Get the insiders guide to the best things to do in Maury County from locals who know.
Chuck is a tour guide at Rippavilla Plantation
I love best kept secrets and I have experienced many: Just Enough Antiques in Smithville, Ohio, my friend June’s antebellum home in South Nashville, Alfe’s Fish and Chips on Greenford Avenue in London, Vic and Bills in Knoxville and Rippavilla Plantation in Spring Hill. Tennessee.
I love Rippavilla for a lot of reasons, number one, it is my home and has been for almost seventeen years, not my physical home, but my spiritual home. I work here, I live here three days a week and I love here. My wife and I had our first date here and my co workers are like my family.
At Rippavilla we not only have a treasure trove of Civil War history, but we have a place where the civil war buff can come visit and have a cup of coffee and chew the hardtack about the 1864 Middle Tennessee campaign. The house will see four occupations during the war, it will serve as a smallpox hospital in 1862, a field hospital in 1864 and the site of a severe case of shouting and gnashing of teeth between Nathan Bedford Forrest and John Bell Hood, over breakfast, on the morning of the Battle of Franklin, November 30, 1864. At one point the dead from the war were buried in the yard. Rippavilla will even be seized by carpetbaggers for back taxes in 1865. Nat Cheairs, the builder and owner will make a visit to the White House to visit his Masonic brother Andrew Johnson to get his house and land back. We have a copy of the presidential letter given to Brother Cheairs from Brother Johnson. So Mote It Be!
For you American Literature buffs there is some evidence that Ambrose Bierce may have been here in 1862 and 1864. The only two generals in the history of the United States to have been murdered, Earl Van Dorn and William Bull Nelson were visitors to Rippavilla. Rodney Crowell got married here and Billy Ray Cyrus hangs out here too from time to time.
Not only do we have history we have a bakery, the 1851 kitchen is the home of The Spring Hill Bakery. “Let me tell”, you as my old Uncle Willie Levine used to say. Sarah G Bread and Mandy produce some of the greatest baked goodies I have consumed since I left England many years ago. I start every morning with a cup of Spring Hill Bakery Coffee, a custom blend by Muletown Coffee, and a creme cheese roll or a cinnamon roll baked fresh on premises. I usually take home a fresh Challah on Friday.
Being a Civil War junkie and working on a battlefield and giving tours to fellow Civil Warriors, it gets no better for me.
Please visit us, take in a tour or special event, and meet Kyle the barn cat. The Coffee is good the pastries are fresh, and the fellowship is wonderful. You might even catch a little ghostly schmoozing. Shalom.
Juli handles professional relations and community outreach for Beck Dental
So, let’s talk Mule Day. Really, my favorite time of year. Yep, I love it better than Christmas, better than my birthday, better than summer vacation. The crazy Tennessee weather is beginning to make up its mind that it wants to treat us to a little sunshine and all true Columbians are super proud to be here. The Mule Day Southern Tennessee Tradition publication starts showing up around town in shops and we really get excited! (My 4 yr old thinks we need one from every stop!)
There are so many fun things to do around Muletown the week of Muleday; There is literally something for everyone. I mean, seriously, we live in the Mule Capitol of the world! This brings over 100,000 people to town to experience our history, current growth, and most importantly, our hospitality.
Now that I have my own family, Mule Day is even more meaningful. We never miss the parade and my teenagers love to walk up and down the West 7th St. sidewalks. We get together with friends for the day and my husband cooks for everyone. The kids all want their own special Mule Day hat, shirt and boots and I’m usually running around crazy at the last minute looking for these things. (We got lucky and found the cutest Liberty overalls for Henry at Ted’s!)
