White Horse Trading Company Photo by Martin Cherry
M iddle Tennessee is a day-tripper’s delight. Our region is blessed with a plethora of small towns filled with picturesque charm, vibrant history and amazing things to eat and drink, see and do. And while locales like Lynchburg, Leiper’s Fork and Bell Buckle may get more ink, few area towns have more charm to offer than Lynnville, Tennessee.
Located 65 miles south of Nashville on State Route 129 in Giles County, Lynnville, with its postcard-perfect tree-lined sidewalks and abundance of nineteenth-century architecture, is an official stop on the Jack Trail, one of 16 driving tours created by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development to encourage visitors and natives alike to get off the interstates and discover all that our state’s small towns have to offer.
Soda Pop Junction Photo by Martin Cherry
Though small in size—its population is under 500—Lynnville packs a punch. It was born in the 1800s as a railroad town, and a trip to the Lynnville Railroad Museum is a great way to kick off your visit and get oriented. Ready for lunch? SODA POP JUNCTION serves up classic burgers and fries and award-winning milkshakes, as well as a variety of Southern specialties. Their Sunday buffet is straight from grandma’s kitchen and changes weekly—offerings may include fried chicken, country fried steak, creamed corn, fried okra, blackberry cobbler, banana pudding and much more. Sweet tooth? Then be sure to pick up another Lynnville staple: THE LYNNVILLE FRIED PIE COMPANY sells its fresh fried pies at the Junction.
Those who appreciate handcrafted works of art will find that Lynnville is also a shopper’s delight. Renowned leather goods purveyor Col. Littleton was established here, and its MILL STREET STORE includes a sampling of lush and durable leather bags, briefcases, portfolios and more. Heirloom Glass offers custom stained glass design and creation, as well as classes and supplies. The store also sells antiques, glassware and crystal.
If you want to kill two birds with one stone, venture over to the WHITE HORSE TRADING COMPANY, located in the former IRON HORSE HOTEL building. The White Horse is a local café, bakery and antique shop all in one. Have a cup of coffee and a cookie—or more substantial fare like deli sandwiches, soups, salads, etc.—while you peruse the curated collection of antiques and collectibles.
For those whose tastes run to the alcoholic variety, two newer Lynnville establishments are a must: The Tenn South Distillery and the Lexington Vineyard & Winery.
Tenn South Distillery Photo by Martin Cherry
The TENN SOUTH DISTILLERY is the brainchild of Clayton Cutler and Blair Butler, a radiologist and engineer, respectively, who dreamed of making fine Tennessee whiskey. In 2013, the dream of these brothers-in-law came to fruition with the introduction of their first product, All Purpose Shine. They’ve since expanded their array of handcrafted, small-batch spirits to include Abernathy Gin, Black Mule Vodka and Clayton James Tennessee Whiskey, as well as blackberry, apple pie and peach pie-flavored shines.
“We offer facility tours with tastings to follow on Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to about 5 p.m.,” Blair says. “And sometimes later if lots of folks come by.” The tours are free,and if you want to bring a bit of the distillery home, you’ll find a great selection of cocktail mixers and souvenirs for sale, along with their full range of spirits.
Lexington Vineyard & Winery Photo by Martin Cherry
The LEXINGTON VINEYARD & WINERY, owned and operated by Jeff and Debra Hale, saw its first harvest in 2010 and officially opened two years later. In the few short years since, the vineyard has produced an extensive wine list that includes both standards and local favorites. Aficionados will find classic varietals like merlot, cabernet franc and pinot gris alongside sweet and semi-sweet fruit wines like strawberry, blackberry, peach and persimmon. “Our signature wine, Fireside Apple, is a classic dessert wine,” says Debra.
Visitors are always welcome at the vineyard for tastings and tours. “Our wine tastings are complimentary and do not require an appointment,” Debra adds. “We encourage visitors to walk through the vineyard [and] our winemaker is always available to answer questions.”
The winery also offers a variety of gourmet foods for sale, including wildflower honey and apple, peach, strawberry, cherry and persimmon wine jellies.
If, after a day of soaking up some of the best of Tennessee history, food and drink, you want to turn your daytrip to an overnight stay, LAIRDLAND FARM BED & BREAKFAST offers guests a selection of vintage 19th-century cabins. Though the accommodations are authentic, they’ve been updated with modern conveniences—the comfort of central heat and air meld with the mood-setting romance of rough-hewn walls and wood-burning fireplaces.
Autumn, with its crisp air, changing leaves and bountiful harvests, is the perfect time to take to Tennessee’s back roads for a memorable day trip. Lynnville’s many delights await.