Tennessee's gems. Even if you don't step foot out of your car, it's a gorgeous drive in any season. Activities here include camping, hiking, rental cabins, a pool and playgrounds; your roller-coaster route goes straight through the park and over the dam, catching some of the prettiest scenery in the Upper Cumberland Plateau. Don't miss the historic 1808 home of pioneer Moses Fisk, located at the park's entrance.
The Copper Vault is a multi-concept restaurant in the heart of historic Downtown Springfield! Our front cafe offers organic, locally roasted coffees, ice cream, a full cafe menu with burgers, fries, sandwiches, & salads! The back dining room offers sit-down service with an extensive indoor/outdoor bar, locally sourced steaks, fresh oysters, an outside patio, and stage for live music!
Bledsoe’s Fort Historical Park
Take the self-guided walking trail around this 80-acre park and experience the history of one of Middle Tennessee's first white settlements. You'll see the restored 1790 cabin of Nathaniel Parker; a 1790s Irish-style stone cottage; Bledsoe's Lick, a prehistoric natural spring; the archaeological outline of Bledsoe's Fort, ca. 1780; the Isaac Bledsoe family cemetery and more. It's a great place to get a firsthand understanding of the area's longhunter heritage.
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
From the pedestrian bridge, cross through the courtyard of this state-of-the-art concert hall, occupying a full city block. It's home to the Grammy Award-winning Nashville Symphony as well as the tasty Arpeggio Café.
Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park
As urban Nashville boomed in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the ground here was too soft for high-rise construction due to the historic salt lick that had originally attracted the wildlife, Native Americans, trappers and settlers to the area. This park was created in the 1990s to save the one remaining view of the Capitol and to commemorate Tennessee's 200th birthday. Visit this 19-acre park, stroll the "Pathway of History" and splash in 31 fountains, all tributes to Tennessee's waterways.
Historic Rock Castle
Built by General Daniel Smith in 1794, this is the first stone masonry house built west of the Appalachian Mountains. Its 22-inch thick limestone walls have shielded it for over 200 years, and windows all around helped protect its first residents from Native American attack. Today, this state-owned historic site stands as a monument to survival on the Tennessee frontier; tour the home to experience life from its early residents' point of view. Closed Mon.
Originally the Union Gospel Tabernacle, this 1892 church became an entertainment venue, presenting operas, vaudeville shows and top artists in the early 1900s. The auditorium is best known as the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, which performed here from 1943-1974 before moving to the current Grand Ole Opry House. Stop in to tour the venue, and visit the museum and gift shop.
Sumner Crest Winery
Stop in for daily tours and sample wines made on the premises from grapes grown in Sumner County's vineyards. Stay awhile and browse in the antique and gift shop, and admire the classic car collection on the grounds.
Nashville Farmers Market
Since the early 1800s, the farmers market has been a vital part of Nashville life. Stop in to visit local farmers and produce resellers; grab a bite at one of the Market House restaurants; visit on the weekend and browse the Flea Market. Tourists love the "Nash Trash" comedy tours departing from this spot; hop on the pink bus here.
Trinity Music City, USA
Visit the former estate of country music legend Conway Twitty, affectionately known as "Twitty City." The property is now owned by the faith-based Trinity Broadcasting Network. Take a tour of the Twitty mansion and TBN studios. Closed Mon.
5 Chefs Restaurant & Occasions Gifts
Located in a restored Victorian home, this "meat and three" eatery is known for its delicious desserts. After lunch, find a special treasure in the gift shop.
103 W. McGlothlin St.
200/202 North Broadway
Portland, TN 37148
This massive 14-room hotel is the only surviving Red Boiling Springs resort untouched by fire or flood in its nearly 100-year history. It's also the only one in Tennessee that still offers authentic mineral baths, flowing from the nearby springs into vintage cast-iron tubs in the spring house on the side of the hotel. Stop in for a tour of this lovingly remodeled hotel, admire the extensive collection of antiques, and take in the view of Salt Lick Creek, the Donoho Hotel, and Thomas House from the front porch.
