|Postcards from the Road
||25 March 2009
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.
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.
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 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
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.
DT at the Jack Daniel Visitor Center
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 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!
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.
Sugar maple pallets ready to be roasted to charcoal
Jack Daniel's Distillery
Mr. Jack's original office. The distillery was closed for 29 years during
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.
Notice the black tree limbs on the flowering trees?
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.
Sadly this pallet of single-barrel whiskey (and the barrel) does not belong
Another photo of the distillery - notice the "Angel's Share" mold on
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
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.