Jonesborough, Tennessee's oldest town, offers rich heritage

Jonesborough, Tennessee's oldest town, offers rich heritage

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Jonesborough is a town rich with history, but that goes far beyond the town's limits. Jonesborough is a town rich with history, but that goes far beyond the town's limits.
The downtown has been the hub of Jonesborough. It was only the second place to join the state's registry of historic districts in 1969. Walking down Main Street can feel like walking through a time capsule. The downtown has been the hub of Jonesborough. It was only the second place to join the state's registry of historic districts in 1969. Walking down Main Street can feel like walking through a time capsule.
Jonesborough is the Storytelling Capital of the World. Each October, 10,000 people flock here for the National Storytelling Festival. Throughout the summer, many of those storytellers return Tuesdays through Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. to entertain visitors. Jonesborough is the Storytelling Capital of the World. Each October, 10,000 people flock here for the National Storytelling Festival. Throughout the summer, many of those storytellers return Tuesdays through Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. to entertain visitors.
By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

JONESBOROUGH (WATE) - If you drive just 90 miles northeast of Knoxville, you'll find Tennessee's oldest town nestled between U.S. Highway 11-E and the Smoky Mountains.

Jonesborough is a town rich with history, but that goes far beyond the town's limits.

"For the latter half of the 18th century and the early half of the 19th century, Jonesborough was the economic, social and government hub for this entire region," said executive director of Jonesborough's Heritage Alliance, Deborah Montanti. "The state grew from Jonesborough westward."

Since then, the downtown has been the hub of Jonesborough. It was only the second place to join the state's registry of historic districts in 1969. Walking down Main Street can feel like walking through a time capsule.

"It really takes you back to yesteryear," said Jonesborough Main Street director, Melinda Copp. "We've got a lot of well-reserved buildings that are just beautiful."

Those buildings are filled with plenty to do including the Storytelling Center.

Jonesborough is the Storytelling Capital of the World. Each October, 10,000 people flock here for the National Storytelling Festival. Throughout the summer, many of those storytellers return Tuesdays through Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. to entertain visitors.

"Every storyteller is different," said Copp. "Every storyteller has their different dialect of stories."  

The downtown is also known for its eclectic collection of shops including clothing apparel, to antiques and stained glass.

"There's really something for everyone," said Copp.

If you feel like taking in a little nature, there are several trails just steps from Main Street.

If you get tired from all the shopping and exploring, there is no shortage of food to eat. A popular stop is the General Store for some old fashioned ice cream or the best burger in town.

Jonesborough also broke into the craft beer scene with the opening of the Depot Street Brewery just on the edge of town. Beginning this fall, the Salt House will be home to the town's first downtown distillery.

If you feel like making a weekend of it there is plenty of lodging including several bed and breakfasts like the Eureka Inn where a night’s stay will cost around $110.

"You can really come here and spend the weekend and get it all in and feel like you've gone miles and miles away, but you're just an hour so down the road," said Copp.

"If you come and you walk our streets and just let your imagination run wild you can look into a window of any time period you want in East Tennessee," added Montanti.

For more information about visiting Jonesborough, click here.

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