We have lived in the East Tennessee area most of our lives. Recently we moved to Jefferson County, an area in which we had never spent much time. It has been so fun to play tourist as we explore this new area we call home. Dandridge, Tennessee is one of the towns that we have enjoyed learning more about. Dandridge is located on the banks of Douglas Lake and is the second oldest town in Tennessee. This little town offers so much for families and is so worth the visit out of Knoxville for a day (or more!).
Here are 9 things you don’t want to miss when you visit Dandridge:
1. Bush Beans Visitor Center
This is a hidden gem in my book! Located just eight miles south of Dandridge, Bush Beans Visitor Center is as must-do! Bush Beans Visitor’s Center offers a lunch café with excellent food, including free samples of beans. Next door is a fabulous gift shop and the Bush Beans museum. The museum is FREE and enjoyable for the whole family. It is extremely interactive and fun for kids. My busy little boy loves to visit. The staff of the museum is knowledgeable and some of the nicest folks I have ever met. Don’t forget to get your free family picture with Duke. Unfortunately, he won’t tell you the secret family recipe!
2. Dandridge Dock
The Dandridge Dock is located just across the Highway 92 bridge, just south of Dandridge, and is the perfect place to relax, eat a picnic, or try your hand at fishing. The dock is a long floating dock with ample seating and beautiful views.
3. Dandridge Walking Tour
Start your day in Dandridge at the Visitor’s Center and pick up a brochure for the Dandridge Walking Tour. The walking tour includes 21 historical sites you can walk to and an additional 16 to drive to. There is so much history in Dandridge and with the walking tour you can see it all!
4. Dandridge Revolutionary War Graveyard
Across the street from the Visitor’s Center is the Revolutionary War Graveyard, where you can take a self-guided tour, so make sure to pick up the brochure as you enter. You will need it because most of the gravestones are either unmarked or the inscription has worn off. This graveyard is very well maintained and the history that goes along with it is fascinating.
5. Free Museum in the Court House
The Jefferson County Court House is the tallest building in Dandridge. On the first floor is a small museum housing artifacts from the area. Did you know Davy Crockett was married in Dandridge? You can view some Davy Crockett memorabilia in the museum along with so many other things representative of the area.
6. Tinsley-Bible Drugstore
Yes, Tinsley-Bible Drug is a working pharmacy, but in the drug store you’ll also find a fountain and grill complete with an old-fashioned lunch counter. They offer hand dipped ice cream and a good size menu of entrees, but they are best known for their burgers and milkshakes and are only open until 2pm.
7. The “Million-Dollar” Dike
The greatest modern influence to Dandridge was the creation of Douglas Lake when Douglas Dam was built. The creation of the lake threatened to flood the town until local townspeople pleaded with the government, all the way up to Capital Hill. To save the town, a million-dollar dike made of native stones and set in tons of solid earth was built to hold back the waters of the new lake. We loved climbing to the top and walking along the dike with the lake on one side and the town on the other.
There are many festivals held in Dandridge each year. Music on the Town is held on Thursday evenings starting in September; Shakin’ the Lake is the 4th of July event held each year; the Scots Irish Festival is held the last Saturday in September; and in December, candlelight shopping is offered through the town.
9. Angelos on the Point
If you want a meal with a view, this is the place to go! Located in the Point Marina, Angelos is your go to place for an evening out or if you are just coming in off the lake. It offers a large patio to take in the view with a large grassy area beyond so your kids can run and play while you are waiting on your food!