Going to School in Knoxville
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Historic Rugby is one of America's most intriguing historic sites. It operates within the tiny village of Rugby, a living community. This village is a heritage treasure listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972 and pursuing National Landmark Status for the Thomas Hughes Library, believed to be the oldest completely preserved public lending library in America. The National Trust for Historic Preservation calls Rugby one of the most authentically preserved historic villages in America.
Begin at the Rugby Visitor Centre & Theatre with its 32-foot wall mural of Rugby in its heyday. Relax in comfortable Johnson Theatre seats for a 22-minute showing of the award-winning Rugby history film - The Power of a Dream. Then take the guided walking tour to the 1882 Thomas Hughes Free Public Library, 1884 Kingstone Lisle (the founder's home), 1887 Christ Church Episcopal and 1906 Schoolhouse Exhibits.
Driving Time: From Knoxville, it is a 1 hour drive, one way.
Rice Grist Mill
The mill was built by James Rice and his sons and was operated by four generations of Rices. At times, the mill was rigged to power a sawmill, a cotton gin, a trip hammer, and even to operate a dynamo that supplied electric lights for the mill and Rice home in 1899.
The mills is located on Norris Lake. Norris Dam State Park occupies more than 4,000 acres on the shores of Norris Lake and surrounds Norris Dam. Scenic valleys, sparkling streams, wildflower trails and a virgin forest are among the natural wonders of the Park.
Find your next adventure on the Top Secret Trail, a journey through some of East Tennessee’s beautiful scenery and best-kept secrets. You’ll start your trip in Knoxville, then set off into the Upper Cumberland Plateau and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, where you’ll explore the area’s culture, marvel at the landscape, and sample some home cooking.
Visit fascinating towns, from the “Secret City” of Oak Ridge and its atomic mysteries to Harriman and Rugby, both built on the principles of their founders. Enjoy the historic character of the town squares, general stores, and local museums on the route. Appreciate the Appalachian heritage exhibited in the region’s arts and crafts, and tap your toes to the sweet sounds of Americana Music flowing from venues and shops along the way. You’ll also learn about coal mining and how desegregation in the 1960s played out in the rural mid-South.
With natural areas and nine state parks, this trail is an outdoor adventurer’s dream. You’ll find back-to-nature activities for every type of traveler, from picnics with a view to challenging hikes through the foothills; peaceful scenic drives to rugged off-road ATV trails. You’ll also encounter hundreds of miles of shoreline for fishing, hiking and boating along three of East Tennessee’s most famous lakes: Norris, Watts Bar and Dale Hollow.
There’s something for everyone on the Top Secret Trail, just waiting to be discovered.
Download Top Secret Trail Guide • Download Top Secret Trail Map
White Lightning Trail
Get ready for White Lightning - 200 miles of unique American stories told every day through Appalachian arts and crafts, preserved buildings and sites, historic town squares and the tales of legendary characters.
The trail gets its name from the area’s history as a prohibition-era, Moonshine-Running Corridor. Rebels careened around the curves of "Thunder Road," transporting illegal, homemade corn whiskey under the cover of darkness.
More History-Changing Pioneers made their marks along this route. As you cruise through rolling hills and valleys, you'll be traveling along the path first cut by Daniel Boone himself. You'll walk with the ghosts of Civil War soldiers and coal miners, visit forts that protected the territory's first settlers and see the school where the Clinton 12 stood their ground in the name of civil rights.
And speaking of legends, no Tennessee trip would be complete without a little Musical Heritage. Visit the hometowns of country music's Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, Kenny Chesney and Carl Smith.
Your drive takes you along parts of a National Scenic Byway: East Tennessee Crossing, with unforgettable views from the overlook atop Clinch Mountain. The Beautiful Bodies of Water you'll encounter have shaped the region's landscape and culture for hundreds of years and today attract outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds.
So buckle up, there's adventure at every turn on the White Lightning: Thunder Road to Rebels Trail.
Download White Lightning Trail Guide • Download White Lightning Trail Map