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Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Tennessee’s beauty is highlighted by the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, with over 850-miles of hiking trails, and America’s most visited national park.

Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee at this National Park which is world renowned for the beauty of its ancient mountains and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker's paradise with maintained trails ranging from short leg-stretchers to a strenuous trek where you can camp too. But hiking is not the only reason to visit the Smokies. Camping, fishing, picnicking and wildlife viewing are all popular activities. You can also take a scenic drive to some great photo spots or if you’re a biker there are motorbike hire facilities in the Smokies too.

Most visitors to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park also hope to see a bear. Some 1,500 bears live in and around the park so keep your eyes peeled.

Sevierville, Tennessee

Nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Sevierville, Tennessee is rich in Appalachian heritage, country music and Southern hospitality. This mountain town is also rich in creature comforts – from luxurious cabins and delicious southern meals to high-end, name-brand shopping at deep discount prices. Dolly Parton’s hometown is a must visit United States destination.

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is tiny with just 6,000 residents, but it has enough attractions and activities to draw 10-million visitors a year. You can stay overnight in a hotel, condos, cabin or campsite.

It is home to Tennessee’s most visited ticketed attraction, the Dollywood theme park, where you get a big dose of the music, food and crafts of the Appalachian Mountains – plus some totally thrilling rides.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Gatlinburg is situated at the entrance of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Gatlinburg attracts more than 11 million visitors a year and this little town is dedicated to welcoming all its guests with a taste of Appalachian hospitality at its best. Folks come from all over the world for holidays, outdoor adventures, family fun and memory making. Gatlinburg is one of America's great mountain destinations, with accommodations of every kind, dozens of local restaurants and attractions galore – all settled in the foothills and surrounded by the natural beauty of the Smokies. Gatlinburg prides itself on its walkability amidst mountain heritage and the arts, crafts and shops that reflect that tradition.

For further information on any of the above email tennessee@deep-south-usa.com

Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce

Excellent for all types of BBQ food, meat, fish or vegetable

Ingredients to make 500ml of BBQ sauce

  • 250ml Jack Daniel's® Whiskey
  • 250ml tomato sauce
  • 110g dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Prep: 5 minutes  -  Cook time: 30 minutes 

  • Combine ingredients in a saucepan and mix well
  • Simmer for 20-30 minutes, remembering to stir occasionally
  • Allow to cool
  • Store in airtight container once fully cooled and keep refrigerated until needed

Top tip - if cooked a few days in advance the flavours will blend and intensify - extra tasty!

If you want a boozy cocktail to go with your boozy bbq sauce try our Moonshine Mule, created in the Great Smoky Mountains! 

Tennessee Books

Some of the books listed below are literary classics, but did you know they are based in Tennessee? Some of these popular reads have also won Pulitzer prize and are a popular read among the public.

The Firm by John Grisham

He thought it was his dream job. It turned into his worst nightmare.

When Mitch McDeere qualified third in his class at Harvard, offers poured in from every law firm in America. Bendini, Lambert and Locke were a small, well-respected firm, but their offer exceeded Mitch's wildest expectations: a fantastic salary, a new home, and the keys to a brand new BMW.

Except for the mysterious deaths of previous lawyers with the firm. And the FBI investigations. And the secret files.

Long before John Grisham’s name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby - writing his first novel.

A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor

One of the most celebrated novels of its time, the Pulitzer Prize winner A Summons to Memphis introduces the Carver family, natives of Nashville, residents, with the exception of Phillip, of Memphis, Tennessee.

During the twilight of a Sunday afternoon in March, New York book editor Phillip Carver receives an urgent phone call from each of his older, unmarried sisters. They plead with Phillip to help avert their widower father's impending remarriage to a younger woman. Hesitant to get embroiled in a family drama, he reluctantly agrees to go back south, only to discover the true motivation behing his sisters' concern. While there, Phillip is forced to confront his domineering siblings, a controlling patriarch, and flood of memories from this troubled past.

