01

Downtown Nashville Visitor Center

Ring of Fire starts here in downtown Nashville. Stop in for tips and info on area attractions, and hear live performances in the heart of Music City.

Special Tags:

  • Lodging

501 Broadway Nashville, TN

615-259-4747

More About: Nashville

This mid-sized city draws people from all over the world, eager to stroll the sidewalks of Broadway, duck into the famous honky tonks, and walk in the footsteps of country music'’s greats. This thriving district has something for everyone, from pool halls and pub fare to great meals and family fun; shopping and souvenirs to world-class sporting events. This has truly always been the heart of the city, and right on the banks of the Cumberland River sits Nashville'’s beginning,— the site of the original Fort Nashborough. Led here by James Robertson, this is where the city's first settlers lived. Looking out over the river and behind the fort at the bustling downtown is an interesting reminder of the changes Nashville has seen, from humble fort to modern skyscrapers, pioneers to performers — since the late 1700s.

02

Ryman Auditorium

Originally the Union Gospel Tabernacle, this 1892 church became an entertainment venue, presenting operas, vaudeville shows and top artists in the early 1900s. The auditorium is best known as the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, which performed here from 1943- 74 before moving to the current Grand Ole Opry House. Stop in to tour the venue and visit the museum and gift shop.

Special Tags:

  • Picture Spot

116 Fifth Avenue North Nashville, TN

615-458-8700

Turn R on Broadway, turn L on 5th Ave N. to pt. 2.

03

Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

Get an intimate look at America'’s music, just blocks from the honky tonks that launched hundreds of country music careers. See one-of-a-kind memorabilia, rare photos and video, traveling exhibits and live performances. Don'’t forget the gift shop and Two Twenty-Two Grille.

Special Tags:

  • Picture Spot

222 5th Ave. S. Nashville, TN 37203

615-416-2001

Driving directions differ due to one-way streets: Go N on 5th Ave. N., turn R on Commerce St. Turn R on 4th Ave. N., go 3 blocks to Demonbreun St., turn R to pt. 3. Note: While parked in downtown, you can also visit pts. 111 & 112 on pg. 27.

04

Fort Nashborough

Fort Nashborough is temporarily closed to the public for renovations.

The great city of Nashville traces its roots to this site on the banks of the Cumberland River. In 1780, James Robertson and a group of early pioneers established a settlement here called Fort Nashborough. This reconstruction uses the same construction elements as those early forts, built to house the settlers and their families and protect them from Native American attacks. Open daily, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

170 First Ave. N. Nashville, TN

Turn R on Demonbreun St. Turn L on 1st Ave., go about 3 blocks to pt. 4.

More About: Nashville's State Capitol

Architect William Strickland and politician Samuel Morgan argued throughout the State Capitol’'s nine-year construction. Even today, people report eerie arguments from the northeast corner of the building, where both men are entombed in the walls. The Capitol, Ryman Auditorium, and several other downtown landmarks are featured on Nashville Ghost Tours, offered in the fall. Call 615-884-3999 to learn more.

05

Tennessee State Capitol

Perched on a high hill in Nashville, this massive 1859 limestone structure is one of the most magnificent public buildings of its time. The governor’'s office is here, along with the Tennessee House and Senate chambers. You'’ll find works of art; murals and frescoes by Thomas Hart Benton; the tomb of President James K. Polk and his wife; and monuments to Presidents Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson, Sergeant Alvin York and Sam Davis, the "“Boy Hero of the Confederacy.”"

Special Tags:

  • Picture Spot

600 Charlotte Ave. Nashville, TN

615-741-2692

Turn L on Church St., turn R on 5th Ave. N. Turn L on Charlotte Ave. to pt. 5.

More About: U.S. Tobacco Processing Center

You’'ll soon pass Nashville’'s iconic 1920s neon Bruton Snuff sign on the left, now attached to the U.S. Tobacco processing center, a primary destination for the dark-fired tobacco grown along the Ring of Fire Trail.

06

Bicentennial Mall State Park

As urban Nashville boomed in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the ground here was too soft for high-rise construction due to the historic salt lick that had originally attracted the wildlife, Native Americans, trappers and settlers to the area. This park was created in the 1990s to save the one remaining view of the Capitol and to commemorate Tennessee'’s 200th birthday. Visit this 19-acre park, stroll the “Pathway of History” and splash in 31 fountains, all tributes to Tennessee'’s waterways.

