Agritourism Explained and Explored

East Tennessee
Museum of Appalachia, Tennessee
Take in a bluegrass show at the Museum of Appalachia (Tennessee Tourism)

East Tennessee
Hand-stitched quilts have covered many a bed in American households through the centuries. In an era of farm life when nothing was wasted, all scraps were put to use, including pieces salvaged from worn clothing plus feed and flour sacks cut for sewing into home goods. The most revered creation was a colorful patterned quilt that was not only practical but also a work of art too. Remote locations in areas far from towns meant it was necessary to produce many goods from natural materials. Cotton harvested on the farm was used for batting. Walnuts or berries grown in the yard were used to dye the cloth. Patterns and designs were passed down within generations or traded and shared with friends and relatives. Beautifully detailed quilts became valuable family heirlooms linking them with their past.

In East Tennessee, this symbol of agricultural heritage is beautifully displayed along the Appalachia Quilt Trail. Hand-painted 8-foot by 8-foot quilt squares adorn local barns, historic sites, rural mills, and other significant cultural sites along the route. Many of them are replicas of old family patterns. There are about 330 squares (or stops) in Tennessee to discover along the 300-mile trail. The stunning drive takes you through the backroads of Appalachia from the Great Smoky Mountains to the blue ridges of the Cumberland Plateau and along the riverbend of the Clinch.

You'll see past and present Appalachia culture preserved within family farms, old homesteads, and stores, plus learn about local history, buy fresh farm produce, and shop for antiques and handmade pottery, quilts, and other finely made crafts. Perhaps a traveler or two might even be persuaded to join in an old-time mountain music jam.

DO: Visit the Museum of Appalachia, which tells the story of the hardy folk in the form of living history exhibits, gardens, historic structures, folk art, and mountain music. Country music and bluegrass concerts are held at the venue, as well as festivals celebrating the seasons.

Published: 25 Oct 2010 | Last Updated: 7 Nov 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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