Jack lives here...
Trip Start May 04, 2012
16Trip End May 20, 2012
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Where I stayed
Hampton Inn & Suites, Florence, Alabama, United States
What I did
Jack Daniels Distillery, Lynchburg, Tennessee, United States
We paid our room tab and headed out on the road... But not before another visit to Third Man Records with a shopping list from the UK. It was on our way out of Nashville and it meant I could buy more stuff so I was a happy camper to say the least :p
A few minutes on the road and Dave decided we needed to stop for gas... This was a mission in itself. Nearly 20 mins after we pulled in we had a full tank and Dave only had to ask for help once.
More driving through the Tennessee countryside only resulted in more videos of us badly singing and photos of roadsigns. I am very pleased to say we travelled through Rogersville, past Huntsville, saw signs for Pulaski and drove on Highway 72 while playing the song... That'll mean something to all you Drive-By Trucker fans out there ;)
We drove through some amazing towns and neighbourhoods..
We finally arrived in Lynchburg and headed towards the tiny town centre for our lunch reservation at Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House. The house was purchased by Miss Mary Bobo and Jack Daniels himself and has been entertaining guests ever since; Jack Daniels own great grand niece is now the proud owner and manager. Just before lunch we met a couple from Yorkshire and a couple from Nashville. They were older and had met on a cruise together last year but we instantly had a bond - The Yorkshire couple wanted to mother us and teach us things they thought the youths of today wouldn't know and the Nashville couple just thought I was entertaining (it seems to be a running theme with Southerners and myself)
Dinner consisted of Southern fried chicken, pinto beans and pulled pork, meatloaf, rice and brocolli cheese bake, corn bread, potatoes, coleslaw and fried okra... Yes folks, we had seconds and thirds. The food (especially the okra) was so divine and the sweet tea just kept pouring... The Southern hospitality was in full swing and the conversation round the dinner table was flowing. Our hostess was incredibly friendly and Southern; she explained the history of Miss Mary Bobo's to us and just kept pushing more food on us!
Phew... Anyway. We were on tour #8 with our Yorkshire and Nashville friends. We had the most amazing tour guide called Ron who's dry Southern sense of humour made the tour that much more special :) The distillery is weird; Ron explained just how much Jack Daniels is created right there on the Lynchburg spring and how much is exported, he even explained that the barrel house up on the hill that held 1 million gallons of aging Jack was one of 7 across Lynchburg... and yet it still felt like a small town family distillery only producing enough for the local folk. The attitude towards the Jack is amazing... They genuinely care about every single bottle. No Joke. They test at every stage and age it for over four years. They use brand new barrels made on sight by their own coopers.. and we learnt that the barrels when used by Jack then get bought by Bushmills in the UK who's own distinctive taste would not exist were it not for the Jack Daniels process and barrels.
Photography is limited in the ditillery for obvious reasons but we got some great photos of the spring and around the grounds, including some inside Jack's own office where the very safe that killed him still stands (long story but put it this way, if he'd soaked his infected toe in his own liquor he may have lived past 61)
The distillery and Miss Mary Bobos has been a huge highlight for us and we're so glad we did it. We've already said we'd be back and I hope more of you make the trip out; it's worth the flight just to see Lynchburg, meet it's hardworking folk and see where Jack has been making the same Tennessee whiskey since he was 16 years old. We spashed out a bit and purchased a limited edition bottle of Jack's Single Barrel and had it engraved to commenmorate our honeymoon. We're gonna crack that baby on our first wedding anniversary and remember our epic trip <3
We left the distillery and headed South to Muscle Shoals and Florence Alabama. The landscape doesn't change so much but the license plates do! While in Memphis our new friends Windy and Arwen told us about the love for sports in Alabama and about college football; apparently locals support one of two local universities by saying "Roll Tide!" or "War Eagle!".. Now, we're still yet to find out which university is which and so when visiting a bar for some food in downtown Florence we kept very quiet. they had more sports on more TV's than I'd ever seen and the frat boys on the table in front of us mentioned both Roll Tide and War Eagle... Quietly Dave and I thought up our own, English version: Raw Seagull. We paid our bar tab of a measely £25 dollars for food, two rounds of drinks and tip (Alabama is cheap!) and headed back to the hotel and this is where we are now..
Tomorrow we have a tour of Fame studios in Muscle Shoals and a visit to the Wilson Dam and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. Dave spoke to John at Fame earlier today and he couldn't help us enough.. He's even put our names forward for a hotel upgrade! The Southern hospitality is alive and well in Alabama... Looking forward to meeting John and visiting everything but until then it's Jack Daniels hooch and sleep.
P.S. Saw our first bit of roadkill today that was nearly as big as an adult human... Surrounded by GIANT buzzards on a fence waiting for us to roll over the deer and eat it's remains... We certainly ain't in Cov-sas anymore Toto...