This grand 1860 two-story wood frame home was used as a hospital during the Civil War. Today, it's a business center and meeting space, and home of the Hendersonville Arts Council. Stop in to view the work of local artists.
Bell Witch Cave & Canoe Rental
Take a tour of the eerie Bell Witch Cave, located on the original Bell family farm. Learn more about the legend of the Bell Witch, and see a replica of the Bell family log cabin. Tours by appointment, May-Oct. Not accessible during or after heavy rain.
Red River Canoe
Experience Tennessee's natural beauty with a float down the Red River, starting here in Adams. The river is moderately shallow along the route, with plenty of sandbars and places to picnic. RV and primitive camping is also available, and locals love the "float ‘n' feed," a canoe trip that includes a full down-home BBQ meal. Float trips end at Port Royal State Park (point 16).
Downtown Nashville Visitor Center
Inside the glass tower of Bridgestone Arena, visitors can talk with Music City experts for "inside" tips; pick up brochures, maps and coupons; shop for souvenirs; and buy tickets for attractions, all while listening to live music.
The great city of Nashville traces its roots to this site on the banks of the Cumberland River. In 1780, James Robertson and a group of early pioneers established a settlement here. This reconstruction uses the same building elements as those early forts, built to house the settlers and their families and protect them from Native American attacks. Open daily, 9 a.m-5 p.m.
Defeated Creek Marina
Pick up a boxed lunch at this friendly restaurant and make arrangements to rent a pontoon boat on Cordell Hull Lake for the day. Cabins and camping are available for extended stays, but make sure you book ahead; it's a popular spot for people looking to escape the everyday with a weekend on the lake. If you're here in June, you just might catch the Defeated Creek Bluegrass Festival.
160 Marina Lane
Carthage, TN 37030
Free Hill Community & School
It was here that Virginia Hill, a slave owner, acquired 2,000 acres; she moved all of her slaves here and set them free, creating a community unlike any other in the South at that time. Following the Civil War, many African-Americans relocated here as well. The school was a part of the Rosenwald School Building Program, an initiative that funded buildings constructed by and for African-Americans in the early 1900s. At the time this one was built in the late 1920s, one in every five rural schools for African-American students in the South was a Rosenwald School.
1440 Free Hill Rd
Celina, TN 38551
Center Point BBQ Pit
This local landmark often welcomed Johnny Cash for a plate of BBQ — and over the years numerous country artists and musicians have feasted at this unassuming spot. Taste for yourself, and spot your favorite star in the autographed pictures that decorate the walls.
Nashville National Cemetery
This 65-acre cemetery contains over 33,000 graves, and at least 17,000 are Civil War soldiers; 4,000 unknown. Many of the bodies here were moved and re-interred from over 250 sites around Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. Most had been temporarily buried around hospitals and battlefields in Nashville, Franklin and Gallatin, as well as Bowling Green, Kentucky; many were likely prisoners of war.
Hendersonville Memory Gardens
Visit the final resting place of Johnny and June Carter Cash, Mother Maybelle Carter and other Carter family members, as well as other performers. Johnny and June can be found side by side in the Garden of Matthew, near the middle of the cemetery.
Fontanel Mansion & Farm
This is a true gem just outside of Nashville. Formerly the 136-acre estate of country star Barbara Mandrell, the 27,000-squarefoot log home is now used for special events. Enjoy over two miles of hiking and biking trails that are free to the public; catch a show at the Woods Amphitheater or dine at the fabulous on-site restaurant. Open Tues.-Sun.
4225 Whites Creek Pk
This 1904 hotel just off the town square was named for the original Walton Hotel, built by the town's founder. Still in operation, the Walton was a popular stopover for travelers on the Cumberland River, and the establishment was known for its fine food and entertainment. Today, the hotel offers modern guest rooms.
