Annual Mule Day. Image courtesy of City of Columbia
Known as the "mule capital of the world," Columbia celebrates Mule Day annually. Mules were such a big business in Maury County, that at one time, the Columbia Mule Day had the distinction of being one of the largest livestock markets in the world. Mule Day has evolved into an almost week-long celebration of the mule. Thousands of visitors take part in the numerous activities ranging from working mule and best of breed events, to horse shows, arts and crafts booths, and a flea market. The smell of barbecue specialties and homemade pies blends with the smoky aroma of roasted corn and funnel cake sweetness. Columbia is the home of the 11th U.S. President, James K. Polk. Visit Columbia!
3. Fiddler's Grove
Fiddler's Grove is located in Lebanon, Tennessee and is home of the oldest continuous Ole Time Fiddler's Contest in North America. This historic village consists of original and replicated buildings of Wilson County from the turn-of-the-century. Step back in time as you stroll through the Grove and experience life in a typical early village where people lived in a one-room log cabin, were educated in a one-room school and worshiped in a small quaint church. Visit a blacksmith’s shop where cooking utensils and farm equipment were made. Visit a doctors office and see the buggy he used to make house call to those in need far and wide. Step into Sam Houston’s law office and visualize Houston sitting at his desk in front of the fireplace. View an old cobbler’s shop and see a 1700’s log cabin and grist mill. There is also a funeral home, sheriff’s office, jail, drug store, post office, hardware store, barber shop, service station, radio station, sawmill, farm equipment museum, printing office, model train museum, caboose, and train station. Visit Lebanon!
The National Register of Historic Places has listed Gainesboro's entire square. A second district was designated, including a residential area. Since the days that it was an Indian hunting ground for the Cherokees Gainesboro's beautiful hills have played a major part in the lives of many notable Americans. From Cordell Hull to Mark Twain it seems you can find a Jackson County connection in every aspect of life.
5. Grand Junction
Founded in 1854 Grand Junction got its name from the "Grand Junction" of the Memphis and the Charleston Mississippi Railroad Lines. These are the major North/South and East/West lines running thru Grand Junction. Grand Junction and its railroads were a much sought after prize during the Civil War; whomever controlled the railroads controlled the rest of West Tennessee. During the Civil War the Union Army held the city from the Confederate Army for approximately 3 years. The Ames Plantation (pictured above) encompasses 18,400 acres of land in the Grand Junction area. The Plantation has approximately 12,000 acres of forest, 2,000 acres of commodity row-crops, and maintains about 700 head of Angus beef cattle and 40 head of horses.
Jonesborough is the oldest city in Tennessee. Founded in 1779, Jonesborough was originally the county seat of Washington County, North Carolina. Jonesborough is located in upper east Tennessee. The National Storytelling Festival is hosted in Jonesborough. This highly attended festival is acclaimed as one of the Top 100 Events in North America. Visit Jonesborough!
This restored Victorian village, founded in 1880 by British author and social reformer, Thomas Hughes, was to be a cooperative, class-free, agricultural community for younger sons of English gentry and others wishing to start life anew in America. At its peak, some 350 people lived in the colony. More than 70 buildings of Victorian design graced the townscape on East Tennessee's beautiful Cumberland Plateau.
Step back in time to unique shops and attractions which are nothing like typical chain stores, malls or outlets. Sweetwater offers a bit of nostalgia along with the charm and friendliness that one would expect in a small southern town. The historic shopping district in Sweetwater has many recently renovated buildings which are reminders of the town's early beginning in 1875. Many shops include rare antiques, exquisite home furnishings and decor, original art works, unique garden gifts, hard to find collectibles, and more. Sweetwater was said to hold the biggest fair in East Tennessee in the 1990s. The town is also on record as the smallest town ever having hosted the Ringling Brother's Circus.
9. Tellico Plains
A 600 man Spanish army under the command of Hernado Desoto spent two days in a village called Tali in July in 1540. The Desoto documents strongly suggest that Tali was Tellico. The native peoples who lived at Tali spoke a dialect of the Muskogee language and were subject to a chief whose political center was located in North Georgia. With the destruction left in the wake of the Desoto expedition, the remnants of these people emigrated southwestward and within about 100 years of the Desoto expedition, the Iroquoian speaking Cherokee begin to build their villages upon the site of Tellico Plains.
Step back in time, in Granville: Tennessee's Mayberry Town. A trip to Historic Granville offers many rewards, including unmatched natural beauty of the hills and the lake. This Mayberry Town offers a full-day agenda as a historic destination.