When surveyor Aaron Higgenbotham discovered Cumberland Caverns in 1810, he couldn't see its majestic pillars of dripping rock, its flowstone curtains, or its subterranean waterfalls. Stuck on a small ledge in the dark, Higgenbotham was as blind to the cave system's features—one of them a 2,000-foot-long cavern hall—as the eyeless crayfish that live there. His initial discovery nevertheless paved the way for nearly 200 years of speleological findings. Today, guides preserve this 32-mile National Landmark cavern by leading daily tours through its passages.
During tours, guides point out artifacts left by pre Civil War–era saltpeter mines, tunnels filled with rare gypsum deposits, and mysterious inscriptions reading "Shelah Waters - 1869" and "Millard Fillmore + Stacy." They lead guests among stalagmites and stalactites to a sound-and-light show that dramatically retells Bible stories, or into a domed hall that houses a hand-cut crystal chandelier rescued from a historic Brooklyn theater. It's in this last space that staffers organize banquets, weddings, and monthly live bluegrass concerts, or hold burial services for broken fax machines. They also lead visitors through the tight passageways of lesser-seen cavern segments during daytime or overnight spelunking trips.
Tom Brown's first wine didn't quite make it into a barrel. Instead, it aged inside a pickle crock in his mother's kitchen, finally flowing forth in the year 1976. Today, Tom heads up a slightly more sophisticated operation as owner of Beans Creek Winery. Sourcing grapes from eight Tennessee counties, Tom and his team of vintners have created 31 wines, including dry reds, sweet and spicy muscats, and three types of sparkling wine. His concoctions have earned 38 medals in the Indy International Wine Competition, where they were also chosen Best of Class three times.
Meadows of wildflowers and towering trees border the Caney Fork River on both sides, providing a refuge for deer, herons, turkeys, and hundreds of other bird species. With a fleet of canoes and kayaks as well as shuttle service straight to the riverbanks, Canoe the Caney makes it easy to explore this river’s natural beauty. Though the current bustles along at a slow and steady pace and the banks are usually 30 yards apart, Canoe the Caney staff still holds safety as its highest priority. The staff provides everyone with life jackets and review safety guidelines before giving paddlers permission to depart.
In addition to 6-mile and 9-mile trips down the river, Canoe the Caney also facilitates more playful adventures, including romantic picnic outings and a pirate adventure that invites paddlers to hunt for Captain JaBez’s long lost contact lens.
DelMonaco Winery and Vineyards is a small, family - run business, in the heart of middle Tennessee. David DelMonaco was born in Chicago and moved to Cookeville over 30 years ago to attend Tennessee Tech University. Barbara DelMonaco moved here from Kentucky with her children over 20 years ago. They met and inspired each o
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