308 N. Main St.
Before becoming a popular Nashville suburb, Hendersonville was a quiet farm community. It was so small that for many years, a woman named Lily Hudgens operated the entire telephone switchboard for the town from her home. The formation of Old Hickory Lake on the Cumberland River in the 1950s brought new home construction and more residents. Today, it is Nashville's biggest suburb by population.
Smith County Heritage Museum
Immerse yourself in Smith County's history and heritage. See the photos, tools, uniforms and other items that have been preserved and passed down to us from days gone by. The museum has an extensive exhibit on the county's many Century Farms,— working farms that have remained in the same family for more than 100 years. The museum is housed in a former manufacturing building. Open Thursday Noon to 4 pm; Friday and Saturday 10 am to 2 pm.
107 Third Ave. W.
Sitting at the confluence of the Obey and Cumberland Rivers, Celina was once an important riverboat stopover for the timber industry. The town was named for the daughter of Moses Fisk, one of the founders of the county and a pioneer of education. The rivers that helped to build the town also periodically devastated it with floods; in the 1940s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Obey to create nearby Dale Hollow Lake.
Smith County Chamber of Commerce
Stop in for maps and area info, including a brochure for the 11-point, self-guided walking trail of Carthage, which features several historic homes and sites near downtown. Directly across the street, you'll find the gravesite of Colonel William Walton, founder of the town of Carthage.
939 Upper Ferry Rd.
This little rural town holds historic treasures:— the renovated former Dixon Springs Bank, now the public library, and the 1878 Union Church Building, remembered fondly by the locals for its "4-county singin's."
Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery
On your way to the dam, visit the aquarium and museum at this site to learn all about its history and function. Get up close and personal with the species of native warm water fish used to stock the Tennessee Valley Authority lakes in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.
50 Hatchery Rd.
This small railroad city was once two towns: Damascus and Hartsville, separated by Little Goose Creek, settled by the Donoho and Hart families. The arrival of the railroad in 1892 replaced the river as the major cargoway, and built Hartsville's reputation as a major tobacco trade center.
Dale Hollow Dam
Constructed to control flooding, generate power, and improve water quality along the Obey's banks, Dale Hollow Dam and the 52,000-acre lake it created are one of the country's top vacation spots for fishermen and water lovers today. As you drive across the dam, look to your left for a gorgeous view of the lake and to your right for a breathtaking picture of the Obey River flowing through the valley.
Trousdale County Courthouse
Spend time exploring the shops and Victorian storefronts around the historic Trousdale County Courthouse. Inside, you'll find the Avery's Trace Visitor Center, a great place to learn more about the pioneers' early journey into Middle Tennessee. Pick up a brochure here for a 17-stop Civil War Tour of Hartsville, or just relax and watch the world go by from the gazebo.
200 E Main St Ste 5
Adams is home to the infamous haunting of the Bell Witch, a legend from Southern folklore about an invisible witch who haunted the area. When you visit Adams, be sure to stop at the historic Bell School and learn about the legend.
Today, this charming town is one of Nashville's most popular suburbs; its roots go all the way back to Middle Tennessee's earliest settlers.
Take a picturesque trip through the past with wide, tree-lined streets featuring beautifully restored historic homes, and be sure to shop and eat on the historic square.
Roaring River Recreation Area
Drive through this outdoor spot tucked away in the rolling hills on Cordell Hull Lake. It's a great place for boating, fishing, swimming and hiking.
100-298 Charlie Hix Ln
This area offers tons of Middle Tennessee history. It's home to one of the area's first settlements, "discovered" by longhunters like Isaac Bledsoe, who found abundant game and water here in the late 1700s.
Mansker's Station/Moss-Wright Park
Named for longhunter and settler Kasper Mansker, the area's earliest white resident, this fort is an authentic reconstruction of a frontier station typical of the early Cumberland settlements. Within the park you'll also find the 1787 Bowen Plantation House, restored in the 1980s to preserve and showcase elements of frontier life. Tour the fort and home starting at the visitors center in beautiful Moss-Wright Park; if you're lucky, you may find yourself here during one of the many living history weekends. Open March-Dec.