Special Tags:

  • Picture Spot

600 James Robertson Pkwy. Nashville, TN

615-741-5280

Continue W on Charlotte Ave. Turn R on Rosa L. Parks Blvd./ US-41A to pt. 6.

More About: Bicentennial Mall

On the Bicentennial Mall, you'’ll see a granite map of Tennessee’'s historic “trails,” from Native American paths to modern-day Interstates.

07

Nashville Farmers Market

Since the early 1800s, the farmers market has been a vital part of Nashville life. Stop in to visit local farmers and produce resellers; grab a bite at one of the Market House restaurants; visit on the weekend and browse the Flea Market. Tourists love the “Nash Trash” comedy tours departing from this spot; hop on the pink bus here.

900 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. Nashville, TN

615-880-2001

Pt. 7 is located beside pt. 6.

More About: Fisk Jubilee Singers

Nearby Fisk University is home to the legendary Fisk Jubilee Singers. The a cappella group dates back to 1871, when they embarked on a singing tour to raise funds for the historic African-American college, established following the Civil War.

08

Germantown Historic District

This 18-square-block area was Nashville'’s first subdivision, known as the 9th Ward. Some of these buildings date back to the 1830s. The area is home to unique local businesses and beautiful churches, urban charm, a rich sense of history and the legendary Oktoberfest street fair every fall. As you turn right on 5th Avenue, circle the block and return to Rosa L. Parks Boulevard. You'’ll get a feel for the neighborhood, and find great places to eat and drink, including The Cocoa Tree, DrinkHaus, Monell’s, The Mad Platter and Germantown Café.

Nashville, TN

Continue N on Rosa L. Parks Blvd./US-41, turn R on Monroe St. to pt. 8. Between Hume St., Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Jefferson St. & 3rd Ave. N. Turn R on 5th Ave., circle block and return to Rosa L. Parks Blvd.

09

Fontanel Mansion & Farm

This is a true gem just outside of Nashville. Formerly the 136-acre estate of country star Barbara Mandrell, the 27,000-squarefoot log home is now used for special events. Enjoy over two miles of hiking and biking trails that are free to the public; catch a show at the Woods Amphitheater or dine at the fabulous on-site restaurant. Open Tues.-Sun.

Special Tags:

  • Picture Spot

4225 Whites Creek Pk Whites Creek, TN

615-724-1600

Turn R on Rosa L. Parks Blvd./US-41, continue N on US-41 for approx. 10 miles. Turn R on Lloyd Rd., turn L on Whites Creek Pk. to pts. 9 & 10.

More About: CMT’s top-rated Gone Country Show

Fontanel was the location of CMT’s top-rated "Gone Country" show, hosted by John Rich, and was shown in the film "Country Strong," starting Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw.

10

Cafe Fontanella

A unique and authentic Italian dining experience just a few minutes from downtown Nashville in Whites Creek, TN. The Italian kitchen and wine bar on the property of Fontenl Mansion, is run by Anthony Amico, who also owns the perennially-popular Amico's New York pizza and Italian Restaurant in Nolensville, TN.

4225 Whites Creek Pk. Whites Creek, TN

615-724-1601

12

Ri’chard’s Louisiana Café

This unassuming joint features "“Live Music and Dead Crawfish.”" Stop in for authentic Louisiana fare and stay for live music; you never know who will take the stage. It’'s a favorite of some of Nashville’'s best-known residents. Reservations recommended.

Special Tags:

  • Live Music

4420 Whites Creek Pk. Whites Creek, TN

615-299-9590

Interstate Access: I-24W, exit 40 (TN-45N). Turn L on Old Hickory Blvd. Pt. 12 is at corner of Old Hickory Blvd. & Whites Creek Pk.

13

Honeysuckle Hill Farm

This family farm has something for everyone and offers visitors a chance to come face to face with farm life, animals and fun. Seasonal.

Special Tags:

  • Off the Trail
  • Picture Spot

1765 Martins Chapel Church Rd. Springfield, TN

615-382-7593

From US-431, follow signs to pt. 13. Reverse route back to US-431, turn L to rejoin trail.

More About: Hinkle Chairs

The famous Hinkle chairs are made in Springfield. Since 1834, five generations of the Hinkle family have continued the tradition which now includes rockers sold at Cracker Barrel.

