Amazingly no, that is not the name of my new country music album, though it should be. It’s how we spent one beautiful, warm day of our trip.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’ll know how much I like to plan. To the extent that before taking this trip, I pretty much knew how each day was going to pan out. Aka, I had prepared myself for the fact that the journey between Gatlinburg and Nashville was well and truly going to be a busy one…
We were up and at ’em at early o’clock (I’ve wiped the exact time from my memory),before quickly packing up the car, checking out and driving to the nearest Denny’s for the biggest breakfasts our stomachs could ask for. Then, we hit the road.
First stop, Ruby Falls; a beautiful waterfall located in a cave, in Chattanooga. It costs 20 dollars to go to Ruby Falls, and with that you get a tour. I say you ‘get a tour’ like it’s an option… Spoiler alert, it’s not. Due to the narrow cave system, and higher ups worrying people would get lost and end up living a real life version of the Maze Runner, you must go on an accompanied tour to see the falls.
Somehow this tour was probably the most American thing we did on the entire trip… And we went to the White House.
From the beginning of the tour, where we got an “oohhh” for being English, and the moment they had to warn everyone we were going to be walking 1 mile (some worries from a few people), to jokes like “and that protruding rock is called headache” (They gave a lot of the formations fun names, such as ‘pork’ and ‘shark’), until the cherry on top, which was the synchronised dramatic lighting/music that went with the falls.
To explain, you only get a minute or so to actually see the falls, because tours need to come in and out and they don’t want people hogging the view. They basically turn the lights out and then turn them back on again with some classical music to make it seem spiritual (or something).
Now, looking back the tour was very good – it was informative, funny and there is a gorgeous waterfall involved. But,there are a couple of negative points in the way of how the tour has to work; it’s a round tour, so yes you get to see the waterfall, but then the tour doesn’t end, you have to walk all the way back which is a bit long, especially as it’s pretty cold down there, and really for your money you only get to see the waterfall for a minute.
If you like caves and waterfalls, you’ll have a good time. If you’re not that bothered, maybe give it a miss.
Jack Daniel’s Distillery
Our next stop, on the other hand, I would recommend over and over, and that is the Jack Daniel’s distillery. In all honesty I wasn’t too bothered about going. I’ve been to a bunch of distilleries before, and the tours have all been fairly similar, but we were going past it and I can’t say I’m not very much partial to a JD Honey from time to time. My impartiality was wrong; this one was definitely one of the best I’ve been to, and worth the time.
It’s a free tour, which is pretty amazing. It lasts about an hour, and for that, you get on a bus, and drive round to the site that Jack Daniel’s has always been made. See the cave (because we hadn’t had enough of them already) where the water used in their bourbon runs through, learn all about the difference between Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon, and hear all the tales about how it still exists even though it is in a dry county (no alcohol).
Fun fact: they get away with selling the bottles of bourbon, because they’re “souvenir bottles” aka they’re selling a bottle. Ignore the technically illegal contents.
After this, we spent a bit of time in the local town, Lynchburg – got some ice cream, sat in their giant deck chair, the usual. Before beginning the final journey to my favourite place…
Nashville. Where we will pick up from next time.