Visit Farragut, sounds like home
Visit Farragut, sounds like home

48 hours in Farragut

Experiencing the Sights and Sounds of Eastern Tennessee

My wife, Matilda, and I are huge music fans—that’s definitely a big part of why we moved to Nashville. Being new to the region, though, we’ve been wanting to take trips outside the Nashville bubble and experience other parts of Tennessee and hear up-and-coming local musicians before they make it big in Music City. Now that the dust has settled and our moving boxes are all unpacked, we decided to head east and see what the town of Farragut has to offer.


Full Speed Ahead

After the two-and-a-half-hour drive from Nashville, it felt great to get out of the car and stretch our legs—and exploring a museum is the perfect way to get on our feet. We arrived at the Farragut Museum in the early afternoon, and figured this would be the perfect way to get to know this town. I’m a bit of a history buff, but I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t familiar with this particular area. After this visit, though, I sure am!

The museum not only honors the town of Farragut, but also the man behind the town’s name—Admiral David Glasgow Farragut. Born in the area, then called Campbell’s Station, Farragut was the first commissioned admiral of the United States Navy. You may remember him from Civil War history lessons for giving the famous order: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” The museum houses an extensive collection of the admiral’s personal effects, plus exhibits and artifacts of the region, the Civil War and rotating special exhibits.

Admiral Pub
Admiral David Glasgow Farragut
Admiral Pub
Campbell Station Inn
The Admiral Pub

Even after checking into our hotel, I still had an itch to discover the area’s history. With the weather being absolutely gorgeous and Matilda wanting to take in the sunny day, she suggested the Farragut History Walk. I required little convincing and we were off to the first stop: Founder’s Park. This cute park has pathways in every direction, and the sounds of the creek flowing through just added to the appeal. Here, informational signs are placed around the park to give insight into the people, places and events that make this area significant to United States’ history. Stop #2 is Campbell Station Inn, which we learned is one of the first inns in Tennessee and provided shelter for both Union and Confederate wounded soldiers during the Civil War. Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States, was a frequent visitor to the Inn, and Louis Phillipe, who would become the King of France, was also a guest. The Inn is surrounded by McGill Plaza, which includes additional information on the history of the original settlement, the Civil War Battle of Campbell Station and the families that have owned the inn/house before the town acquired it. The Farragut Museum is the next stop, which we explored already, but realized we had overlooked the Admiral Farragut Plaza. Historical markers around the plaza tell the history of Admiral Farragut, and in the center is a life-sized-plus bronze statue of the Admiral—the first statue created of him in more than 100 years. Just a few steps away is a Civil War Trails marker with more information regarding the Battle of Campbell Station when the Union Army successfully defended against a brutal Confederate attack. The last stop on the trail is the Pleasant Forest Cemetery, where many of the early pioneer settlers of the community are buried. We learned that the second Governor of Tennessee, Archibald Roane, is also laid to rest here, which shouldn’t have surprised us given the rich history of the area.

An acoustic guitar paired with a Southern twang rang through the cozy space.

All that walking definitely built up an appetite, and we found the perfect place to fit the theme of our first day—The Admiral Pub. And lucky for us, this neighborhood restaurant and bar had live music playing when we walked through the door. Matilda had a little dance in her step as we got to our table—I guess her legs weren’t as tired as mine—and we quickly decided on a pizza and some drinks before turning our attention to the local musician playing. An acoustic guitar paired with a Southern twang rang through the cozy space, and rapturous applause from the other diners punctuated each song. This was such a fun way to end our first exciting day in Farragut!


Coming Up Roses

After a quick breakfast at our hotel, we set out early to start our next day in East Tennessee. Just a brief 90-minute drive from Farragut lies Great Smoky Mountains National Park. During the drive, my wife and I decided we wanted to see one of the famous waterfalls and opted to take a hike on the Laurel Falls Trail, which sounded like an easy-to-moderate trail leading to, you guessed it, Laurel Falls. The hike would be 2.3 miles round trip, and our legs were up to the task, even after the history walk yesterday.

