TENNESSEE MOONSHINE TRAIL
By Doc Lawrence
Wish that I was on ol' Rocky Top
Down in the Tennessee hills
Aint' no smoggy smoke on Rocky Top
Ain't no telephone bills
Rocky Top you'll always be
Home sweet home to me
Good ol' Rocky Top
Rocky Top Tennessee.
“Rocky Top,” by Boudleax and Felice Bryant
I’m off to visit historic towns whose famous thrill-seeking outlaws unknowingly laid the foundation for today’s stock car racing, experiencing the natural beauty of East Tennessee, anticipating that much of it remains as it has for hundreds of years. Its mountains are laced with might streams like the Powell, Nolichucky, French Broad and Holston Rivers. These ancient forces, harnessed by the Tennessee Valley Authority to generate electricity, created vacation hotspots Norris Lake, Douglas and Cherokee Lakes, beautiful bodies of water that draw thousands of visitors each year. Along the way, my journey will explore the picturesque mountains, traveling along the path first cut by Daniel Boone.
Highlights include a stop at Dandridge, the second oldest town in Tennessee (ca.1792), a delightful mixture of old and new. Today, downtown Dandridge is a National Historic District showcased by the courthouse completed in 1845, a prime example of Greek Revival architecture. Next is Russellville and an opportunity to learn about the headquarters of Confederate General James Longstreet during the winter of 1863-1864. Morristown is home to Bethesda Church, a quaint old building with high-backed pews and an enclosed pulpit, one of the oldest churches in this section of the state. The church was built in 1835, and was later used as a hospital for wounded Union and Confederate soldiers. There are approximately 82 unknown soldiers buried nearby.
When you think of Tennessee, Davy Crockett comes to mind. Morristown was the American hero’s childhood home and has a museum containing artifacts from Davy's childhood, telling the story of this legendary figure in American history who died fighting at The Alamo.
I’ll be reporting on legendary places like Clinch Mountain, Cumberland Gap, Joppa Mountain Pottery, and describing the museum in Maynardville that provides a glimpse of the heritage of Union County. The museum has a reference library with genealogy lines of many families connected to Union County, known as the "Cradle of Country Music." This is the home of the Grand Ole Opry’s Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, Kenny Chesney, Lois Johnson and Carl Smith.
This will be the launch of a series of vacation ideas that appeal to those visiting the South during the Civil War Sesquicentennial as well as those who yearn for real adventure, preferring travel closer to home.
Join me in all the fun.
Looking for better travel in Florida? Read about what many describe as "Original Florida." With the Sunshine State set to celebrate its 500th Anniversary, here's a few places to visit: