January 3, 2023
If the fast pace of life has you longing to slow down a bit, plan a relaxing getaway to Fentress County in northeastern Middle Tennessee.
Perched on the picturesque Cumberland Plateau, Fentress County is a rural haven from the busy world and invites visitors to discover its charms at their own pace.
Whether you prefer to explore the area by foot, car, horseback, ATV or RV, you’ll be immersed in history, natural beauty and small-town life. You’ll see why many of the locals have chosen to live in Fentress County for generations, several families even having roots here since before the Civil War.
Learn about Fentress County’s most famous native at Sgt. Alvin C. York State Historic Park, located 9 miles north of Jamestown in Pall Mall. One of the most decorated soldiers of World War I, York lived in a two-story house in Pall Mall, and his family farm was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977.
Park visitors can take a guided tour of York’s home and watch a video about his life in the visitor center, modeled after York's General Store. The park also features a gristmill and picnic facilities, as well as fishing in the Wolf River and hiking trails. Hikers can walk to York’s burial site at Wolf River Cemetery, accessible by a moderate half-mile natural trail with a suspension bridge.
Highland Manor Winery
Wine aficionados shouldn’t miss a visit to Highland Manor Winery, Tennessee’s oldest licensed winery. Highland Manor, located in Jamestown, has been producing award-winning local wines for more than four decades, and visitors can enjoy a free wine tasting, as well as guided tours and special events.
Tour-goers can see the winemaking process firsthand. After the tour, you can purchase a bottle and have a relaxing picnic on the lawn or in the wine cellar. Highland Manor sells Sweetwater Valley Farm cheeses and premium crackers to savor with your wine. Stop by the gift shop to discover more locally crafted items, including honey, jams, sauces, wine racks and glasses, grapeseed oils and gifts any wine lover will appreciate.
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area
Craving a little adventure? You'll find it at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, which spans a massive 125,000 acres. Recreation opportunities at Big South Fork are endless, ranging from camping and fishing to canoeing, rafting, hunting and horseback riding.
Experienced hikers can test their skills on the Honey Creek Loop Trail, the most rugged and challenging trail in Big South Fork. The Twin Arches are one of the park’s most unusual geologic features and can be accessed by hiking a short trail that stretches for 7/10 of a mile one way. Big South Fork provides a habitat for numerous types of wildlife including black bear, elk, white-tailed deer, bobcat, gray fox, 160 species of birds and more than 60 species of fish.
To really get away from it all, pitch your tent at Jamestown’s Pickett CCC Memorial State Park, which has camping options to suit every preference. Choose from RV and primitive campsites, backcountry camping or cozy cabin rentals.
Be sure to look up at the dazzling night sky while gathering around the campfire. In 2015, Pickett State Park was the first state park in the Southeast to earn Silver-Tier International Dark Sky Park designation, recognizing its sweeping, rich views of the night sky that Western states are typically known for.
The park was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps between 1934 and 1942, and visitors enjoy swimming at its beaches, boating, hiking and fishing for trout in Arch Lake.
Trail Riding Capital of the Southeast
Equestrians, rejoice. Did you know Fentress County has access to more than 300 miles of horseback riding trails? It’s no wonder the area has become an established equine destination and has often been called the Trail Riding Capital of the Southeast.
In Jamestown, East Fork Stables boasts more than 12,000 acres of riding trails, as well as campgrounds so you can stay awhile. Loved for its raw natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities, East Fork Stables opened in 1994 and has become one of the best trail riding venues in Tennessee. Trail riding enthusiasts enjoy its cascading waterfalls, spectacular overlooks, unusual rock formations, abundant wildlife and breathtaking views.
Spend a few hours strolling the streets of downtown Jamestown, a hidden treasure trove of hangout spots, shops and eateries. There’s no rush, so explore downtown at your own pace. You’ll discover boutique clothing, antiques, hardware, furniture, cigars, herbs, local fruits and vegetables, musical instruments and lots more.
Sip on a latte at Campfire Coffee or opt for the Campfire Cocoa topped with a hand-roasted marshmallow. One of downtown Jamestown’s newest businesses, Native Provisions, opened in 2021 offering natural foods and healthy products such as fresh produce, meats and dairy from local farmers. Don’t miss the homestyle burgers, onion rings and milkshakes at Dairy Mart, a favorite hometown diner among the locals.
Fentress County is a fabulous mix of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, history, quaint shops and good eating, so make sure to visit soon!