August 15, 2014. Today I had some time to stop in Tennessee’s oldest town, Jonesborough, which bills itself as the Storytelling Capital of the World. It’s a pleasant town just a short drive from the much larger Johnson City. Jonesborough was founded in 1779 and was for a short while the capital of the State of Franklin. (If you’re not familiar with the independent nation of Franklin, be sure to read the history. I had no idea.)
In October 2012 I visited Jonesborough with friends but was looking forward to reacquainting myself with the town. I started at the Jonesborough Visitors Center and Museum a really nice facility. They have a great little museum on the history of the town and a bookshop as well. The friendly woman working there, thinking I was going to be staying through the evening, recommended several dining options and invited me to Music on the Square, an event that happens every Friday night during the summer in front of the Washington County Court House on Main Street. She also mentioned a local restaurant—I wish I’d caught the name!—where the owner offers a Friday night special of pot roast or some other home-cooked goodness. It sounded as much like a place to just sit and chat as a place to eat. Before leaving the visitors’ center, I bought a book called The Best of the Appalachian Trail: Day Hikes by Victoria Logue, Frank Logue and Leonard M. Adkins, which I’m looking forward to looking through and using for future trips.
I walked down Main Street, a line of brick buildings with lots of American flags and shop windows displaying antiques and other things to browse. One antique store, which I didn’t visit this time but did on my previous visit, is about three stories of cool old stuff: collectibles of all sorts, household items, toys, clothing, everything you can imagine. I took this photo of the courthouse, which interestingly, has a large brass plaque next to the front door bearing the Ten Commandments. (Apparently no one has yet sued the county over this.) This time I just grabbed an ice cream at Jonesborough General Store and Eatery and sat on the bench outside to people watch and enjoy the small town atmosphere.
I wish I’d been able to stay longer; there’s more to see and do. If you’re looking for something fun to do the first weekend in October 2014, check out the National Storytelling Festival. I may make that the occasion for my next visit.
Have you been to Jonesborough? Leave a comment and let me know about your experience.