Wandering Around America One State at a Time – Tennessee

State 38:

Welcome to the next post in my series highlighting states we have visited throughout the years. I hope you will enjoy coming along for the ride!

I will be featuring the states alphabetically. The next state in my series is


Tennessee became the 16th state on June 1, 1796. The Capital is Nashville.

Elvis, BBQ, Blues and the Mississippi River in Memphis. Country music, The Grand Ole Opry and camping beside a lake in Nashville. The Tennessee Aquarium and other attractions in Chatanooga. Waterfalls near Crossville. Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Sevierville. Waterfront camping at J. Percy Priest and Normandy Lake. Touring a famous distillery in Lynchville. These are just a few of the things we loved in Tennessee.

Before our RV days, the Opryland Hotel was our home base in  Nashville for a night at the Grand Ole Opry, cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs as they played the Vanderbilt Commodores, and a night at the Wild Horse Saloon.

Grand Ole Opry
Atrium at the Opryland Hotel
Line Dancing at the Wild Horse Saloon in Nashville

On our way home from our first RV trip out west we spent a couple of days wandering around Memphis. We toured Elvis’ Graceland, ate our fill of ribs at two different restaurants, listened to blues at B. B. King’s BBQ and Blues on Beale Street, and strolled along the scale model of the Mississippi River at Mud Island River Walk.

Elvis’s grave at Graceland
Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis
Elvis Presley’s Pink Cadillac


While wandering near Crossville we discovered two waterfalls.

Fall Creek Falls
Ozone Falls near Crossville

We enjoyed the campground at Old Stone Fort Archeological State Park and have camped there twice. Both times we hiked beside the Big Duck River to see the waterfalls.

Campers cross this bridge to get to the campground at Old Stone Fort State Archeological Park
Waterfalls on the Big Duck River in Old Stone Fort State Park

One November we traveled to Sevierville to take in the beautiful fall colors and scenery of Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A mama bear and her cub were hanging around the picnic area when we stopped for lunch in the park. Mama kept a close eye on her cub as he searched for a bite to eat. When the rangers chased them off the cub scampered up a nearby tree.

Mama bear watching out for her cub at picnic area in Cades Cove
Bear cub at picnic area in Cades Cove
The cub escaped to a tree when the rangers chased them away

Seven Points Corps of Engineers Campground in Nashville is a favorite of ours. Seeing this sunset from our campsite was a great way to end the day.

Sunset over J. Percy Priest Lake at Seven Points COE Campground

In Chattanooga the Tennessee Aquarium was a highlight of our stay.

We chose a waterfront site at Barton Springs TVA Campground as our home base for taking a tour at the Jack Daniels Distillery in nearby Lynchburg.

Blondie enjoying our site Barton Springs
Blondie enjoying our site Barton Springs
Old time jugs
Old time jugs

To read previous posts about the states featured in this series just click on the state name: Alabama      Alaska      Arizona      Arkansas      California      Colorado     Florida      Georgia      Hawaii        Idaho  Illinois      Indiana      Iowa     Kansas     Kentucky     Louisiana     Maine     Maryland     Massachusetts     Michigan     Minnesota    Mississippi     Missouri     Montana     Nebraska     Nevada      New Hampshire     New Mexico      New York     North Carolina    North Dakota      Ohio     Oklahoma     Oregon     Pennsylvania    South Carolina     South Dakota

Smooth as Tennessee Whiskey

There is a line from the George Jones song “Tennessee Whiskey” that has been going through my head ever since we crossed the Tennessee State Line. It goes “You’re as smooth as Tennessee Whiskey”. There. Now it’s in your head, too.

Our first stop of our  fall trip was Barton Springs Campground, a TVA park in Normandy, Tennessee. We love waterfront camping so of course when I found this campground I made reservations for a site right on the water. The lake is down now during the off season but comes right in front of the campsite in spring and summer. This is a federal campground so you can use your Senior Pass to get a discount on your camping fee.

Sitting outside watching the lake was a great way to end the day after a 300 mile driving day which included going through Atlanta and Chattanooga. A doe and a fawn were across the lake grazing. A great blue heron stood on a point out in the lake. A couple launched their canoe and went for a paddle. And we were able to watch a pretty sunset.

Monday morning saw thunderstorms coming through the area. After breakfast we waited a little while for the rain to let up and then hopped in the truck to visit the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee. Jack Daniel was 13 years old when he bought his first still for $25. He developed the formula for his famous whiskey and the whiskey is still produced using the same formula and method. All the water used comes from an underground spring on the property, the barrels are still made by hand out of white oak, and the charcoal used for filtering the whiskey is made there from Sugar Maple wood. Jack was only 5 foot 2 and never married.

Our guide Janine told us the story of how Jack died. One morning Jack came to work early and tried to open the safe in his office. He was too impatient to wait for his nephew to arrive to open it so he kicked the safe and broke is big toe. He was too embarrassed to go to a doctor right away and when he finally saw one he had developed an infection which led to gangrene. He died as a result of this. It just goes to show you should never go to work early!

He left everything to his nephew shortly before prohibition shut all the distilleries down. His nephew opened a hardware store in town and made enough money to pay the property taxes every year. The distillery opened back up when prohibition was repealed.

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After our full day of sightseeing Blondie took a swim in the lake and we ended the day with a Single Barrel Jack on the rocks.

Before we left the next day I took Blondie for one last walk along the lake and enjoyed watching a Great Blue Heron and 2 Egrets. A great ending to our enjoyable stay at Barton Springs.

We Love Waterfront Camping

Our favorite places to camp are the campgrounds with a view. There’s nothing like waking up with a view outside the RV or sitting outside in the evening enjoying the scenery around us. We’ve enjoyed campgrounds with views of spectacular mountains, glaciers, forests, and all kinds of water.

For us, the best camping is beside a river, mountain stream, lake, or any body of water for that matter.

We enjoy watching the different water craft go by.

Sometimes we see wildlife.

Blondie loves it when she gets a chance to go swimming.

We love watching the sun rise and set over the water.