Thanksgiving and Whiskey

You can’t come to middle Tennessee and not visit Lynchburg and the Jack Daniels distillery. After leaving Nashville we drove south about an hour and a half to the little town that is home to the country’s most popular whiskey.

The town itself is tiny, with a square lined with shops that sell Jack Daniels souvenirs. The official Jack Daniels store is housed in the Lynchburg Hardware and General Store. There’s no hardware sold there…only more Jack Daniels stuff. Steve bought, what else, but a hat.

The tour itself took us into the actual distillery to follow the production process. As we walked through the beautiful grounds we learned about the production of the special charcoal that makes this whiskey so smooth. The whiskey is filtered through the charcoal before it is put into toasted oak barrels. Did you know that Jack Daniels has its own fire brigade to protect the 92 barrel houses that dot the nearby countryside?

We learned that when Jack established the distillery back in the 1860s, he chose Cave Spring Hollow, the current location, to take advantage of the iron-free, mineral rich water in the spring. The water has turned out to be one of the ingredients that makes Jack’s whiskey so good. We met Jack at the spring and took some photos. The Jack Daniels distillery registered with the federal government in 1866, making it the oldest distillery in the U.S.

After the tour we were treated to a tasting of six Jack Daniels products including the traditional Old No. 7, Gentleman Jack’s, and several of the newer, flavored varieties. Of course we walked away with a few bottles to enjoy at home!

The day started off wet and rainy but we ended up with clear skies and cool temperatures. It was a perfect day to explore this cute little town.

On Thanksgiving morning we took the short drive from Lynchburg to Lawrenceburg, TN and set up camp at the beautiful David Crockett State Park. The campsite was the perfect place to enjoy our socially-distanced Thanksgiving meal, complete with turkey, stuffing, and of course, our first homemade Jack Daniels pecan pie!

The park has some nice trails and historical information that we got to explore. Davy Crockett and his family settled here in 1817. An old mill, a lake, waterfalls, and historical stuff makes it easy to hang out for a few days.

This week I was cleared for regular shoes and am no longer wearing the surgical shoe that has been plaguing me. We commemorated the occasion with a short 1/2 mile hike on the nearby Trail of Tears. Seemed appropriate. My foot is still swollen and sore if I’m on it much, but it is getting better.

The other feature that drew us to this area is the nearby Ethridge, home of the South’s largest “Old Order” Amish settlement. “Old Order” means they have no modern conveniences, no cars, no tractors, no electricity, and no running water. We did learn that they have a lot of kids!! We toured a portion of the community, which has approximately 250 families. You can stop at most farms and buy their wares including fresh eggs, preserves, hats, rugs, furniture, saddles, caskets, and a bunch of other things. We bought a few yummies and really enjoyed our short but cordial conversations with the community members we met. They don’t believe in having their photographs taken, but we snuck in a few of the countryside.

We’re continuing our trek south and should be on the gulf coast within a week. We’ll share more updates as we have news to report.