Think Tennessee! Think Home of County Music! Nashville has been the hub since the WSM Barn Dance radio show premiered in 1925, the Grand Ole Opry was born, and the Carter family took up recording their songs from the hills and the hollers. The music has changed and so has the city, having picked itself up by the britches and transformed into a town which blends the old on Broadway with new high rise office buildings and a completely restored Second Avenue. Yet, Nashville is only one small part of Tennessee in the middle of a state that stretches 440 miles from the Appalachians to the flat plains of the Mississippi River. There are three distinct regions, East, West, and Middle Tennessee, each very different from the other. On the far west end, Memphis has been the home of the blues since W.C. Handy, the “Father of the Blues,” moved there in 1909 to start playing in clubs on Beale Street. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited National Park in the United States, anchors the far east end. South of Nashville, the Tennessee Antebellum Trail preserves the massive, elegant homes of the bygone era. It took a while for region to come together as a state, as the hardy frontiersman continued to show their independence, a spirit that lives on today. When the Scots-Irish moved in, they refused to live under English law, establishing the Washington District which petitioned to join Virginia. Failing that, North Carolina adopted the counties. Those lands turned into the Transylvania Colony and later the State of Franklin was formed by three more counties from the Washington District, which didn’t make statehood. President Washington intervened, creating the Southwest Territory. Finally in 1796, everyone agreed, and Tennessee became a state.

Tennessee Scenic Byways