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My family has started a tradition of travelling during the Christmas break. Our kids are older, 10 and 13, and enjoy the travel, seeing new things. So we spend very little on presents (they get enough from grandparents) and use the money for hotels, restaurants, entertainment. Last year it was Washington DC, this year its Tenn. So, long story short....We plan on visiting Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. We are looking for hotel ideas, restaurant ideas, and general spots not to miss in the area. We like the outdoors, historical sites, and places off the beaten path. Thanks for volunteering any info!
 

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All kinds of history all over this area, depending on the kind of history you are interested in. The Natchez Trace Parkway begins here in Nashville and runs 442 miles to Natchez, MS. There are historical stops every few miles along it. Lots of Civil War battlefields as well, all through this area.

East Tennessee has mountains, west Tennessee has river deltas. Middle Tennessee starts the foothills and it goes up headed east. Lots of good hiking and outdoor spots in east Tennessee, some around here but the best hiking is to the east.
 

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Here's my "off the cuff"...

I prefer middle & east TN, so can't help you much on Memphis.

Nashville:
Opryland Hotel Christmas lights

Franklin (Near Nashville)
Downtown Franklin is a great place to walk, shop, eat. Check to see if Dickens of a Christmas is happening when you are in town. Battle of Franklin was the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Check out Carnton Plantation, Carter House, etc for Civil War History.
Plenty of places to stay and eat in Franklin/Brentwood
Leipers Fork nice little "Hamlet" as they like to call themselves (lots of famous country music folks live around there). Wonder around, shop, eat, etc. There are some B&Bs there.

Arrington Vineyards is a popular place to visit/picnic.

Lynchburg - home of Jack Daniels. Nice little town square. Ms Mary Bobo's is a popular lunch attraction.

Fall Creek Falls - great place to hike. They have rooms and cabins to stay and serve food in the lodge. The cable trail is one of our favs if the weather cooperates.

Savage Gulf State Natural Area - good hiking area
Big South Fork - good hiking area

Chattanooga - we do the aquarium and dinner with the kids there often. I've had a few bad hotel experiences there. From now on I'll only stay downtown at one of the nicer hotels. We always go up on Lookout Mountain. There are some good overlooks up there but you have to search for them. Plenty of good hiking in the area.

Knoxville - Whenever I make it that far east I'm headed to the mountains. So much to do and see there. I prefer any area that is not Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge do to "tourism" and traffic, however there are some good family friendly attractions that may be worth a look.

Hope this gives you some ideas to look deeper into. Enjoy your trip!
Todd
 

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East Tennessee is a better ride IMO. But Memphis is a great place to to take in a long day. The down town scene (Beale St.) is a complete zoo (keep your wallet in your front pocket) , but something worth being a part of once. Kinda like downtown New Orleans. Enjoy a good meal or two , some good music , then find your way to the better riding that way ------------->. Have fun!
 
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