Dandridge, Tennessee

Natural beauty, historical significance

Spend some time on Douglas Lake when in Dandridge, Tenn.

Dandridge has a little bit of everything: a National Historic District, 500 miles of shoreline and plenty of small- town Southern charm.

A gem of East Tennessee, Dandridge sits nestled among scenic mountains and lakes and is home to a little more than 2,200 residents, though the town continues to grow.

In-town historic sites range from Revolutionary to Civil War era importance but plenty of downtown shopping and restaurants keep the area feeling modern and relevant.

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A little history>Dandridge’s courthouse, a structure dating back to 1845 with Greek Revival architecture, houses a free museum with Jefferson County artifacts.>Bush’s Bean Visitors Center and Museum gives a behind-the-scenes look at this famous product and the family behind it with a family-friendly tour and activities.>The Shepard Inn, established in 1820, was recently revitalized through careful research and planning. A night at the inn is one of Dandridge’s most beautiful and historical features.>For more information, stop by the Visitors Center for a copy of the walking guide for historic downtown DandridgeSource: townofdandridge.com, shepinn.com, bushbeans.com

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Get outside>Both Douglas and Cherokee lakes boast beautiful views, camping areas, full-service marinas and docks. Douglas Lake also offers a variety of boat and jet ski rentals.>Fish for bass, crappie and channel catfish in Douglas or Cherokee lakes, but remember to stop by the Jefferson County Clerk’s office to purchase a Tennessee hunting and fishing license first.>And, of course, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just a short drive from town.Source: tripadvisor.com, townofdandridge.com

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Festival fun>Shakin’ The Lake: Douglas Lake goes on display July 3 with a day of shopping, boating and food that culminates in a 10 p.m. fireworks display.>Scots-Irish Festival: This old-time music extravaganza held on Sept. 28 includes bagpipe bands, Irish step dance, traditional food and craft vendors — all free of charge.>Christmas in Dandridge: Take in candlelight downtown shopping, a tour of festive homes and all the opening ceremonies the first Saturday in December.Source: tripadvisor.com, townofdandridge.com, scots-irish.org

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Grab a bite>Lakeview Grill is the perfect pit stop for travelers looking for beautiful views of Douglas Lake served with a side of traditional Southern barbecue. The portions are big and the tea is sweet around here.>Taste of Dandridge is a local favorite for a variety of traditional Southern fare. This restaurant has something for everyone, but frequent visitors highly recommend the catfish.>The soda counter at the Tinsley Bible drug store will take you back in time with old-fashioned malts and their signature Bible Burger. And although lunch here is delicious, the shop’s breakfast is regarded as one of the area’s best-kept secrets.Source: tripadvisor.com, townofdandridge.com

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At a glance>First settled in 1783>Second-oldest town in Tennessee>Named after Martha Dandridge Washington, wife to George Washington>Four of the town’s original taverns are still standing, but in different uses>Recently named “Top Small Town on the Water” by Life on the Water magazine>The Dandridge Dike was constructed in 1942 to save the historic downtown from encroaching Douglas Lake waters.Source: townofdandridge.com