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Tennessee – The Cradle of Music

From the high peaks of the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains in the east over the Nashville Basin and the Mighty Mississippi with Memphis, the cradle of music, in the west, Tennessee holds a great bundle of joy and excitement in store for all visitors. A rich historical and cultural heritage, a stunning nature with mountain-high waterfalls, a wonderful flora and fauna, and countless attractions for young and old alike: Tennessee is the place to visit to create unforgettable memories and loads of fun.

Tennessee characteristically borders with no less than eight other states. Only the state of Missouri can claim the same amount of neighboring states.

The eastern part of Tennessee is located in the Appalachian Mountains. The state’s highest point, Clingman’s Dome at 6,643 feet, is located here. It is in fact the highest point of the famed Appalachian Trail as well. Generally, six geographic regions can be isolated in the state of Tennessee. Those are the Appalachian Ridge and Valley, the Blue Ridge Mountains Region, the Cumberland Plateau, the Highland Rim, the Nashville Basin, and the Gulf Coastal Plain.

Most of Tennessee has a humid subtropical climate. The mountains in the east, however, fall under the humid continental climate classification. The summer highs range in the 80s and even 90s, while winters are generally mild with even the low temperatures rarely dropping below the 30s.

Historically settled for at least 11,000 years, the native tribes came in first contact with European explorers when Hernando de Soto came to the region in the 1540s. Tennessee in 1796 was admitted to the Union as 16th state. In the 1830s, Tennessee left an indelible stamp in the history books when thousands of Cherokee Indians were forcibly removed and many killed in the so-called “Trail of Tears”. In 1996, Tennessee celebrated its bicentennial, the Bicentennial Mall state park in Nashville bearing testimony since then.

East Tennessee

The eastern part of Tennessee is characterized by significant mountain ranges such as the Blue Ridge, which is considered to be part of the Appalachian Mountain Range. Though not nearly as high and steep as for example the Rocky Mountains, the Blue Ridge sports a mean elevation of 5,000 feet. Further to the west, the Ridge and Valley region is characterized by fertile valleys and wood-ridden ridges (as the name suggests).

East Tennessee is characterized by its abounding natural beauty but also by many notable urban regions such as Knoxville, Getlinburg, Chattanooga, Pigeon Forge, Norris Lake, and Johnson City. Knoxville is the famed place of origin of country music as well as the home of several other attractions like the Knoxville Zoo or the Arts and Culture Alliance. All the cities and towns in Eastern Tennessee hold something special in store for visitors. Chattanooga houses the Tennessee Aquarium and Ruby Falls, a stunning 145-foot waterfall falling down from Lookout Mountain.

Middle Tennessee

The east-central part of the state houses the Cumberland Plateau, an area with an elevation between 1,500 and 1,800 feet. The Highland Rim has historically been known for extensive tobacco farming and still sports today vast farmlands and former plantations. The area is known for the rich flora and fauna, the former being characterized by the largest chestnut tree density in the entire US, the latter most notably by the many salamander species existent here.

A 440-mile scenic highway follows the historic Natchez Trace to the town of Natchez, located by the Mississippi River. The Natchez Trace was an important trading and mobilization route for Native Americans and Europeans alike.

Natchez, beautifully located along the Mississippi River banks, is one of the oldest towns of Tennessee. Though it remains a relatively small place, it by no means lacks sites of interest. Especially architecture buffs are more than recompensed here with the blend of Greek Revival plantation estates, Victorian and modern-day styles.

Nashville, the state capital, is located in central – or as the locals like to call the region: Middle – Tennessee. It was here that country music is said to have been born and bred, for example at Ryman Auditorium, the “Mother Church of Country Music.” The Country Music Hall of Fame is also located here. Not only due to being a country music mecca, one will here find the highest density of accommodation and vacation lodging in the state.

West Tennessee

West of the Nashville Basin the Gulf Coastal Plain ensues, the largest coherent region of Tennessee. It derives its name from the Gulf of Mexico where the region starts. In Tennessee it ranges from the Tennessee River in the east to the Mississippi River in the west.

The region boasts history, culture, and natural wonders alike. Nightlife on Beale Street, Memphis, is among the finest in the nation. Beale Street has since the start of the 20th century been a haven of African-American music and culture. Music is spelled with a capital M in Memphis. Visit the Gibson Guitar factory, which also features live music and great food. W.C. Handy Performing Arts Park on Beale Street is but one of numerous performance sites.

Memphis is Tennessee’s largest city. The Mississippi River is at its mightiest and most impressive here. Other than the omnipresent musical heritage, the city features notable museums such as the National Civil Rights Museum and fine arts facilities including the Brooks Museum of Art.

The city of Trenton sports an 1820s court house, a famed Civil War site, and many other attractions, ranging from historical to culinary. Other notable places in West Tennessee include Henderson, Jackson, Savannah, and Union City.

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