The past couple of years we have walked to the Maury Co. Park and that is a treat if you’ve never experienced it! It’s great because it’s all about the mules! Up close and personal. Your kids can even ride a mule at the park, see the King Mule, walk through the mule barn and pet the mules, horses and minis. If animals aren’t your thing, how about food? My crew loves the homemade lemonade and Betty’s Burgers. The kids like to bring a few dollars to spend at the craft booths too. There is something for everyone! The big hit last year was handmade wooden mule lapel pins! If you have little ones, take them to the park for the bounce houses and they will be good and ready for a nap! So, there is a lot of Mule Day history at the park, some of which I haven’t even experienced yet but my goal is to see it all.
Historic Downtown Columbia
James is the owner of Duck River Books in Columbia, TN
When I travel, I want to know where the locals eat, shop and have a good time. Those are always the best places. In Maury County, many of the locals can be found on the square in downtown Columbia. Locally owned stores, antique and vintage shops, specialty shops, and great restaurants make downtown Columbia the spot locals come for shopping, great food, and live music, which can be heard most Friday and Saturday nights at up to five different venues around the square.
The town square sits atop a hill overlooking the Duck River, one of the most biologically diverse rivers in North America, and has served as the heartbeat of our county for over 200 years. Considered one of the most beautiful courthouses in all of Tennessee, our courthouse with its brilliant Indiana limestone veneer, has presided over our square in its current form for over 100 years. It is also popular with photographers who regularly use the historic buildings in wedding, prom and family photos. You can even find our square in music videos, commercials, television shows and a few major motion pictures.
Just two blocks off of the square sits the former home of President James K. Polk, the 11th President of the United States. This beautiful home and museum is open for tours daily. When you visit, you will understand why it is an immense source of pride for our wonderful town. So, come see us, and I bet you’ll love our little dimple of the universe almost as much as we do.
Spring Hill History Tour
Jamie is Communications Officer for the City of Spring Hill, TN
Every year thousands of tourists follow the U.S. Civil War trail through Tennessee. A trip to the historic sites in Franklin is not complete without a stop in Maury County. History buffs will not want to miss the site of the 1864 prelude to the Battle of Franklin, Spring Hill Battlefield where a canon still sits atop the hill. The nearby, majestic Oaklawn Plantation was the site where hundreds of Union troops slipped quietly from Columbia through Spring Hill to Franklin during the night while Confederate troops slept, an engagement that his been described as “one of the most controversial non-fighting events of the entire war”. There are many historic mansions and antebellum homes that drivers should add to their tour, including Rippavilla Plantation (open for tours and Spring Hill Bakery), White Hall, Ferguson Hall and Spring Hill Cemetery, the final resting place for many Confederate soldiers.
Complete your trip with a stop off for brunch, dinner or craft cocktails inside a renovated mid-century farm house, The Mockingbird Restaurant, offering quaint, casual dining and a menu of locally-sourced made from scratch Southern cuisine.
Wine Trail Tour
Kim is the owner of West Seventh Company in Columbia, TN
My friends in Nashville call me regularly to ask “when are we going to the wineries?”. It has become a semi-annual event for Spring and Fall that everyone looks forward to. It all begins with a drive down the magnificent Natchez Trace to our meeting point at Fall Hollow Falls. We could meet somewhere else, but the waterfalls are a short hike and a spectacle that changes with the seasons. After the hike and photo-ops at the falls we head towards Hampshire and the wine. Keg Springs is our first stop. One of the first to pop up in the area, they have award winning varieties and tastings are free. Next we like to go to Natchez Hills. This winery has more dry wines, lovely vineyards and a great tasting room. Natchez Hills is an ideal spot for having lunch, but sometimes we like to save that for our next stop, Amber Falls. The entrance to this winery is a drive through vines as far as the eye can see. The tasting room is like going to a fine wine cellar and the owners are great people to meet while you sip on their selections. We like to choose a couple of wines to go with our lunch, which is a shared effort where everyone brings something to the table, but we often buy some local cheese at the wineries too. Amber Falls has lots of tables outside in the shade of mature trees and is just right for a picnic. Often, they have live music on the pavilion stage. Our afternoon is spent sharing food, stories and of course local wines.
Get your friends and #DoTheDayTrip