TLC Does Not Give Good Advice
We spent an entire weekend chasing waterfalls.
We wanted a weekend away but only had Saturday and Sunday and didn’t want a staycation, so we popped in the car and headed east to Manchester.
LX Hotel - Downtown Manchester
Leaving Columbia around 8pm after work we made it to LX Hotel in downtown Manchester, Tennessee. The owner bought the hotel right before COVID and had a hard time renovating and getting the fixer-upper fixed up. However, he is full speed ahead with renovations. He is taking an old dilapidation to a new level. On top of the renovations, he is trying to bring new ideas to the old idea of a hotel. You can forget the expensive airplane bottles in the fridge and head down to the lobby for wine and beer on tap. In the morning, don’t forget to sit down for a made-to-order breakfast AND make sure you get a coffee because Manchester doesn’t really wake up till 11 am.
Old Stone Fort State Park
Early bird catches the worm... or should I say a peaceful hike. Just a few minutes from LX Hotel is Old Stone Fort State Park. Old Stone is an archaeological site that was established in 1966 and was home to the Manchester Powder Mill which powered the Confederate War Machine. Throughout the hike, you can see ruins from years ago. Not one, not two, but three waterfalls in the park with many trails weaving throughout. The circumference of the park is 1.25 miles and is very family-friendly. The first waterfall we came to was Bluehole Falls. We ventured off the trail and headed to the other side. I wouldn’t settle from looking at the waterfall from afar. Take off your shoes and get a full experience. In the heat of summer, the refreshing water and mist coming off the waterfall will keep you nice and cool. If you’re feeling adventurous get on in the waterfall, you won’t regret it.
After exploring Bluehole, we hiked on and not too far along we came upon Big Falls. Big Falls has a decent size basin where a few guys had lines in the water and caught a few monsters while we were there.
Hiking around to the other side, the waterfall just didn’t seem to end. On our way to Little Falls, if you pay close attention, you and your significant other may find a tree that needs attention. We ended with Little Falls. With a milder grade and shorter waterfalls, this one seemed to be a fan favorite. Kids and dogs were traipsing through the water.
We kicked ourselves because our fishing poles and enos should have come. We could’ve easily spent our entire day hammocking, fishing, and swimming. A hidden gem at its finest.
With our stomachs rumbling we headed to the Home of the Bonnaroo Burger – Jiffy Burger. This place is as eclectic as it gets. Take the time to stop and read the signs on the wall. Oh, and don’t forget to peek into the kitchen and say hi to the staff. They aren’t kidding about this burger though. My boyfriend took one look at the menu and immediately had his mind made up and the burger didn’t disappoint. The home-fried onion and freshly made bacon gave a true farm-to-table feel. Bacon on a burger is not out of the ordinary but what is hard to come by is true thick-cut bacon. Also, batter-dipped fries must get! I took a lighter load and get their house salad, sounds basic but I swear the tomatoes were grown out back and picked that morning.
But don’t forget to bring cash. Credit cards not accepted, but there is an atm on site.
Beans Creek Winery
To relax a little before our afternoon hikes, we took a pit stop at Beans Creek Winery. Beans Creek Winery was started in 1976 by Tom Brown in his mother’s kitchen. What started out as a hobby for Tom turned into a family business in 2004. Although Tom has passed, the Winery is lived on with his kids and grandchildren.
Many wineries give you a list and you have the option on how many to pick. Beans Creek goes a little farther. You can pick the number of wines you try as well as the amount of wine you taste. Out of all the wineries and tastings I’ve been on, this was the first of its kind. Sitting under a tree in the yard, we sipped and took in all the fragrances the wines had to offer.
Short Springs Natural Area
The name alone is very misleading. There was nothing short about this hike or falls. The views though are unbeatable. Down in the stream, it seemed like the scenery was out of a movie or found on a canvas. We took the trail to Machine Falls and found a steep short to the top of the falls. If you dare to skirt the skinny ledge, you will find a mini waterfall that you can fit behind. If you look even closer, you may find a rock cairn. If you find it, be sure to add your own. Then you need to make your way down to the bottom where there are places to lay your backpack and shoes and play in the water. Also down at the bottom is a large rock overhang to be explored. While we only hiked to Machine, there is also Adams Falls, Busby Falls, and Laurel Bluff Loop.
On our way out the sun was coming through just right and hitting water flowing off the side of the trail and creating a near-perfect rainbow. With bright, intense colors, I couldn’t help but get mesmerized. We decided to take the actual trail out, instead of the shortcut we found, and MAN was it steep.
Bites of Europe
After a quick shower and respite, we headed to Bites of Europe. So, if you know me, I went to Greece last year and never stop talking about the food. I have been craving a gyro for so long but am so skeptical about American gyros. However, when the waitress told me that their gyros are REAL LAMB, my mouth immediately started watering. When I say authentic, I mean it. The taste simply can’t be matched, fat chance you will be able to find anything like it across Tennessee! My boyfriend got the XXX. To drink we got Pimm’s XX. All the fresh fruits and veggies put the taste over the top! After we finished dinner, our waitress relocated our drinks to the back patio for some live music. The ambiance of a summer night with free live music, yes, please.
Common John Brewing Company
Since we just can’t get enough live music, we headed to Common John Brewery after dinner. Brewed in-house, you will be very HOPPY, that you stopped in. They have all different brews, even those that aren’t big on beer, they’ve got you covered. They even have a Mug Club you can join for updates, discounts, and first in the know. With board games and outdoor games, this brewery is more like a living room than a brewery. You can sit down for a game night with the boys or a patio night with the girls. On top of that, an amazing stage with a tin roof that makes the acoustics sound just right.