Our road trip to the east coast went right through the heart of Tennessee and though it’s a long state (it’s worth the trip across the state) whether it’s making stops near the music scene in Memphis or the music scene in Nashville, the state has a lot to offer! Especially in the rural areas! 


We made our way down the National Scenic Byway “Woodlands Trace” or better known as “The Trace” which also is known as “The Land Between The Lakes” in Kentucky – but it takes you across the Tennessee border right in the thick of whiskey country! You’ll hear stories about the whiskey trail, and the closer you get to Nashville and further south to Lynchburg, Tennessee – stories of Jack Daniels and scenic byways that criss-cross the state headed through the Cumberland Plateau region and further into the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains and over along the Newfound Gap Road!

But on this journey, we made a stop in Cookeville, Tennessee to meet a fellow blogger Tom and Kristi,  owners and bloggers of smalltownplussize.com


Tom and Dan social distancing on our first meet and greet! Outside the train depot in downtown Monterey, Tennessee.

Tom is a great guy and I enjoyed his blog post so much about Monterey that I wanted to see it for myself! These are the type of adventures I love the most – and rural towns have a lot to offer! Don’t overlook these areas when you travel – the hospitality is typically unmatched and it was unfortunate that it was during COVID-19 otherwise I would have more pics and videos to show around the depot.


We had a personalized tour of the downtown area and historic Imperial Hotel – with its rich history in Tennessee. We didn’t have a lot of time since we were just passing through on our way to the Big Smoky Mountains, but it was worth the connection! If you get a chance to visit Tom’s blog too so! He has some great information and knows quite a bit about the great outdoors from North Carolina, Tennessee, and out beyond Wyoming and Montana! If you want to dig in and really understand an area bloggers are the way to go!

Rural towns! Rural living! Rural adventure! It’s the rich fabric that makes us who we are!


We have the Great Smoky Mountain region coming up next! But…it’s the relationships and memory-making that makes travel and tourism so rich! Not to mention the economic importance and educational value in it.

Travel safe my friends!

Dan – The Country Pilgrim

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