14

Douglas & Company / BP

It may look like any other gas station, but inside you'’ll find a one-of-a-kind experience. The owners smoke their own meats out back and serve a best-kept-secret BBQ that keeps the locals coming back for more. Take a seat in a Hinkle chair and don’'t miss the banana pudding.

2622 Tom Austin Hwy Springfield, TN

615-384-0966

From pt. 12, follow US-431/Tom Austin Hwy to pt. 14 on corner of Mt. Zion Rd./TN-257. Exit pt. 14 by turning R on Mt. Zion Rd./TN-257.

More About: Tobacco Barns

In the fall, farmers typically light the tobacco barns before dinner, creating a thick, sweet-smelling “fog” of dark-fire tobacco at dusk.

15

Wessyngton Plantation

(Private Residence) Straight ahead you'’ll see what was once the main home on Wessyngton Plantation, founded in 1796 by Joseph Washington, a distant cousin of America’'s first president. Relying on a large slave labor force, it was once one of the largest tobacco plantations in the U.S.

Special Tags:

  • African American

Flewellyn Rd. & Old Washington Rd. Springfield, TN

Continue W for 8 miles on Mt. Zion Rd./TN-257; it becomes Flewellyn Rd. when you cross over US-49. Continue on Flewellyn Rd., at end, turn R onto Old Washington Rd. to pt. 15. Continue N on Old Washington Rd., turn L onto Kinneys Rd./ Hwy 1012

More About: Historic Glen Raven

You'’ll pass the turnoff to Maxey Road on your left as you head toward Adams. About a mile down this road is historic Glen Raven, one of the last large-scale tobacco plantations in Tennessee, founded by Felix Ewing, a prominent figure in the Black Patch Tobacco Wars. The 2,500-acre estate once included its own school, church, store, grist mill, and even electrical and telephone system. If you decide to explore Maxey Road, Ridge Road Antiques is about 3.5 miles from Glen Raven.

16

Port Royal State Park

This historic area was once an important trading post in the early 1800s, and is an official site on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. The former 1850s general store building is the only structure that remains of this once-thriving river town, which vanished as railroad and automobile travel eclipsed steamboat activity. Stop here to take in the state'’s quiet natural beauty as you drive up to Adams, or take a canoe trip starting at point 18;— you'’ll pass this spot as you paddle.

Special Tags:

  • Off the Trail
  • Picture Spot

3300 Old Clarksville Hwy Adams, TN

931-358-9696

Follow Kinneys Rd./ TN-256 into Adams (pt. 17), veer L onto TN-76. Go approx. 8 miles, turn R on TN-238/Port Royal Rd. Follow signs to pt. 16. Return to TN-76 and head back toward Adams (pt. 17). Turn L on Church St., turn L on US-41/TN-11 to pt. 18.

More About: The Town of Port Royal

The town of Port Royal planned to build a silk factory in the 1840s. Thousands of mulberry trees were planted around the settlement to feed the silkworms, a mill and dam were built, and a resident was sent to England with town funds to purchase equipment. He never returned, and the mill was never built.

17

Adams

This quiet town was once a busy place, receiving visitors and travelers moving along a popular route between Miami and Chicago. The shifting railroad lines and the opening of the modern-day Interstate system slowed life here; today it’'s a primarily agricultural community with a deep dark-fired tobacco heritage. It’'s best known for the famous Bell Witch haunting, a reputation it celebrates with festivals and acclaimed theatrical performances of "Smoke," every May and "Spirit," every October.

Adams, TN

From pt. 15, turn L onto Old Washington Rd., turn L onto Kinneys Rd./ Hwy 1012/TN-256 to pt. 17.

More About: Smoke on the Ring of Fire

The Ring of Fire and surrounding area produces almost all of the dark-fired tobacco in the U.S.; it’s cured inside closed barns heated by a constant, smoldering fire and used for snuff, pipe and chewing tobacco. As you drive this trail, you’ll see these curing barns dotting the fields; in the fall, it’s not uncommon to see curing smoke billowing from the roofs and walls. Dark-fire curing is more art than science, producing a smoky blend that only comes with experience and a feel for the craft. Most tobacco grown in the U.S. is burley tobacco, a medium-light colored leaf that is cured by air-drying; it’s used primarily to make cigarettes. Burley is a $20 million industry in Macon County, the #1 burley tobacco producing county in the entire U.S. Get a hands-on lesson about tobacco production at the Robertson County History Museum (point 26) and the Trousdale County Museum (point 81).