745 Caldwell Dr.
This is one of Tennessee's oldest towns, tucked away in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains. It's easy to see that the original Avery's Trace (see box on page 23) travelers found this area one of the most difficult to travel but also one of the most beautiful, earning it the nickname "The Switzerland of the Upper Cumberland." It's home to the annual Poke Sallet Festival, celebrating the native poke weed plant.
Tucked into the Music City Shopping Center, this eatery features artfully prepared food and fabulous desserts.
900 Conference Dr.
Jackson County Museum & Historical Society
Learn about the history of the area in this 1894 former church. It's a wealth of information for people from all over the U.S. tracking their family history back to those first Avery's Trace settlers.
105 Montpelier Ave.
Goodlettsville Chamber of Commerce
Stop in for info about local events and attractions. The Main Street area is home to several antique shops and businesses.
117 N. Main St.
Don't miss this full-service pharmacy and soda fountain, in business since the early 1900s in downtown. The interior still features many original details and working antique fixtures, like the 1930s soda fountain. Order a burger and a hand-dipped milkshake and shop for local products and artisan goods. Take a seat at the counter or on the front porch bench to truly experience life in Cross Plains.
7802 Hwy 25E
This tiny "picture postcard" town on the Cumberland River draws visitors year-round. Once a bustling riverboat town, its pace slowed as roadways eclipsed river commerce. The creation of Cordell Hull Lake in the 1970s submerged many of the town's homes and buildings. Today, it is a quaint and historic vacation spot, loved for its restored buildings including the Granville Museum, quiet charm and access to outdoor activities.
Established in 1802 as the seat of Sumner County, this town is full of charm and history.
Cordell Hull Lake Overlook at Tater Knob
This very accessible viewing spot is perched high atop a ridge overlooking Cordell Hull Lake and Dam. Bring your camera;— a short walk up the paved ramp is rewarded with a gorgeous view of the lake's cool blue waters. Public restrooms are available. Hikers, you'll find a trailhead for the Bear Waller Gap Trail near the parking area. It's a rugged 5.6-mile (one-way) hike along the lake's shore, featuring more overlooks, rock gardens, waterfalls and even the remains of old homesites.
Cold Springs Schoolhouse in Richland Park
Built in 1857, this one-room schoolhouse became a hospital for soldiers and re-opened for students after the Civil War. Today, the school has been relocated in Richland Park and is restored as a museum of local history featuring war memorabilia. Open by appointment.
303 Portland Blvd
Cordell Hull Dam & Visitors Center
Just north of Carthage, this dam on the Cumberland River forms Cordell Hull Lake. It's one of many sites in the area providing hydroelectric power, and is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Picnic facilities and a playground are available outside the visitors center.
Historic Germantown - Nashville
This 18-square-block area was Nashville's first subdivision, known as the 9th Ward. Some of these buildings date back to the 1830s. The area is home to unique local businesses and beautiful churches, urban charm, a rich sense of history and the legendary Oktoberfest street fair every fall. As you turn right on 5th Avenue, circle the block and return to Rosa L. Parks Boulevard. You'll get a feel for the neighborhood, and find great places to eat and drink, including The Cocoa Tree, DrinkHaus, Monell's, The Mad Platter and Germantown Café.
1200 5th Avenue North
Macon County Welcome Center
This new facility is home to the Macon County Chamber of Commerce. View artwork by Macon County artists, and pick up brochures and other materials on local attractions.
685 Hwy 52 Bypass W
Serving as the seat of Smith County, this former riverboat town was founded by Colonel William Walton, surveyor of the old Walton Road that connected West and Middle Tennessee. In the heyday of the steamboat era, this was known as the "River City," an important stop for steamboat traffic with three ferries operating from the town.