By Victoria Scott
Few brands of liquor have earned such fame as Jack Daniel’s whiskey. Maybe it’s due to incredible marketing efforts. Maybe it’s because the name alone conjures images of old-timey men in the South sitting in cozy chairs and drinking their nightly glass. Whatever the case, people flock from near and far to the tiny town of Lynchburg, Tennessee, to tour the distillery and explore the surrounding area, all the while getting to peek at the life of the brand’s protagonist.
It just so happens that Nashville is a mere hour and a half from Lynchburg, so the Jack Daniel’s distillery actually makes for a wonderful day trip when you need an escape from life in Music City. The trek is pleasant enough, and signs for JACK DANIEL’S begin popping up within the first hour of driving. Before you know it, you’re in Lynchburg, a town so small that if it weren’t for the plethora of signs and arrows directing you to the distillery—not to mention the many stores with Jack Daniel’s paraphernalia that line the street—you might drive through it without noticing. Assuming that you follow the signs to the distillery, you’ll get to pick between two tours. The first, a free “traditional tour” that lasts just over an hour, takes you through both Jack’s personal (and colorful) story and the history of the distillery itself. You also get a thorough explanation of the entire whiskey-making process. Those who choose to pay a small fee for the slightly longer “sampling tour” (obviously limited to visitors 21+ years of age) can taste the whiskey right where it was produced. Considering that Lynchburg is actually in a dry county, this is a great option for those eager to try the product in its hometown.
After the tour (and a thorough exploration of the many themed products in the attached gift shop), a stop in Lynchburg’s town square is a must. Taste a free fudge sample, get a scoop of Jack Daniel’s-laced ice cream, and pick up handmade decorations and furniture crafted from actual wooden barrels.No matter your other plans, a lunch stop at Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House is an absolute must. Much like Monell’s of Nashville fame, Miss Mary Bobo’s offers family-style cooking in a fun location, with daily menu highlights such as fried chicken, meatloaf, and fried okra. Unlike Monell’s, the meal also includes cooked apples soaked Jack Daniel’s whiskey, as well as spiked whipped cream, not to mention a side of Lynchburg history courtesy of your room’s host. Just be sure to call and make a reservation as soon as you’ve planned your day trip—with only 1-2 seatings a day and limited spots at each, you don’t want to miss your chance to partake in truly exceptional Southern cooking!Though you could easily extend your Lynchburg trek into a weekend vacation if you visit the nearby towns or take advantage of hiking trails at parks within driving distance, even if you limit yourself to a day trip at Jack Daniel’s, it’s worth the drive for sure!