Tennessee is known for its music. Surrounded by other states in the southeast of the United States of America, the state is most noted for the sounds of the blues, country-western and bluegrass. It also has a strong southern gospel heritage. The southeastern United States is known as the “Bible belt” and a great love of traditional hymns is fostered. Many of today’s musicians in all genres got their start or have roots in Tennessee like Aretha Franklin, Amy Grant and Willie Nelson. For its music and culture as well as its rich history and natural reserved areas making it an excellent spot to stay awhile, Tennessee is the place to be.
A Draw for History Buffs and Music Lovers
Taking a look at the past is wonderful for people of any age because it inspires new hope for the future. Understanding a little US and music history can help you decide where to stay in Tennessee.
Here are just some of the interesting points in the history of this state:
- Tennessee was part of the first constitutional, organized government that was established in the 1770s in the frontier to the west of the Appalachian Mountains.
- The territory became a state in 1796.
- The last state to officially withdraw from the US, Tennessee made itself part of the Confederacy in 1861.
- Major battles of the Civil War were fought within its borders.
- Beginning recordings in the early 1900s blues music and then rock-n-roll claimed their birthplace in Memphis, Tennessee on the banks of the Mississippi river.
- In the late 1920s, country music began cutting records in Bristol.
- The Grand Ole Opry started broadcasting country singing in the 1930s in Nashville.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and died in Memphis in 1968. He was a Civil Rights leader.
- Tennessee had major celebrations in Nashville in 1996 with the opening of the Bicentennial Mall State Park at Capitol Hill.
The Attractions and Recreational Areas Found in Tennessee
Accommodations can be found near these historic locales where there are many different types of things to do and see. The small inns and bed and breakfasts in rural areas, cities and large towns offer a distinctive welcome with the southern hospitality still alive and well in Tennessee. Visitors can reserve rooms and suites at reasonable rates in a historic or country setting near to the attractions they most want to visit in the state.
- Mayor’s Mansion Inn,Chattanooga
- Richmont Inn,Townsend
- Monteagle Inn & Retreat Center,Monteagle
- Eight Gables Inn,Gatlinburg
- Butterfly Meadows Inn & Farm,Franklin
- Berry Springs Lodge,Sevierville
- Whitestone Country Inn,Kingston
- Christopher Place, Newport
The “Scenic City of the South” is the perfect destination for a long weekend or a longer stay. While maintaining a small-town feel, the city is a fast-growing modern metropolis. Raccoon Mountain Dam is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s high-tech hydroelectric and recreation facilities. With its Civil War and Native American museums and memorials as well as its “Choo-Choo,” the city has something for everyone.
Here are some of the sites:
- Lookout Mountain that dominates the urban center’s southwestern landscape was the Confederate stronghold during the Battle of Chattanooga, and today it has Point Park, the Incline, Ruby Falls and the famous Rock City.
- Tennessee Aquarium features two contemporary building, one filled with freshwater creatures and the other with ocean creatures.
- Walnut Street Bridge is a wrought-iron structure built at the turn of the century. This bridge is used exclusively as a footbridge today as part of the River Walk, and it passes between the art district and Coolidge Park across the Tennessee River.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This particular park receives more visitors each year than any other national park in the United States. Part of the property is within Tennessee and the rest is in North Carolina. The hills are called “Smoky Mountains” because of the morning mist and fog that hangs over them.
A popular place for a wide variety of outdoor sports some of the favorite elements of the park are as follows:
- The Appalachian Trail passes through the park on North Carolina’s border.
- Clingmdan’s Dome is the park’s highest peak and the steep trail is paved for easy access.
- Gatlinburg is on the Tennessee side of the park and connected to it by a trail. Gatlinburg is a resort town with fascinating shops, museums and other attractions.
- Historic log homes and mills show what life was like for early settlers and the Cherokee Nation.
- Around 800 miles of trails cover the park grounds.
- Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a scenic route through the park that is about a 90-minute drive. People can stretch the time out for a day by getting out and walking around spots like historic buildings and waterfalls. Seeing wildlife is common. Note that most of the roadway closes during the winter.
The metropolis is the largest in Tennessee. Maybe this city is best known as the home of Elvis and his luxurious Graceland Estate as well as the birthplace of blues music, but this historic and musical urban center holds much more for visitors.
Here are some of the city’s highlights:
- Beale Street where so many blues greats got their start has restaurants and bars with live music. Many visitors find it is an interesting place to browse.
- Graceland is Elvis Presley’s home that is open for tours. The lavish home and landscaped grounds are just as Elvis left them.
- Memphis Zoo gives a home to YaYa, the panda. The spacious and authentic exhibits include favorites like Cat Country and Ape Canyon.
- National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel is the place to explore the history of the civil rights movement in Memphis and the country. The story of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life is well presented.
- The Stax Museum of American Soul Music is a specialty venue that is a historic theatre building. Taking people back in time they can slowly browse displays and listen to the music.
- Sun Studio is the historic recording facility where Elvis cut his first record.
This famous city is all about country music, but many other music genres are also represented. The capital city of the state, Nashville has government buildings and historic sites as well as museums, amusement parks and more.
Some must-see places in the area are as follows:
- Country Music Hall of Fame with its RCA Studio B lets people take an hour-long bus tour of the studio grounds.
- The Gaylord Opryland Hotel has sumptuous indoor gardens in a glass room that resembles a palace gardens with tropical plants and waterfalls. The gardens are popular to visit.
- Grand Ole Opry is the number one historic site in Nashville. Events include concerts with a wide variety of singers. Guided tours that even go backstage give an insider’s view of the country music experience.
- The Ryman Auditorium is about the most famous concert hall for country music. The venue is historic and modern, the place where all the legends and popular country singers of today have sung.
- Shermerhorn Symphony Center has only “good” seats from which to listen to the Nashville Symphony, a musical organization that has won prestigious awards. The setting and acoustics seem to transport the audience to old Vienna.
Bordering the immense Appalachian wilderness and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, this town is a cultural center for the Appalachian people. Still, it is a resort town today made popular as home to Dollywood founded by Dolly Parton. She and her family have lived in the region for years and are talented in the music and art of Appalachia. Pigeon Forge also has a wide range of dinner theatres, shows and museums.
Here is a sampling of what the town provides for visitors:
- Dollywood and its complex of attractions have shops, rides, shows and movies as well as a water park. Appalachian artisans are at work right in the park.
- Old Mill Village is right off the main road through Pigeon Forge. Shops and restaurants are along the street. Small businesses and local culture is found in the historic village.
- Parrot Mountain and Gardens is a bird sanctuary. People can stroll through the lovely gardens and see a large collection of parrots and other birds some of which are injured.
- Smoky Mountain Ziplines offers safe canopy tours that are the longest in the Smokey Mountains.
Finding that Tennessee Home away from Home
Because the picturesque boutique and small inns provide an intimate and comforting setting that makes guests feel at home in Tennessee, visitors should plan a relaxing getaway and leisurely explore what this state has to offer. With accommodation options available that meet the desires and budget of travelers who want to see some of the best attractions in the area, visitors will not be disappointed. Trip planners should contact Select Registry for more information on southern-style retreats in Tennessee.