January 17-18, 2016
Lynchburg,Tennessee is even more rural than I’d thought it would be. We drove down miles of residential country roads to arrive there. With a population of 300 and something, it’s smaller than I thought too, even with the entire Jack Daniel’s Distillery as the major employer in the area. We arrived for the last tour of the day and enjoyed hearing about the history of the company and the methodology of production. There is a tasting tour, but as the tour guide said, they give you just enough to piss you off. It’s not enough to enjoy it. SOOO, we had to purchase a bottle. Interestingly, Lynchburg is in a dry county, there is no alcohol for sale there in restaurants or stores. HOWEVER, if you purchase a bottle (and this was on a Sunday too!) in the Jack Daniel’s gift shop, it is a commemorative bottle and exempt from the restriction. Tricky, huh? I wonder how much a politician was paid off for that little bit of extra consideration.
We rented a very cute guest house just down the street from the distillery and the town square. As I mentioned, we arrived on a Sunday, took the tour and then went out looking for some dinner. None of the little restaurants in town were opened, except for a Subway and a Chinese place and it was too cold to walk around anyway. Using google maps, I found a place that had pretty good reviews, showed that it was opened and was only 22 minutes away. Though it was ghastly dark and cold outside, we were adventurous (and hungry) enough to find this gem. However, once we got onto the one lane road, winding around a small mountain, with a river below us and no place to turn around, I was losing enthusiasm. I didn’t have time to get into full panic mode because we arrived at the place to find that it was closed for the season (thanks google maps). We went back to our cottage to snack on crackers, fruit and nuts that we still had from Nashville.
We were able to try local cuisine the next day. For breakfast we went to the Iron Skillet. There were a table full of caricatures of “good ole boys” at one table. They were friendly, but seemed to smirk at us walking in as much as we grinned at surprize at them. The menu included biscuits, gravy, and country ham along with standard fare. I just had some eggs, but Barry tried the salty county ham. All in all, It was cheap and tasty and entertaining.
We shopped a little in the little, little town, then said adieu to our traveling partners, the Flemings. Barry and I spent some kicking back and reading Gardens and Guns and Southern Living magazines in the cottage, then we walked down to Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House Restaurant.
Miss Mary Bobo opened this historic home to guests, beginning in 1908. It is known for its traditional Southern cuisine, hosted family style with a hostess at each table. They only seat you if you’ve made reservations by phone and on a cold Monday afternoon, the place was filled! I thought it was charming. The food was all I had hoped. Barry and I agreed to sample, not eat. Still taking just taking small portions from the plates that were passed and then just nibbling at those, we were full by the end of the meal.
The menu of the day consisted of: sweet tea, country fried chicken, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, hot stuff relish (peppers and tomatoes), spiked applesauce (with Jack Daniel’s), fresh green beans with ham, macaroni and cheese (listed as a vegetable in a few other restaurants that went to in Tennessee, teehee!), yeast rolls, wonderful fried okra …. and for dessert….heavenly fudge pie, oh my! Yikes, it was all delicious and served in such lovely surroundings, and a local lady told us the history of the house, the family, its lodgers and its connection to Jack Daniel. I didn’t want to, but I had to buy their cookbook!
Part of the fun of this trip was the Southern food, so forboden to our usual mostly healthy diet, but you have to sin sometimes…fairly often, right?