Experience the real America in Tennessee

Nestled between eight different states, Tennessee is the epitome of ‘the real America’, influenced no doubt by its neighbours, whose attitudes, beliefs and cultures seep in through its borders. It’s here that you’ll find hearty and delicious food, popular music and stunning natural vistas. It’s little wonder that Tennessee has become the ultimate location for exploring and experiencing the ‘real America’ – and here’s three ways to make the most of it:

The music

Tennessee is (quite literally) like music to your ears. From Elvis Presley to Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash to Justin Timberlake, the Volunteer State lays claim to some of the biggest names in the business. For a long time however, the industry was split, as different genres gravitated to different cities, with Nashville being inclined to Country and Pop and Memphis leaning more towards Rock n’ Roll and Blues. But as genres began to overlap and music began to evolve, it soon became clear that Tennessee was becoming completely consumed with musical variety, with the likes of Hip Hop, RnB and Soul also taking to the stage. Brimming with musical activity, Tennessee continues to act as a creative hub for songwriters and musicians alike, all aching for a chance to play in some of the state’s biggest venues, such as the Grand Ole Opry and The Rum Boogie Cafe. Open to the public, venues like these are the best way to see and experience the real America and the real music of Tennessee. Studded with music venues, museums, bars, clubs and more, you’ll be thoroughly spoilt for choice.

live-music

The great outdoors

Escape the hustle and bustle of the urban metropolises in favour of Tennessee’s great back garden. With varied landscapes of rolling hills, dramatic mountains, flowing rivers and lush pastureland – there’s no better way to experience the true American outdoors. Spend your days on foot or bike exploring the valleys and mountains of Cumberland State Park or the Big Cypress Tree State park, and discovering the incredible wildlife and natural beauty. Make sure to bring your binoculars and keep your eyes peeled for coyotes, deer, eagles, hawks, black bears and more. And for that truly spectacular outdoors escape that tops all others, head over to The Great Smoky Mountains. Named after the picturesque blue mist that descends daily over the mountain peaks, the Smokies are made up of 20 soaring mountain peaks that paint an incredible picture-perfect landscape.

smokeys

The food

Combining southern style cooking with a unique Tennessee twist, the Volunteer state creates something distinctively delicious. Brimming with delectable restaurants, buzzing food festivals and tempting farmers’ markets, Tennessee is the place for foodies. So get ready to loosen those belts a notch or two as you feast on some state classics, such as flaky biscuits, corn bread and (of course) barbecued anything. Considered a food religion, followed by all Tennesseans, barbecuing is a way of life. Nonetheless, soul food is just as popular. By mixing traditional African cuisine with southern cooking techniques, this land locked state has become packed with restaurants serving fried catfish, butter beans and chow-chow. As well as cuisine variety, Tennessee is blessed with a huge range of fresh and flavoursome produce. Thanks to its lush and rich back-country, Tennessee farms are able to grow an endless list of food treasures, from pears to peaches and pumpkins to peas, meaning you’re never far from the true flavours of real America.

bbq

Tom Marchant is Co-founder of Black Tomato.

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Comments (1)

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  1. Jane says:

    Thanks for a real eye-opening article Tom. I really don’t know much about Tennessee apart from the whiskey that is made there. I will definitely try to include it in my next USA visit.

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