With the kids out of school and the days long and sunny, summer is the time for vacations. This year, although people want to travel, there are still some challenges: maybe your family is not fully vaccinated, the budget is still tight or perhaps you just aren’t mentally ready to start traveling again. This might be the perfect summer for a staycation. Whether you stay at home or just decide to keep it local, here are our favorite ideas for a Tennessee staycation.
Why stay in Tennessee?
For starters, Tennessee is a beautiful state. It has it all: mountains in the east, waterfalls in Middle Tennessee, lakes and rivers everywhere. If it’s a city vacation you want, Memphis and Nashville are both filled with fantastic restaurants and great music. So our question is: Why not stay in Tennessee?
Benefits of a staycation
There are many benefits to doing a Tennessee staycation this summer (or any summer, really!). Here are some of the more obvious:
- It will save you money on airfare and/or gasoline.
- If you stay at home, you will save money on hotels and lodging.
- You can start relaxing and enjoying yourself right away, rather than having to navigate stressful airports or take long drives.
- You will discover beautiful, hidden gems close to home you can return to again and again.
- It is a more sustainable way to travel.
- They are much better for short vacations, as you don’t have to spend time getting there and going home.
Our favorite ideas for a Tennessee staycation
The idea of a staycation is you become a tourist in your home town, or a place relatively close to you that otherwise might just be a day trip. Slow down, visit sites you might not normally think of and definitely take the time to treat yourself by staying in a fun hotel, going out for nice meals and maybe even booking a massage or spa treatment. Here are some of your favorite ideas in Tennessee that are a little off the beaten path.
1- Lynchburg, Tennessee
Lynchburg is located 77 miles southwest from Sparta, Tennessee (the home of The River Club).
Where to stay
People associate Lynchburg with one thing: Jack Daniels. However, there are a lot of other distilleries in the area, along with some beautiful old Antebellum homes that have been converted into bed and breakfasts. One of our favorite of these is the beautiful Evans House, dating from 1852. It has been converted into a bed and breakfast called the Belmont Inn. It features four rooms, all with four poster beds and decorated in 19th century style. Being in the heart of Tennessee Walking Horse territory, the rooms are each named after famous race or show horses. With its large front porch, spacious upstairs balcony and beautiful back patio, it is the perfect place to sit in a rocking chair and read or just watch the world go by. It also has complimentary Netflix if you want to relax and do a little binge watching of your favorite programs.
What to do
Jack Daniels Distillery is only 16 miles away so a visit there is a great way to spend the day. Unlike some of the smaller distilleries, they run tours seven days a week, from 9am-4:30pm. If you are doing a Tennessee staycation, you will likely have time to do more than just a quick tour. Jack Daniels has introduced a number of experiences, such as the “The Taste of Lynchburg.” This three hour experience starts with a tour of the distillery and a guided tasting tour. You will finish with a “down-home noonday meal” at Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House Restaurant.
If you like distilleries and want to visit one with a unique story, the award winning Nearest Green Distillery is only seven miles from the Belmont Inn. Its Uncles Nearest whiskeys and bourbons earned the most awards of all American whiskeys in 2019 and 2020. In its first three years, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey has garnered more than 150 awards and accolades, including “World’s Best” by World Whiskies Awards two years in a row.
If you like horses, the Belmont Inn is only 1.2 miles away from the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration. This year, it will be held from August 26-September 4, 2022, so there is plenty of time to plan for a Tennessee staycation that allows you to attend the event. If you can’t make it that week, there are events at the grounds every month.
2- Mulberry, Tennessee
Not much further down the road from Lynchburg, Mulberry is located 85 miles southwest from Sparta, Tennessee.
Where to stay
Although quite close to Lynchburg, Mulberry earns a special mention because it has the ideal place to stay for a true Tennessee staycation: Mulberry Lavender Farm and B&B. You can stay in its historic 1860s Farmhouse B&B, formerly owned by the famous distiller Jack’s brother, Wiley. Or if you want more privacy and something very romantic, you can stay in the detached Lavender Cottage, where you can soak in the big claw foot tub while watching deer, horses and sheep. And don’t worry about bringing bath salts. The farm has a country store where they sell bath products and other therapeutic body products featuring lavender oil made from the farm’s main crop: lavender. Everything the farm produces revolves around their lavender production: sheep are kept to keep the fields weed free and chickens are kept to eat the bugs. The store sells other lavender products you can take home, plus a selection of books and magazines you can peruse while sitting on the porch, sipping lavender tea and eating fresh baked lavender scones. All rooms include a farm fresh, organic breakfast. We can’t think of a more relaxing base for your Tennessee staycation.
What to do
You can walk around the old little town of Mulberry, which has a pretty old church and a few monuments to its past. You can also visit the attractions above or take a walk on the grounds of the farm.
3- Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Murfreesboro is located 61miles west of Sparta, Tennessee.
Where to stay
The Lane Hotel is actually an historic collection of homes located downtown Murfreesboro. The homes were built between 1885-1925. The classically decorated guests rooms all offer private baths and modern amenities. There are three gardens. The big one is for private events, but the smaller two are perfect for reading and relaxing during your Tennessee staycation. Breakfast is offered at two locally owned and operated restaurants on Murfreesboro’s historic square.
What to do
You can start by strolling through historic Murfreesboro. Settled near the end of the American Revolution and originally named Cannonsburgh, it was established in 1811 on a land tract donated by a Revolutionary War soldier, Colonel William Lytle, and named for a friend, Colonel Hardy Murfree. From 1818 to 1826 Murfreesboro was the state capital. It is now the sixth largest city in Tennessee and one of the fastest growing cities in the US. So you can imagine, there is a lot to do.
If you like history, we highly recommend a trip to historic Cannonsburgh Village. Here you can learn about the early years of Tennessee life from the 1830s to the 1930s. Within the village is a gristmill, school house, a telephone operator’s house, the University House, the Leeman House, a museum, a caboose, the Wedding Chapel, a doctor’s office, a general store, a blacksmith’s shop, a water well and other points of pioneering interest.
Oaklands Mansion, a short walk from The Lane Hotel, is a beautiful old plantation with a history worth learning about. Before the Civil War, Oaklands was a symbol of Southern wealth and prosperity. Its owners, the Maney family, was involved in the economic, religious, and educational development of the city of Mufreesboro. Like most families of their position, the Maneys quickly fell upon economic hardship during and following the Civil War and faded from their previous social prominence. The mansion offers self-guided tours Mondays-Fridays.
4- The River Club
Does all this talk of staycations make you just want to stay at home, relax in nature and pamper yourself all year long? If so, you should consider moving to The River Club. The River Club is located on a delightful small river in idyllic Middle Tennessee. If you want to learn what it is like to live here, we invite you to take a tour of one of our most popular houses, the 1,820 square foot Oakridge: The Oakridge: Your private sanctuary. Living at The River Club, every day can be a Tennessee staycation!