What has been the go to item on a road trip for our family?...our ipad. We added the Trip Advisor app and its interactive map is far better than our car GPS. It shows our location in real time and the surrounding area. The result is that this has been a no-highway road trip!
The back roads of Tennessee are beautiful. Beautiful in a different way than the refined farmland of the Amish country, different than the rolling blue mountains in Virginia and certainly different from our neck of the woods in Connecticut. Here the farmland is rough. The Smoky Mountains line the horizon and farms can stretch across open fields, through patches of trees and pop up in unexpected places.
We wandered today. We wandered to The Lost Sea, the country’s largest underwater lake. We hiked down about half a mile through caverns where Native Americans held secret meetings around a fire and where locals snuck distilleries during the age of Prohibition. We saw graffiti created by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Finally at the end of our hike we heard the tinkling sound of dripping water. The cool, crystal clear lake was pristine. Due to recent snow melt and severe storms, the lake has risen over 20 feet in the last three months. Trout swam alongside our boat much the way I imagine dolphins swim alongside boats in the southern states.
Then we wandered to Mayfield Dairy. We had to try the ice cream. We wandered into the company store where we discovered there was a tour beginning! A free tour! It was quick, but we were able to see and learn about the bottling process and how milk gets from cow to consumer.
Lastly we wandered along a country road on our return trip. Relying on our ipad, we roamed through farmland imagining which home we would like to own. Our ipad only led us astray once, when we followed what was clearly labeled as a road, but was in fact a dirt pathway. We were not sure our Prius was up for the task and wishing we were in a 4wheel drive Jeep, we turned around to find the next country road to take us home.
Are you humming John Denver’s lyrics? Yeah, me too.