The Whiskey Well

The Whiskey Well

August 18th, 2012 by Steve Hardy in Glimpse 2012-b

Tourists visit the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn.

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

If you ask around Lynchburg, many locals can tell you exactly how many generations removed they are from "Mr. Jack," or can at least relate a story their granddad told them about the famous liquor baron.

And though the town that whiskey built still has deep ties to the Jack Daniel Distillery, Lynchburg offers many other opportunities for good, clean Southern fun.

So after a tour of the distillery, stick around for some fried chicken and cornbread, drop a line in the Elk River or hop a carriage; it may well be pulled by a horse whose line has been in the area for a century.

-- Compiled by staff writer Steve Hardy

Best thing to do

Jack Daniel Distillery -- Whiskey, whiskey everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

• Go behind the scenes at the Jack Daniel Distillery (182 Lynchburg Highway, tours offered 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) and see facilities where distillers make, mellow and bottle Old No. 7.

• Visit the cave spring where producers collect water for the whiskey, and check out the site where spirits pass drop by drop through loads of distilling charcoal, the defining characteristic that separates Tennessee sour mash from bourbon.

• Try not to get too thirsty, though; Moore County has been dry since Prohibition. The distillery is allowed to operate since it existed before Prohibition and sells only commemorative bottles of whiskey.

• Visitors can get a taste of the goods on the sampling tour (call for times), which also allows guests to view the revenuer's office, where people can buy Jack Daniel's by the barrel as it ages and soaks in the woods' rich color.

Source: Jessica Allen, Jack Daniel Distillery

Lynchburg 101

• Population: 6,362 in 2010.

• Biggest employer: Jack Daniel Distillery.

• Landmarks: Moore County Courthouse.

• Founded: Early 1800s.

• History: Half of Lynchburg had to be rebuilt after a late 1800s fire ravaged the town.

• Most famous residents: Jack Daniel, hall of fame footballer Johnny Majors, frontiersman Davy Crockett.

• Traditions: Get a taste of world-class barbecue at Jack Daniel's international contest in October. Winners must be proven champions in other contests to even apply.

Source: George Stone, Moore County Historical Society

Go West, young man

Celebrate Lynchburg history every June at the Frontier Days Festival by getting gussied up in your best frontier gear and checking out rodeo riders and professional and amateur folk dancing.

Mind your manners, lest you cross the River Chase Posse, who hold Western re-enactments downtown.

In the past, celebrants would ride horses through the county, but modern revelers can still rent buggies to celebrate the town's equestrian history.

Contests at the festival are plentiful -- from cutest baby to tastiest cornbread and cutest goat.

Source: Moore County News, Joe Casey

Get hooked on Moore County fishing

The Lynchburg area abounds with a variety of fish for the enthusiastic angler. Locals boat, canoe and wade to dozens of hot spots. Head out to the Elk and Duck rivers for some great trout fishing.

A popular sport here is fly fishing. Never tried? Visit the local outfitters at Tim's Flies and Lies for lessons, as well as supplies and guided trips.

Every summer, you can join the fishermen who flock to Tim's Ford Lake to compete in tournaments to catch the biggest crappie and bass.

Source: Tim's Flies and Lies

Everyone's friends when the secret ingredient is whiskey

•Pull up a seat at one of the massive tables at Miss Mary Bobo's at 295 Main St. (reserved seating only at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.). Remember, before you get to eat, you'll have to introduce yourself to all of your tablemates.

•Dinner is served family style with your new friends, including mountains of meatloaf, squash casserole and cornbread.

•Fried chicken with a side of fried okra might not sound healthy, but the food at this former boarding house kept Miss Mary going for more than 102 years.

•The secret to Miss Mary's fudge pie? Any time a recipe calls for vanilla, they throw in extra Jack Daniel's instead.

Source: Lynne Tolley, Miss Mary Bobo's