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
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?