top of page

Winchester Retirees Travel Tennessee as Experience Tennessee Ambassadors

Submitted by Marketing By Gabby

Dan and Mary Peery have an appetite for life you might expect from a recent graduate or even a newborn baby. They look at every new experience, no matter how ordinary or small, as an opportunity to discover something about humanity–about themselves and others.

The cloth banner hanging on the wall in the dining area of their camper is a testament to their love of new experiences. Mary hand stitched “2022” at the top and underneath the year, they’ve started a collection of patches, pins, and keychains representing each of the places they’ve visited so far this year.

The retirees from Winchester, Tennessee have been traveling across the country in campers for 30 years and decided to start a YouTube channel to document their adventures when the pandemic hit. After retiring from their jobs as a production supervisor and nurse three years ago, they had plans to spend three to six months at a time out west.

Those plans changed when they were accepted into the Experience Tennessee ambassador program.

For the past several months, they’ve been exploring Tennessee backroads and highways with exclusive access to events, places, and people that make this state so unique. In exchange, they post reviews of their experiences on their Facebook account and YouTube channel, The Timeout Corner.

They said they’ve been surprised by everything going on practically in their backyards. Just this summer, they’ve been to the Homestead Festival, The Caverns Amphitheater, the Merriwether Lewis monument, and Mousetail Landing State Park where they had a close call with a copperhead.

They visited Oliver Campers in Hohenwald, stayed at the Piney River Resort in Nunnelly, met Minnie Pearl’s great niece in Centerville, ate dinner at The Commodore in Linden, and went night kayaking on the Buffalo River.

Dan even attracted the attention of New Zealand pop star, Benny, with his tie-dye attire at Bonnaroo.

Submitted by Dan and Mary Peery

Submitted by Dan and Mary Peery

I caught up with them at the Buffalo River Rampage Festival in Lobelville, Tennessee where they parked their camper at Buffalo River Resort. Upon first sighting of Dan, he was wearing inflatable pool wings around his arms, an inflatable donut around his neck, and a sun hat–an outward expression of his goofy, laid-back personality. Once inside the camper, two tiny joyful dogs–Pigglett, a boston terrier and Peanut Butter, a corgi–greeted my husband and I with enthusiastic tails.

Submitted by Dan and Mary Peery

We settled in for a long conversation, the Peerys on their Murphy bed and the Hundleys around their kitchen table.

“I’ve enjoyed meeting the people and talking to them,” Mary said of her time as an Experience Tennessee ambassador. “Not the famous people. I’ve enjoyed the everyday ordinary people.”

Like the folks at Swiss Pantry, a local bakery and deli in Belvidere, Tennessee, just a 10 minute drive from Winchester.

“We bought stuff there for years, but never actually got to know the people who own it until we went out and talked to them,” Dan said. “We did a video and blog and now we go in there and it’s like we’re best friends.”

Everyone who is part of the Experience Tennessee ambassador program gets this same opportunity to explore common grounds in an uncommon way. It’s from this perspective that they find more meaningful connections to the place they live and the place they hope tourists will discover through their efforts to promote it.

In my opinion, Dan and Mary Peery are a great representation of the heart of Tennesseeans, especially those in Nashville’s Big Back Yard. I think it’s because of the standards they set for themselves–from how they decide where to camp and how to talk to strangers.

“We look for sites to visit based on if there’s no cell phone signal, if there’s no wifi, and if there’s no Walmart within 25 miles, we go there,” Mary explained.

“When we talk to people, we do not discuss religion. We do not discuss politics. And we definitely don’t discuss college football,” she added. “That one has been broken…”

Editor’s Note: Each Experience Tennessee ambassador was selected based on a variety of factors including their background, skills, interests, and personalities. All of them have a unique story to tell so we’re giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the Tennesseans who give their time so you can get an idea of everything this state has to offer tourists and residents alike.

bottom of page