Tennessee is located in the southern region of the US, and shares borders with eight other states. When thinking of Tennessee, images of green rolling hills, rivers, lakes, forests, and winding roads conjure up, which is pretty much the landscape of the state. But there’s a great deal more to it. Nashville, considered the capital of the country music scene, alone is major attraction. Then there are national and state parks, the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, museums and more.
The landform of Tennessee can be divided into six regions. On the eastern side is the rugged Unaka Mountains region with relatively high peaks and forests. Important mountains include the Snowbird Mountains and the Chilhowee Mountains.
To the west of this lies the Valley and the Ridge. The valley is fertile and low and the ridges are covered with trees. Further west, is the Cumberland Plateau. There are streams, gorges below mountains, and valleys. Seven states can be viewed from the Lookout Mountains.
At the center is the Basin that is surrounded on all sides by the Highland Rim. This region is mostly farmland with small hills. The western part of the state comprises of the Coastal Plains.
There is a reason Tennessee is associated with music. It is because of three cities Nashville, Bristol, and Memphis. Country music originated in the southern US in the 1920s, and Nashville has been dubbed as the music city. CMA Festival in downtown Nashville in mid-June is always a good time to visit. The ambiance of Nashville is said to be that of a ‘small town trapped in a big city.’ The laid back and relaxing air is filled with places to see and things to do. It is a safe bet that one can always find live music being played in numerous venues in the city on any day. There are an amazing number of food options, historical sites, art galleries, and museums to visit. The most talked about is the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville that has costumes, instruments, and artifacts of famous music stars.
The music of the ‘Blues,’ made popular in 1910-1930 was created by musicians belonging to Memphis. Memphis is, therefore, a must-see city, especially in time for its music festival, the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival. Apart from that, there is great barbecue to be had and the unique culture to be experienced including its museums and live music. Also, the second most visited home in the US, after the White House, is Graceland, Elvis Presley’s mansion in Memphis.
In Bristol, one can experience the very talked about Bristol Motor Speedway along with live country music. To get to know the history of the country music in the country, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol is a must visit.
Apart from music, there are a number of interesting Food Festivals in Tennessee such as the Grainger County Tomato Festival.
A few places of note worth visiting include:
- Andrew Johnson’s National Historic Site in Greenville, Tennessee, tells the story of the life and legacy of the late President Andrew Johnson.
- Chickmauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in Fort Oglethorpe is where the Civil War battle for Chattanooga between the Union and Confederate took place.
- The Manhattan National Historic Park narrates how the atomic bomb ending World War II was made.
- The wild and scenic Obed River in Wartburg, is a place for a variety of outdoor activities.
- Shiloh National Military Park brings alive the memory and story of the struggle of the Western Theatre of the Civil War.
- Murfreesboro has the National Heritage Area relating the experiences of the Tennessee Civil War.
Some of the museums worth visiting in Tennessee, apart from the ones mentioned above, include:
- National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis
- RCA Studio B, Nashville
- Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, Nashville
- Smoky Mountain Knife Works, Sevierville
- The Johnny Cash Museum, Nashville
- Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Memphis
The historic hotels of the state include:
- The Chattanooga Choo in Chattanooga
- The General Morgan Inn and Conference Center in Greeneville
- The Peabody Memphis in Memphis
- The Hermitage Hotel in Nashville
- Union Station Hotel in Nashville