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Terry & Dave Taylor

Miss Mary Bobo and Jack

Nashville, Tennessee: Yes, we are still in Nashville... however our day was spent on a 190-mile circle south of the city, visiting several of Tennessee's most celebrated sites.

Nashville KOA
The view from here: it rained all night and all day today

Our drive to Lynchburg was pleasant, though it was raining. The farmland south of Nashville is especially pretty. Huge Georgian mansions with white fencing - and pretty Tennessee Walking Horses happily grazing in green fields.

Lynchburg, Tennessee
Lynchburg, Tennessee

After arriving in Lynchburg and quickly checking-out the small town square, we went to our one o'clock lunch reservations at Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House. This beautiful home was built in 1867 and was purchased in 1908 by Mary and Jack Bobo. Miss Mary ran the property as a boarding house until her death in 1983, just shy of her 102nd birthday! Now the home is owned by the Jack Daniels distillery and is used as a restaurant. Southern Cooking rules at 11a and 1p daily. Meals are served family style in several dining rooms throughout the home for 65 guests at each seating. Each table has a hostess and we were lucky enough to have Lynne Tolley, the great-grandniece of Jack hisownself as our hostess. Not only does Lynne Tolley rule supreme at Miss Mary Bobo's, she is also one of the seven official tasters at the distillery. Lynne Tolley was very sweet and gave us a little talk about the history of the home, the culture of Lynchburg and a bit about her own interesting life as a world-traveling ambassadress for Tennessee whiskey.

Our round dining table held about 16 people. The massive lazy susan in the center was loaded with platters of fried chicken, beef-stuffed peppers, fried okra, tomato casserole, sauerkraut salad, apple compote (with Jack Daniels whiskey), baked beans and corn muffins. Dessert was a fresh baked shortcake stuffed with strawberries and whipped cream. Lunch was served with sweet tea, and coffee was served with dessert. Our table included people from all over the US and three guests from Australia. Conversations flowed freely and we really enjoyed our food and company. If you are ever in Lynchburg, try to have lunch at Miss Mary Bobo's - but make reservations! (We lucked out today as the menu changes daily and is usually very pork-laden. The only two items served EVERY DAY are the apple compote and the very delicious fried okra.) Yes, it is a little touristy, but the food is good and the house is simply gorgeous and in perfect condition. Lunch is only $19.95. Such a deal.

Lynchburg, Tennessee RV Parks
Lynchburg City Park: much ignored, you can camp here for a "donation" given to the next-door Jail Museum. the sites have only 15 amp plugs (I call this dry-camping), but it is an easy overnight for your visit to the sites in Lynchburg, Tennessee. The park is just behind/below the gazebo in the middle of town - and behind the Jail Museum. Playground, public restrooms. Nothing else.

Next stop: the Jack Daniel's Distillery. The distillery claims to be the oldest distillery in the United States, but we also had this claim at our visit to Buffalo Trace distillery in 2002... so I can't testify on this claim. I only report, people. I only report.

Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee
DT at the Jack Daniel Visitor Center

At the Jack Daniel's Visitor Center a guest needs to register and is assigned a tour guide. We had a tour, with 20 other happy guests, that led us throughout the entire facility. Guests must walk just less than a mile and climb over 100 steps to tour the distillery and at the end you are not awarded with a taste of the sweet nectar. No. Sorry. No Way. Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey is distilled in a dry county. Such irony.

Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee
Jack Daniel's Visitor Center

Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whisky in one paragraph: Jack Daniel started distilling whiskey in 1866 (while still a teenager, having learned the skill from a local minister). He developed his practice of making whiskey at the site of an iron-free cave spring in Lynchburg, Tennessee - water perfect for making whiskey. But Mr. Daniel took his spirit-making one step ahead by dripping his whiskey through charcoal to further enhance the clarity. Then he "matured" his whiskey in scorched white oak barrels. The secret to this process is: not only do they use fresh spring water, but the Jack Daniel Distillery makes their own charcoal from sugar maple trees, and fabricates their own white oak barrels. Quality control. There is no set date for the whiskey to mature in the casks. It is tasted. When the tasters declare the brew is ready, it is bottled. Though sold world-wide, every bottle of Jack Daniel's is distilled and bottled on site in Lynchburg - by 375 employees. Once a month, every employee is given a bottle of Jack!

Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee
The spring

Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee
DT with Jack at the spring site

SIDE NOTE/TRIVIAL FACT/FUTURE JEOPARDY WINNING ANSWER: Jack Daniel's whiskey essentially distills bourbon: corn + barley + rye. The fact they run it through a charcoal filter makes it "Tennessee Whiskey". Now you know.

Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee
Sugar maple pallets ready to be roasted to charcoal

Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee
Jack Daniel's Distillery

Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee
Mr. Jack's original office. The distillery was closed for 29 years during prohibition.

Everything near the distillery is covered in a strange black mold called the "Angel's Share". Distilled spirits evaporating from the resting barrels cause a black mold on buildings and trees in the area. Strange, but true.

Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee
Notice the black tree limbs on the flowering trees?

Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee
The tour continues through the pretty distillery

If you have a whole bunch of cash and really love Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, you can buy your own single-barrel of Jack. Depending upon how much booze is in the barrel, the price will be approximately $12,000. That's a lot of Jack. You get to come to the distillery and taste a few select barrels and decide which one suits you. Then the whiskey is bottled with your own personal label and shipped to you - and you get the empty barrel too.

Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee
Sadly this pallet of single-barrel whiskey (and the barrel) does not belong to us

Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee
Bottling line

Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee
Another photo of the distillery - notice the "Angel's Share" mold on everything?

Can you imagine how tired we were after all this adventure? Today was a big day, even by our standards. DT drove 190 miles in our tow car today!

Tomorrow we will leave Nashville. No plan yet as to where we are going, but we have a pot of coffee ready in the morning to discuss such details. Until my next update, I remain, your Tennessee whiskey deprived correspondent.

RV Park: Nashville KOA

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