18

Red River Canoe

Experience Tennessee’'s natural beauty with a float down the Red River, starting here in Adams. The river is moderately shallow along the route, with plenty of sandbars and places to picnic. RV and primitive camping is also available, and locals love the “float ‘n’ feed,” a canoe trip that includes a full down-home BBQ meal. Float trips end at Port Royal State Park (point 16).

8002 Hwy 41N Adams, TN

615-696-2768

Turn R onto Church St./ TN-76E, turn L onto US-41. Go approx. 1 mile to pt. 18.

More About: Red River Canoe

You can launch your own canoe next to point 18 and float 7.52 miles down to point 16. This takes about 3-5 hours.

19

Bell Witch Cave & Canoe Rentals

Take a tour of the eerie Bell Witch Cave, located on the original Bell family farm. Learn more about the legend of the Bell Witch, and see a replica of the Bell family log cabin. Tours by appointment, May-Oct. Not accessible during or after heavy rain.

430 Keysburg Rd. Adams, TN

615-696-3055

Turn R back onto US-41, retracing route approx. 1 mile. Turn L onto Keysburg Rd.; follow signs to pt. 19.

More About: John Bell's Farm and the Bell Witch

It’'s one of the most famous ghost stories in America, and it happened in Adams. In the summer of 1817, strange and dramatic events began to take place on John Bell'’s farm as an otherworldly force began terrorizing the family with physical assaults and verbal taunts. She identified herself as Kate Batts, a deceased neighbor with whom John had a dispute years earlier. A neighbor convinced Bell to launch an investigation that drew many to the area, including Andrew Jackson, who experienced the haunting first hand when his coach wheels stopped mysteriously in the road until she let him pass. John Bell died of a mysterious poisoning, for which Kate took the credit. It is believed that the witch finally left the family after John'’s death — but not before torturing his daughter, Betsy, and keeping her from the man she loved. Kate retreated into a cave on the property, where even today eerie events continue to occur.

20

Old Bell School

This 1920s school building stands on part of the original Bell family farm. The grounds hold a pavilion and several historic buildings relocated here, including an original log cabin. The site plays host to festivals and performances, including the annual Thresherman'’s Show in July and a bluegrass competition in late summer. Inside, you'’ll find the Adams Antique Mall, School House Cafeteria & Tea Room, and Adams Museum & Archives.

7617 Hwy 41N Adams, TN

Retrace route on Keysburg Rd. back to US-41. Turn L onto US-41 to pt. 20.

21

Bellwood Cemetery

This cemetery is the resting place for many Bell family descendents. The obelisk in the center memorializes John and Lucy Bell, who are reportedly buried along with children and several slaves on private property in Robertson County.

Hwy 41N Adams, TN

Pt. 21 is just past pt. 20.

More About: John Bell, Jr.

John Bell, Jr., son of John Bell, is buried at Bellwood. He served as speaker of the house before the Civil War, and was a presidential candidate in 1860; the election was won by Abraham Lincoln.

General Area:

Nashville

Stops:

112

This is your ticket to the Ring of Fire Trail, a drive stretching from Nashville across the gorgeous Cumberland Plateau and back again.

Discover some of Middle Tennessee’s most beautiful scenery as you roll through the hills and farms in the heart of the region. Fall in love with Dale Hollow Lake, one of America’s favorite lakes and home of the world’s record small mouth bass; gaze out from high above the breathtaking Cordell Hull Dam; encounter the quiet power of the Cumberland River.

Along the way, you’ll stop in unique, off-the-beaten-path communities. Stay in hotels where Victorian-era vacationers once came to “take a cure” at Red Boiling Springs; taste the best of summer at Portland’s Strawberry Festival; visit charming little towns like Cross Plains, where the local drug store is still the best place to get a cheeseburger.

This route explores the territory where early settlers arrived on Avery’s Trace and Walton Road, with forts and homes dating back to the 1700s. It’s also the territory claimed by some of country music royalty; start your trip with a walk at Fontanel, just outside the hum of Music City.

The stories out here are as rich as the sweet smoke billowing from the tobacco-curing barns in the early fall. From settlers and Civil War soldiers to the Bell Witch and underwater ghost towns, the spirit of the Ring of Fire Trail will deliver an unforgettable Tennessee experience.

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