12.04.2012

A Trip To Lynchburg, Tennessee

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A few weeks ago, the fellows and I decided to take a day trip to Lynchburg, TN, a tiny town located in Moore County (the smallest county in TN).  Lynchburg is best known as the home of the famous Jack Daniel's Distillery.  We took a stroll around the town square which is surrounded by dozens of quaint shops and restaurants.

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Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House is probably the most well-known eatery in town. Once a boading house for locals, including members of Jack Daniel's family, it now serves twice-daily family style dinners which feature a variety of southern fare.

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Visitors are assigned to a dining room and are seated at a large table along with other guests.  A hostess dines with each group and is there to provide a history of the boarding house, facilitate conversation and make sure there is an abundance of food to share.

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After filling our bellies, we decided to visit the Jack Daniel's Distillery which is located a short five minute walk from downtown.  After crossing a bridge which spans Mulberry Creek, the landscape changes from a picturesque town to the beautiful Tennessee countryside.

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Ironically, Moore County, TN has been a dry county since the time of Prohibition.  In layman's terms this means that you can't buy a drop of alcohol within it's borders.  The population of the county is too small to vote on a referendum to amend the law.  

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In recent years, the distillery was granted permission to offer a $10 sampling tour.  Since the boy was with us, we opted to take the traditional free tour. 

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The distillery and visitor's center are nestled along the rolling hillsides.  The grounds are lovely and are far more reminiscent of an old college campus than a traditional factory. 

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For nearly 140 years, Jack Daniel's whiskey has been made using the limestone-filtered water that flows from Cave Spring which is located on the distillery grounds.  As the story goes, Jack purchased the property because of the free flowing spring.

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Every drop of Jack Daniels "mellows" through 10 feet of charcoal before being transferred to the barrels for aging.  Workers make the special sugar maple charcoal that is used on-site.

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An interesting bit of history...  After an extended period of traveling to promote his whiskey, Jack Daniel returned to the distillery and was unable to open his safe which held the company ledger and all of the profits.  In frustration he kicked the safe, breaking his big toe.  

In the end, this would prove to be a fatal mistake.  Gangrene set in and, over the course of several years, doctors would be forced to remove portions of his foot and leg until they reached his hip.  Jack eventually died of gangrene poisoning at the age of 65. 

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One last tidbit about old Jack...  He was a rather small man.  At a mere 5' 2" and wearing a size 4 shoe, he was exactly the same size and yours truly.  Poor fellow.

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If you ever find yourself in the Tennessee countryside with some time on your hands, consider making a stop in Lynchburg.  A stroll through the town and a visit to the distillery are a lovely way to spend the day. 

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