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Photo Friday: Jonesborough, Tennessee

It’s sad how you can live in a state most of your life and never explore half of its eccentricities, beauty and quirks. This is my relationship with Jonesborough: a missed connection—until now.

jonesborough, tennessee, travel, photography, historic towns, the south

In fact, I didn’t even know the lovely town existed until I wrote my Tennessee Curiosities book last winter and included the famed International Storytelling Festival.

jonesborough, tennessee, travel, photography, historic towns, the south

And then, months later, SVV and I found ourselves there, staying in the heart of “Tennessee’s most historic town” for my good friend Lahla’s wedding.

jonesborough, tennessee, travel, photography, historic towns, the south

And it is historic; that’s not simply a misnomer.

jonesborough, tennessee, travel, photography, historic towns, the south

Jonesborough was founded way back in 1779, before our little state was, in fact, even a state. Granted, it was part of North Carolina first, and then the State of Franklin, and eventually fell under Tennessee’s ownership.

jonesborough, tennessee, travel, photography, historic towns, the south

It’s also considered to be at the heart of the Abolitionist Movement within the Confederate states, and The Emancipator was the first publication dedicated toward doing away with slavery.

jonesborough, tennessee, travel, photography, historic towns, the south

We only got in with enough time before the fete to (unsuccessfully) sleep off our honeymoon jetlag, and then the party bus picked us up and deposited us all at the wedding site. So we rose early at 7am the following morning, when all the town was still asleep, and explored the area by our favorite means: on-foot photo tour.

jonesborough, tennessee, travel, photography, historic towns, the south

Unfortunately—or maybe, fortunately for my wallet?—all the shops and cafes were closed. It was a Sunday, after all, and if it’s one thing that’s ubiquitous in this part of the world, it’s observing the Sabbath.

jonesborough, tennessee, travel, photography, historic towns, the south

(Too bad I’d just gotten married; otherwise, I might have scooped up this beaut! …if I were getting married in 1945.)

jonesborough, tennessee, travel, photography, historic towns, the south

The downtown is quaint and old school, and exactly what I think outsiders look for when they want the romanticized view of small town living in the South. (Just don’t look too far beyond the historic part, for fear that the shiny veneer will be cracked wide open. Get back on the main highway, and it loses a good deal of its charm. You’ve been forewarned…)

jonesborough, tennessee, travel, photography, historic towns, the south

jonesborough, tennessee, travel, photography, historic towns, the south

Couldn’t it just serve as the set for a summer romance a la Hope Floats or Where the Heart Is?

jonesborough, tennessee, travel, photography, historic towns, the south

jonesborough, tennessee, travel, photography, historic towns, the south

There’s a distinct possibility that, one day, SVV and I could find ourselves back living in Nashville (a few years down the road, not in the too-near future). If that’s the case, I can’t wait for all the small town exploring ahead of us—not just in Tennessee, but across the Southern states.

jonesborough, tennessee, travel, photography, historic towns, the south

*All photos taken with a Canon T1i, 10-20mm lens and 17-855mm lens, housed in a LowePro SlingShot.

**For more Photo Friday fun, visit Delicious Baby.

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Comments ( 20 )

  1. What a sweet little place! I love it! Ever since I went to Memphis I have yearned to go back and nose around the state more to find places just like this!

  2. So cute! We live in Alabama and we have a few places similar to this around us. It’s amazing how you forget to appreciate them when you live nearby!

  3. I am SO thrilled to see this. I live in DC now, but I’m originally from Johnson City–just down the road–and actually lived on Main Street in Jonesborough when I was a toddler. I see several of my fave restaurants in your photos! (And, believe it or not, I went to high school with your friend Lahla. I’ve been a longtime reader of your blog, so I was pretty surprised to see her appear in your wedding photo booth pics. Small world!) Anyway, thanks for the shout-out to East TN!

  4. One of these years I’m going to make it to the story telling festival! It’s only 2.5 hours from me so I have NO EXCUSE! I’ve been getting the pamplet in the mail for 5 years now! I LOVE THE SOUTH!

  5. Love it K.

    Maybe I’ll get married there this weekend.

  6. What a quaint town–we still have a lot of those in NC too! :)

  7. The tins of sun-dried possum are killing me. Now, I REALLY need to visit Tennessee. :)

  8. The tins of sun-dried possum are killing me. Now, I REALLY need to visit Tennessee.

  9. This made my day! I grew up right down the road in Kingsport, TN but spent all my free time in Jonesborough riding and working at a barn. I love jonesborough!

  10. Apparently I really liked them.

  11. Oh, the South. I miss you to pieces, child.

  12. Your photos were amazing! I’m in love with that town. And I forgot there was another reception – does this mean we have more wedding photos coming up? (fingers crossed!).

  13. That antique wedding gown looks more turn of the century than WW1 to me – but perhaps they were behind the times in this neck of the wood – it has an old fashioned air

  14. My Dad’s from Chattanooga — gotta love TN!

  15. Have you been to Rugby yet? It’s not too far away from Knoxville.

  16. Sun dried possum. Oh, how I love my South.

  17. Americana at it’s best, eh?

  18. Wow, speaking as an English girl who has so far only visited the South during a 2hour layover in Atlanta, this is exactly how I picture small town American life to be.
    I love it, and seeing as how you’ve already sold me on the idea of a visit to Tennessee with the whole Dollywood-Pigeon Forge shenanigans, I am definitely planning on a visit sometime soon!

  19. I really like little towns, wandering around and exploring the history is great! America does have many of these towns, just have to get out there and explore.
    So no more SF summers in the future for you? How will you cope??

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  1. [...] we were in the South, we went to East Tennessee twice: for Lahla’s wedding in Jonesborough and to spend a week at my sister’s apartment in [...]

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