Sunday, June 8, 2014

Spilling the Beans about Bush's Beans

            Remember in National Lampoon's Vacation when Clark Griswold is excited about seeing the "second largest ball of twine on the face of the earth"? Well, I’m with Clark on that one. For me, one of the best parts of a vacation is discovering those little known, off-the-beaten-path places that don’t attract swarms of tourists but do give a unique peek into a region or event. And with that mindset, last week, while on a rather impromptu vacation, Bill and I jumped at the chance to visit the Bush Brothers Visitor Center in Chestnut Hill, TN. No, not those Bush brothers, but the Bush brothers of bean fame. You know—Jay Bush and his golden retriever Duke, and the secret family recipe, and “beautiful bean footage”?
            I can hear you asking, “How interesting can beans be?” I asked myself the same thing when a guy at the hotel suggested we take in that particular attraction. But when he described it as a little “funky,” he caught my attention. If nothing else, it offered a refreshing alternative to chain restaurants, water slide parks, and miniature golf. So we decided to check it out, and—to answer, the above question—"If you don't know beans about beans, pretty dang interesting!”
            To save you the verbal equivalent of “slides of my vacation,” I’ll just provide this link to the visitor center—along with a few highlights and a couple of pictures to prove I really was there.
§  A beautiful drive through the lush, verdant foothills of the Smoky Mountains

The Bush family homestead in the
quaint town of Chestnut Hill
§  An on-site restaurant with very tasty food, including bean of the day appetizers and a pecan pie made of—are you ready for this?—pinto beans
                   §  A small museum which provides interesting history of the company's beginnings and
                      some amazing facts about the bean canning and distribution process (Please don't
                      tell me to get a life.)

§  A cute country store with lots of Bush's Beans gimcrack to choose from

Me with local celebrities--Duke and Jay.

A handy and useful souvenir--
a tea towel!


         Now, before I create a tourist assault on this quiet, unpretentious bit of Americana, let me say that I wouldn’t plan a two-week vacation around it. But if you happen to be in the area, give it a visit. Chestnut Hill is not your ordinary hill of beans.   
            Like I said, I love side trips to out-of-the-way places. Any favorites you'd be willing to share with me?




  1. That was fun, Dee Dee! There was a time that whenever I was travelling to somewhere I hadn't been before, I'd check ahead to see if there was factory I could tour. How things are made is fascinating to me and often there are samples. A few of the factories I've been to: chocolate, Heinekin, Dole Pineapple, Coke, Steel, New Balance Tennis Shoes, GM, Chryler car part, Abram tanks, muumuu, Kodak, General Mills Cereal,Hiram Walker (liquor) - well, now you see why I like samples!

    1. An impressive list, Shel. And great suggestions for my future forays!

  2. Luv the pic with Duke! Next time I'm headed that direction..........

    1. I'm thinking of using that pic for my Christmas cards. What do you think? ;-) And thanks for commenting on my blog!

  3. Read this while traveling and added it to my travel folder. Such fun!


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