The Widow of the South

Tennessee, 1864. On a late autumn day, near a little town called Franklin, 10,000 men will soon lie dead or dying in a battle that will change many lives for ever. None will be more changed than Carrie McGavock, who finds her home taken over by the Confederate army and turned into a field hospital. Taking charge, she finds the courage to face up to the horrors around her and, in doing so, finds a cause.

Out on the battlefield, a tired young Southern soldier drops his guns and charges forward into Yankee territory, holding only the flag of his company's colours. He survives and is brought to the hospital. Carrie recognises something in him - a willingness to die - and decides on that day, in her house, she will not let him.

For more information on any of the above email tennessee@deep-south-usa.com. If you're interested in reading books set in Tennessee, click here

Tennessee Films & TV

Discover the wide variety of films and television shows that have been made in and around Tennessee.

The Blind Side

Based on a true story, this heart-warming film will have you cheering! Michael Oher is a homeless teen and Leigh Anne Tuohy an interior designer – neither know the other’s world. But when they meet their lives change. He finds a home and goes on to be a football start and her family gets an addition.

Starring: Tim McGraw, Sandra Bullock, Lily Collins

Walk The Line

Following the life of the legendary 'Man in Black', Johnny Cash. The movie begins in 1955, when a tough, skinny guitar-slinger who called himself J.R. Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) walks into the soon-to-be-famous Sun Studios in Memphis. It was a moment that would have an indelible effect on American culture. With his driving freight-train chords, steel-eyed intensity and a voice as deep and black as night, Cash sang blistering songs of heartache and survival that were gutsy, full of real life and unlike anything heard before. That day kicked off the electrifying early career of Johnny Cash. As he pioneered a fiercely original sound that blazed a trail for rock, country, punk, folk and rap stars to come, Cash began a rough-and-tumble journey of personal transformation. In the most volatile period of his life, he evolved from a self-destructive pop star into the iconic 'Man in Black' - facing down his demons, fighting for the love that would save him time and again, and learning how to walk the razor-thin line between destruction and redemption. Reese Witherspoon won a Best Actress Academy Award for her role as June Carter, Cash's long-suffering wife.

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon

Wild Rose

Starring Jessie Buckley and Academy Award nominee Julie Waters, Wild Rose tells the complicated story of musician Rose-Lynn, a woman from Scotland who is on a quest to become a country music stat while also grappling with the responsibilities of being recently released from prison and a young mother of two children.

Starring: Jessie Buckley, Julie Waters, Sophie Okonedo

An American Haunting

In 1818, a family began to experience disturbances on their property. At first, the hauntings were slight, unexplained noises, but the spirit grew, becoming aggressive and singling out the father, John, and his only daughter Betsy. The family desperately searched for the cause of the spirit in the hope of finding a way of defeating it, but it continued its brutal assault. It developed voices….

Based on true events that took place in Tennessee during the 1800s - the only documented case in US history and validated by the State of Tennessee.

Starring: Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, Matthew Marsh

9 to 5

Frank Hart is a pg. He takes advantage of the women who work with him in the grossest manner. When his three assistants manage to trap him in his own house, they assume control of his department and productivity leaps, but just how long can they keep Hart tied up?

Starring: Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin

Hustle & Flow

Inner-city rap drama starring Ludacris and Terrence Howard. Street hustler and low-grade pimp DJ (Howard) spends his time selling sexy Nola (Taryn Manning) to clients so that he can support pregnant girlfriend Shug (Taraji Henson), but his sleazy lifestyle leaves him feeling hollow and unfulfilled.

Starring: Anthony Anderson, DJ Qualls, Taraji P. Henson

Mystery Train

Aloof teenage Japanese tourists, a frazzled Italian widow and a disgruntled British immigrant all converge in the city of dreams – which, in Mystery Train, from Jim Jarmusch, is Memphis. Made with its director’s customary precision and wit, this triptych of stories pays playful tribute to the home of Stax Records, Sun Studio, Graceland, Carl Perkins and, of course, the King.

