We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee. First, this state’s green rolling hills are simply beautiful. Second, it is dotted with many historical sites, including Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage that we visited last week.

Since we had already visited many of Tennessee’s tourist sights, on this trip we mostly stuck to our planned route. We drove through miles and miles of those green rolling hills. We did, however, still manage to stumble onto some fun and exciting finds.

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee

A few fun facts about the State of Tennessee that I did not know:

  • The word “Tennessee” means “the meeting place” and comes from the Cherokee word “Tana-see.”
  • Tennessee borders these EIGHT other states: Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri.
  • The world-famous Grand Ole Opry is in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Graceland, the home of Elvis, is in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Davy Crockett was born in Limestone, Tennessee.
  • We only visited one, Bristol Caverns, but there are 3,800 caves in this state.

Jig Head Brewing Company

310 Newman Dr.
Cookeville, TN

Another one of our Harvest Host overnight stays was Jig Head Brewing Company, a great family-friendly, and pet-friendly place. Because Jig Head was hosting a Market Day event the following day, Jig Head’s owner instructed us to park in the back lot. So, of course, we agreed to and expected to do that.

Getting the RV level

The backlot was spacious but turned out to have a severe downslope. Since we do not have automatic levelers on our RV, we had difficulty getting our rig level. This is no fault of Jig Head; their main lot is reasonably level and an excellent RV parking area.

The owner was very accomodating and concerned for our comfort and permitted us to move to the main lot for our overnight stay. So whether you are staying at a Harvest Host, Boondockers’ Welcome, RV park, or resort, this is just one of the many “things” to be aware of as you travel.

Relaxing in the beer garden

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee

Once we were settled in and level, we walked over to the brewery with Lilly and Tank, our dog children, and had a few beers in the outdoor garden area. The beers served at Jig Head were excellent; my favorite was Sea Glass.

Bean Pot Campground

23 Bean Pot Campground Loop
Crossville, Tennessee 38571

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee

This is one of those great places we just happened on to. We chose the Bean Pot Campground because it was in our direct path. It turned out to be a pretty little neat and tidy campground in the trees, and it was here that we learned about the nearby Sergeant York Historic Park.

Sergeant Alvin C. York State Historic Park

2609 North York Hwy
Pall Mall, TN 38577

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee

Although I had seen the movie Sergeant York many years ago, I have to admit that I had no idea who Sergeant York was or knew he was from Tennessee. Steve, of course, did know and was delighted to discover this Park just a short drive from our campground.

Who was Sergeant York?

Sergeant York was one of the most decorated and beloved soldiers of the first World War and has quite a story.

Alvin C. York was drafted at the age of 30. His request for conscientious objector status, based on religious beliefs, was denied, and York joined the Army as an infantry private at the beginning of World War I.

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee

Alvin York’s living room

This soon-to-be war hero had lived in rural Tennessee, near Pall Mall, his entire life and had never traveled more than a few miles from his home before entering the Army. Alvin York had worked as a blacksmith and farmer and had less than one year of formal education.

Medal of Honor

York was promoted to Sergeant and received the Medal of Honor after leading an attack against the German enemy in the Argonne Forest in France. That attack resulted in the taking of 132 prisoners and 25 Germans being killed making Sergeant York was one of the most decorated soldiers of World War I.

After the war, Sergeant York returned to his hometown community of Pall Mall, married Gracie, and raised their eight children there. Unfortunately, he had many health problems and spent the last ten years of his life bedridden. Seargent York passed away in 1964 at the age of 76.

In 1941, Howard Hawks directed an inspirational movie about Sergeant York starring Gary Cooper. Gary Cooper won the Academy Award that year for Best Actor in that film.

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee.

Look! A geocache at Sergeant Alvin C. York State Historic Park

The old gristmill and dam, built on the Wolf River, were operated by York until he died in 1964.

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee

We toured the museum home along with these two Army buddies.
They asked us to take a picture of them in front of the house, holding their flag.

Bristol Caverns

1157 Bristol Caverns Hwy
Bristol, TN

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee

This was another Harvest Host overnight stay for us. We had a great parking spot next to the trees and close to the visitor’s center for the caverns. These caverns were formed 200 to 400 million years ago by an underground river.

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee

Bristol Caverns is, as most caves are, stunningly beautiful, dark, and damp. We took a short stroll up a hill to the cave’s entrance. Inside the cave, we encountered many uneven steps, twists, and turns, all perfectly safe, but we had to pay attention as we walked.

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee.

We were led through the cave on an hour-long tour by the very knowledgeable Eric. He told great stories about the cave’s history, and we saw the many stunning formations nature has created. We even saw a few sculpin fish hiding in the pools of water. Very enjoyable.

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee.

South Holston dam was very near Bristol Caverns. It is an earth-and-rockfill dam. The dam is 285 feet high and reaches 1,600 feet across the South Fork Holston River.


We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee.

Bristol, Tennessee, is the twin city of Bristol, Virginia. The two cities’ boundaries are along State Street in Downtown Bristol, and it is the state line between the two cities. So it matters which side of the street you set up your business or make your purchase, as far as taxes are concerned.

Notable sights in Bristol

Birthplace of country music

Did you know that Bristol is the birthplace of country music? AND, it is Bristol, Virginia – not Tennessee at all. Yet, that is where the first commercial recordings of country music took place. Congress passed a resolution in 1998 that recognizes Bristol as the birthplace of country music.

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee

Bristol is home to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, but as luck would have it, the museum was closed when we were in town.

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee.

We did get a chance to listen to music in Bristol when we stopped by Cascade Drafthouse for a beer and hotdogs. A very talented 19-year old young lady played guitar and sang some lovely songs – not country music, but very entertaining.

Bristol is the birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Bristol Motor Speedway

This NASCAR track is one of the nation’s most famous motorsports facilities. This facility covers acres and acres of land, with parking and facilities on both sides of the road. Pretty impressive to see.

We had a great time enjoying Tennessee’s southern hospitality. Still, we most certainly did not see and experience all there is available in Tennessee. We did see the beautiful Smoky Mountains, but we did not drive through them, see the mountains up close. So, guess what? Another trip to Tennessee!

We made a few great discoveries in Tennessee

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