The home of Jack Daniel’s whiskey, Lynchburg has plenty of attractions,
events and Southern charms to fill up a flavorful getaway.

By Diana Lambdin Meyer

The rolling landscape of Moore County in south-central Tennessee reveals gracious green pastures outlined by perfect white fences, a picture frame of sorts for some of the most beautiful and sought-after horses in the country

A statue outside the Lynchburg Hardware and General Store exudes Southern charm and conveys the town’s relaxed pace.
The winding roadways give just a hint of the lush woodlands beyond, which keep hidden in their depths springs, creeks and hollows that gave birth to Jack Daniel’s whiskey.

Lynchburg, Tenn., may be synonymous with Jack Daniel’s whiskey and Tennessee Walking Horses, but those aren’t the only reasons to travel along the winding roads (U.S. Highway 231 and state Route 82) off Interstate 24 an hour south of Nashville. Lynchburg is a place resplendent in Southern hospitality, interesting restaurants serving stick-to-your-ribs home cooking, quaint shops and events to keep travelers entertained.

A moonshine mogul

Jack Daniel–known as Mr. Jack in these parts–began making whiskey in the Lynchburg hills as a young boy under the tutelage of a family friend and by age 13, Daniel owned the distillery. Unlike his colleagues, Daniel had the good sense to work with the government and its regulations rather than fight the inevitable. So in 1866, the Jack Daniel’s distillery was licensed, making it the oldest distillery in the country.

To learn more of this whiskey’s history and visit the original cave spring still used in making Jack Daniel’s No. 7, tour the distillery and working factory in Lynchburg. Take a whiff of the various stages of fermentation, have a picture made with a statue of Daniel and marvel at the office safe that he kicked in a fit of temper. The broken toe led to gangrene and his untimely death, according to legend.

But don’t ask for a sample of the product. Moore is a dry county; has been since Prohibition. Visitors can, however, sample home-style cooking using the hometown product at Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House Restaurant, 295 Main St., a place where Daniel often enjoyed lunch.

In 2008, the historic restaurant will celebrate 100 years of serving family-style meals that include Southern fried chicken, fried okra and cornbread. A recipe featuring a little Jack Daniels as an ingredient–like the spiced apple rings–is featured at the table each day. But the highlight of a meal here is your hometown hostess who coordinates conversation and passing of dishes with true Southern hospitality. If you’re lucky, you’ll be seated with Lynne Tolley, the great-grandniece of Daniel, and an official taster of the Jack Daniel product line.

There are two seatings for lunch–11 a.m. and 1 p.m.–and reservations are required. For details, call (931) 759-7394.

Another great place for lunch, from June through October, is Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Hill. The smell of barbecue fills the hollow on Fridays and Saturdays. Located behind the distillery, folks come to the hill for great food, music and games.

Another hometown hero

Almost as famous as Jack Daniel is hometown hero John Terrill Majors. University of Tennessee football fans know Majors, the local boy who led the Volunteers to a number of conference and bowl titles as an All-American tailback in the 1950s. He also was head coach of the Volunteers from 1977 to 1992. However, there are no sites to see in Lynchburg associated with Majors.

Saddle up

Equine aficionados will visit Lynchburg on July 19 for the annual Tennessee Walking Horse Show. The smooth gait and docile temperament of these beautiful animals are celebrated at the Tennessee Walking Horse Museum located in the town square.

The breed started with a horse named Allan F-1, born in 1886 in Kentucky. The history of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ and Exhibitors’ Association also is documented here. The museum is free and relatively small, but take your time in the museum to understand the passion for these Tennessee Walkers.

Two additional horse shows take place in nearby Shelbyville. The 38th annual Spring Fun Show will be May 22–24, and the 70th annual Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration is set for Aug. 20–30 at the Celebration fairgrounds and arena. Other activities for the National Celebration include a barn decorating contest and dog show.

More local flavor

Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House Restaurant is celebrating 100 years of serving family-style meals in 2008. Bruce N. Meyer photos
Yet another popular event is the 20th annual Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Contest, which will be held Oct. 25. Last year, more than 30,000 people showed up to sample the goods produced by a record 60 champion barbecue teams competing in the categories of pork ribs, pork shoulder, beef brisket and chicken. The best category, however, has to be the sauce contest, which requires a little (or a lot) of Jack Daniel’s in the sauce. A fun highlight of this event is when Master Distiller Jimmy Bedford auctions off homemade pies and cakes in the downtown square.

But if you miss the barbecue contest or auction, stop by the Lynchburg Cake and Candy Company at 134 Cashion Road, just a mile from the Jack Daniel’s entrance, to try the Lynchburg Whiskey Balls or Bunt Thomas’ famous whiskey cake. Using an old family recipe and a good portion of the hometown product, the Thomas family has created a business that’s been featured on the Food Network.

Another interesting site is the Lynchburg Pottery and Gift Gallery located in the town square. Frank and Suzanne Inman sell the functional and decorative pottery made by Frank on his family’s farm. This is the place to stop and get all of the gossip and history of the area that might not be told elsewhere. Suzanne’s grandparents owned the local newspaper for years and Frank’s grandfather was Lem Tolley, one of only six master distillers employed by the famous whiskey maker.

That’s just the way it is in small towns–everyone knows your business. But when your business is making perhaps the best whiskey in the world, who wouldn’t want to be a part of this family in Lynchburg?

Diana Lambdin Meyer is a contributor from Parkville, Mo.
Mar/Apr 2008 Issue

BEFORE YOU GO
For more information, contact the Lynchburg Chamber of Commerce, call (931) 759-4111 or click on www.lynchburgtenn.com.

To visit Lynchburg, first stop by your nearest AAA service office for maps, reservations, TripTiks® and TourBook® guides. Click here for a list of offices..

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