Starring: Masatoshi Nagese, Youki Kudoh, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

TV Box Sets

Nashville

Rayna James is the established “Queen of Country” music. However, her latest album is not selling well. Her record label suggests that she open for Juliette Barnes, the young Juliette Barnes, the young and sext bestselling singer of ‘bubble gum country’.

Starring: Connie Britton, Hayden Panettiere, Clare Bowen

Country Music (mini-series by Ken Burns)

Step back in time and journey through the compelling history of a musical art form with Country Music, an eight-part, 16-hour documentary series directed by Ken Burns, and produced by Burns and his long-time collaborators Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey. More than eight years in the making, the film follows the evolution of country music from its humble yet diverse origins to becoming a worldwide phenomenon by the end of the twentieth century.

Bluff City Law

Bluff City Law is an American legal drama television series set in Memphis, Tennessee, the series depicts a law firm led by attorney Elijah Strait (played by Jimmy Smits) and his daughter, Sydney. The firm handles controversial civil rights cases.

If you're interested in reading books set in or about Tennessee, click here.

Tennessee's Historical Top 10

Tennessee's rich history is abundant; it's in the state's great battle sites, in its architecture, its state parks, and its many museums. For those of you on a tight schedule, here's our round-up of the very best historical things to so and see in Tennessee.

  • The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis is unmissable for anyone with an interest in social history. This is actually a collection of museums and historical buildings which trace the history of the Civil Rights movement in the US from the 17th century to the present day.
  • One of the most popular attractions in Tennessee, perhaps not surprisingly, is Graceland. Whether you're an avid Elvis Presley fan or not, this most spectacular of homes is sure to impress. 
  • Established in 1894, the Shiloh National Military Park commemorates, and preserves the site of, the 2 day Civil War battle that took place here. The Shiloh National Cemetery is also on the site, as are a number of prehistoric Indian mounds.
  • Music fans are well-catered for in Tennessee. Nashville is almost synonymous with country music, so a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame is pretty essential, whether you are a country music enthusiast or not. The vast museum is home to a colossal 200,000 sound recordings, 500,000 photographs, and more than 30,000 moving images. It also houses a collection of iconic cars, including Elvis Presley's 1960 'solid gold' Cadillac limousine.
  • Another key draw for music fans is the STAX Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis. This charts the rise of American soul music and showcases the many infamous soul artists who recorded with the STAX record label - artists such as Otis Redding, Ike & Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Ray Charles, etc.
  • If you want to combine a love of the outdoors with a love of history, then Cumberland Gap National Park is a great choice. For early settlers, this was the first great gateway to the west. Stunning scenery combines with its prominent historical significance to deliver a first-rate place to visit and explore.
  • Tennessee State Capitol draws many visitors with an interest in political history. This is the oldest working Capitol in the US, and it houses some intriguing and informative exhibits - including the 'Tennessee Time Tunnel', 'Forging A Nation', and 'The Civil War & Reconstruction'.
  • There are plenty of iconic American historical figures, but perhaps one of the most legendary of all is David 'Davy' Crockett, so a visit to the David Crockett Birthplace State Park is worth adding to your Tennessee itinerary. On site are a replica birthplace cabin, and an 18th century farmstead, as well as over 80 campsites for those wanting to stay longer than a day!
  • Another attraction for those with political history leanings is the Abraham Lincoln Library & Museum in Harrogate. This is one of the more immersive political museums, featuring many recreated dramatised scenes from Lincoln's life.
  • The Andrew Jackson National Historic Site preserves the former president's two homes, tailor shop, and grave site. It is a commemoration of a most extraordinary ground-breaking president whose presidential policies still impact the modern-day US.

If you have any questions, or just want to find out more, do get in touch with our Tennessee experts; we are always happy to hear from you!

 

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    Artists performing at Grand Ole Opry

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    For American music, all roads lead to the Deep South...
    History of Deep South USA

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    Heritage of Deep South USA

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