We arrived in the late morning and the mist that gives the mountains their name was still hanging in the air, giving us a stunning view as we drove to the park. Now, I’ve been on hikes through the woods before, but the forest here is on a whole different level. From the blooming vines, bushes and shrubs on the forest floor to the lush greens in the towering tree canopy, the area felt primeval. Even though other hikers were on the same trail, the breathtaking views easily kept our attention and made us feel like we were in our own little world. It was hard to not get wrapped up in the forest’s majesty.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Mountain laurel flowers
Laurel Falls
Water to Wine

Matilda has always had a green thumb and spends a lot of her free time tending to her flower beds at home, so she was naturally ecstatic to see all the blooms just off the path. More than 1,600 flowering plants live and thrive in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and they say there’s always something in bloom no matter what time of year. She was taking dozens—maybe even hundreds—of pictures of different flowers and trying to identify them so she could add them to her garden.

At the end of the hike was the gorgeous Laurel Falls, framed by the exceptionally light pink flowers Matilda identified as mountain laurel, which gives the falls its name. Consisting of an upper and a lower section, Laurel Falls is divided by a walkway that crosses the stream at the base of the upper falls—and is the perfect spot for a picture. We snapped some killer selfies and, after basking in the beauty and listening to the relaxing sounds of the water splashing down the rock, we headed back down the trail and out to Farragut.

We got back into town just in time for happy hour at Water into Wine, and we were excited to stay there through dinner once we heard live jazz was on the menu that evening. I started off with a glass of red wine while Matilda sipped her sparkling rosé and we gushed over the pictures we had taken over the course of the trip so far. Once our stomachs started to grumble, I ordered the beef tenderloin medallions and Matilda got the hand-rolled lasagna. It tasted divine and you could easily tell the lasagna noodles were handmade to perfection, and the red wine glaze on my tenderloins was impeccable! Right as we were polishing off our plates, the music started. We each had another glass and vibed to the jazz saxophone playing just a few feet away.


We Were Framed!

On our last day in Farragut, we wanted to go out looking for souvenirs. As we checked out of the hotel, the staff recommended Shoppes at Homespun for an eclectic selection of locally made gifts. Housing a huge variety of one-of-a-kind merchandise from numerous local artisans, you can find almost anything here—antiques, shabby chic decor, jewelry, furniture, collectibles, the list goes on. After perusing the aisles, my wife found two beautiful glass vases she wanted to take home and use for displaying some of her favorite flowers.

Before setting out on the road back home to Nashville, we’d need some lunch and Apple Cake Tea Room would fill up our bellies for sure. This cute local restaurant has been owned and operated by the same family for nearly 40 years. From the log cabin exterior to the interior decor and wood beams, this place screams country. Matilda and I both got sandwiches—a BLT for me and a chicken salad on a croissant for her—and we were both absolutely delighted with our meals. We snagged two slices of the namesake apple cake to go for a taste of Farragut when we’re back in Nashville.

Apple Cake Tea Room
The Town Framery
Shoppes at Homespun
The Town Framery

After lunch, my wife said she had one last surprise stop before we left. Though I normally hate not having my GPS give me directions, she wouldn’t even tell me the place so I could enter it into my map app. Driving, turning and stopping where she said, we found ourselves at The Town Framery. I was a little confused as I turned off the car, then Matilda excitedly explained that she wanted to get our favorite photo from Great Smoky Mountains National Park framed. And I loved the idea! They helped us pick out a great ready-made frame, and we perused works from local artists while the staff professionally mounted everything and we had a perfect souvenir—just like that.

On the drive home, we reminisced about our favorite parts of the trip, and agreed that next time we’d have to come back during a music festival. Matilda looked up events as I drove and named them out for me: February Songwriters Showcase, Bluegrass on the Lawn, Musicfest at West End, the Summer Lawn Chair Concert Series—we had barely left the city limits and were already planning our return trip!